” Madam, na wetin”? Her colleague was shocked, he had never seen her like this! What could make such a strong woken break down all of a sudden? Could it be the text message she had just read? “Somebody die?” He asked.
Lima quickly came to herself. ” No, nothing is wrong, I am fine” ,she said quickly. ” “Sorry Madam” , Ade said. Definitely, something was wrong but he couldn’t figure out what.
Lima cleaned her eyes and looked at the text again ” God grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change , courage to change the things I can and above all, wisdom to know the difference “.
She was overcome by a fresh wave of pain. Why did he send this? He must have known that this would get to her more than any other message. It was her birthday and for most of the day she had been bright and gay but this message, had changed her mood.
She remembered as clearly as if it was yesterday, coming back from seeing her friend off to find her Mum holding the little glass portrait she had bought earlier in the supermarket. ” What is this and who is it for”? Her Mum had asked while taking off the wrapping. She had decided in that instant to tell her the truth. ” its a birthday gift for my friend Samuel ” .” Why did you choose these words to say happy birthday ” ? Mum had asked, truly perplexed at the strangely worded birthday portrait.
She had smiled and said nothing.”Is it fine” she asked her Mum anxiously. “Yes it is ,and the message is a good one” her Mum answered and handed it back to her. She took it with relief. Thank God it hadn’t been that ” no knife can cut our love ” portrait she had seen at the supermarket, she would have been embarrassed to discuss that with Mum.
So he had remembered that portrait 15 years after, and even remembered the words verbatim.
Her phone beeped and she looked at the blackberry messenger notification, it was him. ” Happy birthday Madam”. ” Thank you ” she had replied. “Why did you send that message” she had typed. Instead of answering, her phone had rang. He had called to calm her down. ” I didn’t mean to upset you Madam,that message has been with me through the years and somehow, it was the only thing I felt like saying to you today “.
They had gone on to talk about other things and laughed about how he always celebrated her birthday whether she was there or not. His friends had always been the beneficiaries as he bought them drinks to mark the day. By the time he got off the phone she felt a whole lot better and even went back to Ade to complete the work they had been doing together earlier. He kept looking at her when he thought she was not watching. To him, she was one strange woman.