This is what happens in the movies…
A girl leaves a guy because he’s not well to do in life. The guy pleads with the girl not to leave him because he loves her so much. He goes on to make a lot of promises to the girl about the future. And usually ends by saying, “Don’t look at my now and leave me. My future would be brighter.” The girl still goes ahead and leave the guy because she might have found a rich guy somewhere. By the time the movie ends, the guy would be richer and the girl probably suffering somewhere. She would later come back to the guy she left and apologize to him. Few times, the guy takes her back. Most times, the guy throws her out or show the girl her pregnant wife or something.
If you’ve watched the other twin of P-Square’s latest song, “Reason With Me” you’ll understand what I’m talking about. It always happens that the girl goes back to apologize when the guy is richer.
Recently, I watched that music video on TV and it brought back a lot of memories. I was that girl who left her poor guy for someone who was richer. My story is a little bit different.
Bernard was my teacher when I was in Senior High. He was very fond of me and it showed. I was a girl trying to be pretty and needed a man’s validation for how pretty I was. When Bernard told me he wanted to date me I asked him why and he said, “Look around the class. You’re the most beautiful among the girls. I know most of the teachers want you and I want you too. So be my girlfriend.” He didn’t say it exactly like that but it was close to that. He called me the most beautiful and in fact, I’d always tried to be the most beautiful in that class.
It sounds vain and stupid now but a girl had to have some dreams. I started dating him covertly. Told nobody and showed no sign of it. I completed school and nobody knew I was dating my teacher.
I had admission to the university and we still were dating. We dated even after I’d completed university. His plan was to marry me after university. I wanted to marry him too because he was very responsible and cared a lot for me. But things changed. A lot of things changed along the way.
I found myself. I was no longer that girl who wanted to be pretty. Many years had passed but Bernard was still teaching at the same school that he found me. He made a lot of promises about leaving the teaching field and becoming a lawyer in future but after so many futures, he was still a teacher. The woman I’d become no longer wanted to be a teacher’s wife.
I wanted more from life and I was putting so much into becoming more every day but I looked behind me and all I saw was a man who had given up on a dream and settling for what was comfortable for him. I asked him a lot of times about it: “Bernard, when are you becoming the lawyer you spoke so fondly of? Have you given up on that dream already?” His answer had always been; “It’s never too late in life. I have time and I can start at any time.”
I didn’t believe that. He met me when I was only fifteen years. I was twenty-three and he still kept talking about the same thing. To me, his dream was lost.
I found a job in a logistics company. A year and a half later, my supervisor resigned and I was made to replace him. I started earning good money. That was when I started meeting awesome and flashy men. Men who came around as affluent and yet had a dream or two they were pursuing. I had a lot of proposals from these kinds of men. I got closer to a few and fell in love with Ninson.
I didn’t fall for his riches. I fell for his future. He was always pursuing higher causes and laying down plans to leave for something greater. I knew I wanted to be part of that future. It sounded exciting and full of adventure. When Ninson finally proposed to me, I asked him to give me a week to decide.
I used those days to break up with Bernard. I thought it was going to be simple but it was more than I anticipated. He cried. He begged. He even told me he was going to start law school as soon as possible. And then he dropped the classical line; “Don’t look at my now. Remember where we came from. It’s been ten years already but there are more places we could go. Don’t make a decision you’ll regret in the future.”
I responded, “You met me when I was fifteen. It was in this same room I visited ten years ago. So what now? What shows the next ten years aren’t going to be the same?”
He was crying when I was leaving his room but my mind was made up. I cried a little. He was a good man who didn’t know how to keep a relationship going with a kind like me.
I went to Ninson the next day and said yes to him. A year and a half later, we were married. Six years down the line, I’ve changed jobs thrice, lived in seven different countries, given birth to three adorable kids and have built my own company with the help of my husband.
Where is Bernard?
I attended the last Speech and Prize Giving day at my school. I saw him. He was still a teacher. He had been promoted. He was the senior tutor of the art department. When his name was mentioned to come and present an award, I couldn’t believe my ears. “Bernard is still a teacher here? After how many years?”
He got onto the stage, a few meters away from where I was seated. He delivered some sort of lousy speech and presented the award and left the stage. I felt like crying. Nothing was changed about him, except he had grown some beard that almost covers every part of his face.
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After the program, I went to shake his hands. It took him some seconds before he realized who I was. He screamed my name; “Bernice! Is that you? You look so good. Look at you. Where are you and what do you do?”
He turned my hands on the side to look at my ring. “Oh, you are married.” I responded, “Obviously.”
I went to his house with him and stayed for close to three hours talking about almost everything from our beginning. I looked at the four corners of his room and started remembering my childhood self and all the places in the room I’d walked. Nostalgic!
I left knowing, I made the right decision. But I was mostly happy with the fact that he too was happy. He told me he couldn’t leave because teaching was his calling. If he followed me, he would have missed his calling and probably not be happy as I found him.
May God keep him going, my dear Bernard.