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Christian Friendship Christmas

"When you get older who will slaughter the chicken for you?" My dad always asked me this every Christmas eve as they slaughtered goats and chicken for the rest of the festive season. "I will have a husband, daddy to do all that for me. I'll also be rich to hire someone to slaughter the chicken and goats" I always replied and my dad always shook his head at my arrogance. He thought it was a skill to come in handy one day and I thought it was a role for men. I pulled the African traditional society card where men did the grazing, hunting and slaughtering of animals during festivities while we women did all the cooking that was fun.

This Christmas eve, I didn't have to answer my father because Sam was around and his answer changed our fate I guess. As usual when my dad asked he replied,"I will do that for her because she'll be my wife and I her husband." I remember this statement vividly brought out a squeaky laughter from me. How could this boy possibly think I'd marry him. I mean we had grown up as neighbors all our lives but that's not how this worked. Besides you'd have to propose first I told him.

"So did he propose then?" "Yes he did" I replied to my daughter Bella. "Your father knelt down with the goat's heart in his hand and said "this is a symbol of our love, will you marry me Esther" "So did you say yes?"

No I didn't. Then he asked me again,"Will you allow me to slaughter that hen for you instead? After which I said yes. Who would pass out that offer.

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"This is a picture of us at 15 on Christmas Eve"

"He has a ring in his hand. Did he propose again?

Yes he did. It was after the Christmas carols practice at church. We were the solo singers for the "O Holy night song. He pulled my hand and led me to the statue of the Holy Family. He knelt down again on one day and said "Esther will you marry me? In the presence of Mary, Joseph and Jesus I would like to be your King Xerxes, the Zechariah to your Elizabeth forever. He then pulled out a ring which he showed me

"Did you say yes this time?"

"No I didn't. I told him i was 15 and that's too early to be engaged!" 

"So what did he do next?"

He kept the ring and handed me a gift that he told me to open the next day. It is the first gift I opened the next morning and in it was a carefully crafted red necklace with a paper written on "will you at least me my date to the prom next year? PS: I knew you would say no to my marriage proposal again" so the next year we went for prom instead.

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"Here's a photo of us, me at 20, in your grandfather's new house on Christmas eve. The day before his old hut had been demolished and we were having a welcoming house party."

"You used to sleep in huts" Bella asked. "Yes we did. And it was pretty comfortable."

"Which proposal did he have in mind?

We were watching a certain romantic Christmas movie. I don't know the title because we found it had already aired and we had no means of getting the title. He again asked me to Marry him and i laughed it off this time. He then faced me and asked, "Will you be Mary to my Joseph for tomorrow's Christmas play? "Yes I will do that. It is the least I can do" I told him. Your grandfather then laughed at your Fathers modesty.

He said that in their days, you'd go to the well and hide in nearby bushes and shrubs to stare at girls of your choice if you weren't fortunate enough to be betrothed at birth. Then your request to help her carry the pail of water and of she refused you carried her bridal style to your home into your hut and preparations for introduction and traditional marriage.

"That sounds crazy and interesting at the same time."

"Well thanks to the modern age you won't have to go through that."

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"Here's the first photo we took at our salon when i was 25. It was literally the best day ever. Earlier that evening your father had escorted me to gather round the cows and goats to the kraal. The herdsmen had been given a week off from Christmas eve to new years day. As we watched the breathtaking orange sunset I asked him why he relentlessly proposed to me every Christmas eve. He told me that he wanted to make all eve's special moments given the fact that my birthday was on new year's eve. Why not make a special event for me to celebrate. "As a matter of fact instead of asking you to marry me, Will you be my girlfriend?" I said yes because we cared and loved each other a whole lot.

He made sure the Kraal was locked and he walked me to the salon and asked me to be his business partner as he knew my passion for hair dressing and styling for natural hair. So we took a photo to seal the memories of that day. We headed for church to attend the vigil mass and to thank God for the first step in our official relationship.

"Mummy, daddy was a romantic for an African man for sure." "Yes I know that."

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"Here's a photo of us on our official engagement. The most memorable of days" I woke up to find your father out of bed already. He was in the banana plantation slaughtering a goat chosen by the herdsmen that was fit for Christmas events. I remember telling him he'd kept part of his bargain he made when I was only 10. We got ready after breakfast and headed for the salon. It was the busiest of days as men wanted hair cuts and women hair washing, styling, plaiting, manicures and pedicures. Everyone then and now still gets dressed for Christmas cause no one wanted to be the black sheep of the extravagantly dressed and good looking sheep of God. Your father never showed any signs of proposing to me at all. One of my usual customers asked me when I was getting married cause the clock was ticking. Your father and later on went to church for the vigil mass where he excused himself immediately after holy communion. He said he didn't have time to wait for the endless announcements that took over half an hour on unfortunate days. I remember walking home alone filled with anxiety and extreme sadness over the fact that the day I was ready to be proposed to, your father didn't feel like. I remember crying over all the time I had lost dating no one but him. This was by far the worst Christmas eve. I had grown accustomed to the company of your father every darn Christmas eve.

I heard Mariah Carey's "all I want for Christmas" playing in the background and in the middle of the heart shaped candles stood your dad with a grin on his face. I walked to him hurriedly and hugged him. As he looked at me he noticed salty streaks of tears on my face.

"Esther were you crying?

"Yes." "Why were you crying on Christmas eve for God's sake?"

"I thought that you weren't going to propose to me at all. You always do so every five years and I thought I would not feel the thrill of your deja vu." He laughed after my pathetic speech.

He then knelt down, "Esther I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want to be there first thing you see every morning unless I have to go to work early. I want to wash, plait and style your beautiful afro. And I will not allow our kids to cut off their hair unlike your father. I want to cook for you. I want to celebrate all our festivities especially Christmas with you. I want to sing for you. I want to help you slaughter goats, chicken and any other meat producing edible animal or bird. I want to be the best father, husband and son in law to your family. I promise to teach our children our traditions too. So please do me the honor and say yes to a lifetime of happiness with me. Will you please marry me?"

"Yes I will" 

"Phew thank God you said yes. I'd be embarrassed."

"Why would you be?"

"Your family is waiting inside the house. Let's go and celebrate" 

We walked hand in hand towards the house full of happiness ready to be engulfed in our signature heart warming hugs.

December 23, 2020 12:02

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1 comment

Bonnie Clarkson
15:04 Jan 01, 2021

Good story that kept moving. Thank you for no bed scenes. Have you thought about it for tweens and teens?

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