One.

The first time I fell in love, I was grateful and relieved.

Perhaps I wasn’t THAT ugly? A good-looking, SENIOR boy liked me. ME! He saw me and decided to love me.

I’ve always had the biggest thing for cards. On my sixteenth birthday, I was in France and he was in Nigeria preparing for WASSCE, he had sent one of my friends with 13 cards (one for every letter of my first name). I melted and I felt very loved. Still one of my best memories ever. There is something about your first love. This all-consuming fire that singes your skin but you welcome every lick of the flame.

Young, silly, raging hormones but still no one could convince me that what we shared wasn’t magical. We wrote letters, almost every day. We were always in dark corners, fiddling with each other. We had great fun.

The inevitable passage of time, him having to graduate and leave me behind ultimately ended our love. In my mind, I knew that only one of the elements as absolute as time could separate us. It always baffles me that the intensity of love can easily become the indifference of strangers. He is still my friend and he always will be.

I still remember the names I gave our unborn babies.

Two.

The second time I fell in love, I never really fell.

It was like stumbling blindly in a shallow pool. Disconcerting but I still enjoyed the somewhat illicit sensation of being with someone almost ten years older than me. I thoroughly enjoyed his company, his stylish babying and his presence. But my mind couldn’t see us very far, and in typical fashion, I was right.

This brief love taught me that they are chasms that easy going affection cannot cross. Sometimes, someone is not “The One’, no matter how hard you try to convince yourself. Love can also be very effective in blurring your vision so you cannot notice things like slight controlling tendencies that sweet sensations kept me from noticing.

This time, I never named any children.

Three.

The third time I fell in love, he was slow to catch me. But as soon as he did, I knew. This was magical, this was it. This time there was no insecurity, no hiding parts of myself, no shrinking. This time there was an expansion, my heart swelled enough to contain this immeasurable joy.

This time I stood naked, vulnerable but on fire.

This time I have not stopped laughing, I have not stopped coming. This time I have cried. This time I have crossed oceans at night, to find solace in his whispers. This time I have grown, broached difficult conversations. This time, I have adventured.

This time, I am aware of my entirety as a woman, and he is too.

This time, I wear my Feminism on my chest and he is not deterred, he matches my stride and I am always impressed with his ability to unlearn and relearn. We read together, he buys me books. He reads my work. He carries me in his mind and I know, I feel it in mine. I am so bold with this love and every gap that exists is one we work every day to bridge because this love has taught me that there is no chasm too big for love.

This time I am not stumbling. I do not even really think I am falling.

I am flying. Soaring high in the sky, fingers intertwined as we tear the midnight sky and get cosy with the scars.

You know what they say, third time’s the charm.

P.S; I do not really spend time making lists of unborn babies anymore (Law Degree and all) BUT, this my mind cooked this up;

‘Eyimuniwadun’ — This one has gladdened us/ This one has made us happy.

If the Universe ever lets us create life together, this is what that life will be. A celebration of our love and happiness. Because that is what he always means to me.

We will always have words 🤍