She held her husband’s frail hand in hers and lovingly stroked the back she held. She looked at the sleeping man, breathing through the oxygen mask placed on his face. She trailed the lines on his face with her finger. The face she had loved for fifty-seven years. The face that had smiled at her and made her laugh in her moments of despair.
Rosemary bowed her head and kissed Kolawole’s hand. Tears streaming down her eyes, as she placed his hand on her cheek.
She sobbed. “Please come back to me Kola. I can’t live without you. Don’t leave me alone here.”
Rosemary and Kolawole had been together for fifty-seven years, but married for fifty-five years. When she met him, he was a struggling student, working and schooling. She was just out of the secondary school then, but her parents could not afford to send her to the university. She had gone to learn how to sew. She met Kolawole who lived in the same building where she was an apprentice. They had fallen in love immediately. Kola worked hard, graduated and they got married. He was working as a clerk in one of the ministries then. He left the white collar job to be a cocoa farmer. They had struggled together, and lived through lack, through want. They had only one child. Rosemary wanted more children, but they were not coming. Kolawole was not complaining. He loved his family. Then, Kola hit it big in the cocoa business. He became a cocoa exporter. Their lives changed. Rosemary continued with her sewing, and made an empire from her small beginnings, with the help and love of Kolawole. They became billionaires. He could have married another wife; he could have had more children from other women outside. But Kolawole was faithful to her. He had always assured her she was the only woman for him.
Kola opened his eyes, called her name through the mask. She quickly called the nurse who helped him remove the mask. He looked into Rosemary’s eyes as she held his hand and refused to let go.
“I love you my queen. You have always held my heart, and you still hold it.” Kolawole coughed as he struggled to talk. Rosemary held his hand to her chest and watched him take his final breath.