In America, life was far different from what I had experienced in Nigeria. The first few years were rough: There was a new culture to adapt to and a new way of speaking English to learn. But my joy came from the hope that one day, I would see my Wale Taylor again and marry him….or so I thought.
For the first few years, Wale and I kept up with our communication via letters, which unfortunately were not as frequent as I would have liked. Computers and internet service were not easily accessible in Nigeria in the mid-nineties as it is now, so e-mails were out of the question. But we managed a long distance relationship, our lengthy letters to each other always ending with “I love you” and filled with dreams to be together once we were all grown up.
Through letters, Wale told me he was studying Medicine at the University of Lagos (UniLag), although he still had dreams to become a professional writer. Unknown to his parents, he had secretly written several poems that were featured in student magazines under the pen name ‘Papa Taylor.’ I was happy for his success, even though we both knew his parents would never approve if he turned his back to Medicine to pursue a dream that hardly fetched money.
My girlish dreams about Wale had become more sophisticated with my coming to the United States. We were married in my dreams, but instead of living in a mansion like I had fantasized at age 14, we now lived in a Condo in New York, or London, or Paris, or any sophisticated city where Writers lived. We dined in exotic restaurants where Writers dined, spoke big English words like Writers spoke, had cool friends like Writers had, and drank pots of black coffee like Writers drank.
Not all of Wale’s letters carried good news. He wrote me once of his parents’ sudden loss of fortune, thanks to a large-scale scam played by a major banking institution in Nigeria. Thus, his dream to study abroad was now on hold. Infact, his family had to move out of Fountain Estates because of this unfortunate turn in their financial state. I sent him a letter asking if he needed my help. Looking back now, I realize that he never really gave me an answer.
As the years went by, his letters became infrequent. I assumed he was simply overwhelmed with his studies and his writings. I was preparing for my SATs and my life was hectic. Add a part time job at Burger King to that, and I practically had no time for myself, talk less of finding out why Wale had stopped writing. It is very tough managing a long distance relationship when one is a teenager. Living day to day became my main priority in my bid to get into a prestigious university for my chosen profession.
In spite of the challenges that surrounded me, I never stopped thinking about Wale. The girlish dreams had stopped, but his thoughts remained with me. At best, he became a collection of fond memories, taking about two minutes of my time each day before my chaotic schedule took over.
And who would have thought that all of that was about to change in ways I never expected?
(To be continued)
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