He’s the attorney for the company I did my national service with. He was friends with the CEO so he came around often. I was the interim personal assistant to the CEO. The main PA went on maternity leave and I replaced her.
Anytime he came around, he had this special smile on. He’ll ask me, “I hope my man is around?” He’s one of the few people who came around without needing an appointment. He won’t break his stride as he asks me the question. He’ll only smile, ask the question and continue walking in.
One of the things about him that drew my attention was his grey hair and where it’s located in his hair and beard. The grey runs through the left side of his hair like a white line intentionally drawn on a black canvas.
Grey usually spreads in people’s hair but his’ was a line. It’s the same in his beard. In my mind, he was Mr. Grey because he didn’t tell me his name. He comes around, walks in and comes out, and says goodbye. It was like that until I completed my service and left the company.
A year after I’d left, we met again. He was the one who approached me. He tapped on my shoulder and said, “Are you the person I think you are?” I said, “Mr. Grey. Yeah, it’s me. I was working at your friend’s company. You came around often and you passed me by.
Yea I’m the one.” He said, “I’ve been watching you from where I’m sitting. You look familiar but I couldn’t put a finger on where I knew you. Oh wow, nice to meet you again.”
After the program, we talked for a while. He asked what I was doing there and I told him. I told him, “It’s been tough to get a job after my national service. It looks like the world of work is against me. If you know a place that can take me, I would be glad to go there. I’m ready to work as anything.
I’m that desperate.” He gave me his number and asked me to call him. A day later I called. Later that day, he texted his email address to me; “Send your CV. I will give it to a few people I know who can help.”
I sent the CV that very day and he called the next day to give me an update on where he has sent it to. I told him, “Do your best. I’ve been home for far too long.”
The conversation became often. We texted each other often. One day he said, “If you’re not busy this Friday, we can attend a program together.” I was jobless. I couldn’t afford to be busy so on that Friday, I sat next to him in his car as he drove us to the program. We spent three hours there and later went to a buffet party.
We ended up spending the whole night together. He brought me home that day. My mother saw him. After he had gone my mother said, “Eiii, is that the turf you’re playing on these days? Isn’t he too old for you?” I answered, “Oh he’s just a friend. He’s only helping me to get a job.” She retorted, “ɛsɛwara.”
A few days after that, he proposed to me. I saw it coming but I didn’t think it would be so soon. That day I asked about his age. He said, “I would be fifty-seven years old very soon. Just three months from today.” I did the maths quickly in my head. Fifty-seven minus twenty-seven is equal to what? Thirty? Wow, such a wide gap.”
As I was contemplating the age gap, I heard him on the phone saying “hello” repeatedly. I answered, ”I’m here.” He asked, “Are you thinking about the age difference?” I lied, “No, I’m not. When love is involved age doesn’t matter.” I said yes to him that very day.
He’s a divorcee. He has been divorced for three years after thirty years of marriage. He wasn’t ready to tell me the details of his divorce so I didn’t press him. He said, “It brings a lot of pains to go through all that emotions again. Someday, I will tell you the full story.” He has three children. The eldest is my age mate.
I knew all this information before I said yes to him. He had been a good person since we met. He sent me money when I hadn’t asked for it. He’ll tell me, “I know you find it hard to ask but take this. You’re unemployed so you’ll need it.” He’ll take me to the salon and wait until I get my hair done. He’ll then pay for it and tell me, “You’re beautiful.”
He keeps raising the bar. We dated for six months until I finally landed a job with his help. I didn’t have to do anything. I didn’t even have to attend an interview. I was called one afternoon and told to come over.
I went to meet the HR. She asked three or four questions and later handed me my appointment letter. It was the happiest day of my life. I really needed that job to keep my body together and also help my family.
A year later, he said, “I want us to get married.” I was like, “Huh, so soon?” He said, “Yeah, that has been the plan all along. The house is empty. I’m an old-school kind of man. I know a house is a home when there’s a woman. I don’t intend to stay this way until I die. I want a family. I’m a family man.
I want a wife because I loved to be married. Too bad I lost the first one but I won’t let that stop me from being happy again.” I was quiet for a long while. He asked, “Or you don’t see yourself married to me?” I said, “I will do it in a heartbeat but in this situation, I have to get the consent of my parents first. I don’t think It would be easier for me to convince them.” He said, “Let me know if you need my help.”
It took me weeks before I could muster the courage to tell my mom about it. She asked, “That same man you told me was a friend? I answered, “Yes. Friendship usually grows. When it comes to the friendship of a man and a woman, friendship can take a wild turn. That’s what happened between us. We were friends until we were more than that.
Now he wants us to get married.” She said, “No, you can’t marry him. His first child is your age. How do you marry such a man? He has lived his life. He should allow you to live yours. Case close.”
I wouldn’t allow my mother to stop me so I told my father about it. He made the thing look worse than my mother did. He screamed at me and questioned my intelligence; “You went to school to this level only to reason like a child?
Don’t let me feel like I’ve wasted my investment in you. No, you won’t marry such a man. If he wants to marry by all means then he should go out there and look for his age mate. You’re now coming to start your life. He can’t cut you short.”
We are talking about a good man here. A man who knows how to treat a woman very well. We’ve never fought and we’ve never exchanged bitter words. All he seeks to do is make my life better and nothing else. I’ve dated my age mates and it ended in heartbreak.
They gave nothing and yet took everything away from me. This one here is not my age mate, accepted, but what about the sunshine he brings to my life? Should my world go dim just because of an age difference?
Somehow, my senior brother got a hint of it. It could be my mother who told him about it or my dad who went to complain to him. He called me, “What is it that I’m hearing? A man as old as our father? Please, we need a brother-in-law, not an ancestor-in-law.”
Everyone is against my choice of man. It looks like they won’t allow me to write my own love story though I’m the lead character in this story. I’m the one who will burn if something goes wrong. It’s my life so why won’t they allow me to choose?
My man is patient with me because I asked him to. I’ve given him my word that I would do everything to get my parents to understand but the way things are going, it looks like I’ve hit a brick wall. No one is willing to see it from my perspective and that really hurts my heart.
Is there a way I can get my parents to understand me? That there’s ‘old’ in ‘gold’ so his age shouldn’t matter? I want to marry him. I will do everything to be his wife but currently, all I hear from the people who matter in my life is a no. I want a yes. How do I get it?