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Lara and Mr Hopes

How we met: by Lanre

I cannot exactly say the point when we officially met. Honestly. All I know is that I was at some special church program with serious hopes of seeing my ex and Lara was seated beside me. In the middle of the program, she yawned, shook her head and said, ‘Are you not hungry and bored?’ I was taken aback and amused but I gave a polite laugh and nervously said, ‘Yeah, they should serve refreshments at events like this.’ She smiled such a beautiful smile and said ‘Nigerians. That’s the problem with us. See how we’re waiting to be spoonfed. Literally. Let’s go to the KFC across and get something to eat.’ And then she stood up. It didn’t sound like a suggestion plus I think I would have done anything to eat something at that point. So I followed. When we got to KFC, she ordered for her food and paid and when I tried to instruct the cashier to return her money, she looked at me and said, ‘Better pay for your own food. I won’t judge you’

As we ate, we had the most random conversation ever. We talked about carpets, dogs, mugs, poverty, stupid questions and God. The amazing thing was that she knew how to make the random topics exciting. Then at some point, she went silent for a while and then suddenly said, ‘Do you have any traditions?‘ I said, ‘Err… Traditions?’ She raised her brow and said, ‘I guessed as much. In my opinion, every living being should have, like, a tradition. Something steady, constant and customary to maintain sanity in this ever changing world. I mean, I know that’s what God is for. But sha… that’s what I think’. I was about to start giving some smart-ass reply when she said, ‘I mean, for instance, this could be our tradition. What’s today’s date? 26th? We can come here every 26th and eat the same food we just ordered… in the same place… about the same time. Something like that’. I was further taken aback. I was surely dining with a serial psycho. But I played it cool and said ‘Miss, are you indirectly pushing for a date with me every month?’

She laughed and laughed and said ‘No. Mr. Hopes, no I’m not. I’m just advocating for sanity in both our lives. But if you would pass…’ then she let her voice trail. I just smiled at her. She already had me at ‘Mr. Hopes’

By our fourth tradition, on the 26th of May, I knew it was the right time to ask for a steady relationship. There was, however, a little problem; I am 10 years older than her. Although I didn’t think THAT would be an issue to her, but you know, one can never be too sure. As we ate, she noticed my uneasiness and said, ‘Mr Hopes, did they fire you at work today?‘ I was going to say ‘What? No. I work for no one… Well, except my boss. My 5 bosses’. But I just blurted out, ‘Let’s be in a relationship my age is just a number’. It was so pathetic and she did not even hide her laughter. She kept repeating ‘Let’s be in a relationship. Who says that?

When she finally got semi-serious she said, ‘Okay. Okay. I really like you too Mr. Hopes. But since you mentioned it, let’s strike a deal. I would consider your age as only a number if you consider my weight and height as only numbers too. That is… for the life span of our relationship.’ She was smiling mischievously. And in that moment, I was sure I made the right decision.

We smiled, shook on it and I said, ‘Deal. Your weight and height are just numbers till we die’.

How he proposed: by Lara

Ah. Mr. Hopes is just a lucky person. All those nice things he was saying… they happened only because I was always in such a good mood on the 26th. Although, I admit it was because I looked forward to seeing him.

But on the day he proposed, I was in my other mood. I was actually typing a rap dissing him for calling me ‘my little baby’. Seeing as I had warned him to stop. I was at the part where I typed, ‘You think I’m little? Wait till you meet my patience’, when he called and said he was at my door. All I could think of was how I’d have to freestyle the rest of the rap.

As I opened the door, I saw roses everywhere. Weird.

He did not even let me speak, he just entered the house and started pacing in the sitting room. Then he stopped and said, ‘Baby, you know what happened on the 26th of May? Yes? Well, it’s about to get bigger. Just might.’   Weirder.

I noticed that he was nervous. That was when I could tell that he wanted to propose and I decided that whatever was worth doing was worth doing well. So I played along, feigning exaggerated fear and concern, ‘Does it involve a body?‘ I asked.

He looked encouraged and said ‘Two’.

I said , ‘Aww man… you should have been more careful’

He said ‘I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t separate both bodies. They erm… they loved each other too much. The guy? He was crazy in love with the girl. And he was apparently bent on spending the rest of his life… and apparently his death, with her.’

At that point, it was all I could do not to start smiling like a fool. Then I said ‘Well… good for them but that sucks for you… for us. We can’t have the police watching us’.

Then he said, ‘Oh, that’s the problem Lara. Not only would the police be watching us, but our families, our friends, loved ones and even random people would be watching us as we walk down to the guillotine’

Then I sighed and said ‘Well, it was bound to happen. Sooner or later. I’m just happy to be walking down the guillotine with you, is all. I mean, who else but you?’ I feigned a broken voice

Mr. Hopes suddenly stopped pacing and strolled towards me. His expression all ghen-ghen. Then he stood only inches away from my face and whispered, ‘Is that a yes? You’ll walk down with me to the guillotine and die with me? Even though I was the only one who committed the crime?’ (He can be weird like that).

The fake tears suddenly became real. I was standing (albeit extremely close) in front of the world’s most awesome man (I mean, who else would turn a proposal into an amazing two-man drama like that) and I just kept wondering what I had done to deserve it.

Then I whispered, ‘No, Mr Hopes. We’re both dying together because we’re criminally in love with each other’.

I know. I know. We’re an unbelievably dramatic couple.

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“Lara and Mr Hopes”

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