Published on February 15th, 2013 | by Guest39
The Love Letters: Letter #9
LETTER #9: Like Fine Wine (1/2)
Rotimi poured his glass full after filling his wife’s glass. He sat opposite her on the table so it was easy to watch her reaction as the pungent alcohol hit her system. She was not a drinker (doctor’s orders) but this was a red letter day, a diamond jubilee marriage anniversary. He had insisted they be alone and have no party to mark the event. Besides, their son Temi had just woken up from a coma and was still recovering in the hospital. This was strictly between Emem and him.
“You know, this wine was bottled the year we got married.” Rotimi declared in his semi-question, swirling his glass inadvertently with his mock imitation of a trembling old man. Fact was he had been a passionate sportsman almost into his sixties and it still showed in the quick straight movement of his lean, tall frame.
Emem regarded him in mock suspicion. Looking back in her mind, she marveled at just how much play was able to indicate the level of their relationship, whether it was steady or unsure. Those times he had seemed distant and distracted, there would be no teasing or mocking. And those times she was quietly resenting him, she would plain be unable to respond to his playful overtures. If only they had learned to trust this litmus test earlier and resolve issues as quickly as they came up.
She spoke up finally, “So how far my wedding vow renewals? Am I expected to beg for you to fulfill your promises?”
“Oh please!”, his riposte was quick, “Have you even written your own? I wrote mine five years ago in preparation for this day!” With that, Rotimi stood up on his cane and set off for the bedroom to fetch the bone of contention, the letter that contained the words which would serve as his wedding vow renewal to his wife.
When he got back, she was pretending to have fallen asleep. His mouth hung open until she peeped through a half open eyelid and burst into laughter upon seeing his look of bewilderment. With a “You got me there” smile, he dropped his cane, remained standing and began to read…
My Dear, Beloved Emem,
If you’re reading this, it means one of three things:
- I am late and you were given the copy of this letter in my will documents
- It’s our 50th wedding anniversary and we are fulfilling our promise to read our wedding renewal vows out loud to each other
- You accidentally found this letter in our wedding album (Gosh you nosy Parker!)
Emem darling, do you remember that first night after our wedding when we held hands naked in the bedroom to enact our Adam-and-Eve style private wedding? You suggested that to give us an opportunity to say to each other all the intimate things we couldn’t say in public and I half-heartedly agreed. I thought myself then to be more a man of action than a man of many words so I preferred to let my actions speak for me.
But now, fifty years down the line, having gone the exact opposite direction as my so-called firm beliefs so many times, here I am writing this letter eagerly as evidence that even if I were not always able to act out my beliefs, at least I once held them firmly.
If I knew then what I know now, my wedding vows that first night would have read thus:
I, Rotimi Ade-Williams, take you, Emem Ade-Williams,
to be my lawfully wedded wife,
Co-conspirator, co-pilot, co-mastermind, romantic interest, bed mate, flat mate, personal assistant, confidential secretary, business partner, cheerleader, cheerer upper, and best friend
to have and to hold,
To have you like my tongue has saliva, to hold you like I hold my last breath, to have you to roll over and smile at in bed, to hold you like a ship holds her anchor (or vice versa), to have you like my body has hair, to hold you like your skin holds your body, to have you like a desert has sand, to hold you like my chest holds my heart;
from this day forward,
Forward it will be, not backwards in unforgiveness and malice or in using the past offences to judge you, and definitely not sideways in pursuit of other goals that turn me aside and away from what we are to share,
for better, for worse,
For better days and worse days, bad hair days and photogenic days, lazy vacations and sleepless nights, baby food and school fees, sweet babies and rebellious teens, ballooning bodies and shrinking parts, sunny tropical sunsets and cold winter mornings.
for richer, for poorer,
Through promotion and redundancy, business boom and bust, hospital bills and hotel bills, mortgage and rent payments, credit alerts and devilish direct debit deductions;
in sickness and in health,
In vibrant youth or cancer induced weakness, in sexy curves and breast implants, in red blooded lust and stress/age induced loss of libido, in youthful panache and graceful menarche,
until death do us part.
Whichever one of us goes first, it no longer matters because after all this time even death cannot do more than part us physically. I already carry you in my heart, your smile, your dreams, your tears, your happiness and your eyes, all indelibly burned into my soul.
Thank you, darling Emem,
for standing by me through it all.