by Dayo Israel
Read Part 1 HERE
“What kinds of food do you like?” I asked.
Jola: African. Nigerian, to be precise. My favorite food is jollof rice.
I smiled. Carmen had already told me, and she’d cooked some mouth-watering jollof rice.
Me: That’s exactly what we are going to have. Let me just call the restaurant to make sure everything’s set.
I picked up the phone and called Carmen (pretending I was calling a restaurant).
Me: Hi, is that the manager? Yes I called earlier to book a suite for my special date. Is the suite ready? The music and the candles? How about the straw berries?
Carmen: (understanding our secret) Yes sir, your room is ready and you are good to go.
Just then I turned into a neighbourhood familiar to Jola – it was Carmen’s neigbourhood. I told her I had to pick something up from Carmen before we headed to our destination. Really Carmen’s was our destination.
True to her word, Carmen kept the keys under her carpet, and the dress was already hidden behind her three-seater chair. The table was set. Carmen was seated in her car across the street with the roses and bottle of wine. The plan was for her to bring in the roses and the wine midway into the date…it would be more romantic that way.
As we drove towards Carmen’s driveway, I kept reminding Jola that she was beautiful inside and outside. I stopped the car and hurriedly ran out to open the door for her. She couldn’t stop blushing. I told her I wanted her to come with me as I picked up some stuff from Carmen’s house. As soon as I stooped to pick the house key under the carpet, she screamed – “Oh no, Carmen didn’t set me up! No, this is not happening!”
In front of us was a whole house lit with candles. Behind us the stars were shining in the sky and I knew the night was going to be a great night. I walked her up the candlelit stairs.
Me: We’ve got strawberries, two kinds of grapes to choose from; jollof rice prepared just the way you like it, sweet cake for dessert and wine for later. We’ve got Brian McKnight and John Legend…which one do you want us to listen to first?
Jola: [dazed] OMG! You did all this for me?
Me: [handing her a card] Open it
She opened her mouth to talk but words failed her. I fed her strawberries as we conversed. She asked if it was okay for her to serve us and I said no; reminding her the night was all about her – she needed to know her worth.
I rang Carmen and told her it was time to bring in the flowers and the wine. In a matter of seconds she was at the door.
Me: I ordered for room service and that’s the waiter.
I excused myself for about a minute and came back Carmen carrying the vase of flowers and the wine. They flowers were freshly picked and beautifully colored. She wanted to jump up and hug me, but cautioned herself.
Jola: Carmen set me up
Me: No she did not.
I was smiling
Jola: You two set me up. I saw Carmen this evening and she did not tell me all this. She didn’t even say she knew about the date.
Carmen dropped the flowers and wine, took pictures for us and went away.
Jola: Carmen actually bought me a dress today. I liked it but I didn’t wear it today.
Me: You liked it?
Jola: Of course.
Then I paused for a second before asking:
Me: How well do you like the dress she got you?
Jola: I liked it a lot
Me: Let’s see how well you’d like the dress I bought you (As I brought the box of dress from behind the chair.
Jola: [gasping for breath] OMG! Tell me this isn’t real. Pinch me and snap me back to reality please.
Me: Everything’s real. You deserve nothing but the best in life. You’re beautiful and you don’t even know your worth.
Jola: No one’s ever done this for me; I mean this is the sweetest thing anyone’s ever done for me.
Me: You deserve more. Open the box and tell me what you think of the dress.
She embraced the box like her whole life was in it. She smiled like a baby, the camera flashed as she fumbled with the ribbons. She couldn’t stop talking about how beautiful the dress was. She wrapped the dress and placed it in the box while I walked over to the boom box. I asked her to dance with me. I placed my hand on her shoulder and we danced to Back at one by Brian McKnight. The song ended, and we went back to sit down. I played a movie, and then I turned to ask if she was ready to eat. She couldn’t even talk. We ate, drank and watched the movie.
Me: Are you having a good time?
Jola: Are you?
Me: Best time of my life.
Jola: Same here but OMG.
Jola: This is too much for me. Who are you again? Is this the Darius I know? I thought Naija guys were not romantic o, and a Pastor for that matter.
Me: I just want to put a smile on your face. You are very special and you must know it. How do you feel right now?
Me: You are beautiful
Jola: Thank you…excuse me o. I know this feels like Hollywood and all but I gotta bring a little Nollywood in it. I have some tom tom in my purse. I want to have one if that’s fine by you. You know we just had fish.
Me: You know you don’t need that right now.
Jola: Really? Don’t worry; it’ll only take a sec. You want some tom tom?
Me: No, bush girl
Jola: You can’t turn me down. I didn’t object when you offered me fruits. You must accept this one o.
We fought playfully and I accepted it. My plan for the night was for us to wine, dine and eventually go out to see the water falls. She told me she’d rather stay indoors and I said it was okay. She placed her head on my shoulders as we watched the movie. Later we had dessert, talked and danced again.
As we danced to John Legend’s Love the way it should be, I reminded her that we can always have love and peace, love that gives us hope, love the way it should be – she only had to wait for the right person. I prayed that God would give her a man that could love her “this way and more”.
My role was to make her understand that life is meant to be full of love, fun and joy. I wasn’t the Messiah she was waiting for.
We laughed about everything; every second was splendid. At the end of the night, I opened the door, carried her flowers and dress to her front porch, and sealed the night with a kiss on her wrist – the entire night was refreshingly thrilling.
My name is Dayo Israel and that was my first and only true date so far.
In this season of Valentine, you can show love to someone without asking for sex or trying to seek a relationship. Just show them that you care. Also remember! This happened in August – You don’t have to wait till February to show someone you care.
End Note: The date occurred in August 2010 and 7 months after, I am happy to say that Jola is Happily in Love with a Nigerian-American whom she claims “treats her as the Queen she is”….and she continues to appreciate how the date opened her eyes to the fact that we all have a responsibility to make those who matters to us happy every opportunity we have without expecting anything in recourse.
Jola also published her accounts of the date in 2010 but which I would not like to share on this page as it would expose her identity.
Dayo Israel is an International Speaker, Diplomat and TV Personality. You can book Dayo Israel for your next conference or relationship seminar. He’s a great peak performance coach.
Nigeria’s favourite love Actor Richard Mofe Damijo has this to say:
“Dayo speaks from his richly gifted and blessed mind. He never fails to leave a remarkable impression to his audience. u should hear him, you will be inspired. There are not many of his kind around anymore” – Richard Mofe-Damijo, Nollywood Superstar Nigeria.
Follow @dayoisrael on twitter.