What’s the most surreal experience you’ve ever had?
How We Met: Fidel
You know when you just go ‘Whoa! whoa! whoa!’ for series of things that happen all at once? That’s how it was with me when I (re)met Lotanna. 3 Actual ‘Whoas’
I remember growing up, we used to think that we were the only ones with our names. Lotanna and I grew up together. We attended the same nursery school and our parents were friends. I remember that sometimes, my mom would pick both of us and Lotanna would have to stay in my house and hang out with me until her mom came to pick her. Some other times, it was the other way round. We were 35 kids in my class but she was pretty much my best friend. Looking back now, I wonder how I could even decide if someone was my best friend or not. We could barely speak coherently!
Anyway, in all our ba-da-da-da talking, I remember very clearly that while we played in the living room and my mom made lunch in the kitchen, we’d play the popular ‘Mommy and Daddy’ game. We were still very young, but I remember she would say, ‘So if I’m the mommy and you’re the daddy that means I’m the wife and you’re the husband’ and then I’d say, ‘No joor! How many times will I tell you that you’re the darling and I’m the honey’. Then she’ll stomp her left foot and say, ‘No joor. iss wife and husband’, and you know, we’d go back and forth arguing whether the generic word for a married female was darling or wife and a married male, honey or husband. But one thing was sure from our back and forth – we wanted to get married to each other.
We moved on after nursery school; she attended another primary school and we did not visit each other again. I made different friends but somewhere, Lotanna’s name stuck in my head because whenever I said my name, I remembered that there was someone somewhere in this world also wondering why her name is unique.
I re-met her through a friend in the university. I was in my final year and she was in her penultimate year. It was fantastic to think that I never saw her for once in my stay in school. And so immediately I saw her and she introduced herself as Lotanna, I paused, introduced myself as Fidel, we smiled. In that moment, when I saw her smiling, I went ‘Whoa!’ (3 times) in my mind.
One, for the fact that we met ourselves again.
The second, for the fact that she was even more beautiful than I’d expect.
And the third, for the fact that she still made my heart skip a beat… in the darling/honey kind of way.
How He Proposed: Lotanna
‘Nothing surprises me. I can see things coming from miles and miles’ – one ignorant statement I always make to Fidel.
That very statement is a show of how I can’t see things coming from miles and miles because if I could actually see things coming from miles I should have seen that that statement was a false statement and I would never have seen this proposal coming from anywhere… sorry… I’m rambling. But why not?!
It did not matter what we went through, I always knew we’d get married. But then, I like to tell myself that I’m rational so whenever I’d think of us getting married, I’d juxtapose it with ‘real life’ and tell myself, ‘Fairytales don’t exist’. But alas! They do.
I got an invite last month to a come for an alumni event in my nursery school. It was so shocking though, because I did not even know they remembered me. I called Fidel to check if it was a scam as he’s the only person I still know from there. He is such a great actor. He said he hadn’t checked his mail and asked me to hold on. He called me 2 minutes later laughing and saying that ‘these people don’t know that we’re babas and mamas o. Are you going?’ I laughed and said, ‘Going ko. I’ve not finished dragging myself out of bed to go to work in the morning, I’ll now use my precious Saturday time to go to my ex-nursery school. For why na?’ Then he said, ‘Ah… then I’m going alone niyen. I just read the event brief they attached. They said they are trying to raise funds for some kids in the community to sponsor their nursery and primary education. It sounds like something I’d like to go for’. Fidel knows me well and he knew that I’d be trapped by the whole reply he gave me.
On the day, he told me he’d meet me there as he had some run around to do for his mom. When I asked him if I could come along, he it was a ‘family-ish stuff’ and that I’d practically be crammed in the car with his dad, mom and two cousins. Didn’t sound cool. So I withdrew my request.
As I drove down the street of the school, he called and told me he was already there and that I should just come straight to the nursery class. He said, ‘coincidentally, they turned our nursery class to party room. Come and see all the tiny chairs’.
I should have suspected foul play when I did not hear any music or see any decorations, but I did not.
As soon as I strode into our nursery class, Fidel was on his knees. I almost ran out. One of the teachers who had been casually walking behind me immediately closed the door, produced a camera and started shooting. The class was filled with one of our songs and Fidel just kept smiling on his knees. The whole thing was fantastic to me.
Then he started talking, ‘Isn’t it amazing? Look around, years and time have changed several things but they haven’t changed us. A while ago if I was kneeling down on this same floor, it’d be a shameful thing because it’ll mean that I’m serving some kind of punishment. But today? Today I kneel down here, where I first met you Lotanna, as a proud unashamed man. I’m proud that I was the one who got to spend all those times with you. I’m proud that God thought it good for me to be this blessed. You know, I’m not really proud, I’m humbled. And so you, the rib of my ribs, what do you say to finally being the darling wife to this honey husband?’
Mehn… that was too surreal for me.