Happy Valentine’s Day people! I wanted to write something a bit different from all the things we’ll be seeing today. This story is dedicated to someone very dear to my heart. I hope you enjoy it, and don’t forget to leave your comments! Have a love-filled day! ************************************* She heard the screams from the block opposite hers. Another gift delivery. She put her pillow over her head to block out the noise, but she couldn’t block out the noise of her own heart. Valentine’s day would never have the same meaning to her again. Her friends couldn’t understand why she cried and mopped around on a day when almost every girl who was “lucky” enough had a huge smile. They considered her one of the those. Annually, one admirer or more had fulfilled the duty of buying her presents and inviting her to dinner. She always turned them down. Her friends shared the loot while she nursed her pain. Rotimi added the rose as the last touch to his gift bag. Her room-mate had assured him that this would do the trick. He had been trying to ask her out for months but she had refused to budge. She was everything he had ever wanted in a woman,”wife-material” as they called her likes. He knew he was capable of taking care of her- his six-figure salary,nice and respectable background, and their common beliefs was more than enough. He really didn’t get what she found wrong with him. He was a good man, and his gift was thoughtful. But she couldn’t open up to him, and that was more than important to her. She couldn’t tell him about her past, and she couldn’t see them having a future together. Most importantly, she didn’t think her father would have approved. She still wonders every now and then whether how different things would be if he were alive. She never thought much of her mother, except when people appreciated her flawless skin and pointy nose, and she had to acknowledge the one who passed down the good genes. Her father had taught her not to hate her mother, he even made her forgive when she came back once to check on her. The image of her father on the couch, the same one that haunted her for months after his death, came back and she felt the tears. She had been thirteen at the time and she knew nothing about his heart condition. When he suddenly had an attack, she thought a glass of water would do the trick. Only when he began to gasp for breath did she realise the gravity of the situation. She alerted the neighbours but not early enough. He was dead before they could get him to the hospital. But she held on, and she prayed like she had never prayed before. God wouldn’t take her father, not yet. She didn’t have anyone else in the world that she could call hers. The doctors confirmed her fears at the emergency ward. From that moment on, everything was a haze. And several years after, so was every February 14th. This year, she was going to spend sometime at his graveyard. Talking to him always helped her to feel less guilty. Like a soothing balm. After his death, she lost interest in everything and devoted all her energy into her academics. It was the least she could do to honour her father. Sometimes she thought about marriage and how beautiful it would be, but she decided against it for fear of losing her father’s name. She didn’t think she could ever love any man the way she loved him. She was here again. Just like last year and the one before. Femi had never summoned the courage to talk to her, and he had problems of his own too. Laide. His loving wife who he lost to the cold arms of death during child-birth, lay six feet below the ground. Their son was two years today and he knew he needed to hurry if he wanted to make the party his sister was throwing for him. But he also had to be here. He still had questions, but as he watched her place the wreath on the tombstone, he felt an assurance that the answers he sought were finally beginning to surface. Dear Dad, I think I finally met a man,and I know you chose him for me. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect man. I’ve held on to you for so long and I’ve blamed myself over and over again. But now I know you’re not angry with me, infact I believe you’re up there smiling down at me. I’m glad I made you proud Daddy. I wish you were here to walk me down the aisle tomorrow, but I know you’re in a better place. I love you Daddy and no one will ever change that. Your daughter, Sumbo. P.S.: Thanks for giving me the best valentine gift ever- a husband and a best friend.