No protocols, no rules.

Submitted into Contest #50 in response to: Write a story about a proposal. ... view prompt



 "You are to me many things in one and the one person out of the many..."

 Bad start! Has potential though, maybe in the middle.

"You remind me of my mother whenever you smile ..."


"There are a few things that have actually made me stutter with loss of words. Fewer still the people that have stopped me dead in my tracks..."

Slightly better, progress.

I nodded my head in approval of the words I had managed to scribble so far, as I still chewed upon the end of my pen groping around for the best words I could string together. 

The last two hours twelve minutes had been a gruesome duel as I sat amidst piles of crumpled paper, carrying words either too mushy, or too cliche to pass for what was to be the culmination of the day. I lifted my wrist to my face to read 4:33pm, meeting was Six. I got up. 

"Now's the best time to take a long shower and put on what I had laid out over three hours prior." 

I laughed hard at myself as I reminisced on how much house keeping I'd done just because of the signifince of the day held. Hadn't the wisest man penned down in the holy book that of all the things he experienced, one of the most mysterious to him was the way of a man with a woman.

 I had always been an on-the-go, almost always late person who always rushed through dying minutes and chose the combinations of things to wear while in the shower. My clumsy self would always rush in and out of the house at least three times before finally leaving for work or wherever was the point of call, because I had forgotten an important item and while I had rushed in to pick it had left the ones I was already holding before leaving the house which was most likely in complete disarray. But here today the only thing out of place in this pristine, well primed and nicely scented house were my futile attempts at sweetness in piles of crumpled papers. 

I resumed my position at the dining table with my belt hanging loosely around my waist and stockinged feet on the floor beside a ready pair of shoes as the last bits of water droplets snaked down the side of my jaws and dripped upon on one of the ruined pieces of paper between my elbow and the smooth formica top table.

"... most of my stuttering would be from a careful selection of words to people more out of respect, but never has it been from love until today. My stuttering is not exactly from lack of words but fear. Fear that these things I say will fall miserably short in expressing even the little knowledge of you that I have and the values that you hold. This places you in an especially rare category of people in my life."

 Johnson is supposed to have called me by now, I thought, as my nearly impatient and slightly edgy circadian rhythm blew the alarm in my head. I turned my head to the wall clock on the adjacent wall dividing the living room from one of the two bedrooms to read 5:47pm. 

My eyes bulged as I shot out of the chair in search of my phone and finished my dressing simultaneously. Three minutes that felt like 3 hours passed by only to find my phone on my bathroom sink with four missed calls and a text message: 3 from Johnson and one from Stretchy - Raphael hated that name, but what high school kid would pass up on the fun of naming one whose arms were disproportionately longer than the rest of his stout body? I impatiently scrolled to the text message, limping strategically to force my leg into my shoe without having to stoop. 

" Hey boy, sorry, can't pick you up again. Small problems with the car. minor accident, broke something in the engine couldn't get the car to move so we are at the repair shop. Please find your way to the Hub quickly, you'll meet us there." I checked the time of message, twenty minutes ago. I sigh, "this rush hour madness will not ever leave me alone, will it?" I soliloquized. Snatching my wallet from the dressing table and speedily spraying on some cologne, I dashed out, knocking off my can of hairspray and bottle of body lotion off the dressing table. 

No sooner had I gotten to main road had I begun to flag down at passing tricycles. The fact that hub was a 30-minute journey in a tricycle influenced my volume as I yelled at the next driver that stopped by me while I hopped in. "Hurry to the Lagoon Villa and don't stop for any reason. I'll pay you an exclusive". I discarded his questioning look as I slapped on my wrist watch and fiddled nervously with the buckle, it was just seven minutes left to the hour of six.

 I slumped into the coach in surrender to fate. Only two good things had happened so far, that I got a tricycle the moment I got to the road and that the driver was actually one who loves to speed.

" Who else goes late to a dinner date that is actually supposed to be a surprise proposal party but Theodore" I sighed and chided myself as I palmed my forehead, thinking this alongside a myriad of unhelpful thoughts about Evelyn's state of mind or mood, to a possible accident with this speeding driver whose current performance bordered on reckless, and the fear of meeting a hold up on a road I already knew was most likely clear nearly took my already rising blood pressure to a critical point. I rubbed my sweaty palms together and tapped my foot ceaselessly half wishing I could just appear at The Hub. 

All attempts of calming my palpitating heart down were abortive, there was just one hope. I reached into my pocket and froze, empty. My hands flew to my breast pocket, nothing. Then, the world slowed down and began to cave in. Panic settled on me.

 I checked my wrist watch and shook my head, too late to turn back and still a distance to get to The Hub. I hissed as I shifted side to side in my sit. after all the pen butt chewing, starring into the blank ceiling, crumpling and tearing sheets of papers, groping for the best but elusive words and the lateness, all for what?" I caught the driver peeping at me through his side mirror, obviously bewildered. 

I sank back into the coach, paying no heed to him as I wondered what else could go wrong with the day and then my phone rang... 

"Yeah, what is it..." I asked with a dull slur, a babyish and defeat laden tone I wasn't even conscious of

"Where you at, young man? " 

"The bend that leads to the Township Stadium" 

"Good that's about two minutes..." 

"Wait! Are you crying or do you want to cry?" 

Strechy's evil cackle seeped into my ears, "am I on speaker?" 

"Calm down, it's just two of us..." 

"I forgot my proposal speech."

stretchy's evil cackle and Johnson's low rumble haunted me, resonating. 

