It’s almost 2am, it’s pretty dark, the only source of light in my room is my lamp, i am coughing incessantly, with a cup of garri in front of me and I am writing this story to exorcize the pictures of love I have been creating in my head lately.
Love is beautiful, they say. Love is life, love is family, love is friendship, love is love, even God is love. But there seems to be a thumping oddity about love that sometimes make those involved in it behave peculiarly.
He used to be the love of my life- we bought matching clothes, introduced each other to family and friends, took lovely pictures, exchanged ‘I love you’ after every call, travelled together- but now, all I have for him is exiguous love. I don’t want to use the word like, dislike or hate.
When it all started, it seemed so impeccable and I for once thought we were going to have an happily ever after ending- too much of Cinderella and fairy tale movies influenced me- and now, it all just feels implausible.
He suddenly messaged me on Whatsapp one Sunday afternoon and we exchanged pleasantries. Till date, I still don’t know how he got my phone number. He claims that he got it from a Whatsapp group but I know it’s a lie. It advanced to a Sunday- Sunday phone call and then we talked over the phone everyday. During that period, I had issues with my boyfriend then, which made my conversation with this new guy impetus.
For the first few months we started our conversation, he gave a concise, lucid description of wanting to be just friends with me and I was amazed because what most guys want from me is to be more than friends with me. But somehow, my innate sense made me know that he is up to something else. He’d come all the way from Ibadan to Osogbo to visit me at my place of work- I worked in a filling station then- and leave later in the evening or sleep over at a Pastor’s place- one of the Pastors working under his father’s ministry who resides in Osogbo. Sometimes, he’d come with his friends, we’d have a chit-chat and they’ll return back to Ibadan. He took note of everything I love and made sure I was getting them. Attention. Care. Surprises. Long walks. Gifts. Pick me up from work. Buy me lunch. Don’t act too clingy, don’t stay far away. Tell me about things before I ask. He did basically everything that would make a lady- me- fall in love with him.
I was nonplussed on the 25th of November, 2015 when indirectly, he asked me to be his girlfriend. I wanted to obfuscate everything and act as if I didn’t love him but the words just dropped from my mouth like an egg would when handled carelessly.
‘okay, I’ll date you.’
Ours was the kind of love that’ll give you a paroxysm of affection, happiness and jealousy all together. It was just so ineffable.
Few days after we started our love life together, I realised he lied about certain things and left some things out- I wasn’t informed that he belongs to a man-o-war community until a friend told me about it when i got to school and he lied that he was then in 400L. I told him about it few months after i discovered and he apologised. ‘I didn’t want you to love me less’, that was all he could say and I let it slide.
He took me along to any function that involved his extended family and introduced me to his parents and siblings, friends and family and everything just seemed so perfect. We even gave ourselves special names: Treasure, OlaMii, Teminife and Moroyinke and his family was already addressing me as ‘iyawo wa (our wife).’ We planned our wedding- the number of people we wanted to invite and how elaborate it would be-, the country we’ll relocate to, the number of children we would give birth to and their names, how we’ll wear matching clothes everyday after we get married, how we’ll be the talk of the town, how we’ll have sex- we already planned a routine for that- and lots of other beautiful things.
I got dazed after 15 months of our supposedly unending love when I realised he is getting farther from me- we hardly talk like we used to, he prefers to hang out with his friends than being with me, he had long conversations over the phone with other ladies making me feel sort of jealous- and I decided to write him a note because I was pusillanimous to have a conversation with him.
