“Will you marry me?”
This is a question that most girls grow up longing to be asked one day and well … a question that almost every boy dreads to confess one day.
It is so strange how the sexes have sharply different opinions about marriage from toddler days till adulthood. I have never understood why males always fear falling in love or always fear the thought of marriage.
Maybe it is all in my bias as a lady to always look at marriage as an interesting part of life.
Today’s story is very entertaining and slightly embarrassing on my part to reveal. But it was going to be revealed at some point in my life anyway.
This is about my very first marriage proposal. Yes, I said it; a marriage proposal.
You will be laughing at the end of this story.
It was a lovely weekday morning in the year 1996. I was 8years old. (Now you all know my age)
The birds were chirping and the frosty morning air was slowly warming up as the sun rose. The flowers in the nearby gardens had just bloomed, perhaps saying a little hello to the golden sun. The leaves were studded with diamond-like dew; maybe a teaser on what was to happen later in the morning. Nature seemed to be flattering me that day.
My father had just walked me to school with my elder sister also gripping his other hand. These were the days when Kenyan roads were swarmed with the famous Nissan Sunny and Toyota Corolla (90s models) and Dad dared to be different (male ego) by saving-up for a new Peugeot model he had fancied even if it meant using public transport (stagecoach buses) for a little longer.
Oh! The good-old-days…
After our teachers welcomed us to school at the gate, he said a quick hello to the teachers, a quick goodbye to us and rushed for work. Mum was not around as she was a young nurse on night duty and was probably heading home from work at that time.
I was so happy to be reunited with my friends for another day of fun (back when school was fun and not torturous). I headed for class, hugged my friends, we gathered to discuss shows we had watched the day before, and displayed what we had carried for break and booked partners to exchange food with.
Suddenly, things got interesting.
The hunk of the class walked in. Let us call him William. The world seemed to have stopped. Everything went in slow motion. There was a tiny twinkle in his eyes, his smile was so wide and teeth so white, his hair all curly and black and he always smelled so good for his age.
For an eight-year-old this seemed like a fairytale moment. You know the part where he chooses that fair lady to sit next to for the day. Everyday, girls would spruce themselves up just for him. Yes, I admit, me too, but just a little.
I had two close friends and we were always together everywhere. We always ogled at William because he just looked so perfect. After the slow-motion moment for William things went back to normal when his crew of boys followed him into the class.
One of them was a brother to my close friend. They were Sudanese and had lived for quite some time in Kenya after escaping war back in their country.
So the moment came when William chose to pick the table he was to be seated for the day. He chose to sit on table A instead of table B where I was seated with my friends. Sadly, his Sudanese friend had to separate from the crew; let us call him Ding and his sister Dong.
Ding came and sat next to me as I was seated next to his sister and table A was already full.
Then word spread in class through whispers that a boy was to propose to a girl in class that day. Tension filled the air even during the morning class period. Girls tried their best to answer questions whenever the teacher asked any.
Even worse, random strutting out of class to visit the little-girls’-room just to catch the attention of William became the main focus during class and not the teacher.
As soon as the bell rung for break time, tension went up again. Girls gathered to discuss the proposal we had heard about. Only time would tell what was just about to happen.
I think I had a soundtrack in my mind as William slowly walked to my table and reached-out for something in his pocket. My mind went blank and my friends and I fidgeted waiting to see what was about to happen.
William stopped next to me and gave the item to Ding.
More confusion followed.
Then came the moment when William started talking and he said, “Ding has something to say…”
This is the part when the music loses key and stops playing. “Ding?”I said in hesitation. Then came the moment when he asked me to be his girlfriend. I was lost for words…Not!
I felt so cheated and was so annoyed. In my mind I wished that it were a silly boy-joke. I even prayed inside that it were really a joke.
Suddenly, he changed the question and asked for my hand in marriage. He removed something from his pocket and showed me.
As I was still trying to absorb the shock, Ding opened the matchbox and there was a golden ring inside. Everyone was dumbfounded as to what Ding was trying to achieve.
He pulled it out and asked, “Will you marry me?”
What was an eight-year-old girl supposed to say at this point? The answer is quite obvious; No!
Unfortunately for Ding, the teacher walked into class and got wind of the proposal. She told him to show her what he had in his hand and she was shocked that the boy had carried a pure golden ring in a matchbox from home to school. She called him to her office and they stayed there for quite some time. Ding came back sad, his eyes red and teary.
Apparently, the ring was his mother’s and he had stolen it to bring it to school. It was also untoward that his parents came to the teacher’s office and disciplined him for stealing.
As soon as the teacher came to class, she told me to stand up and sit on table A. She told a certain girl to stand up and replace me on table B. The typical arrangement in Kenyan primary schools at that time was the boy-girl-boy-girl type.
Ding’s day went gloomy and so did his sister’s. Dong later announced that she quit being my friend because I had rejected her brother.
But my day was not over yet…
I was told to sit right next to William for the rest of the day. I was so happy!
The good news is that since that day, we maintained our sitting positions for the rest of the year in school.
Simply put; he’s was just a boy and I was just a girl, can I make it any more obvious?
But that story ends there as ladies should not kiss and tell it all…
The moral of the story is that no matter how much you want something, never want it too bad as it will not always turn out as you plan. The best thing is to just expect the best but do not get obsessed in the process.
I was a little girl and much as I knew that I really liked that boy and that there were other prettier girls in the class who William chose to sit next to daily; I did not let obsession get its way. I had to be real and accept the fact that William would only chose one girl that my not be me.
This applies in many areas of life; jobs, relationships and even short-term and long-term life goals. This does not mean that you stop dreaming or expecting the best. Go for the best but control how much time and energy you put into chasing after the best.
Just do your best and let fate take its course. The very best is yet to come…
I just pray that I never see a ring in a matchbox ever!