She walked to the make-shift stage in the room in her lovely lovely leaf green dress and gently hit her glass with a small spoon. ‘I want to give a speech for and to my husband’ she said, smiling her radiant smile. The room went hush save from the whisperings from some of the guest. Other guests just cast furtive glances and looked rather uncomfortable.
She proceeded nevertheless.
‘Good evening everyone. I’m so glad to see all the faces here. I appreciate your showing up to my husband’s birthday party. It seems like yesterday when he just turned 30 and we woke up in the morning to people from his office standing on the front lawn of our former house with a huge cake and singing with terrible voices.’ Then she raised her glass in the direction of a plus-size lady who laughed out loud and said ‘Alice! really?’ The room seemed more relaxed. She continued, ‘I’m thankful to God for Deji’s life and for how far He has brought him. Last night, I was reminiscing about a lot of things and I realized that the most amazing thing about Deji is how funny and witty he gets when you least expect. I would give a few examples of what I mean.’ She paused, drank a little from her glass and dropped both the glass and the spoon on the table.
She smiled and looked ahead as though she looked to a far distant past. Then looking at Deji, but talking to the guests, she said ‘On our wedding day, we had just started our slow dance and my heart was racing because, to be honest, everything was happening too fast and all eyes were on us more than any other time. Deji here just kept dancing and smiling at me. Then he said, ‘When next we get married, please remind me to ask everyone to put on a blindfold while we dance. It’s so stressful having to dance perfectly because people are looking. Why can’t we just dance galala?’ I laughed and said, ‘Deji, I think this is the part where we whisper romantic things to each other’ He suddenly looked serious and said, ‘That’s true’ Then he moved closer to me, hugged me tight and said, ‘Romantic things. Romantic things. Romantic things.’ He started singing the words ‘Romantic things’ to the tune of the song playing. I don’t remember ever laughing harder that day.
After she waited for the guests to calm down and for those who were ridiculing Deji to finish, she continued. ‘On our first date, we both outdid ourselves. We went to one kain restaurant on the Island trying to form tush for each other. Deji asked me to order for the both of us and I ordered for some garlic sauce and pasta. It was horrible. My stomach started to run after the first fork of spaghetti but I just held on and finished it. After the dinner, I wanted to fart so bad.’ The guests laughed, ‘No, I’m serious.’ she continued, ‘I wanted so bad to just fart or even poop but I couldn’t say a word to Deji about it. I’d rather have died, so I just kept mute and was sweating. While we stood on the road waiting for a cab to come take me home, Deji suddenly said, ‘Me too Alice, me too’. I turned and said, ‘You too what?’ He looked confused and said, ‘I want to shit too na. You think you’re the only one that has digestive system ni’ I did not know whether to laugh or to cry. We ended up walking back into the restaurant to use their toilets.’
While Deji covered his face and laughed out loud with the guests, Alice took another sip of her drink and cleared her throat, smiling. She continued, ‘One morning, after about 5 years of our marriage, I sat there,’ she pointed towards the couch just beside the window on top of which one of the air conditioners sat, ‘and I thought about my life. It had become a routine for me to wake up and sleep fretting and thinking about how we’d ever have children and about how I never never never ever thought in my whole life that I’d be one of those people who waited to have children. It just never occurred to me that that kind of thing was capable of happening to me. I never did anything wrong to anyone in life and my life was never so spectacular… except of course when I married Deji’ She chuckled a little and high-fived Deji. Deji looked a little surprised. ‘So that day, Deji walks in from the room,’ She gestured towards the room, ‘and says, ‘Look baby, I know you’re worried about the fact that…’ I cut him short and said, ‘But why wouldn’t I be? I never imagined that this would happen to me. And honestly, I’m losing hope in any of those miracles we see on church bulletins and fliers. Those things don’t happen to random people like us.’ He smiled at me and said, ‘Well, that, my dear, is the answer to our question. You see, you never thought we’d have to wait to have children. And here we are waiting. Now, you don’t believe we’d ever get children.’ He paused grinning from ear to ear, ‘Do you see my point?’ he said. The day we gave birth to our twins, he told me, ‘You have to start calling me ‘Prophet Boo’ now… show some respect.’
Everyone laughed as the twins just grinned on the laps of their father. ‘Finally,’ Alice continued, ‘even on that day, 6 months ago, when we separated, Deji showed me how he truly can make me laugh.’ A hush fell on the room. ‘While I dragged my boxes out of the house and rained insults on him, he came to me, held me down and said, ‘I know I messed up and you’ve made up your mind. But abeg let me just read this poem I wrote for you yesterday night now. Please.’ I paused and said, ‘Be fast’
Then he started
‘Alice, Alice, Alice,
Why does your name look like ‘A lice’?
Your laughter is like a mice’s
But every other part of you sweet and nice.
Alice, Alice my logic
Even when I go on my own frolic
Being and idiot and alcoholic
I always think of you and it’s symbolic
That the love I have for you is chronic
Alice Alice my life
The only one with whom I would thrive
In case without you, I still survive,
Do me a favour and strive
To give a speech when I’m forty-five. ‘
She kept quiet and the whole room was silent. Then she wiped a tear, chuckled a little and said, ‘Well, I made up a poem too. My own poem sucks but here goes.’
‘ From the moment I arrived
In this place as busy as a hive
I knew that back to my house I wouldn’t drive
Because upon seeing the love of my life
I felt more than alive.’
Then she paused, laughed and said,
‘Hurray!!! My husband is forty-five’