An unforgettable valentine!
Exactly a week to Valentine’s Day Biodun and Dupe were having the best of times in Biodun’s one-room apartment in Surulere when suddenly they heard a heavy knock at the door.
“Who could that be at this odd time of the night?” they chorused almost simultaneously. They took a quick glance at the wall clock. It was exactly 11.30 p.m. They disengaged immediately, “Who is that?” asked Biodun.
“Open up quickly! Open now or else!” came a guttural voice from the outside. Fear and panic gripped both of them. They were still wondering about the unfolding drama when they heard the heavy knock again, but no more threatening.
“Biodun! Open the door or we’ll break it down!” sounded another husky voice. Biodun knew he was in for big trouble! The manly voices he was hearing were very unfamiliar to him. They were outright strange voices. He staggered up tremblingly, wore his trousers and moved hesitantly towards the door. ‘How did they know my name?’ he thought questioningly. He was sweating profusely. And with trembling hands, he opened the door. But alas, on opening the door what happened was better imagined. Rushing in with clubs and daggers were four hefty-looking men; the fifth man was Dupe’s father, an elderly man in his early 60s.
“You put my daughter in the family way!” he thundered, “I’ve always warned you to leave my daughter alone! You’ll pay for this! Now, beat him…beat him!”
“But dad…dad…oh why!” Dupe said amid tears. Biodun was grabbed by one of the four men, who looked exactly like a gorilla. He gave him a terrible slap on the cheek, which sent Biodun reeling on the floor. Then the beating started properly without wasting time. About two men held Biodun’s legs and hands while the other two did jungle justice on him. They tore his clothes and gave him the beating of his life. The clubs were used on him and they cut him with their daggers. Blood was all over him within five minutes of the merciless beating.
“Help…help…help!” cried Biodun in excruciating pains.
“Please…dad…please…don’t let them kill him…” begged Dupe, but her dad was adamant. Then the next moment it seemed Biodun was about to die. The men left him thinking he was dead but he suddenly jerked and took to his heels. He escaped through the window. Two men followed after him instantly. Since this tragic drama started, most of the neighbours, who were fast asleep, had woken up and were banging the door and pleading on behalf of Biodun, but Dupe’s dad was so angry that he turned deaf ears to their pleas. About some few minutes later the two men came back, dragging Biodun along in a pool of blood. That same midnight, Biodun was taken to the police station by Dupe’s dad, and a false accusation of theft was levelled against him. He was remanded in prison custody after a bribe of N10,000 was given to the District Police Officer.
Biodun Ayoola and Dupe Famakin had been lovers for the past five years. Biodun was a graduate of Accountancy from Auchi Polytechnic, while Dupe was a final year student of Agricultural Science at the same institution. They fell in love while Biodun was still in the school. Biodun had been out of school now, but yet to get a job for the past two years. Dupe’s father, Chief Famakin, was a business mogul. He had chains of companies all over the country. He had invested a lot in Dupe’s education and social life. He had a lofty dream for his daughter whom he cherished so much. He wanted her to marry from the elite, the super-rich and powerful. He knew Biodun to be a very poor lover boy, who lost his parents while still very young. Dupe, actually, was the person financing Biodun throughout his studies. She was so deeply in love with Biodun that she wouldn’t mind to go hungry so far Biodun was okay. Biodun too was really in love with Dupe. He had no other girlfriend in the school except her. They were both known in school for their mutual romance.
Chief Famakin had someone else in mind to marry his daughter. He was Alhaji Abdulahi Dongo, his business partner. Though, Alhaji Abdulahi had about three wives, Chief Famakin was bent on giving out the hand of his only daughter to him as the fourth wife. Dupe herself had bluntly refused all entreaties and moves by her dad, but chief was a strict disciplinarian, who wanted his orders obeyed by his household. Dupe had vowed to die than marry Alhaji Dongo. Dupe’s mum was based in London, overseeing one of her husband’s business interests there. Before Dupe’s mum travelled to London a year ago she showed sincere acceptance for Biodun regarding their relationship. She’d always phone and advice her daughter to marry the young, handsome Biodun and forget about Alhaji Dongo, who was in his 50s.
It was three days to Valentine’s Day, and Biodun was still in the cell. Dupe would visit him in the morning with food and water – the same in the afternoon and evening. The prison inmates, who had maltreated Biodun by beating him to a state of coma the first day he was put in the cell, were now lenient with him and pitied him when he narrated what actually brought him to the prison. They took pity on him. He was now lean and looked haggard. He had bruises on his body. Dupe would look at him with the deepest feeling of sympathy immediately she set eyes on him. Dupe was now two months pregnant for Biodun and her dad had vowed to kill him for putting his daughter in the family way.
Dupe had been contriving plans to elope with Biodun. She was getting impatient every day. The sordid condition of Biodun was making her lose sleep and she became very unhappy with her dad and everybody at home. But her dad was still adamant in spite of her daughter’s condition. Dupe then phoned her mum and gave a detailed account of what happened. She demanded for about £5,000 and her mum sent the money through a friend coming to Nigeria. She got the money on Valentine’s eve. She bailed her fiancé from prison and with the money they took the next available flight to Cross River State to continue their romance adventure there.
During the one-hour flight to Cross River State, inside the airplane, Dupe unzipped her bag and brought out
a piece of letter, which Biodun had written her two months ago. The letter reads:
“How’s your studies and everything? I think by now you should have finished your final papers and made preparations to come home. Thanks for all you did in my life. I had to write you ‘cos it’s you and only you that’s occupying my thoughts at the moment. Dupe darling, I must confess nobody can take your place in my heart.
“You’ve never let me for once be in doubt as to the sincerity and true love you have for me since all these years we’ve been together. You know something, the very first time I saw you I thought I was seeing an angel…and indeed you’re an angel! Your personal charm and charisma befuddled my sense of judgment…you’re such a seraph…a being from the celestial realm. How actually am I going to describe you…is it your spotless skin, your sparkling white teeth or your eyes…those charming white eyes, and your physique? Everything about you makes my heart go bounding hither and thither. I love you with every ounce of blood in my veins. Dupsy darling, I can climb the highest mountains because of you and I can swim the deepest ocean for your sake. I know you feel the same way as I do. Your seraphic beauty is something only true, loving eyes can see. I’m earnestly craving and praying for the day you’d bear me a child and I’ll become a fulfilled man. Dupsy darling, I promise you’ll never have cause to regret ever falling in love with me…all I need from you is your usual sincere love, understanding and a caring heart and our dreams would come true through divine blessing. I’ll be expecting your reply as soon as possible.
Having finished reading the last lines, Dupe spoke softly: “I love you, Biodun. No one else in this world can take your place in my heart. All the money in this world cannot make me change my opinion because you’re such a caring and loving man…Oh, your tender kisses are what I can’t resist…”
Biodun looked deep into her eyes and replied: “Darling, I love you, too…I had to go through all these to really prove that I love you…more than words could express and I know you really love me also…there’s no life without you…”
For a moment they didn’t utter a word, the message was all over them. They had a passionate kiss under the envious eyes of passengers, a very deep and fervent kiss to mark Valentine’s Day. After disembarking, they had a lovely and exciting time at the Obudu cattle ranch, enjoying the bliss of Valentine month. Dupe’s dad later forgave Biodun and agreed to let his daughter marry the young and handsome man. Dupe was very happy, ditto for her fiancé. All these happened because of the mood of the month that enveloped the whole world.