"Who needs a written speech for a proposal? Just speak from your heart" 

"Easy for you to say..." I snigger. That's the place where driver, I pointed quickly to my left. He made the sudden turn to the left, and swerved sharply to the right to avoid an on coming tricycle. This movement threw me off balance, nearly flung me to the opposite corner of the little automobile. "I said hurry not kill me" I barked as he comes to end.. . I flew out flinging the three hundred naira I had fished out of my wallet to him. 

Stretchy intercepted me at the entrance. "calm down boy, breathe. You are a sweaty mess and a nervous wreck" he said amidst chuckles. Everything is set and we have given you a soft landing with Evelyn, we're all waiting. 

"OK." I said brusquely, brushing between them and past while the followed behind. 

Tunde had picked out the outdoor eating area of the hub, which overlooked the lagoon. It was finished with mainly organic material, complete with cane chairs and the sound of rustling trees, cool breeze and rushing water making the scene perfect for the proposal. And the lighting, the icing on the cake. 

But I noticed all this loveliness after the proposal because immediately I descended the stairs that led to the out door area, I had paused, eyes trained on Evelyn, sitting on the far right end facing the entrance, her face a mixture of anger and worry, I walked straight to her like a remote controlled person and knelt before her clutching at her knee. 

"I don't care what is protocol or not or what may be appropriate to say or not, I just know here and now, you and me. I want to be your concern and I want you to be mine. I hate stress, but be to me the reason why I can stress out or worry and why I can't wait to get back home from work everyday. Love is a choice, and today I choose you. To be mine and mine alone through whatever come whatever, I don't have much but love and myself to give, will you accept it?" 

I let out a sigh, and for the first time since I started speaking I actually rose my head from the bowed position I took to study her face.

My heart thumped. I couldn't read much in her deep brown eyes. She just stared at me, quiet for over a minute. I could hear my heart beat. Panic had rid the entire place of its colour and replaced it's cool air with a heavy humidity. 

As I knelt there transfixed, not knowing what to even think, she threw her first words that hung between us like a time bomb set to go off in 10 seconds. 

"I thought this was supposed to be a simple hang out, dinner with friends as you called it." 

My heart galloped wildly, chased by a barrage of thoughts, championed by fear and confusion, "Well yes it is." I responded with a shaky tone. 

"And you propose?"

I opened my mouth first then snapped it shut. Then attempted again after a while, "Well, yes.." "I had actually planned for to be a surprise proposal party not just a dinner"

"Ok"She said nodding and wielding a distant look in her eyes. Perfect masking. 

My insides were turning to jelly, "what is happening here?" Was all I could ask in my mind, as I exchanged questioning looks with a few of our friends. Who were also no longer laughing or jeering. Those who had drinks in their had paused with their flutes half way to their mouth.

"And is this what you planned to say? "

My mouth was dry, perspiration beaded round my head. "Yes! well, No" Wait,... I, I had Left the actual one I had written on my dinning table. " -"And it took me a damned long time to write that" I muttered unintelligibly. 

She paused, look up at everyone, most averting her eyes gaze save Jennifer, her childhood friend who gave her the "what in the world is wrong with you" stare. "well, like anyone else, I think what you said is sweet." She said this with a flat even tone, and something that resembled compassion in her eyes. 

That compassion added fresh fear and worry to me. "Do you know rejection when it stares you in the face" a little voice in me whispered "get thee behind me Satan, I retorted. The world was beginning to close in on me "and what do you say? " I asked. 

"What do you expect of me to say, that I accept?"

"Well, yes" I slurred my speech. 

"OK then, yes..."

My head shut up, "Say what?"

She gave a sheepish one sided smile, kissed my fore head and said, "I accept your love"

The tension in the air suddenly broke, my jumbled mind received instant order as relief flooded my whole being . "I love you"

"Never keep me waiting" Was her reply 

"Never, ever" I Said lifting my right hand up in pledge now smiling. 

She looked around to uneasy stares, "well relax guys," She said in an annoyingly relaxed and controlled tone, considering all the tension age just created "what's an engagement party without some drama. I wasn't going to reject my man" She waved her left hand to display the ring I had just slipped into her finger. 

"you're sick, that's all I know" came Amanda's call as she slurped her drink. To everyone's laughter and resumption to liveliness.

But that was not the last bit of drama. Whatever pushes my buttons sometimes, I don't know, but a bad one was pushed and it was as though the euphoria of the realization of my new status just hit home, I lifted into the air in a moment of poor decision, and flipped over. The moment I was half way through the stunt I knew I had miscalculated. Whamm! I landed clumsily with my jaw into one of the cane chairs beside me. 

Evelyn burst out laughing. As I rushed to click on the pause on my tablet. 

"Don't pause" she protested between peels of hysterical laughter, attempting to snatch the tab from my hands. "But honey that's the best part for me, two years today and you are still sensitive to that? Shame!" she stuck out her tongue playfully.

"I'm not sensitive, I just don't want to watch the foolishness" I said, amidst chuckles.

"Well I need to go pee again." 

"Well good. I hope your water breaks, let's see who laughs." 

Her laughter became even more hysterical, "it's 11:30pm baby boy, you are the one who will suffer it."

"You are a kill joy" 

"I doubt that, but I know for sure Stretchy deserves a gift from me for saving and sending that video today." she said, slamming the door of the toilet behind her, cackling. 

July 18, 2020 01:03

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Opara Kays
07:51 Aug 03, 2020

An awesome read, this was! Excellent, the way you built the suspense... Good work.


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Mary Smith
16:32 Jul 23, 2020

Jonathan, I really enjoyed this story! I loved how much detail and description you added throughout the story. The only thing I would say to improve is that sometimes the sentences got confusing- but it was a great read!


Jonathan Abioye
15:24 Jul 28, 2020

I am pleased about your review.. Thank you.. I will definitely work to improve on what you have pointed out.


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