“All passengers flying to Edmonton are kindly requested to go to the departures lounge” a gentle voice blasted from the speakers.
“That’s me,” I managed to whisper into her ears as she tightened her grip. Not too long ago we promised the other we wouldn’t cry when it was time for me to leave. Clearly, our watering eyes didn’t get the memo. This is the first time in a very very long time my African Bead and I would live apart and I didn’t know how long we could survive. To make matters worse than they already are, tomorrow will be exactly one year since we made ‘us’ official. Since it’s our first ever anniversary, I don’t know whether or not she’ll want it to be a big deal – considering the fact that we were practically together long before the whole official ‘thingy’. But then just in case settling for something simple blows up in my face, I needed to have a backup plan. And then this happened.
When Jim first told me about his dad wanting him to come live with him all the way up in Canada, I was excited for him. More excited than he was even. And then I tried to remember how often his dad gets to come visit Ghana. My excitement abruptly died. Not once, since I met Jim have I ever got to see his father. We hardly even remembered to talk about him. Well I do want to ask about how he’s faring from time to time but I never did want to risk Jim getting all moody. It’s hard to get him out of his thoughts once he drowns in them. What I know for sure though is that his mum and he really miss their old man. So you can understand why I was excited for Jim. It’s been way too long since he last saw his dad. But I don’t know how to live on my own anymore. I have grown so used to ‘our life’ that thinking about my life as an individual whole has become impossible. And although he’s going for just (not really just just, but you get the point) 3 months, I bet it will feel longer. I’ll be worried if it didn’t.
Now on board the plane, I can’t stop thinking about how short my goodbyes were. “You suck at saying goodbyes,” my inner voice accused. I couldn’t argue with the little red-horned version of me on my left shoulder. The dude is right. I really am not too vocal when it comes so saying goodbyes. It shouldn’t be easy for anybody if you ask me. I was in for a 20 hour flight so I might as well come to terms with it. The last thing I want is to beat myself up for something that didn’t have any grave consequences whatsoever. It was decided; now I rest. After whispering a ‘Grant me safe passage’ for the 20th time since the airport, I shut my eyes.
My eyes flung open. It’s midnight, exactly 6 hours since Jim left and I could not sleep. Typical! “Looks like it’s just you and me, Mr. Tedowski,” I said pulling the teddy bear Jim got me for last year’s Valentine’s. I cuddled the teddy bear and stared wide-eyed at the wall. Before I knew it, it was morning. Mom came into my room and greeted cheerfully while slowly drawing the curtains. Curious to know what had her so excited,I stopped pretending to be asleep and sat up. I stared narrowed-eyed at her unusually very happy self and waited for her to break the ice. As if she read my mind, she started, “Do you know what day today is?!” I would have told her that it was Saturday; the first day without the love of my life, but I let her tell me. “Today!! Is!! Yours!! And Jim’s!! First Year Anniversary!!!!” mum yelled. My eyes widened with a mixture of gratitude, sorrow and excitement when I realised it really was. I climbed out of bed and embraced mum as we jumped up and down in the centre of the room. This was the first time I had ever been with somebody for a whole year so I totally went crazy. “Oh no, mum, what do I give Jim now? He’s so far away.” Mum sat me down and explained that when two people are in love, gifts and all really have little or no impacts on their relationship and that Jim would want more to hear from me than receive some gift. “…..so go freshen up and let’s go shop for some new clothes for ourselves. Jim would land in some 8 hours and then you two can Face Time, Dear,” mum advised. I nodded an okay and headed for the bathroom.
Coming out of the second shop, mum and I had our hands wrapped around each other’s. We hardly had any time for an all girls outing because I had school and she, work. The summer break is just what we needed to cool off after months of hard work. And now that Jim isn’t here, she probably wants to keep me company. I can’t wait for her to start pampering me. Hehe, if it ever will get there. Certain that my wardrobe was completely up to date, we decided to leave the mall for home. I mean that’s what happens after we go out to shop, home. But mum had other plans.
“This isn’t the way home,” I said frowning. “Mum, where are we headed?” I asked. My question fell on deaf ears and it was very clear that she wasn’t ready to tell. “Okay fine, I can wait till we get to wherever it is you’re taking us,” I blurted hoping the ‘I don’t care’ card would get me an answer. She didn’t mouth a word.
I got out of mum’s car when she parked it and she did same. After checking manually that the doors were all knocked, we made our way towards the entrance of the building. I honestly didn’t know what it was mum had to do at the vet’s but I was about to find out. After waiting for mum for a while at the reception like she said to do, she finally came back. But she didn’t come alone, no! She came with the cutest little thing I had seen all year. “Oh my gosh!!!!!!!” I yelled excitedly. “Who do we have here?!!!” I continued as I knelt down to play with the all white with traces of light brown puppy. Mum instructed that I look at the collar of the pup to know it’s name. Tears welled up my eyes and I bit my lip so hard. It read:
“♥This is Paws, our anniversary gift. He’s cute as
hell heaven but he sure would protect you while I’m gone. I love you Imani.♥”