“In the year 2000 after I have gathered enough money, I will come with my people and bring wine to your people. My father will say in his sonorous voice … ‘we have seen a beautiful orange in your compound and we have come to ask your permission to pluck it’. I will nod my head in agreement and wait patiently for you to come out led by girls whose beauty are put to shame by yours. You will come and say, ‘yes, he is the one I want to marry’ and I will stand up and hold your hand. 10 years from now fade, you will finally be my wife and we will finally be able to fill our yard with children.”
“Olowo ori mi. I will wait for you. I will learn how to cook ofe nsala and all the Igbo food there is to learn. I will kneel down in front of your people and mine and give you palm wine to drink. We will both kneel down in front of our people as they pour prayers upon us like rain from heaven. Nna, I will bear Fadekemi Ikechuckwu and all the girls will envy me.”
What they don’t know is that her mother will later find out about her relationship with Emeka when curiosity gets the better of her and she wonders why her usually gloomy daughter is suddenly a cheerful girl. Her curiosity will make her ask her daughter the reason behind the ‘new her’. Fadekemi’s joy will make her tell her mother about Emeka, the Igbo boy in her chemistry’s class who she has chemistry with. She will later wish she kept quiet rather than talk vivaciously about the boy that is her boyfriend, the boy she plans on getting married to though she was just in SS 3. She will later wish she said nothing if she knew her mother would tell her father excitedly about the boy that is making his daughter happy. Fadekemi would have lied to her mother about the source of her happiness if she knew her father would ask for the name of the boy and finding out he is igbo , ban her from seeing him, Shipping her out of the country months later for university.
What they didn’t know is that they would lose touch since the technology in the year 1990 is not as developed as it is in the year 2055. They didn’t have quick and easy communication medium that allowed one get back in contact with a friend not seen over ten years. Fadekemi will later weep after leaving secondary school because, she will realize she might never see Emeka again and Emeka will later wish he had not given her a ring as a symbol of his love and commitment. He will later wish he didn’t say, ‘distance doesn’t matter. When two hearts are supposed to be together, they will find a way to each other.’
What neither of them knows is that Fadekemi will later come back to Nigeria after six years in the US and will be forced to marry the rich son of Chief Salako, her father’s friend. She will later weep and hold on tightly to Emeka’s ring. She will later hurt herself in an attempt not to marry a man she had only met ten days ago. She will later make the choice to love Remi after all, ‘love is a choice.’ She will later choose to be happy and allow herself love and be loved. She will later see him for the good man he is and willingly decide to give him a child after a year of marriage not because she was pressured by her mother-in-law, but because she loves him.
What they also don’t know is that Emeka will come back to Nigeria from England to take over his ailing father’s company. His mother will cry and beg him to marry if he doesn’t want her to go to her grave without grand children. He will later marry not for him, but for his mother and he will later go through three divorces because, none is Fadekemi. None laughs in the dainty way she does. None dances in a disorganized way swaying hips from left to right when it is supposed to be from right to left. None’s eyes flashes like hers does whenever she is angry. He will later only see wrongs in these women, forgetting each person is unique and none can be Fadekemi.
They will later meet somewhere in Abuja coincidentally after over twenty years of not seeing or communicating with each other. “Emeka is that you? Wow! Emeka Ikechuckwu yes?” He will later laugh the way he does only when he is around her and they will later go to lunch together, catch up on what they have missed. They will later break down in tears when next they meet after the realization of how much time they have lost dawns on them. Fadekemi will later tell him she is happy in her marriage when Emeka tells her ‘it is not too late to be together. Omalincha, we can still have those children we talked about.” Fadekemi will later look into his eyes with sadness and tell him, ‘That is the past Emeka. Times have changed, we have changed. We were kids that didn’t know any better and even then, we should have known one of us wouldn’t have waited. We should have known one of us would have settled and the one whichever one of us settled for, would have later been the ‘one’. We knew silently at the back of our minds that our dream was one that might never come to pass. At least one of us should have known though we had fun making all the plans we made, dreaming all the dreams we dreamt, singing all the songs we sang, the future was one that could throw us in a different direction. We should have known our song would change; we would make dreams with another that becomes our reality. I think we knew but, we preferred to pretend we didn’t. It was easier than facing the truth. So we pushed the goodbye to the future. We pushed reality to the future thinking perhaps, we could escape it and maybe, just maybe, our dreams would have been our reality but, I deviated. I carried our dreams with me and I extracted some of them and turned them to reality in addition to the dreams ‘the one’ and I made. We should have said it. We shouldn’t have depended so much on the future; I should never have depended so much on the future. I shouldn’t have trusted that my heart would carry our present and turn it to our future.” She will say with tears in her eyes and give him back the ring he gave to her… “There was not a day I didn’t think of you Nna. I meant every word I said to you back then in school but, I have changed. I was forced to move on and I wish you will do the same. I love you Nna but not enough to let go of my life now.” She will walk away from him sad and go home to her husband to tell him about her meeting with Emeka. Her husband will later leave her to cry when she tells him, ‘I should never have told my mother about Emeka. Maybe, we would have been together.’ She will later admit it to herself that she still loves him but, it is too late. Emeka will later stare at the door for hours, willing her to come back and take the ring. He will later walk away with a broken heart leaving the ring on the table, swallowing the words he couldn’t speak. He will walk away knowing he has lost it all. He will walk away to join his parents in the grave a month after.
“Emeka my love, it is time for our chemistry class. Let us go.”
Emeka whistled … “I will come for you in ten years time Fade. I will be there to bring palm wine to your father’s house.” She smiled and they walked to class holding each other’s hand not knowing the future didn’t have for them a life together.2