It was the month of love again. The date was February the 14th, and Valentine’s Day was in the air. Unfortunately, the color red makes me sick, and unsurprisingly, it was the torment of the day. Red reminds me of blood and it gets to my stomach. My mother says I have a “bull spirit“.
I made a promise to Huuges, my boyfriend. We had agreed Valentine’s Day would be the day we consummated our relationship. Huuges and I had been dating for two years, since I moved to Trecheville, Abidjan from Nigeria.
Huuges was always there for me, helping me through the move. He is French and I am an Igbo woman. He always pronounced my name Ada as Ajarrrh, and on that fateful day, I received a text from him.
Bonjour amore, comment s’est passe’votre nuit?….tonight I take you to Cocody where we spend the night and I do things to you that you never forget, I call you later today & hear you, okay!. Love you bebe!’
He sent a text every other day but that day was different.
“Ada fine girl, happy valentine! Nnne!, today is love day o. I go buy you beer, no worry.” said Mr. Vincent, my shop neighbour.
“Mr. Vincent, same to you. Thank you”.
I remember the first time I got a shop at Avenue Quartons, the very same Mr. Vincent, a Nigerian, had pretended not to understand English or Igbo or anything I was saying for that matter. It was after Huuges had helped me settle in he came into my shop to apologise saying, ‘Nne, no vex…you see in this place everybody has to code, I don’t want any trouble…so I pretended but abum onye Igbo. I am full Igbo man…when you come here you have to code’.
We have come a long way since then.
Huuges was the love of my life. I loved him, I still do. In our relationship, Huuges did most of the talking. Sometimes, I would travel out for weeks and when I saw him again, he would be quite worried, forget all his English, and complain for minutes on end in French.
One time, I picked up his phone to browse and found his chat with an expat girl. I was pissed. He apologized for days non-stop. He came to visit me and I gave him a piece of my mind, and then we settled. We still had many fights after that.
Whenever Huuges was frustrated by my celibacy, he would refer to me as a religious fanatic. It made me think that maybe truly I am an obanje, like my mother told me.
My mother is late, dead. I never fully recovered from that loss. If she were alive, she would have been the first to call me and my promiscuous sisters on that day. Mama did not trust my self-control. If only she knew who the real fornicator was, maybe our relationship would have been smoother.
That night, I wore a glittering purple dress that had its slits high enough to expose my flawless thigh. We took a cab; I noticed we were going towards Yamaussokro not Cocody, which was the wrong direction. Huuges explained that he had changed his mind about Cocody and decided to use his grandmother’s house instead.
The place looked beautiful; there were scented candles all over the house. The big bed in the main room look full with roses littered on it and the table set for two in the parlor was remarkable.
On Valentine’s night, that day, I got engaged to Huuges. We kissed, the real French kiss, and with a Frenchman. We basked in each other’s love. We reached depths foreign to me. We opened up to each other.
Whenever I find myself lost in thoughts of that day or I am reminded of another coming month of February, I wonder if Huuges and I would have made a great couple in marriage, if we had stayed together.