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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Birthday Gift (2)

"The invitation cards came out well," said Josfyn, admiring the card she held in her hand.
"Not bad. But the gold looks dull. Would have been better if it was sharper," I stated. Josfyn was my fiancé, Thad's sister. We were in the living room of his apartment which would become our matrimonial home after our marriage. Earlier that day, the printer had delivered our wedding invitation cards and we were going over them.
 "It's ok to me. Too much gold and it will look tacky" she said.
Just then, Thad who had gone out on the verandah to take a call on his phone returned to the parlour.

 "Baby, now that the cards are out, we can start distributing them. I think the earlier the better so our guests will get them on time," I stated. 
 "It's ok. Leave some on the table for me to take to the office tomorrow," he said as he went to the bedroom.
 Later that evening, as I left Thad and made my way home, I had a strange feeling about my fiancé, that something was not quite right with him. I could not explain the way I felt in words; maybe it was female intuition or sixth sense as they call it. He was mostly moody, absentminded and not his usual vibrant self. Besides, he was acting mysteriously, always excusing himself to take his phone calls whenever I was around.

 "Maybe it's just per-wedding nerves," stated my mother when I told her about my misgivings. "It happens, you know. Perhaps, the thought that he's going to be a married man now is giving him cold feet. Some men need time to adjust to the idea of settling down with somebody. So, nothing to worry about," she reassured me.
 I was not too sure it had to do with nerves but I listened to her and put my worries aside, concentrating instead on the wedding plans. 

 Some days later, a Saturday, Thad and I had an appointment with the event planner for our wedding at her office. It was for midday and Thad was supposed to pick me up at my house. I called him on his mobile phone when it was nearly noon with no sign of him. I couldn't get through as both his phones seemed to be switched off.
 Unable to reach him, I decided to go to his house. I met his younger sister, Lucie at home. There was no sign of my fiancé.
 "Where did he say he was going?" I asked after I had sat down in the living room.

 She shrugged and said:
 "He didn't say. He left very early this morning and has not returned," she replied.
 I kept trying his numbers but with the same 'out of service' tone. 
 "How could he go out like that without saying where he's going to? And he knows we have an appointment today! Anyway, he will come and meet me here o!" I said, feeling upset that he could have forgotten we were going somewhere.

 However, a few hours later, when Thad still had not returned, I began to feel worried. I tried some of his friends, thinking he had gone out with them and forgotten about our appointment.
 "The last time I saw him was two days ago when he came to my house on his way from work," said Andy, Thad's friend and his best man. "Have you tried his mother? Perhaps he went to visit her in Festac." 
 "I've tried almost everybody yet no-one has seen him," I stated in a worried tone.
 "I'm sure he will soon turn up, Naomi. So, don't worry too much," he assured me.
 After calling the event planner to reschedule our appointment, I returned home to wait for Thad. 

  Dumped by email
That day, Thad did not return home or even call me or anyone at home. As soon as the church service ended the following day, I dashed down to Thad's place. Lucie and another of his siblings, Celia, his immediate younger sister, who often came round from Festac, were the only ones at home. 
 Celia told me that Thad had called their mother the previous evening and he had a message for me.

 "What message and where's he?" I enquired, looking at her curiously.
"I think you should check your email," she said. Wondering what message he had for me, I opened my mail box on Thad's computer near the dinning table.
 He had sent the mail the previous night. When I opened it, I nearly passed out from shock.
 I can't repeat everything in the email here for space constraints but the long and short of it is that my fiancé said he could no longer go on with the wedding because he was in love with someone else.

  "It's Madge. We were at the training programme in the U.S together and we fell in love. I know this must come as a shock to you and I'm really sorry for everything. I hope you will not hate me too much but one can't control who you love. I tried to make things work with you, even pretended to be happy about the wedding but I can't pretend any more. I have to follow my heart. I hope you will meet someone decent one day and..."
 That was just a small bit of the 'sack letter' Thad sent me. The coward did not even have the guts to end things with me personally. He had to send a mail!

 As expected, Thad's letter caused a lot of problems. He threw me into confusion, heartache and for a while, I did not just know what to do. All I could do was weep and bemoan my fate. I found it difficult to believe that my fiancé of four years would just end our relationship and cancel our wedding for no reason. I remember him stating that he had met Madge, a schoolmate of mine who worked in a bank in the city at the training. But I never knew they had become so close that he would leave me for her. How could he do such a thing, was what I kept thinking. As for Madge, I felt nothing but hatred for her, seeing her as a cheap, backstabbing 'husband snatcher.'

 Worse, I still could not reach him on phone. His mother told me he was out of the country and would not return for a while. He had taken his leave, she said and was on vacation.
 "I don't know what has come over that boy. It's so unlike him to act in such a manner. But I assure you my dear, that once he returns, this issue will be sorted out. Your wedding will still hold. Just see it as a temporary delay," she stated reassuringly.
 Throughout that trying time, Thad's Mum and the other family members were all very supportive and caring. They all believed the other woman must have 'charmed' Thad and that he would come to his senses soon.

Later, Thad returned but did anything change?

Names have been changed to protect the identity of the narrator and other individuals in the story.

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