I love you dearly and I can go any miles for you, you know that, but why do you hate me this much? I endure so much pain, I cry if I’m helpless just because of the love I have for you and on the other side, you don’t even care. You don’t mind how I feel, you think you can toss me to one side when you don’t need me and think pick me up when you think you need someone to stay by you. You insult me, never want to listen to me and you always feel it’s okay. You don’t even care if I’m dead, sick or if anything terrible happens to me, all you care about is your wellbeing. We had an argument yesterday, you were wrong and even if I’m to be wrong, you draw me close to you and tell me the right things to do, as a to be husband, but what you did was to leave me to bear my pain, you slept and never cared if I was happy. I cried and cried cos I couldn’t bear the pain, I couldn’t sleep but still had to gather myself up and come to sleep beside you cos I won’t want a situation where you’ll wake in the morning and we start arguing of the way we slept but then, to my surprise, Ola mii stood up cos I was in bed with him and then slept on the floor…shows how much you love me tho, if that’s your definition of love. Then you woke up this morning and left. It ain’t fair at all. I thought you left a principle of us not extending our fight till the next day, you broke your principle yourself. I’m crying and also on my knees as I write this. Ola mii please, I won’t want to continue like this if your motive is to now breakup with me at the end of it all 1. Where is our relationship going? Is this how I’m gonna be the one with the pains and you being the happy one? 2. Do you love me? 3. Who am I really to you? By the time you’ll read this note to this point, I’ll be far gone. I need replies to this questions and a real definition to our relationship. I want to know where we are going and if you ever wanted me in your life. You cause so much pain whereas, I always look for your happiness.
I just thought of it, today is Feb 25. It’s 15 months (1 year 3 months) we started our relationship. So the ball is in your court, it’s either you make it up for us or break it up for us. I’ll sincerely respect your decision.
He called me at noon, and we got things sorted out, kind of and he also returned my note back to me stating that I was too childish to have decided to do something like that. Months later, I realised he still hasn’t changed and has gotten somehow worse. I came up with an idea and decided to tell him about it.
‘You know what, let me be your best friend. Best friends tell each other everything right? So, forget I am your girlfriend and maybe we can somehow bridge the gap between us.’ He fluttered around his room and I knew he had no idea of what I was up to. He agreed and after, I was opened to his world of secrecy. He had indulged in affairs with several ladies and would tell me about it. I even got close to one of his other girlfriend. All of the time, I act unbothered about it in his presence and end up breaking down in my room when I’m left alone. Somehow, I became trapped and flummoxed and I began to blame myself.
Why did I ask to be his best friend?
Why am I still with him?
Does he even love me?
Does he care about me?
Is our relationship meant to be?
Why am I the one getting depressed?
Will I never find happiness in this relationship?
Those were the type of questions I ask myself when I am in my room, moped.
I have rancorously been keeping up with his attitude and at some point, I gave up.
24th November, 2018, I met someone. Someone who I haven’t found the perfect words to describe. Few days after meeting him, I decided to write a poem:
I knew you were trouble when you walked in-
Amped when you came sitting in front of me,
Fiddled with the pages of my book in attempt to make you notice me,
On hearing you speak, I became inebriated- drunk in the calmness and sweetness of your voice.
At that moment, I and the thought of you became inextricable.
I couldn’t own up to the fact that I had an instant crush on you- I’m not one that believes in love at first sight.
Fortunately for me, you came in my direction,
And immediately, I gave a quizzical look at you when you asked for my phone number.
A surfeit of crazy thoughts came popping,
And I smiled to myself.
I knew you were trouble-
Trouble I’ll delightedly get into.
28th Nov, 2018.
My friendship with him has induced an intellectual change in me, even tho he barely knows of it. He makes me read more, write more, make lots of researches and improve more on myself. He is literally God’s sent to me.
A month after we met, we used to meet in an abandoned classroom near my house. Sometimes, I imagined the classroom to be a different world- a world of the two of us, alone, with no distractions and no end- and most times, it took a phone call from my mum to snap out of the fantasy.
He made me realise that silence is golden. We can spend long minutes without saying nothing and it’ll feel as if I have said it all to him. He has this way of making me forget everything that bothers me at the moment and I moon over him almost all of the time.
‘You know what, let’s go for a walk. There’s a place I want to show you.’ I was surprised, and equally anxious because I don’t know where we were going and what he wanted to show me. We got halfway and he told me that he was taking me to the Ogbomoso-Ilorin bridge. On our way, he told me of his stay in Lagos- his relationship with his boss and his habit at work, his love for Basmati rice sold on the ground floor of the building where he works, and his spending habit- and I smiled amidst the conversation. Approaching the Bridge, I got scared. He said he knows that I have a phobia for the dark and heights, so the bridge is one way for me to conquer that. He held my hand and told me not fret because he was beside me and I smiled when he said that. He makes me smile, a lot without even having to try and I am jealous of that because I know some people would feel that way too about him. I call him the god of goosebumps and sudden happiness.
