‘Dad, aren’t you ever going to get married again?’, Stephanie asked.
She was my second daughter. Karen, who was my first was already in the university. But Stephanie had just completed secondary school.
Honestly, I had thought about it a lot. Celine had fought breast cancer for five years and had eventually lost her life to it three years ago. Everything instantly changed around the house. It was surreal!
‘Come, Steph. Come, and let me tell you a story about your mum’, I replied, beckoning on her to come closer.
‘I saw your mother when I was in my second year in the university. She was the cutest creature I had seen. Words could not explain what I felt when I saw her. You girls think cute and what comes to your mind are the Selena Gomez’s ,the Amanda Sternberg’s, and the Rihanna’s. Nah, your mom was way cuter.
But my love was dumb. It couldn’t speak, nah, it couldn’t talk. All I could do was watch from a distance. My friends thought I was crazy. It didn’t make any sense to crave someone so much, someone who didn’t even care about my existence.
And then this day came. I was in 300 level then, and we were writing our final paper. But something happened. A guy behind me kept tapping my back, requesting my help. He was a 400 level student and had carried the course over. He wanted me to write the answers on his question paper.
But, you know, that’s examination malpractice. And I especially didn’t like it. So, I told him I would help verbally, but I would not write anything on his paper. He kept on insisting, and even handed his paper over to me. But he was not so lucky. Our Dean walked in just about that moment, and asked the both of us to stand up. He came over and inspected the paper. To my greatest surprise, the handwriting on his paper completely matched with mine. How he managed to pull that off, I still do not understand, down to this day. How our handwriting patterns could be so identical completely eluded me.
I was asked to fill a malpractice form and leave the hall. But what I didn’t know was that your mother was also writing the exam with us, since she had also carried the course over. But I didn’t notice her. I was just focused on my exam.
So, when I was about leaving the hall, she stood up and said she had something to say. She was given audience. She said she had seen everything and that I was rather not at fault. But since it was her word against theirs, it had no substance. There was no evidence.
And then it happened. She said she had evidence. What could that be? Then she walked to the front of the class where everyone kept their bags and brought out her phone. It had been video recording the whole time. That was met with mixed reactions as the rest of the class didn’t like that she had been recording them. (Obviously, most of them had been cheating and would now be caught).
But, she explained that something like this had almost happened to her before, where she had almost been implicated by someone, and since then, she had formed the habit of leaving her bag in strategic positions where her device could video record from a vintage angle inside the hall.
The Dean was absolutely stunned. But he still gave her permission to play the video. And the truth came out. I was innocent of the charges levelled against me. So, I was asked to return to my seat, while he was whisked away by the school security who had been alerted of the situation. The Dean even apologized to me and berated the supervisors for their inefficiency.
After the exam, I approached her and expressed my gratitude. She said it was nothing but I knew it was something. Come on, we would have been looking at rustication. I asked if I could take her out for dinner as part of my appreciation. She said she didn’t do it for dinner, but I insisted. She couldn’t say no.
We had a great time. We kept on seeing each other after that. I saw how she related with others. I admired her simplicity and wondered how a person could be so graceful. My feelings were heightened. And when I popped the question, the feelings were mutual, so mutual, that she couldn’t say no. The loving was heavenly.
We got married after youth service and had you and your sister. But sadly, she’s not here now. (The tears were already coming out. I couldn’t hold myself anymore. I cried like a baby and Stephanie couldn’t help sobbing).
So, tell me, Stephanie, tell me, what were you asking again?’, I asked.
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