What Palmwine Has Joined Together, Let No One Put Asunder

By Paul Ukpabio

Olu Adenekan works at an oil producing company in Lagos island, Nigeria. I met him at the water front at La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort at Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos. He was with a young lady by his side, who was heavy with pregnancy.

But despite her well protruded stomach, Bukola as Olu sooner introduced her to me, had a stunning beauty only meant for international models to display on fashion magazine cover pages. I knew no one could resist looking and admiring Bukola severally at a time.

It made it so easy to be attracted to this young couple as they lazed at the water front, absorbing the energy that nature presented to them. The full sun was aglow up in the sky, its rays simmering down on the blue coloured Atlantic Ocean, the wave building up and rushing to the shore, young people catching their different kind of cruise at different parts of the 65 acre beach resort, a huge garden of relaxation, for the mixed races of people on the beach.

I had only one casual question to ask Olu this particular afternoon, and I was determined to do so. And I did, at the first opportunity that presented itself after he hugged and kissed Bukola, an emotional moment that oozed so much love between them. I had to cough to remind them I was still around.

“It’s a weekend, why did you choose to be at La Campagne Tropicana Beach Resort?” I asked, determined to get a reply.

“You mean why we came out here?” Olu repeated sitting up on the lounge chair, suddenly deep in thought as he stared at the rolling waves smashing unto the shore.

“This is is where I met her,” he reached out again to hug Bukola, whose chair was hemmed together with his. “It’s a short, long story. But I can tell you all the same.” He said with a sincere gesture.

“Here’s Bukola my wife, you’ve met her already. But what you don’t know is that, we met here about this time a year ago. And now we are expecting our first baby in the next few weeks.

“Wow,” I spluttered out in excitement.

“The way we met was even very funny!” Olu said laughing into Bukola’s waiting eyes.

“Like I said, it was about this time of the year, the company I work for, had brought us out here for a senior staff retreat. A 3 – Day event with seminar and bonding physical exercises. We met on the third and final night.

“The bonfire night!” Bukola quipped in, laughing as she recalled the good memory.

“Oh yes, it was.” Agreed Olu. “The bonfire by the beach front.

“I was feeling cold,” said Bukola, “I had been sitting out there (she points to a spot on the other side of the beach) with my parents and brother who returned from abroad. My parents had brought him out here to host him. His returned flight to his wife and little boy was due in another three days. So we all agreed to come out to the beach for two nights of family time.”

“That night, you left your family and strolled over to where I sat among my colleagues, in a circle around the bonfire for warmth right? Olu asked Bukola, looking into her happy smiling face.

“Yes, but not exactly! What happened was that, I had seen him earlier that day, when we were having an indoor buffet lunch. All the guests at the resort were there. That was when I first saw him. There was something that stirred in my heart the moment I saw Olu. I had never had such a movement in my heart. And it was like I had never seen a male before. I kept staring at him. Obviously he was not aware of my stares until suddenly he looked in my direction and our eyes locked!

“It was a brief moment. But that was eternity! Our eyes must have spoken a deluge of words! I don’t know what our eyes said to each other silently in that conspicuous moment. All I know is that, when I saw him again at the bonfire, I felt a pull, I can’t explain that part. It was like if I don’t move to his side, my life may end! Moreover, I felt he was calling me! So I went to where he was sitting,” said Bukola so innocently.

“The truth is,” Olu took over, “I saw her sitting with her family, but was undecided whether to go over to meet her or not. And I was worried that after that night, I may not see her again because we were actually leaving the next day in the morning.

But as God would have it, I turned suddenly, and here she was by my side, asking if she could join me,” said Olu. “Ofcourse, I was so happy that I must have dragged her to sit by my side.”

They both laughed at the memory.

“Remember the Palmwine? Olu asked and they both laughed again hysterically like little children.

Bukola was the first to catch her breath.

“Yes, the Palmwine that was served in a calabash bowl to everyone at the bonfire.” She laughed more. “You told me you’ve never drank Palmwine before and I urged you to drink it,” Bukola reminded him.

“But you too had never drank Palmwine in your life either!” Olu reminded her.

“Well, suddenly I became brave,” said Olu, and drank it. Afterwards I told you that it was nice. But you refused to drink it.

Bukola laughed throwing her left hand over his shoulder in excitement.

“So I told you that if you drink the Palmwine, I will marry you!”

They both laughed.

“And I replied, what!!! Marriage, where did you get that from? Said Bukola.

They laughed the more.

“But I drank it, drank more and more. It tasted so nice, I must have been a bit tipsy after a while,” recalled Bukola.

“We both were,” replied Olu, as he continued, “because when your mom came to call you, she met us dancing in a circle, to heavy gyration native songs with heavy drum beats, we were deep in fun. I remember you dragging me to her, and you telling her, “mom, this man offered me Palmwine and said if I drink it, he will marry me!”

“Yes, I remember the puzzled looked on my mom’s face!” Said Bukola as she laughed more.

“Then your mom asked you, ‘did you drink the Palmwine?”

“Of course, I gladly told her that I drank the Palmwine, all of it.”

And they both laughed again.

So curious was I that I asked this loving couple. “And what was your mom’s reply Bukola?

As if waiting for my question, Olu and Bukola chorused: “She said, what Palmwine has joined together, let no one put asunder!”

“After that night, it happened so fast, one thing led to another, and we were married few months later,” added Olu. “We are here for our first meeting anniversary. I hope that has answered your question.

I nodded him a reply.

They continued in renewed laughter, as I thanked them and walked away, with the beautiful story now tucked somewhere in my head.


* Paul Ukpabio is Nigeria’s Best Tourism Writer Of The Year 2023

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