Kate sighed. It’s 4:35 PM already and she should start packing her bag, so she can get home before traffic get’s too heavy. She slides her chair back a little, as her foot eases off the fur foot mat under her table. The warmth the mat brings is still as good as the first day Jamal gave her on a Valentine’s day.
Jamal has always been one who finds it pretty easy to pick up gifts that would be appreciated for a really long time. Kate had once teased him about his real calling in life being to pick gifts for people as she has never met anyone who knows just exactly what to gift others.
A day before that fateful Valentine’s day, Kate was certain she would beat Jamal to the gifts that year as she had planned a romantic dinner at the newest restaurant in town, she had wrapped the perfume she bought him the day before; it was the most expensive bottle she found in the store and she was going to make his favorite dish for breakfast. She went to bed that night, certain Jamal had nothing on her the next day.
“Uhn?” Kate grunted, not ready to get up yet.
“Babe… open your eyes” Jamal tapped her softly
“Is it morning already?” She asked robbing her eyes, wondering why the night felt so short
“No, it’s not” Jamal replied smiling
Kate furrowed her brows as she sat up
“So why are you waking me up this…” Jamal cut her with a kiss on her lips
Kate pushed him away lightly, not comprehending what was going on.
“Jamal, what’s all this?” she checks the time on the bedside clock – 4:00am
He smiled at her mischievously then winked…
“Happy valentine dear wifey” He pulled out a cute cupcake from his side of the bed
“What?! Nooooo…” Kate felt outplayed, she pouted like a little girl who just lost a bet to her big brother.
“Why didn’t you wait till daybreak now?” She hits him on the chest playfully. “I really wanted to beat you to it this year”
“Well sorry babe, I remain the king of all surprises. You’ll have to beg me or better still, pay to ever beat me to it.” He hands her the cupcake
She grudgingly accepted it but instead of eating it, she smashed the cake right into his face
“That’s for ruining all my valentine plans”
“Oh my…” Jamal pulled her close rubbing his cake-smeared face on hers
“Stop jor! Jamal leave me alone” Kate giggled as she tries to pull away from the mess
“Nope! We are in this mess together babe,” he took the cake on his laps and rubbed it on her mouth, and then he gently licked the cake off her before planting a deep kiss on her lips. Kate moaned with pleasure. Jamal rubs her arms gently as he deepened the kiss – humming softly. He does that whenever he’s really enjoying something.
Kate pulled back from the kiss all flushed “Happy Valentine’s day Jamal Sanni, I love you so much”
“I know and I love you more Mrs. Kate Sanni” Jamal replied. Kate laughed heartily, put her arms around his neck and kissed him as he pulled the rid both of them of their soiled night wears.
If only these memories will remain in the past where they belong… but no, they stubbornly find their way back to haunt her, What can you do when times you wish to forget keep resurfacing against your wish, pulling you into a realm of exasperation? Kate sighed, shut her eyes, as she traveled back to one of the days she so desperately wish she could stop revisiting.
It’s February 14, 2015. She had just gotten to her office and was barely settled in when her ever-overly-dressed secretary knocked at the door.
“Ma’am, this just came in for you.” Kate looked up to see Susan carrying a big bouquet of red roses. The bouquet was so large, Kate could only see her secretary’s legs and the hands wrapped around the flowers. The sight was so funny, Kate couldn’t help laughing as Susan tried placing the bouquet on the table. Right at the center of the sea of red roses sat a single white rose. Kate gasped. It was breathtaking. She walked round her desk and picked up the note attached to the bouquet reading it out with a little shaky voice laden with emotions…
“I might be your boss in this surprise business, but you are my Bosslady for life, happy valentine Babe”
“Awww…” Susan muttered smiling sheepishly. Kate raised an eyebrow and said, “Sorry o, is it not my bouquet? Why are you the one blushing?”
“Sorry ma… it’s j…just so romantic” Susan stammered then excused herself.
“Hello lover man” she said into the phone.
“Hello lover man’s lover” came the cocky response on the other end. Kate laughed and Jamal joined her.
“Jamal Sanni, I love my flowers!”
“This is not fair. Why won’t you let me beat you for once?”
“Let’s see… maybe because I love you more”
“Arrrgh… you are just a goat Jamal!” Jamal chuckled.
“I’ve gotta go now Babe, talk to you soon”
Few hours later, Susan came in with a heavy gift bag. “Another delivery for you”
Kate pushed her reading glasses down the bridge of her nose “From my husband?”
Susan handed her boss the bag and in it sat a purple, gold and orange colored fur foot mat.
Susan helped pull it out of the bag and laid it on the floor beside the table. From the purple and orange stripes design, to the glittery gold dust and the fluffiness of the fur on the oval shaped foot mat, everything was just so beautiful. Kate dragged it under her table, pulled off her nude court shoes and placed her feet on the mat. She sat back in her chair savoring the smooth, comforting and warm feeling that ran up her spine.
Kate couldn’t stop the tear that dropped from her left eye, she smiled as she dried it with her hankie. She had only mentioned it in passing to Jamal a week ago that her feet usually hurt after long hours of sitting in meetings with her shoes on the entire time. Susan who had been watching her boss coughed softly in a bid to clear the lump that had formed in her throat.
“Ma’am you are very lucky. Everyone in this office admires you and Mr. Sanni’s marriage. You both act like newlyweds every time” Susan gushed.
“Thanks Susan, happy Valentine’s Day to you too” Kate said smiling
“You’re welcome ma and thank you”
“You can get back to your work now.” Susan took the gift bag with her as she left the office.
Kate got up and walked into the toilet, shut the door and sat on the toilet bowl. She stared at the wall for a couple of seconds and this time, she let the tears flow freely down her cheeks. These were tears from a familiar pain that has eaten deep into the root of what used to be a happy heart. She shut her eyes in anguish, tightened both hands over her mouth as a sob escaped from deep within her soul causing her whole body to shake.
This memory was just too tormenting, reminding her of all that was wrong with her picture perfect marriage. She would give anything to shut these memories out forever. She must have been in that position for close to Fifteen minutes before the shaking stopped and the tears ceased. She felt so knackered, she had to hold on to the basin to pull herself up from the closed.
She looked at her reflection in the mirror; her eyes were bloodshot red and swollen, face ashen, and makeup totally ruined. She dragged herself back into her office, picked her handbag and returned to the toilet, washed her face with water, took out face wipes from her bag, blew her nose and wiped her face clean. She sighed, pulled out her designer sunglasses and put them on before tucking stray strands of her weave-on in place. “Only miserable persons like you Kate wear sunglasses in the evening to hide who they really are from the rest of the world.” She chuckled and shook her head sadly.
“What happened to us Jamal?” Kate asked her reflection in the mirror.
“We were so…” She raised her head up, blew air gently out of her mouth and fanned her eyes with her hands to keep the tears from dropping. Minutes later, she was back in her office packing the rest of her things into her bag.
Satisfied with the new reflection, she packed her bag and left. She picked up the landline and dialed a number
“Yes, Buchi. Please get the car ready”
Kate replaced the phone in its cradle, checked her mobile to see if she had any missed call or message, none. She sighed and shook her head, her expression pained. It was 6:18 PM and Jamal still had not remembered it was their wedding anniversary.