This Valentine

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February 14 2012 was a very miserable day for me and I’m determined not to have such a day again. I had gotten to the office that morning ready for the day’s work having convinced myself there was nothing special about the day. As early as 8.00 am that morning, the flowers, cakes, gift boxes and other gifts had started trickling in. By 12.pm every female in the office had various gifts neatly displayed around their work station, every female except me. My table stood out for its emptiness, I didn’t receive one single gift. I wanted to disappear and sink into the ground.

 

There are some individuals that make it their duty to make life miserable for others and I was unfortunate to have two of such in my office. I almost died from their teasing that day. They threw a myriad of questions were  at me.

Folayimika, Don’t you have a boyfriend or a fiancé or a maga or something?”

“But you are a fine girl now, how come nobody is sending anything to you?”

“Is it that your man is stingy?

“I have noticed you don’t talk about any man ? “

“Is there a problem, if there is please try to pray about it or Perhaps you should tell your mum?…….

“All these your plenty catwalking and bonfo should have produced something by now ooo”

“Maybe you should try convent oo”

The questions and teasings went on until I stood up and left for the restroom to avoid them seeing my tears.

It was a source of constant worry to me that no man seemed to be interested in me, the last time any guy asked me out (not counting motor cycle riders and the occasional annoying bus conductors) was over three years ago. For some reason I still don’t understand, they just stopped coming. I wouldn’t stoop so low to ask any man out (not that there was even any that I thought was worth the shame) but I tried a lot of things, I changed my whole wardrobe and started wearing very short dresses and even wore tight fitting suits to work but it still didn’t work, I even joined the choir in my church and attended every singles program organized by my church or any other church but not one brother glanced at me twice.

I believe I am a beautiful girl, 6.1 feet tall, fair complexioned, blessed with a pretty face and a well developed bosom, men should be falling over themselves to have me but somehow there hadn’t been any since I broke up with Hussein, the one that vowed that I will live to regret dumping him, sometimes I wonder if his curse was the reason for my being without a man.

 

So, this valentine, I was ready to do all it takes to avoid shame. I carefully planned my strategy and set my plans in motion as early as November 2012. I searched for pictures of black guys on Google and chose a really handsome one that I was sure wasn’t a celebrity and used it as my display picture on Blackberry. I used the picture at least once in a week and I always made sure there was a smiley that depicted love or kisses in my display message and would use words such as le boo, me loff, bobo etc. Gradually the questions changed to “who is this guy of yours?” “Where does he stay?” “Where does he work?….. I never answered any of the questions, I just replied with a caustic “stay tuned”.

 

I started planning the gifts that I would send to myself on Monday 11th February 2013. My budget for this project was =N= 100,000, I wanted to be the center of all attention, my sanity depended on it. I made sure the calls were made when I was alone in my flat, I couldn’t risk anyone hearing I was making orders for myself. I paid for all purchases with my GTBank Naira MasterCard and gave the delivery address as my office.

 

So today, the 16 inches forest cake came in first at exactly 8.10 am. It was beautiful and I let out my carefully practiced “Awwww, my baby is so sweet” It had an inscription that said “My Darling Folayimika”. The cake was so beautiful and I beamed in smiles as my colleagues trooped to my desk to have a look. I smirked satisfied at the surprised look on their faces, if only you knew there is more to come, I thought.

 

The Valentine hamper came next, a big basket that had cost me =N=25,000. That was the one they all went gaga over; they arranged the gifts around my work station and took endless pictures. I was giddy with excitement, this was a good valentine and there was still even more gifts to come. By 11.00 am when the bouquet of fresh red roses came, there was a shriek of excitement in the entire office. “Wow!” they exclaimed, I looked out for jealous looks from my female colleagues and I caught quite a few. The bouquet was huge and filled my entire arms. I grinned from ear to ear excited by the attention I was receiving. At exactly one o clock, the big box of Swedish chocolates came in, everyone wanted me to open the box and cut the cake and so I left it for them, I even allowed my two greatest teasers to be in charge of the sharing.

 

I believe fervently that the =N=85,000 I spent in arranging all the gifts was worth it, you could say it was a waste of good money but I think the attention I received and the sadness I avoided today was worth the money spent. I was still smiling even as my office assistant packed my gifts into the boot of my car. I know the sadness will come later tonight when I am all alone and I see the display pictures of my friends going out on dinner dates with their husbands and boyfriends. The tears will come then but for now I am enjoying the happiness I feel. Perhaps I won’t have to do this next year. I can only hope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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