“Bayo, tell this silly boy that if I see him with that Yemi girl again, it won’t be funny o.”
I stopped dead in my tracks at the front entrance of Wale’s house, suddenly too powerless to turn the doorknob.
My family and I were leaving for the States the next day and I had wanted to see Wale before I left. He had promised to stop by my house that evening but I had waited and waited and finally running out of patience, I had decided to go seek him out. But nothing could have prepared me for the hurtful words that came from his mother’s mouth just as I was about to enter their home.
I had assumed Wale’s mother liked me. From the solicitous manner she addressed me at my Dad’s funeral, I had thought she approved of me. In fact, she was always the first to send her maids to bring cooked food to our house, as she knew that my mother had not yet fully recovered from my father’s sudden death. So to hear her bluntly speak of her disapproval of me left me shaken to my inner core.
“I don’t even know what you are hanging around her for,” I heard his father’s mellow voice. “You are going to be a medical doctor. You don’t have time to be chasing girls. Your studies should be your focus. Soon, you’ll be taking your WAEC and JAMB exams.”
“I’m focused on my studies,” I heard Wale say, his tone hard.
“I don’t care if you are focused on your studies or not,” his mother shouted, and for the first time I noticed her strong Oyo accent. “All I sha know is that I must not see you with that girl again, you hear me? In case you didn’t know, her father died of epilepsy. Warapa. For goodness sake, don’t you know that Warapa is contagious? I don’t want to lose my only child o. If I see you with that girl again and you contract Warapa, it won’t be funny o. I swear I’ll hurt somebody in her family o.”
That was all I had needed to hear before I fled.
I was still crying my soul out when Wale came to our house later that evening. One of my brothers must have told him I was in my room crying, for I heard him running up the stairs. He reached my room and without warning, flung the door open.
“What happened? Why are you crying?”
Without any qualms, I told him what I had heard. “Your mother says you should keep away from me because you’ll contract Epilepsy from me.”
He sighed. “Don’t mind my parents. For all their wealth and education, they are pretty much old school.”
“So are you going to avoid me now? It should be easier for you since I’m leaving the country.”
“Now, why would I do that?”
“Because you could catch epilepsy from me,” I burst in anger.
He laughed – that peculiar rabbitty laughter of his that I adored. “But you know that epilepsy is not contagious,” he said, wiping off the tears on my face. “I don’t know why a lot of Yoruba people think it is. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that can be controlled, although it is very unfortunate that it can’t be cured.”
“Well, try telling your parents that.” I quipped, noting how he would make a wonderful doctor from the patient way he had explained the disease to me.
“Yemi, I made a promise to you that I intend to keep. You will always be my girl, no matter what. I love you.”
Then, he held me close to his chest. With each beat of his heart sounding against my ear, I knew he meant to keep his word to me no matter what his parents said. With that thought, I was comforted.
(to be continued next thursday)
For Wale Taylor, my first Love is a romance tale celebrating first loves everywhere, it will published on femme lounge in series every Thursday.
Writer: Lara Daniels is the author of Love in Paradise and Love at Dawn. Learn more about her and her works at http://www.laradaniels.com/ or follow her on twitter @LDparables and @laradaniels