The case had been long but it was finally over. Mr Okechukwu had been found guilty and sentenced ten years imprisonment. Her Aunt, Mrs Okechukwu had been so devastated and humiliated. She and the children relocated to another part of the state to start their lives over again.
In the bright light of the day, Ify played on the swing in the park with Ovie and Poju watching, seated under the shade of big tree whose leaves swayed under the cool breeze.
“When I think back of all the evidence, her uncle’s demeanor, her aunty and cousins’ tear filled faces I wonder what could make a man stoop so low.”
“Well, we can never know. I am glad however that Ify is gradually putting it behind her. The counseling and the love and care she has gotten especially from you has helped her come out of her shell. She’s becoming a healthy well balanced child” Ovie replied looking over at where she was talking animatedly with two other children of her age.
Poju smiled. “Thank you for everything. I wouldn’t have done it without you”. She smiled and picked a drink from the cooler beside them.
Ovie suddenly knelt down from his sitting position. Poju looked shocked.
“What….” Poju sat up. “Ovie what is the matter?”
He looked at her holding her gaze. Her breath caught. Her eyes began to widen. Was it what she was thinking? His eyes were void of any cloak. His feelings were open for all to see.
“The past few months with you has been wonderful. Working to ensure Ify gets justice, seeing your love for her showed me a side of you I had never seen before. Yes, I had fallen for you from the first time we met but didn’t want to pressurize you especially when the court case came up. The opportunity to know you more in the past few months was a godsend. I cherish every moment together. All the upheavals, the smiles, yes, the anger and tears I cherish them. Your pains made you a better person, the perfect woman for me.”
Poju’s eyes filled with tears. This was her wildest dream coming true. She looked at Ify on the playground slide. He followed her gaze.
“Ify is a blessing and nothing will please me more than to have her as our child.”
Her eyes swung to him in shock. “Our…” she stammered.
“Yes. I want a home with you. I want to grow old with you. I want to have two replicas of you and of course of me. I want to adopt Ify and give her my name.” he smiled mischievously.
“I love you Poju. Please give me the honor of being your husband.” The ring appeared before her eyes.
“YES!” she screamed and flung her arms around him. He laughed and hugged her tightly.
Poju’s heart resonated with joy. The kokoro girl had given her a special gift.
“Thank you Ify” she whispered.