If there was a competition for what couple could have the most awkward car ride in history, then Toyosi and Tunde would have been awarded gold medals. There was absolutely nothing romantic about the night so far, despite it being her birthday and the assumed date for their proposal. Tunde, who never seemed to be fidgety, seemed unable to find the right words to say to her to commemorate her birthday. His birthday speech was barely a speech; it was really a list of words that aspired to form meaningful sentences and failed.
So there they were… sitting awkwardly across from each other making small talk about this new item that was on the menu. Tunde repeated the same compliment about her dress. She thanked him again, recognizing that the man seemed terrified about what their circle of friends were expecting them to do that night. In fact, she wondered if she wanted him to propose. As she watched him politely order for the two of them, she experienced mixed emotions. She felt obliged to become angry – angry at the fact that he seemed to hesitate to pop the damn question. She also felt a pinch of relief – she was not sure if she would even accept the proposal out of pure love or out of the looming stigma of being single that seemed to await her.
One hour passed. Their three course meal was now completely devoured. They had talked about everything from Nigerian politics to what Netflix show they should get addicted to next.
There was empty silence, opposite from the usual comfortable silence. This was the type of silence that was quietly begging for someone to end it.
“So… this was a great birthday dinner,” Toyosi began as an attempt to dissolve the obvious tension.
It didn’t work. Instead Tunde seemed to rehearsing a speech in his head, which was obvious from his stare into the distance. After his mental rehearsal, he began a speech: “Toyosi, listen you are wonderful. It’s been a great year of knowing you and being your partner. I think it is time that we –”
It was happening. OMG. Her stomach were forming knots. She wondered if it was just gas or the need to throw up. She felt like she had to stop this impending disaster. She had to come up with a plan, quickly!
“I love wine!” Toyosi blurted randomly.
“Tunde, I love wine. I even enjoy liquor. I enjoy a nice Margarita to go with my Taco Tuesday. I used to indulge in White Wine Thursdays in honor of all my shows. Yes, I watch those ungodly shows. I even used to have a monthly subscription to have different rare wine bottles sent to my doorstep. I love wine and I just realized that you are about to propose and you don’t know half the things I love.”
That awkward silence returned to the scene again. But before the silence could devour them, to Toyosi’s relief, Tunde burst out in the loudest laughter in the room. It was a hearty laugh that fell somewhere in between hysterical and tickled. At first she felt relief, but then that quickly turned into panic. Did she say too much?
“Are you talking about the subscription that brings wines from South Africa?”
“You know it?”
He paused and wore an embarrassed look. “I am still a member,” he said admittedly, “When did you cancel your subscription, Toyosi?”
Hesitantly she admitted “On our first date..”
“I don’t even know. I thought you wanted a different type of woman. To be honest, I don’t even recognize that girl you took out on a date. I don’t even know who this woman you are about to propose to is.” As the words left her mouth, a pinch of disappointment came over her. Why had she changed so much? Rather, why had she been pretending for so long.
They laughed again. This time, the laughter commenced for almost ten minutes. Which each chuckle, they were realizing that they had no idea who they were really dating.
“Toyosi, I think at this point in the conversation, it makes no sense for me to pop the question?” He asked half-jokingly, but half-seriously, because he wanted to make sure she was not expecting anything.
“Please hold your ring. If you didn’t even know that I am a avid wine consumer, I bet you probably don’t know what ring I would like.” She replied.
He released a long sigh, while smiling to himself. After a brief moment of reflection on the night and year of dating, he sat up and asked, “So where do we go from here? I was okay with the girl I thought you were, but now I am really interested in the woman that I suspect you might be.”
“Well… yes. For one, I am grateful that you didn’t allow me propose marriage. I don’t know that many women would say anything, knowing that this might be a sham.”
She chuckled. “This is quite surprising. I lie to you for a year and you are still interested. Why does this seem to turn me on a little?”
She was flirting with him. He never, ever got her to loosen up like this. He was enjoying it.
“I didn’t even know you could be turned on. I thought virtuous women couldn’t have those feelings,” he replied grinning.
“It appears there are many layers to my virtue, now doesn’t it?”
She was witty, too! Where has this side been? Before Tunde could stop himself, he made his way to her side of the booth and started making out with her.
It was the first time she didn’t try to stop them for the sake of “purity”. It was the first time she even allowed him kiss her in public.
By the time her matte lipstick was no more, Tunde said “So that escalated quickly!”
“Toyosi, I may not want to marry you now, but what do you say we try this boyfriend girlfriend thing one more time?”
She kissed him again, catching him surprise.
And so their journey to discovering each other, outside of the parameters set by outsiders, began.
Catch up on chapter 1 here.
Please leave me comments if you enjoyed this chapter. Thanks for reading!