He’s the One

By Akidi Priscilla

Jacky was a nursery-school teacher from a well-respected family in Gulu. She was renowned for her beauty, and soon attracted potential suitors. She was eighteen years old, but her wishes were not the same as other girls her age. She never cared about her looks or the way she dressed. She never wanted any love from a man, and neither did she feel any romantic attraction to a man, in part because of the way her mother was.

Her mother went through a lot before marrying. She was so tough on Jacky because she wanted her daughter to marry a rich man; she never gave her the freedom to be around boys. Jacky’s mother married into a rich family to escape poverty. She grew up poor, to the extent of moving from one door to another begging for food to eat. Worst of all, she first married a poor man who only knew how to drink and beat her every time he was drunk. The little money she would gather, working in people’s gardens, was always taken by her husband. He would go get drunk, leaving his wife with no money for food. She would pray everyday, hoping to find a rich man who could take care of her; because of the trauma inflicted on her by her husband, she believed that rich people would be gentle and caring. Every passing day, she would cry and lament, pledging that no child who came out of her womb would ever go through anything like she did.

Soon, her poor husband died of liver cancer due to excessive alcohol he had been consuming. Now she was completely alone, again. Her life was miserable until one day, as she was begging on the streets, she met the man who completely changed her life and gave her a new beginning, a life that she had always dreamt of. He was wealthy and they married and she soon gave birth to Jacky. Jacky’s mother swore that all her children would marry into rich families no matter what. She felt that getting married to a rich man was the only path for a woman’s survival.

Jacky’s friends always pressured her to get a boyfriend from among her suitors. Jacky ignored them because she knew that those were not the type of men her mother would accept. But she eventually fell in love with  Adrian, an older lawyer who lived nearby. He captured her heart at first sight. Adrian was the total opposite of the man her mother wanted her to end up with, but she couldn’t resist him. With him, she was just madness. There was something about him that made her a child again. She would dress to impress him whenever he was around. She would blush over any little compliment made by Adrian. Whenever she made plans to meet up with Adrian, she wouldn’t miss it for anything, not even her mum sending her out on an errand. She was so loud and happy, always with a smile on her face.

Adrian never judged her. He was a fiery person, as well. But with her, he would mellow down to his sweetest. He would tolerate all her dramas, all her mood swings. She would pull his cheeks, mess up his hair, and kiss him all over, with or without people staring at them. She would even slap his shoulders, for fun. But he knew why she was that crazy with him. She felt safe with him.

She always felt like doing more, expecting more, and stretching the line with him, because she knew that she had that right—he only belonged to her, and she had never felt that kind of claim over someone else. She would start an argument with him for no reason. He too would jump into that trap and have silly arguments for hours. She might ask funny questions of Adrian, like had he ever been with another girl? And if he said yes, the war grew from there, until Adrian apologized. They were both strong headed, so things heated up in a minute, and Adrian would be the one to end it with a simple word sorry. Then he would take a deep breath and smile at her, just smile. He would hold her hand and pour love from his eyes into hers. She would pretend to fight more, but she would soon burst into laughter and blushing at his loving eye contact. They were like that—too stupid, and too much in love.

He was a hard man to crack, but she could make him blush. She could make him shy. She could make him nervous. She was a dominating tigress, and he was no meek lamb. He too had that roar of a tiger. But she tamed him with love and sweet words that she would whisper in his ear: “Darling, I may not tell you this everyday but you mean the world to me. My love for you only grows stronger with every passing day.” Adrian liked that feeling, and he loved hearing those words. In fact, he would soften on hearing the words and whisper back into her ear, “my love, I promise I will love you until my last breath. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me. I thank God for every breath I take because I take it thinking of you.” He always let her win their silly battles, like the minor arguments over who’s the best in class.

Adrian always made her feel that he was hers. He had to endure and indulge her tantrums. It got frustrating at times. But whenever he was about to lose his temper, she made her innocent puppy face. And within a few seconds, he would cool down and hold her hand in a squeeze. That was their sorry. That was their I understand. She did a million things in a day that would cause another man to leave. But then she would do or say something so sweet that he would cling on to her the way a little kid holds onto his mom in a wild crowd. They were weird. But they were pure.

Despite the strong love and connection between the two, Jacky’s mother didn’t approve of the relationship. Adrian was penniless and older than Jacky; her dream was to have Jacky marry a rich man. She gave them a really hard time, but Jacky never cared about her mother’s opinion. Jacky’s mother thought Jacky she deserved a better partner, not a penniless lawyer who was older than her. She tried to plot Jacky against Adrian and when that didn’t work she forbid Jacky from seeing him; but that didn’t work either. Jacky was dead-set on Adrian, regardless of her mothers wishes.

Out of rage, Jacky’s mother locked up Jacky in a tiny little room in the basement, as dark as the night. The only option her mother gave her to gain freedom was to give up her love of Adrian; but she didn’t. When she refused, her mother left her in the room for many days, tied up, and would only send her enough food and water to survive.

Weeks went by and Jacky’s mother kept on asking her to give up her love if she wanted her freedom, back but she refused. Adrian kept on looking and asking where was the love of his love, but all in vain. He never gave up and just kept on looking. In the end, Jacky became ill; her mother had to get her out of the basement to get her treatment. At that point, Jacky’s mother realized that nothing she could do would stop Jacky from loving Adrian. She had no choice but to accept their relationship, unless she wanted to bury her daughter. Finally, Adrian and Jacky were reunited.

5 October, 2023