The second encounter of the now couple, not officially, spiraled into many more encounters. Within three months, Oge had quickly replaced Reginald. He hadn’t proposed. No. Not yet. They were still friends but he had mentally prepared to file for the baby’s custody once Ama put to bed and that should be after they are married. Five months for some, at least his dad was too quick but Oge didn’t want any chances of Ama slipping off his arms into another man’s, Reginald’s. He was a regular at the bank and lunch hours for Ama was a time to look forward to. It wasn’t as much about the food or places they went to. And I must say for a doctor, Oge was way a charmer. You folks know the expensive places in and around Accra, near the Financial building so I’d leave you to name them.
Ama looked forward to how he stared at her, laughed with her and cared for her health. She looked forward to how real and yet how magical he was with her. She was amazed love could be so easy on you – not too dreamy, not too exciting. Being with Oge didn’t leave her grasping for breath. He left her yearning to be just Ama. Add the fact that he was the president of Presbyterian Health Fellowship, PHF, in Korlebu. His walk with God drew her back to her walk with Him; one she was ashamed of after a sexual pleasure she’s pledged only for marriage. And he challenged every core of her spiritual apetite. See, if the guy you have your eyes on has gone on a 7-day dry fast before selecting his regions for houseman-ship, why won’t you want to back up? Icing the cake, Oge’s conduct around her quite pregnant self now in public was one of pride. You can easily think he even shows her off. That left her helplessly in love. But dude hadn’t said anything yet. So they were just friends. Susan Briadnt was his friend too, a pretty close one and that scared Ama.
Remember the day Susan served Oge at the bank? Yes. That customer service she rendered wasn’t mere. Susan had seen the way Oge stared at Ama on their first encounter. They laughed and teased Ama about it. Ama made it clear she wasn’t about getting interested in any one just yet and definitely not a doctor. Doctors, Auditors and Businessmen were in the category of men she can’t date. She wanted her man like Reginald, a man who’d be at home for her birthday, their anniversary, baby showers, graduations, everything. She told Susan she could have Oge and they planned how together. That is how Susan ended up on the counter smiling her broadest at Oge. And that’s also why Susan took Oge’s number from his customer details and called for enquiries and brought up how sarcastic Oge was, got an apology and struck a friendship.
As you may remember, around this time, Ama had met Oge at the mall and she realised doctors weren’t that bad to get interested in either. However, Ama couldn’t tell Susan the new turn of events. The two were good girlfriends. I do not know about now, but some years back, you can’t just walk in and yack on to your girlfriend (even if just an acquaintance) you happen to fall in love with a guy who was obviously no for you and a yes she was aimed at. You’re thinking Susan Briadnt should have just backed off seeing how Oge was all over Ama day in day out. I think she should have too. But Susan is like those ladies who get their mind made up about a man and if it means chasing his wife out of their marital home to have him, they’d go all out and do it. And this was easy, Ama wasn’t Oge’s wife.
So what in the world was Oge waiting for to propose to Ama. He certainly wasn’t waiting on God. He settled that five nights before the night he met Ama at the mall. So Oge was waiting to know Ama’s age and her Jollof skills. Petty issues huh? It seemed petty. But I told you before that Oge had two conditions for proof that Ama is Mrs. Right – she should be a good cook, the proof being Ghanaian Jollof and should be a virgin, not have any ring whatsoever on. By now, you know the second was already shattered. So the first was his hope of being triple sure she is the deal. As for the age, it was a mentality he’s carried with him all through his life. He’s never verbalised it. But Oge’s mind somehow thought he’d one day settle down with a woman he was older than. Why didn’t he ask Ama? Have I told you Oge is painfully a gentleman? Don’t ask a lady her age, if you do not too soon into a friendship drove home hard for him.
Don’t run me off just yet thinking Oge was set up for a disastrous marriage with what he chose for his conditions of proof. True, Jollof and virginity won’t make the marriage. Oge already knew. As he’d find out Ama knew also, that for a Christian, another Christian was the only choice. He had already made sure of that. Then it comes to the Christian’s life. How are they wanting to be like Christ in every aspect? Oge had made sure of that too. Through every outing, alone, with her friends, with his, he dug out answers to the most critical states he expects to find his wife in. Things like Ama’s prayer life, her word life, her heart for the church, her sense of beauty and most importantly how she was sticking it out at church still ushering threw him off his feet. But man gotta do what man gotta do – Jollof was the only proof left.
Besides Oge had started seeing Susan Briadnt as another good potential. She wasn’t like Ama. No. She doesn’t spend hours talking about what bible study she was on. But she stirred some parts of him that left him wondering. Susan was exciting and an excellent talking partner. And she was a virgin. And as Oge found out, she was younger. Oge wanted to pick the rib fast. He had two months before Ama’s last month and they had counselling to do if she was the one. Two months may look rushed but Oge didn’t think he needed 6 years of dating to know if he wanted to settle with someone. Oge chatted with his dad, his guys and decided to face the decision making process head on. The perfect opportunity came.
