Every juicy fruit was once only a beautiful flower whose pollination made the difference. Every long journey was once only a stride but the voyager made the difference! For us, love was the divine pollen grain and God’s grace made the difference.
We first met in Nairobi during a church function back in 2014. A good friend of mine nudged me,
“Maurice, look at that girl!”
At that first glance, I beheld a Queen in her Royal Majesty! She was standing at the outer upper corner of the sanctuary, not too far from the main entrance, perhaps having a good chat with two friends. She rocked a greenish African print skirt with a black short sleeved blouse. Her hair was so black, so rich and so long I mistook it for those Brazilian things in African markets – I was wrong. Before I knew it, I was staring. Naturally, our eyes met. I didn’t know whether to grin or smile, so I assumed I didn’t see her. But that was the most daunting assumption of my life. How do you assume nothing has happened when you have just seen an angel only short of wings? Her eyes spelt deep calmness laced with kindness. she was a bit laid back but her demeanor was all gracious. She had this thick, pink lower lip that formed a smoothly curved based for the upper one, and which perfectly matched her light skin tone. She wasn’t loud, seemed to listen more than talk. Impressive, I chuckled. You wouldn’t easily notice her except for her stunningly radiant beauty that betrayed her quietude before the sons of men.
My jaw dropped, but in keeping with good church manners (oh religion!), I maintained my cool and shot back at my pal,
“Ah stop it.”
She laughed and let me be.
Later, my pal and her hubby revisited the discussion about this girl whose name I didn’t even know (come to think of it, such friends are heavenly to say the least). Times without number, I quietly and secretly knelt and asked God to allow me to chance upon her again. Our next two meetings would be in a different church, both unplanned. But why church? I gave excuses for not making the first move. Church is not the place to ask girls their names and tell them that you like them, I rationalized. Maurice is the confident masculine guy oozing bravado and class. But he failed to make the move not once but thrice… damn! There was something unusual about this lady. There is.
I embarked on what me and my boys love to call “Chapter Two: Literature Review” and my findings were as good as what’s in your mind. Fast forward, we became the best of friends under the sun. Not because the difference between our names was only ‘c’ and ‘n’. Not because our follower siblings shared both names. Not because our mothers both shared middle names, neither was it because it took us so long to become friends, but as we later found out, our friendship was authentic because we shared so much in common, it was incredible. Later she confessed that she had been patiently praying that I make the first move and if I didn’t within her timeline, she would! Brothers, that which thine hand findeth to do, to it now, but as my favorite author puts it, make haste slowly. I digress.
In my mind, the search had officially come to a definitive halt, because it marked the beginning of a new phase. We had become so close we would take offense if the other person didn’t call, whole day. Time was now ripe to press the next button, to dial the next key. Someone had to take risks. Serious risks. It was a do or die kind of thing. Come with me…
After sharing my plans to propose with a very close friend of mine, let’s call her Dee, we planned that we would host a surprise dinner just for Her Majesty at an exclusive upmarket place within the city and pop the ring on one knee. Stakes were high, almost everything was in place, when I an invite came my way to attend an exclusive wedding reception of Tom and Eileen, another great pair of friends. This was to go down at Mount Kenya Safari Club. When I shared with Tom I was planning to pop the ring, he said, man come do it there! What better place would I have done this! I exclaimed. So we abandoned the initial plan and took this memorable event 194 kilometers away from Nairobi.
A mild Sunday morning in Nanyuki town. The Fairmont, Mount Kenya Safari Club, an exquisitely agonizing scenery. Delicately tranquil atmospheric freshness hovering over the lush green grass at the very foot of legendary Mount Kenya. Her Majesty and myself are attending the exclusive wedding reception in the company of lots of mutual friends. Our hosts know the plan only too well but The Queen knows nothing about what’s about to befall her. I get a bit jittery and it worries her. I assure her all is well, isn’t this all they usually want to hear?
Then, kaboom! a set back sets in. The radiant red roses I had carried from Nairobi have been so badly damaged that if they were a car, the insurance company would dread compensating! I ask my bros Mandela and Barry to keep her busy as I run around in pursuit of fresh Nanyuki flowers. You should’ve seen the determination on your boy’s face! At the reception, I am quickly linked to the hotel florist and I’m sorted, just like that. Now the PowerPoint slides are ready, each with an unique love line and her pictures. The live band vocalists are ready to back me up as I sing Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years. I am supposed to sing all the way to the podium and end up on my knees like the Prince of Bondo, with the piece of silver and Tanzanite diamonds on my hands, in a scarlet velvet holder. The plot thickens.
Just before the cake is cut, the newly wedded couple takes the stage and Tom grabs the mic. He announces a surprise raffle game (don’t fall for it, it was all a prank). This was his idea, I just danced to his tune. Interesting guy!
“There can only be one winner and whoever the lucky winner will be, we have a great gift for them,” declares Tom.
By this time, I had excused myself to the ‘gents’ when in reality I was hiding with a mic at the main entrance, far away from the crowd, gathering every ounce of courage.
Tom called a false name intentionally, someone who had left. Then he did one more round of raffle, this time round calling out none but Her Majesty, The Queen. Excited to be the lucky winner whilst also wondering what this gift may be, she dashed to the podium. It was my turn to swing into action. Your boy didn’t disappoint. She whispered Yes, then screamed, Yes!! I was the gift.
The traditional ceremony followed afterwards and on 15.10.17, we said our vows in the presence of God, friends and family. For us, it has been a long, intriguing and thrilling voyage which is not about to end soon. With all the challenges and hurdles over which we have had to hop, sometimes we wonder how exactly we got this far. But looking back, we both know it could only be God’s grace. Glory to His name!
It is now our humble honor to use this peace to convey special gratitude to you our pastors, elders, counselors, loving parents and siblings, families, colleagues, committee, friends and the bridal party for the prayers, support, counsels and sacrifices you made to deliver 15.10.17. You guys stopped at nothing. We love you so dearly.
To my charming wife, Maurine, Kenny Rodgers says it for me;
I’d die before I’d damage, this union we have made
The vows go unbroken, and you still know I do
Love, keep and honor, always true to you
But King Solomon caps it best;
Set me as a seal upon your heart – Song of Songs 8:6