OPEN YOUR EYES

“Babe, everything okay?”

We were driving home from a day out with the guys – barbecue at Wole’s.

We tried to do this at least twice a year, and we would pool finances for the things we needed, keeping the guests small to match the budget – usually the guys of Camelot and their partners with one or two recommended friends. Typically there would be music, video games, board games, a movie and random discussions.

“I’m okay babe,” Cynthia said. “I was just thinking about Tolu.”

“Who is that one?”

“Really? Wole’s babe.”

“You should have said ‘stuck up babe’ and I would get it first time.” I said.

“Exactly.” She said with much feeling. “That’s what I was thinking about. For someone whose boyfriend was hosting friend, she was just sitting there like a random guest.”

“Me I don’t know for Wole sha, but I thought he and Laide had a good thing.”

“Why did they break up though? You never told me.”

“Wo, Wole said she has small touching brain and he got tired of all the drama. That he knew he had to cut and run when she threatened to slit her wrists if he ever left her.”

“Wow! Is the D that bomb?” Cynthia laughed.

“Biko don’t ask me. My guy jeje went and told her family that he’s not doing again. He said her mother actually told him she understood and asked him to still consider himself a friend of the family.”

“After all that drama he now felt Ice Queen was the way to go?” She asked.

“I honestly don’t know where he found her, but he seems quite taken by her so talking about it with him will be hard.”

“Do you know she sat there in front of the TV and expected me to come and serve her? Like, how now?”

“I didn’t know this part,” I said. “I was too busy being the mai suya , but when she arrived and Wole introduced us there was a way she looked at me like I was the paid help. Me I just judged her, and she remains judged till she fixes up.”

“I don’t know that she will though, but I am inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt since it was probably the first time she was meeting all his friends.” She said.

“For someone with a heart as big and open as Wole, they might struggle. She reminded me of someone in my past…”

“I thought about that too, but didn’t want to make the comparison,” she smiled.

Back when I just started my first job I met someone on the job that, on the first day I saw her, I said she would be my girlfriend. I actually told another colleague that she would be my next girlfriend to her hearing and she laughed in my face.

A few weeks later we were like bread and butter. Our colleagues were surprised that she agreed to go out with me, while our Boss offered encouragements. There was only one person who told me we didn’t fit, that we were nothing alike.

Weren’t opposites supposed to attract? I held that against him for the longest time.

The first time we quarreled it was over moving in together. I had a place but she was living with her parents at the time and wanted to move out, so she suggested I moved in with her. I thought it was a joke until it blew up into something big.

I told her it was fine for us to have our separate addresses, and that I was sure I would spend a lot of time at hers anyway.

“If you really loved me you would swallow your pride and move in with me. I know it is pride getting in the way and keeping you from seeing this is really what you want.”

I couldn’t see the sense of that claim and I told her.

“You never really loved me,” and she was gone.

Not for long.

I tried to patch things up with her without giving up ground, and on one of those days she told me how she had given up on love. She said she felt I was her last chance to find love, but since that wasn’t working how would I feel about being her baby daddy?

I didn’t see that coming.

“And what would be my role in the child’s life?” I asked.

“Nothing. I probably won’t even tell you when I got pregnant. I will just disappear to have the baby and raise it alone. I know my family would be disappointed, and my church too, but it’s my life and that’s all I want right now. My family will come around in the end.”

I told her I couldn’t possibly father a child whose life I wouldn’t be a part of.

We eventually made up and things went well: she got her place, didn’t get pregnant and disappear. I spent a lot of time at hers and we seemed happy together. That was until I stopped to take stock of my life and realized that I had cut my friends off, keeping only the friends she thought were cool.

As a person I always tried to see past class and look at people as people, but I realized that my friends seemed to cut from the same material: plastic.

My day one friends were only welcome at my place, and since I wasn’t home a lot, I saw less and less of them. They even poked fun at me.

“Guy how far?”

“I dey.”

“Where you dey?”

“I dey house?”

“Which house?” And this was always followed by laughter.

I found myself coming up with reasons to go out, to go to my house.

What affected me the most was when I realized I had drifted from my family too. I lived close to my parents and tried to see them at least every weekend, but those visits started becoming fewer and far between.

And there were the fights. Not physical or explosive things, but emotional ones. They cantered mostly around proposal and marriage.

“If you love me, if you really want to spend the rest of your life with me, at least propose.”

“Forget that we’ve only been going out less than a year, but I have a few things I have to sort out. I do want you as my wife, but I need at least a year to set my finances in order plus a few things and we’ll do this.”

“No! You don’t understand. I will go through fire with you, just make a commitment to me.”

It got so bad, one day I actually told her, “I hope and pray we never have to put this to the test, because I do not believe you would…”

“Bobo, I think you should leave.”

I didn’t protest, I just picked a few things and left.

Before I got home she had called three times and sent five text messages. I ignored the calls and deleted the messages without reading them. I didn’t speak with her for three days, and when she got a friend to call me, I told her I needed time to clear my head.

I took a week away from her to do some soul-searching, and I didn’t recognize the person I had become.

The next time we saw, I told her we were through.

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Categories: THE OTHER SIDE

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