• • •
30 minutes of driving, yet, Boma hadnʼt told me where we were going to. It was getting late already and the atmosphere had turned dark. I kept demanding persistently about our destination and whereabout, but it all fell on deaf ears. He ignored me all through!
Eventually, he stopped the vehicle and turned off the engine. I looked around and noticed we were in the middle of a vast, narrow road. The next thing I knew, he stepped out of the car and turned over to open the door for me.
“Thank you,” I said as I stepped out too, surprised at his gesture.
“Follow me!” he simply said as he held onto my hand and led me across the narrow path.
We went into a bush filled with thick, tall trees like a forest as he led me along. I felt my heart beat pounding really fast in my chest in fear of danger. We continued walking a bit more with Bomaʼs hand still clasped in mine until we arrived at a blank point where the trail stopped, and there was a small stream which laid ahead.
“Isnʼt it beautiful?” he asked, more to himself than to me as he fixed his gaze ahead of the stream in adoration.
I could hear the chirping of insects, the loud noisy croaking of frogs, the sweet melody of the chirping crickets, and I could feel the breeze from the serene wind that rattled and blew against the rusty bushes. I admired the way fire-flies flew beautifully around, giving a twinkling shade of light in the void darkness. Most beautifully, I adored the sight of the moonʼs reflection upon the surface of the stream water. It looked heavenly.
“I donʼt know what to say,” I responded, charmed by the beauty of what I had just seen.
“You donʼt have to say anything; just feel it!” he answered, still fixing his gaze ahead of the stream.
I moved closer to him and entwined our fingers, resting my head on his shoulder.
“Where is this place?”
“This is where I come to when I need some alone time; when I need some time alone,” he responded calmly, almost in a whisper.
“I come here to think and clear my head,” he added, tightening his grip on our hands.
“How did you discover it?” I asked, looking up to him. He looked back at me too with a slight smile and pointed to a log of wood behind us. He motioned towards it and asked me to sit, which I did; and then he sat beside me.
“You remember those three days you got missing? I almost ran mad,” he explained, “I would always drink myself to stupor after I dialled your number and it wasn’t reachable. I could drink up to five or six bottles and still feel the pain inside. I realized that drinking wasn’t helping matters, so I stopped. But I still took one or two bottles though!” he laughed, and continued, “So on the third day you were missing, I got drunk while driving and I had to stop the car by the roadside to ease myself when I walked into this place. I liked what I saw and something in me compelled me to sit here and pray. I remember praying in tears for God to return you back to me, and mysteriously, just like a miracle, you were the first person to call me first thing the following day to come and pick you at that hospital. It looked like a dream! Since then, I developed a special bond for this place,” he concluded, smiling at me.
“You mean you cried for me? Liar!” I laughed, trying to tease him.
“Iʼm serious, I actually cried! I had big bulgey eyes like Tolotolo!” He said jokingly, making us burst into laughter together.
Thereafter, there was a short silence between us. He remained mute and I stayed silent as well. I leaned my head to rest on his shoulder as we fiddled gently with our entwined hands.
“I am sorry for walking out on you earlier today,” he spoke up, breaking the silence.
“I have my reasons…” he added.
I looked up to him in confusion, obviously puzzled by his statement.
“Fifi, you and I know how hard it has been on you lately. It hasnʼt been easy and I know it, I know what youʼve passed through. Do you expect me to make advances at you in this condition? I didnʼt see any need to rush. I wanted you to heal first and then any other thing could come later,” he explained.
“Is that why you don’t sleep with me on the bed?”
“Fifi, you know I am a man, I needed to take caution. I didn’t want to go against my policy. Iʼm truly sorry,” he pleaded genuinely.
“Itʼs okay, I understand.” I assured him.
At that, he leaned closer and took me by surprise by pecking my cheek. I chuckled and elbowed him gently by the arm as we both laughed.
Again, an awkward silence fell upon us, cascading through the air.
“I don’t want to lose you, Fifi.” Boma suddenly said, breaking the silence again.
“I don’t want to lose you either!” I chipped in.
“What if you do?”
I glared up at him the moment he uttered that statement.
“Don’t say that!” I rebuked him. “What is the meaning of that?!”
“It’s the simple truth,” he simply said, “With all that is going on now, anybody can die at any time. I am not excluded, neither are you. Itʼs better we face it once and for all than fear it,” he concluded.
“Boma stop saying this!” I reprimanded him. “Just stop!”
“Iʼm thinking of something, but Iʼm not sure if youʼll agree to it.” He said.
“What is it? Tell me!” I urged him on. He heaved a deep sigh and glanced down at me as we stared eyeball to eyeball.
“I want us to take an oath.”
“An oath?!” I repeated, plainly shocked. He nodded.
“But why? What for?”
“I want to be assured that I would always have you by my side, that I would never lose you!” he said, sounding genuinely serious.
I stared at his face as he stared back too, waiting for my answer. I didn’t have to think about it. I had lost too much already. I lost contact with my family, I lost my friend, I got rusticated from school… I wasn’t ready to lose him too!
“Letʼs do it!” I agreed.
He bulged his eyes in shock, like he didn’t actually believe me.
“Are you sure about this, Fifi?”
“Boma, letʼs take the oath!” I persisted.
At that, he took out the key holder from his pocket and faced it to a sharp edge.
“Fifi, are you sure about this?” He asked me once more. I nodded with certainty.
Then, he took my hand and placed it on his own, stretching out my thumb. He then slit it open with the sharp edge of the key holder as blood gushed out of it. He slitted his thumb also and blood trickled out slowly.
“You would repeat what I say with your own name after I am done,” he instructed. I nodded.
“I, Boma Martins, take an oath with you today Fifi Whoanana; that our body and soul shall be bonded together both in heaven and on earth, in the physical and in spirit, till death do us part!”
He stretched my hand towards his mouth and licked off the blood on my thumb, then nodded to me to proceed.
“I, Fifi Whoanana, take an oath with you today Boma Martins; that our body and soul shall be bonded together both in heaven and on earth, in the physical and in spirit, till death do us part!”
I stretched his hand towards my mouth and licked off the blood on his thumb as he had done.
“So shall it be!” he concluded and drew me closer as we kissed, right there under that tree.