It was dark by the time we got on the bridge but it had a lovely view. The stars were out of sight and to me, it felt like they went to hide when two suns- I and him- got on the bridge. I got such a fright when Trailers passed and it felt as if the bridge was going to fall. I looked ahead and all I could see was darkness, the only light that was significant was that of the vehicles passing by and the flashlight on his phone when he switched it on. It felt as if I was shown a picture of my life- darkness all around, light coming and going at intervals. Just like the classroom, I imagined the bridge to be a different world- a world of the two of us, alone, with no distractions and no end- and i didn’t want to leave. He attempted to take pictures of me but he complained that it was too dark to take pictures and I told him to take them nonetheless. We heard someone rant below and he felt we were the one he was addressing and he told us to get going to avoid being harassed or robbed by passers-by. Later, I realised the man was either having a phone conversation with someone else or just talking to himself. On our way back home, he said we should probably come back to the bridge at noon or in the evening so I can see it clearly and I agreed.
He is the type that you’ll want to go to the top of the highest mountains, swim through the deepest and deadliest seas, walk through thundery weather, go to the end of the earth, just to say ‘i love you.’ That’s crazy right? But that’s exactly how I feel about him.
One morning, he called me and we spoke for 50 minutes and 6 seconds over the phone. What we basically discussed was that he wants to be friends with me and get to know me much more better. I bought the idea because I also felt that things were going faster than it should between us. Not like we ain’t flowing with the speed, but we didn’t give define the kind of relationship between us. He told me that he was going to draw a contract, we’ll both sign it- that’s if I am comfortable with the terms and conditions- and we both laughed it off. For once in my life, I was happy because finally, someone wants to know me- the real me- even though it’s going to take time. But later, I frowned at the idea and thought, ‘why would someone I think loves me suddenly want to friend zone me?’ Maybe he doesn’t love me enough to start a real relationship with me. Maybe he doesn’t want to hurt me as he always claim. Maybe i am not the kind of woman he wants. Maybe forever is not meant for us. Maybe he loves someone else. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. Lots of maybes ran through my mind and I just decided to let time do the analysis and draw the conclusion.
I wanna hide the truth. I wanna shelter you, But with the beast inside there’s nowhere we can hide…When you feel my heat, look into my eyes, It’s where my demons hide, It’s where my demons hide. Don’t get too close, It’s dark inside. It’s where my demons hide, It’s where my demons hide.
From Demons by Imagine Dragons.
‘You know, Precious is a gentle girl. She hardly talks. She seems reserved and loves her own company. She is an introvert too. And she gets angry, and jealous too. Yes, she gets emotional and cries a lot. She is quite intelligent, she is the Assistant Rep of her department. And she is quite observant.’ That’s what one of my friends told me when I asked him if he knows who I am. When I heard him say those things, I smiled and thought to myself, ‘Those are on of those things. I am erratic. You know those things because I want you to. Bet it with me, you don’t want to know who I am.’ He asked of the reason why I was smiling and I said nothing.
When ever I am being asked the who are you question, after mentioning my name, and my course of study, I search for words that could portray my personality, the person who I really am but I get lost during the search. Maybe I just search the wrong places. Sometimes, I know the words to describe the ‘me’ at that moment but the persona that really is the paradigm of who I really am Is buried inside, covered with lots of regrets, mistakes, misdeeds, guilt, anger, jealousy, deceit, and I am not ready to reveal that part of me. I guess I have done a laudable job on that part- no one really knows me and sincerely, I haven’t given someone the chance to, not until few days ago tho. One minute, I am so happy I can run around with so much zeal and energy and the next, I feel disconnected from the world- like I am in my-only-me world in the real world. Even i don’t understand why it’s like that. Sometimes, I feel I have confined myself in a box and I claim I want to be set free when I am the only one that can set me free.
There’s a beast inside of me, waiting patiently to be unleashed. I want to know who I really am. Who i am meant to be.
So here I am, still in my room, it’s morning, the lights are on now, and I am ready to pick up the pieces from where I left them and I am saying to myself, ‘happiness is paramount, your past doesn’t define you, give you a chance!’