The lover’s day celebration is upon us again but asides all Valentine hoopla and sharing of gifts, a few people somewhere are hurting. None more so than in the story of Praise.
I had closed from work and decided to spend the night with a bunch of friends in a hotel bustling with Valentine cheer and fun. A few hours later, we left and while we waited for bikes to take us to our various destinations, I couldn’t help but notice a beautiful lady standing alone at the back of a car. I didn’t think much of her though. Naturally, I assumed she was waiting for her friend(s) or probably her boyfriend. I decided to mind my business. After my friends had gone and I couldn’t find a bike going my way, I decided to engage her in a friendly ‘innocent’ conversation.
A few minutes into the conversation, below are what I deduced.
1. She came to town to visit her boyfriend.
2. It was Valentine’s day and the boyfriend left home for work since morning and didn’t bother to wish her a Happy Valentine’s day or even check on her talk more of getting her any gift.
3. She was at home alone bored while her boyfriend was hanging out with friends on Valentine’s day.
4. She decided to get dressed and step out of the house even if just to feed her eyes.
5. She was hurting and couldn’t imagine why a man she has spent 6 years with right from when they were students was treating her like ‘trash’ after he made money and bought a car.
6. She knelt down yesterday to ask him to forgive her for whatever she did wrong that she wasn’t aware of that makes him treat her like she doesn’t exist.
7. In her words, “If he doesn’t want me again, he should let me know. I am tired. I am tired” with tears streaming down her face.
8. She still loves him.
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“Praise”, she replied still trying to get a grip of herself.
“Such a beautiful name. You know what, Praise? I’ll ask you a question. Who do you love more? Your boyfriend or yourself?”
“I don’t know”, she replied.
Now that was the problem.
“Praise, it’s obvious you love this guy more than you love yourself and he doesn’t give a damn about you. You are such a beautiful girl (yes, she is a beautiful girl) and I like your flowery jumpsuit. You are too beautiful to be itemized. You can’t stay with a man out of obligation. You have been with him for six years doesn’t mean you can’t start all over. Imagine getting married to this man, how would your life be? Praise, let me show you how a man should treat you everyday especially on Valentine’s day.
I took out my phone and showed her the gifts I got my woman on Valentine’s day and the fact that although she was several kilometers away, that didn’t stop me from putting in an effort to make her feel special.
“Wow. She’s beautiful and the gifts are lovely”, she said while holding my phone.
“Praise, it’s time to let go. Love is to be enjoyed not endured. Let’s get you a bike now. Get home, shower and sleep. First thing tomorrow morning, don’t even wait for him to wake up and don’t bother asking him for transport fare, pack your bags and leave his house. Go home. You are better off alone and at peace than in a relationship and miserable.”
I forcefully placed some cash in her hand for transport fare back home so she didn’t have to wake him up to ask for money to go back home.
“Stop crying. You will be fine.”
As we celebrate Valentine’s day, it isn’t enough to show love to someone else but showing love to yourself is way more valuable.
Be your own Val.
Update: Praise called this morning to tell me she has arrived home safely and to thank me for yesterday. She was glowing and I’m happy she’s happy. It will take time to heal after six years but her journey has started and I’m sure she’ll heal and find love again.
Happy Valentine’s day.