That night I could not sleep. All I had on my mind was Jane. She had made a big impression on me. She warmed up to immediately we met, enjoying and responding to my jokes and insisting that I meet her mother. I was beginning to like her. I shared my feelings with my junior brother Ken, who was living with me then. He encouraged me to go ahead and go where my heart led me.
Next day, December 20, 6 pm, I was at Jane’s house. Her father had travelled toLondon. Christmas was approaching, and it was a period, Igbo’s of South East, Nigeria trooped home to spend the Yuletide with their families.
I was billed to travel home December 22. Incidentally her hometown was close to mine, only about six miles apart. Jane opted to travel in my car and quickly told her mom who gave her consent. After entertaining me with fried fish and snacks, I asked Jane out. She brought Frances along. We found our way into fast food joint, bought some take- away and proceeded to my home in Okota area of Lagos. W e spent time with my brother ken before I took the two girls back home.
On return, Ken gave his approval for me to marry Jane, saying he was impressed with her comportment. Two days, myself, Ken, and Jane set out for our hometowns. My driver was at the steering. It was a pleasant journey. I remember going through Proverbs 31 in the Bible with Jane all through the journey. I told her I wanted her to be that kind of woman. She promised to be.
We dropped her at her father’s home, and proceeded to my hometown, Abagana, Anambra State, Nigeria. That night I was ready to meet with my parents who had been heckling me to get married. At 34, and Editor of national business magazine, my father said it was irresponsible of me to remain single. That night we returned, my parents turned on the heat: “Who is the girl?” I told them about Jane. “Have you proposed”? My dad enquired.
“No” I replied.
“Do so immediately quickly. If she agrees, then I will take our family elders to go and see her parents. Following day, December 23, I was at Jane’s home, where I proposed marriage to her, five days after I met her for the first time on December 19.
Next day, December 24, one day to Christmas she said, “Yes.” Eleven months after I met Jane, we wed.
God has blessed with us with four children, three boys and one girl aged five to seventeen years. We have had a good marriage so far, despite many challenges. As I look back on that fateful when the two young girls in their mid 20s, walked into my business premises, I just see the finger of God in it all.
I never believed I could propose marriage to a girl the week I met her. One day I asked Jane why she accepted my proposal without courtship. Was it Christmas blues? She said I swept her off her feet. What was the quality in me that made her fall in love so quickly? She replied beaming. “You have big and dreamy eyes.”
Eric Okeke is a storyteller, editor, business writer, motivational speaker and author of the best selling book: I Want a Husband. He is one of Nigeria’s most experienced financial journalists. He has published several articles in local and foreign publications and in websites such as http://www.ezinearticles.com, www.ezinearticles.com and www.writingcareer.com. He is currently running Infomedia Company, a media consulting and information marketing company. Visit his blog at http://sallywantsahusband.blogspot.com