TOYIN HAD NEVER felt as frightened and nervous as she felt two day later when she decided to visit Jerry. She would have gone the day before, but they had had tests in school and she had been so busy until evening time. Luckily the next day was a Saturday, so she had left in the morning.
She was a nervous wreck when she knocked on the door.
To say that Jerry was surprised when he opened the door would be an understatement of the year. He was astounded.
“Toyin!” He exclaimed.
“Can… can I… please come in?” Toyin stammered.
“Why not?” Jerry replied curtly.
He had gotten over his first shock of seeing her at his door and now he felt angry. Why was she here now? he thought. To humiliate and hurt him again?
“Have a seat.” He invited and sat down himself.
It occurred to him that if it was in the old days, he would have hugged her and she would be sitting on the couch with him. He pushed the thought away. No need to remember what was gone.
Toyin sat down. She was still nervous and frightened that he might not listen to her and accept her apology. In fact he was looking angry, like he was not happy to see her. Why should he be happy to see you, after how you treated him? she asked herself sadly. She felt sure that she had come too late and that he wouldn’t forgive her.
Still she must try. “Errm, well… Jerry, I’m here to say I’m sorry.” She stammered, twisting her hand.
She nodded her head. “Yes. I’m sorry for the way I treated you.” She murmured.
“Really?” Jerry asked angrily. So she wants to say sorry now?
The pain he’d been feeling these past few weeks came back with full force. He had suffered so much because of her. He had tried to forget her but couldn’t. Instead he had missed her more every day. And now she just comes over and says sorry?
“And what do you want me to say?” He demanded.
“Please, Jerry.” Toyin pleaded tearfully. “I didn’t know that Gloria was your cousin. That was…”
“Gloria?” He interrupted sharply. What was she talking about?
Toyin nodded. “Yes, Gloria. Someone told me that she was your girlfriend.” She murmured, her head bent in shame.
“Gloria my girlfriend?” Jerry asked, incredulous. “Who told you that please?”
“Well, it doesn’t matter who told me.” She was reluctant to expose Juliet because she had been begging her since that day. “The important thing is that I now know she’s your cousin.”
“Of course she’s my cousin.” Jerry laughed. “I thought you knew. I introduced you two once…”
“Yes, but you didn’t mention she was your cousin.” Toyin said quickly. Now he was laughing, it was a good time to finish the apology and earn his forgiveness. “I thought otherwise… I’m sorry.”
“And that was why you behaved like you did?” Jerry questioned. “Because you thought that Gloria was my girlfriend?”
Toyin bowed her head in shame. “Yes, that was why I behaved like that.” She answered. “I was very jealous.”
Jerry was quiet for a moment. He wasn’t angry with her anymore. But he felt disappointed. She hadn’t trusted him at all.
“Well, so now you know, what happens?” He asked harshly.
“Please forgive me, Jerry.” Toyin begged, biting her lower lip.
“This is not about forgiveness, Toyin.” Jerry answered in a sharp tone. “This is a question of trust. You didn’t trust me. Not at all.”
Tears filled Toyin’s eyes. What he said was true, she hadn’t trusted him. Her jealousy had blinded her. “I am sorry for that, Jerry. I know I should not have listened to malicious gossip. I should have talked to you when I was told about you and Gloria. I should have approached you and asked you about it.”
“Yes, that’s what you should have done.” Jerry rebuked. “Or better still, you should have known that I would never do such a thing. You should know that I am a man of my word. You should know me, Toyin.”
“I did… I do.” Toyin got up and went to his side, she knelt by his chair. “I trust you. I just got confused because I saw you coming from Gloria’s hostel room one day and later that day when you came to my room you were acting angry and rudely.”
Jerry looked at her. He remembered the incident. And that was why he’d wanted to apologise, for his rudeness. “We had some bad news in the family. One of our mothers’ brothers was sick. And to make matters worse, I was having problems with the Customs people. That was why I was angry that day.” Jerry explained.
“Oh, I’m sorry about that.” Toyin said. She unconsciously took his hand and held it. “Hope he’s feeling much better now.”
Jerry looked down at their joined hands. All of a sudden, his anger, his disappointment, everything slipped away. “Yes, he’s fine now.” He answered.
“I’m truly very sorry for my behaviour, Jerry.” Toyin apologised earnestly. “And also for mistrusting you. Please forgive me.”
“There’s nothing really to forgive here, Toyin. I wasn’t even angry with you. I was just hurt by your actions.”
“And it is for my actions that I am asking for forgiveness. For hurting you.”
Jerry sighed and shrugged. “Okay, I forgive you. So, what happens now?”
Toyin looked at him. There was no more anger on his face. He was now looking at her gently. “It all depends on you, Jerry.” She whispered.
Jerry shook his head. “No, it doesn’t, Toyin. It never did. I have always wanted one thing. Everything now depends on you.”
“On me?” Toyin asked, her heart was beginning to beat fast.
Jerry nodded and took her other hand. “Toyin, do you still love me?” He asked.
“I still love you, Jerry.” Toyin replied her eyes filling with tears. “I never stopped loving you.”
“And will you learn to trust and never doubt me again?”
“I will. I trust you and will never doubt you again.” Toyin promised.
“Then marry me.” Jerry said, holding her hands tight.
“Marry you?” Toyin was astonished. “But… do you still love me?”
Jerry chuckled. “Of course I do.” He got up and lifted Toyin up. “Toyin, you must know that you mean more to me than life itself. I love you very much.”
Tears dropped from Toyin’s eyes. “Oh Jerry.” She whispered. She couldn’t believe that she could be so lucky, so blessed by God to find such a man as Jerry.
“I love you, Toyin.” Jerry repeated, smiling gently. “And I want us to spend the rest of our lives together. So, will you marry me?”
“Oh, yes.” Toyin answered joyously flinging herself into Jerry’s arms.
They both clung together, happy to be back together. For Toyin, this was the happiest day of her life. Her forgiving lover had given her another chance at happiness and love.
THREE MONTHS LATER, they got married quietly in St. Agnes Catholic Church, Maryland, Lagos.
After the wedding, everyone stood outside congratulating the bride and bridegroom.
Jerry took another look at his beautiful wife and then kissed her full on the lips in front of everyone. He was the happiest man on earth.