Unconditional Love Chapter 2

By Triphonia Julius

Their relationship started on a good note. Nina broke the good news to her parents while eating dinner at a big table. Her mother cooked her favorite dish of rice and Chambo, the fish that is only found in Lake Malawi. Her father was happy because when Nina was happy, he was also happy. However, her mother was not happy.

Nina’s mother said, “My lovely daughter, I am against your relationship with Mr. Grey, because I have that sense in my mind that he will betray you in the future. Please pass me the table salt.”

“That is impossible!” Nina replied, while giving her mother the bottle.

Her mother continued, “I also heard from other people that rich people are very dishonest, especially when they marry a daughter from a poor family.” She began to shout. “Please!” Please! I have folded my hands, begging you, my daughter! Don’t marry him!” She almost choked on Chambo’s thorn while still eating.

Nina said, “Mother, what is your problem?” Nina squeezed her face; she was not happy with her mother’s remarks. She stood up and touched her mother’s back while giving her a glass of water.

“Take it! You don’t want me to be happy?” Nina looked into her mother’s eyes.

“No!” Her mother replied, still coughing, “I am only wishing you well!”

Nina said, “Okay! Okay! Watch him if he would do such a thing. Please, my mother, I beg you! Allow me to marry Mr. Grey. He is the man I love! Compared to that guy who dumped me for another girl…” Nina remembered how her previous boyfriend betrayed her. It had to be her friend who informed her that her boyfriend was no longer interested in her. He had a new girlfriend. They promised each other that they would marry after two years of dating. “I hate him, but I wish him well,” she said, talking to herself.

Nina did not finish eating; she left and went to her room.

Mr. Grey began to visit Nina more often, especially during the weekend, because both of them were busy with their businesses during the week. He took Nina to the park to discuss their future lives.

They loved to eat barbecue, drink orange juice, and chat in the park. One day, Mr. Grey said he wanted to take Nina to a very expensive restaurant for their first date.

“I know just the style of dress I will get for you,” he said, taking up her hand.

“I have clothes to wear already,” she said, putting both of her hands in her lap.

“But you must wear a short dress,” he said.

“What will people say at home?” Nina said. She felt embarrassed; to her, her clothes were fine.

“Would you rather follow what people say than what I say?” He said, touching her hands on her lap. “You know our culture; people would say I am dating a local girl.”

“Who is a local girl?” Nina inquired, testing to use the fork, as this was new to her.

“You see! You’re failing to use the fork; let me help you.” Both were laughing. “Grab the fork with your left hand and the knife with your right.”

“ Okay!” She said, She felt loved and decided she enjoyed eating with a fork.

“I want you to look beautiful in short, not very short dresses,” he said, taking a sip of juice.

“I am already beautiful,” she said, cutting the meat with the knife using her left hand.

“You are very beautiful, my darling, but I want you to look more beautiful.” He whispered in Nina’s ears, touching her hands and now helping her eat with a knife and a fork while standing behind her back, his arms around her.

“Okay! You win!” Nina laughed, and Mr. Grey just smiled, and thanked her.

After one week, Mr. Grey took Nina to a well-known boutique in town and bought her three nice dresses and three pairs of expensive shoes. He also escorted her to a salon to get her hair done. Out of all the outfits they bought, Nina chose to wear a red dress because it was the month of February for lovers in Malawi. She could tell she caught Mr. Grey’s attention in a red dress, black rope, black shoes, silver bracelets, and jewelry. She was changed from the old village girl to a town girl. She felt loved.

Upon reaching home, her siblings and parents did not recognize Nina. All her family members touched her hair and the clothes she wore. Her father was very happy for her because she dressed beautifully. Her mother just watched her.

“Mother! What is your problem again? You are not happy for me; why?” Nina asked, touching her clothes while walking like a model.

“I already told you about this guy! Can’t you see how he is spoiling you with expensive clothes in order for you to think of him as a nice person?” She shouted, pointing at Nina.

“Mother! He is a nice guy, but I don’t know what’s wrong with you.” She walked toward her bedroom to change.

“How much has he spent on you in total? How are you going to pay him back? Eeeh?” Her mother followed her to her room. She wore an old t-shirt with the face of Bob Marley, and an old wrapper.

“Mother, you are impossible!” Nina closed the door of her bedroom heavily behind her mother.

The next day, during lunch hour, Mr. Grey took Nina to the most expensive restaurant in town. At the restaurant, everyone inside stopped eating when Nina entered, as she looked gorgeous. Mr. Grey ordered an expensive meal and asked Nina to order a meal as well. But since she had never visited such a place in her life, she also ordered chicken and chips with salad and fresh mango juice, the same as him.

While eating in the restaurant, Nina asked Mr. Grey if he had ever dated someone else. Mr. Grey told her that he had dated two ladies, one at a time, who didn’t love him as a person but were after his money.

“You are very different from those ladies I dated,” he said, touching her hand.

“Why?” She asked, taking a sip of mango juice, which she had never tasted before.

“If I want to buy you something, you refuse. I have to plead with you first before I buy,” he said, looking into her eyes seriously.

“I am a village girl, you know!” She forgot to wash her hands, and she stood up to wash her hands outside to eat the chicken with her hands.

“Where are you going, my love?” He asked, grabbing her hand tightly to stop her. Nina felt it hurt.

“I want to feel the chicken with my bare hands,” she said, sitting back down.

“I will help you, dear,” he said, cutting the chicken into small pieces for her.

“Is this the only reason you left them all?” she asked, pouring mayonnaise on her chips.

“I was unhappy with her behavior,” he said.

“Whose?” Nina said, taking a bite of soft chips, another food she’d never seen before.

“The first girl I dated,” he said. He wiped his mouth with the tablecloth.

“What about the other girl?” she asked.

“Had a problem of yelling anyhow,” he said.

“I liked the chicken,” she said, dipping the meat in tomato sauce.

“Okay! You can eat mine too!” He gave her a large piece of chicken.

“I am now a town girl; am I continuing my dirty business?” she asked.

“Why not? Who cares?” he said, taking a sip of mango juice.

“Society is going to laugh at me!” she said, touching the hand of Mr. Grey.

“Don’t worry, a boy will be assisting in selling, and you will stay at home,” he said, touching her chin.

“Thank you!” she said.

“Who?” he asked.

“Thank you so much for everything!” she said.

“No mention,” he said.

Before finishing their meal, a bowl of soup fell on Nina’s arm and burned her hand.

“Aaah! Look at my hand!” Nina yelled while trying to wipe the soup away.

“Let me help you,” he said, standing up from his chair.

“Don’t worry; I will properly clean myself in the washroom.” She felt embarrassed, stood up, and went to the washroom.

When Nina entered the washroom, she started crying. The burn from the soup was painful but now she also heard the voice of her mother disliking this relationship. Nina examined herself in the mirror, perplexed as to why this had happened.

“At first, when Mr. Grey wanted to propose to me, the rose flower fell to the ground; now, this,” Nina said to herself. “Anyway, it is what it is.”

24 February, 2023