After five years of dating Taiwo with no headway in the relationship, Joyce thought about taking a break. She had had enough of the waiting game. Enough of being told they should wait until he was mid level management before they started to think about marriage or even the worry over whether her father would be enamored of a man from another tribe marrying his daughter. She was so tired of it. She wanted to try someone else; not because she had stopped loving Taiwo, but because she was tired of waiting.
Joyce and Taiwo started dating while they were in the university and three years after service, they were still headed nowhere. Not any closer to marriage or even an engagement than when they were in the university, considering they were both pursuing their choice careers and there was hope that, with time, their financial life would get better, not that it was terrible, considering their joint income could very well, sustain them in a month.
But there were issues in their relationship. Apart from Taiwo’s hesitance to commit, Joyce also had to deal with his roving eyes tendency. Not that he had ever cheated on her, but if left on his own for too long, he probably would. That was not helped by the fact that he was an attractive man working in an industry that placed premium on good looks, not to mention having ladies around him all the time. It was as though Joyce needed to babysit him or put him on a short leash, so he would not stray.
Besides, she was not getting any younger, although, she was not that old but she had learnt from the experience of her older sister that a long relationship does not necessarily lead to marriage. To avoid being in the same spot her sister had been a few years earlier, Joyce decided to have a heart to heart talk with Taiwo about her concerns and decision to end their relationship, as it was no longer serving her purpose or even his.
The next time, they saw each other, Joyce ensured it was an outdoor location with many people around, to dissuade any public display or drama that might ensue, as she knew, her declaration was going to shock him and being an emotional person, he might even break down.
Just as she had thought, Taiwo’s eyelids were dotted with tears, when she told him that, since he was not willing to move their relationship to the next level, she was ending the relationship. Apart from that, she informed him, for record purposes, that her father had nothing against any tribe and had only been joking when he said what he did at their first meeting.
Quickly, like lightening, his mood changed from tearful to anger. He became angry that she was giving him an ultimatum to either marry her or end the relationship. He felt she had no right to do so and verbalized it, as he stated that he was not going to be rushed into marriage and that was it. Joyce became angry as well, she felt she had every right to give him an ultimatum as he was not showing any sign of wanting to proceed to the next level with her after five years together. They ended their relationship on a sad note.
One week turned to one month, then two months, filled with pain, emotional trauma for both of them. Although, Taiwo had being the one who stormed out on Joyce and regretted it, he was not so keen on apologizing to her. For Joyce, who had said she would not mope around when she eventually broke up with Taiwo; she stayed in her room for a whole weekend, then went to work, a cheerless being and stayed that way for weeks. She cried at the drop of a hat, that her colleagues thought she was pregnant and not happy about it, until they heard from the grapevine that she had broken up with Taiwo. They were all shocked that such a fine couple would break up, but provided her with as much support as she would allow them to.
Four months after that disastrous break up, Taiwo sent a box of chocolate with some flowers to Joyce and a message to apologize for taking her for granted, for getting angry with her the last time they saw, for breaking up with her. While her heart went limp at the gifts and message, he had not said anything new or remotely related to what she wanted to hear.
Truthfully, after the break up with Joyce, Taiwo realized, his life was empty. He tried to fill it up with work, with ladies but he always came up short. It just was not right and that was when he realized that he had taken it for granted that Joyce will always be in his life, whether he married her or not. How wrong he was.
Joyce on her part realized that, while she loved him with the whole of her heart, he was not willing to get married, which was something she wanted. Even with that knowledge, she found herself comparing other men to Taiwo. Men like her colleagues at work, who had tried toasting her in the past without luck, upon hearing Taiwo was no longer on the scene, had swooped in like vultures, tried to get her on dates, even if it’s just drinks after office. Some she agreed to, but rather than enjoy the company of the men, she was busy comparing their actions, postures and physique to Taiwo’s. Needless to say, there were never repeat dates.
After Taiwo swallowed his pride, he came in person to apologize to her, he also asked for her hand in marriage. It was a quick engagement, as Taiwo did not want to give Joyce any more reasons to doubt him or change her mind.
Just as Joyce had said, her father had absolutely no qualms about his daughter marrying from another tribe, so it was smooth sailing for them all the way.
Looking back, Taiwo knew he had almost let go a good thing in his life, with the break up.
Never let go of a good thing…