Romance Novels

I started reading romance novels from junior secondary school. At the time, I read them because it filled my lazy hours, then I read them because there were many of them available and I was a fast reader.

When I got to senior secondary however, I started reading the novels because I wanted what the characters had: the fiery chemistry, the love story, the happily ever after.

Nora Roberts became a fairy god-mother, she could make any story possible: between a warrior and a debutante; between royalty and peasantry; between an idealist and a realist; between two people of totally different worlds. Knights in shiny armours and damsels in distress.

And so I began to dream.

That somehow, I would find a teenager like myself that would sweep me off my feet. As tomboyish as I was, I chose to believe that there was someone who would be interested in me enough to make me want to exchange my bounce for a swirl.

I moved from Nora Roberts to Harlequin to Mills and Boons to every other name possible. I began to look for books by certain people instead of the publishing company. It became a sacred duty to read a romance novel with awe and reverence.

Years after, as I write this, I’m reading a romance Novel by Nora Roberts, one of her ‘two-in-one’s. It strikes me that the stories can be so different, yet so the same: there is always a meeting point, then a conflict, then a resolution. 

I take it upon myself now to wonder if they ever make it to the end or they join the statistics of divorced couples in the world. But of course, I’ll never know.

I don’t know when I lost the reverence for romance novels, maybe it was when I raised my head and decided to write one for myself: one with more realism than dreams.

Or maybe it was when I decided that my Knight had to be excellent for me, and not just one whose character was tailored after a ‘Hunter Brown’ or a ‘Shade Clyde’ or some other name that had no connection with the roots I constantly try to relate to.

I will write my own romance story. After all, I have started writing letters to my future husband.

Kiss Me

I had to look into the dictionary to fine a word to aptly represent the way I think in my head. I found this:

I got close to someone. We bonded over intellectual property- the beauty in poetry, the way books made you travel through time, the way a word could mean a thousand things. As time went by, he saw through me; past the English, the sarcasm, the wit. He saw the colour of polish on my nails and the hair I never seemed pressed to braid.

We would take walks on long roads and dance in the middle when no car was passing. Then we would lie in the middle of the road when no one was watching. We began to have inside jokes- the ones only both of us understood. We would race our shadows and see who could jump higher to cut leaves from trees. He called it aimless wandering. 

After our walk, we would run under the arcs beside the Senate building and then hide between the walls, because the regular people were asleep or reading- and we were seizing the moment.

It was during one of those times, after we sat down on a slab at the motion ground, sharing a bottle of coke and our very different music playlists, that he kissed me. It was brief, it was polite, it was a question. I answered.

The next time, after our round of aimless wandering, we got to the arc, then sat on the slab. And the next thing I heard was my voice. Kiss me.

I Write Letters To My Future Husband

For the past couple of years, I have written letters to my husband- whom I don’t know, haven’t met (or maybe we have met, I don’t know) and have no clue about. I would tell him what is happening to me, what I feel, and how I think I would feel when it’s over.

I think of names to call him that are not usual, maybe something Hispanic *abeg+eye roll* or French- what with French being synonymous to love. If a name could be worn out, I think Nigerians would be on the A-list of ‘wear-out’ers. 

From Darling, sweetheart, honey, to mama Amaka, papa Amaka, that has been the norm, I tell my husband I would like to call him something different, and hope that he calls me something different too.

Not like: ‘hey, something different, come see this’ sic.

I want him to know me from when I’m growing up, I want him to feel the difference in my thoughts as I grow, evident in every letter I write. 

I let him know about my devotion to him, because I love him. Because he’s my friend.

I number the letters too, so that he’ll know the sequence in which I write them.

In every one I write, I’m honest, no disguises, no pretence, just me: stripped of all the mind decoration, so that I can say what is on my mind as it comes, after all, we would be together for the rest of our lives.

I write letters to my future husband, and I always end them with ‘yours, always’.