Oge whispered to Susan and pulled her into a hug to her delight.
Susan laughed as though being tickled.
“I wasn’t expecting you. Ama mentioned you had an evening shift to fill in for a colleague.”
“I did but I dodged for the occasion. I got another friend to fill in. Have you seen Ama?”
“Yes. She’s around that spot.”
Susan pointed to a far off place from the crowd and went on to welcome other arrivals.
Oge strolled off and sat by an empty table at Susan’s 26th birthday party. He was actually there to talk with Ama. She should be easy to point out with a belly sticking out from a beautiful dress. They’d bought it together during the day on their way back from lunch, from a shop around the 37 bus stop. He mentioned to her afterwards he’d want to discuss an issue with her. He wasn’t going to ask about whether she could or not cook Jollof. He wanted to know her age. That at least. The Jollof test can be any day. He’d just feign hunger.
Ama sat at the table, legs out and slightly apart.
“I told Susan you’re filling in for a friend. I didn’t lie did I?”
“No. I dodged to come see you and Susan.”
Ama felt a ting of jealousy go down her chest. With Susan in the picture, it felt like sharing your best friend with another close friend.
“I’m going to get a glass of water.”
Ama wanted to get away for awhile. In these few days leading up to Susan’s birthday, she’s found herself slipping farther in love with Oge. She was easily annoyed, easily hurt, very happy, every emotion wasn’t on its normal plain.
“I’ll get it.”
Oge left and came back with a bottle of water. Ama sipped on it and set it down. Should she ask Oge what he wanted to discuss? No. She’d be a bit more patient. Men want to feel they are leading. She sipped on the water a second time.
“Can we talk?”
Oge said rubbing his hands together.
“Here is fine?”
Ama almost laughed. As if there was somewhere else to go to when he was also there for Susan’s birthday.
“Okay. I know this isn’t right to ask as a gentleman but I need the information for a particularly important decision and I’ll be very glad to get the answer to this question, weird maybe, if you want to answer that is, you choose…”
“I am 29 years. I turn 30 next year.”
Ama said bluntly. As Oge pattered on, she knew that will be the question. She already knew he was 28 and that was the only question he hadn’t asked yet.
“Thanks. I am 28 years.”
Oge said. He did without thinking. How could he? Women were amazing. They can read your mind.
“I know.” Ama laughed softly. She hadn’t intended to but Oge sounded very ridiculous. The way he sat, his face set like a zombie. “I don’t mind too.”
She decided to add that to drop a hint. If she can’t do the pursuing, she can help the process.
Oge laughed at himself and then smiled and then looked at Ama. She didn’t mind marrying a man younger than her. Why should he mind a woman a year older. It wasn’t like she was 5 or 10 years to qualify for a sugar mummy. Oge was so blown away but Ama the way Ama was forthcoming that he forgot about the Jollof and If he had a ring, he’d have proposed there. He was about asking her for a stroll when he was put at ease for forever. Has the Lord not said, will he not do?
Susan Briandt called everyone’s attention and welcomed them to her party. The food had already been served and the party was mid-way through. She called Ama up front and delivered the shortest yet most important praise Oge had heard. You know how excited girls can be with thanking friends.
“Everyone here meet Ama and her baby.”
Susan laughed. Ama flustered then blushed (who said dark girls don’t blush when there’s makeup?). She saw Oge’s attention on her. Subtle cheers and giggles went around.
“For every food you tasted here and enjoyed, I’m talking the Jollof, the fruit juices and the spiced chicken and all, I’m thankful that Ama made them for me in this very pregnant state and…”
Whatever else was said, Oge didn’t hear. He made his way to the table and asking for just a little serving, thrust a spoonful of Jollof into his mouth. God came through. Hence, with sparkling eyes, excited tasting buds and a clear heart of love, Oge whisked Ama away from the party into his car and made an offer.
“Will you be okay getting married in two months?”
“I will I suppose.”
“What about if I am to propose without a ring?”
“Alright. So you’ll marry me on 25th of May.”
Ama grinned feeling smothered.
“You haven’t proposed Oge.”
“Oh. I didn’t. Ama will you marry me?”
And alone in the car of a doctor, at Susan Briandt’s party, the pregnant Ama agreed to be married off in two months in a beige wedding dress she’d dreaded wearing and to a man she’s known for three months, two more to come. As my husband and I counseled them and laughed over their story, I realised love has a funny path it takes everyone on. From best friends, purity rings to pregnant women, redeeming quick love and a proposal without the studded beauty.
Author’s note: I believe you fell in love with Oge and Ama too. I definitely love to hear from you you and do share this. Don’t forget those our Nigerian men. A good mid-week to you. And the story started here and continues here. Catch up!
©M’afua Awo Twumwaah 2016.