“I started falling in love with you almost from the very beginning.” Dili says to me, as we lie in each other’s arms in his Brooklyn home. “When we were on our ‘honeymoon’ at Long Beach.”
I look at him, surprised by this piece of information. “But you were always raving about Onyeka. Every sentence you made had her name in it.”
“I didn’t really understand my feelings then. It was the first time I’d spent that kind of extended time with you…the first time I got to know the real you. I loved all our time together…the jokes, the laughter, the fun conversations.” he continues. “But I didn’t recognize it as anything other than just enjoying your company. But on our last night, when I walked in on you writing your article and listening to that Keane’s A Russian Farmer’s Song, I was so intrigued by that side of you. And even after I left you for my room, you were on my mind for pretty much the whole night. That was when you began to make your way into my heart.”
“And there I was thinking it was because the sex was so hot!” I tease him.
“Well, that too!” he laughs along with me.
“So how come you did nothing about it?” I ask him, all laughter gone. “How come you kept on going on and on about Onyeka? And how come you tried to match make me with Madufuro?”
“I didn’t want to admit it to myself.” he answers. “The last thing I wanted was to be like my father, who hopped from one woman’s pants to another. I really didn’t want to be that guy.”
And for the very first time, I understand.
“I’ve told you this many times, Okwudili.” I answer. “From the very moment I set my eyes on you at your 5th birthday party…”
“Bullshit, Ezi!” he laughs. “What could you have known about love at the age of 5? That was just childish infatuation. Even what you felt for me in our teens doesn’t count as love. I want to know the very moment you realised this was the real deal.”
I have to pause to think about it, and realize that there truly was an occasion when I knew, without a shadow of doubt, that I was as in love with him as my heart had the capacity to love.
“Nnamdi and Azuka’s Christmas Party in 2014…when you played that Stevie Wonder song on the piano.” I say, a nostalgic smile on my face. “As you sang, I remember just looking at you, so mesmerised and overwhelmed, I could hardly breathe.”
Our eyes lock, and in that instant words are no longer necessary, as the love…the deep and beautiful love we feel for each other…is doing all the speaking for us…all the speaking we ever have to do.
From that beautiful day of our reunion in May, we become inseparable, spending almost waking hour together, save for when we have to go work to earn our daily bread. We spend as much time in Brooklyn as we do in Manhattan, pretty much enjoying the best of both worlds. Our families and friends are overjoyed that we are reunited, and we soon can’t imagine a time we were ever apart.
On the Sunday before my birthday in July, a Nigerian Priest we have befriended blesses our union in a very small ceremony, in the small Sacristy of his Church. It isn’t until October, after Dili is able to process travel documents for his mother and sisters, we finally have the big ceremony that not only we, but our friends and family have all looked forward to.
I finally get my wish of wearing a beautiful white wedding gown…and also renewing our vows in a sunset ceremony on a rooftop with a panoramic view of the Manhattan skyline. As my brother Enyinna walks me down the candle-lit aisle, in my blush coloured Monique Lhuillier dress, with Stevie Wonder’s Ribbon in the Sky playing, I am so happy it feels like I’m levitating…like I’m floating in the clouds.
As I sight Dili at the end of the manufactured aisle, standing next to the Justice of Peace before whom we will be renewing our vows, my heart bursts as I see the tears in his eyes. I beam at my husband, and this just makes more tears stream down his face.
Glancing around, I realize almost everyone else is in tears. My tough cookie of a brother, Enyinna’s eyes are glistening, and I can see Ebere and Dili’s mother dabbing their eyes frequently. Many of our friends, Mia and Azuka especially, also appear very emotional, as they lean on their husbands’ shoulders, their eyes brimming with tears. Even my dear Friday Harbor family, Dr. Chambers and Penny, look so happy they could burst.
But as for me, I am way, way too happy for tears. This is what I have dreamt of…for a lifetime.
As Enyinna hands me over to Dili, my husband kisses my hand and we both stand there, as the Stevie Wonder song plays in its fullness.
Ribbon in the Sky (Stevie Wonder) – October 19, 2018
Oh so long for this night I prayed
That a star would guide you my way
To share with me this special day
Where a ribbon’s in the sky for our love
If allowed may I touch your hand
And if pleased may I once again
So that you too will understand
There’s a ribbon in the sky for our love…
This is not a coincidence
And far more than a lucky chance
But what is that was always meant
Is our ribbon in the sky for our love, love
We can’t lose with God on our side
We’ll find strength in each tear we cry
From now on it will be you and I
And our ribbon in the sky
Ribbon in the sky
A ribbon in the sky for our love…
As we listen to the lyrics of the song, my own emotions finally find me. I can not believe that, after everything we have been through, we are here…we are finally here.
When the song plays out, we stand before each other, with the vows we have written for each other.
“Ezioma…I have to catch my breath to believe this is real, that I am marrying my true love, my heart’s desire, and my best friend.” Dili starts. “When you walked into my life, love walked in. It was a magical moment…one that I will treasure forever with you. I promise to walk together with you…with my unconditional love. You are my light, my inspiration, and I am blessed to be able to call you my ever loving wife. For as long as I live, I will shield you from the wind, cover you from the rain, and make a home for us inside my heart. Not just for this moment, not just for this hour, not just for this day, not just for this year…but forever. Ezioma, I will always love you.”
And despite everything I have done to keep them at bay, my tears finally gain their release and pour down my face, completely overwhelmed by this declaration of love from the man I love with my entire being.
“Okwudili, I knew I loved you from the moment we met, and I have been helplessly lost in your eyes ever since. No words can possibly express the vow that I give to you now – it is an ineffable part of myself that I place in your care as we join together. I promise that my love for you will be an ever flowing spring, never diminished and always sweet and life-giving. My commitment to you is one I give willingly, absolutely, and without hesitation. I am yours utterly and have been since the moment we met. We were married before this day and will always be. I promise you my unconditional love, tenderness, and undying devotion, to not ask you to be more than you are, and to love you for being you.”
The rest of the evening is a beautiful blend of love, joy, happiness, good food…and of course, good music. Even though we are technically months away from our 5th wedding anniversary, the truth is that this is the day, the real day, it feels like we have come together to truly become one. It feels like the most beautiful of all beginnings.
We honeymoon in the Maldives, and it is even better than the magical time we spent there in the Easter of 2016. Dili and I are just like two bodies but with one soul…nobody quite knowing where one person ends and the other begins. Soulmates…if there is anything deeper than the word, that is exactly what we are.
We return to Friday Harbor for the last 2 weeks of our honeymoon. It is wonderful being able to enjoy the picturesque town while being in love and happy…and not sick, dying and insecure. But that is not the real reason we have returned to the town. We have been introduced to a Nigerian woman, Nene, living in Seattle, who has agreed to be a gestational carrier for us. As my eggs are there in Friday Harbor, coming back to attempt to expand out family seems like the most logical thing to do.
In December 2018, to our pure delight, Nene is confirmed pregnant with twins. We move her to a small apartment in Brooklyn, where we now spend the majority of our time, and it is the best Christmas I have had in a long, long time.
Even though it is still early days as Nene isn’t due until September, I can’t help but marvel over how far we have come. This time a year ago, I’d just finished cancer treatment and was staring at a bleak and lonely life ahead. But here I am, not only blissfully married to my heartbeat…but also about to become a mother…to twins! If I’d been asked to go crazy and write what about my desired outcome for my life, I never even would have comprehended to write any of this.
As we, my husband and I, look forward to a beautiful life together…with our children…all I can be is grateful…that God would take a love of convenience and transform it to something beautiful.
© The Fertile Chick
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