“I love you. I really do. Be my woman, please.”
Tolani burst into laughter. It was the funniest thing that she had ever heard in her entire life. Leke was lost. He didn’t think that what he said was funny. To expressions such as those, ladies either say yes or no. He wondered why anyone would laugh at a love confession.
Leke and Tolani had worked in the same company for half a decade and Leke was sure that she was the one for him. He had loved her since the second year of their working together.
It sure didn’t go well with Leke after the situation which he referred to as the most embarrassing moment of his life occurred. He didn’t give up on his love for Tolani but he never mentioned it to her again. He was going to take care of his emotion and probably wait for or forget her. Working together became awkward but they just had to deal with it.
“Oh, thank you.” She smiled faintly at Leke who helped her to pick the dropped book. She felt that he followed her everywhere. If he wasn’t preventing her from tripping, he would be calling out to her to watch out for some broken bottles. Whenever she came late to work, he would cover up for her and no one would almost notice her absence. She was saved from been fired the other day and she didn’t even know who her saviour was.
“Hhmmm things are happening in this our office.” Fiona, one of Tolani’s team members had said to Sayo, whose desk was directly opposite hers. “Do you know that Leke in Logistics department is the one that usually saves that proud Tolani? She could have been fired two days ago sef.” She said, with disgust written all over her face.
“It’s true oo. And she didn’t even know about it. Wait, are they possibly going out? I think…” Sayo stopped at the sight of Tolani. She heard everything. She greeted them without expecting any reply and walked towards her office.
She felt bad for the way she had been treating Leke since he confessed his feelings for her. She had no idea that he had been her saviour all along. She heard a knock. “Come in.”
“The MD said that…”
“Why?” She cut in. Leke was surprised. “Why what?” He asked.
“Why me? I mean…why do you help me? Why did you stop me from tripping? Why did you help me to pick the book that I dropped? Why did you stick the shredded paper together? Why did you bring umbrella for me when it rained that day? Why did you save me from being fired? Why did…”
“Because I love you.”
“Love?” She looked surprised. To be more exact, it seemed strange to her. “Yes, love.” Leke answered.
“I thought that love meant the opposite of all that you’ve been doing for me.”
Anyone who didn’t know about Tolani’s past would have doubted her sanity. She was ten years old when her mother died on hospital bed after continuous physical abuse by her father. In the morning, her father would tell her mother how much he loved and adored her and at night, she wouldn’t escape abuse, which her father never ceased to justify.
She was sent to live with her maternal grandmother after her mother’s death. She had already formed a terrible definition of love. In her school, she witnessed how friends claimed to love one another, only to later backbite those whom they claimed to love. She got love confessions from her Facebook friends, who had never met her in person.
With everything that she had seen and experienced, she concluded that love was equal to infliction of pain, lies and hurting the other person. That was how Tolani’s thought about love was distorted.
“First of all, I am not your father; he is not me. Secondly… No, love doesn’t inflict pain or cause harm. Love cares without stating condition; it gives without demanding; it protects without expecting compensation. Even though you didn’t accept my confession, I won’t be able to ignore it when you’re in danger or suffering. That is love.”
“If this is what love is, then I am definitely in.”
She had got the gist about what love was, as opposed to what she had always thought that it was for the past twenty-five years of her life.
Tolani might now accept Leke’s feelings.