First Impressions (2)

First Impressions (2)

Over the next few months, Taribo and Julie continued to see each other. They had both agreed that it would be a good idea for them to start off as friends, and to see how things developed. And the more Taribo saw of Julie, the more he liked her. He sometimes met her at the hospitals that she visited in the line of her work, and he saw how the staff and patients responded with affection to her genuine interest in them. He noted how cheerful and optimistic she was, even on days when things hadn’t gone her way.

But most of all, he appreciated, he enjoyed – no, he luxuriated in the care and attention that she showered him with when they were together. It was like he was the most special and powerful man in the world, able to jump seven mountains in one bound. She flavoured his life so it tasted so much better; she added an eighth colour to his rainbow – in short, he found himself longing to be with her when she wasn’t around. And yet…

“…I mean, Dele, I just don’t know what to do, man.”

“Oh Lord my God, oh God my Lord,” sighed Dele, looking at his friend and shaking his head. “When I asked you to fill me in with the latest gist on the matter, I did not bargain for this. Honestly, from all you’ve told me up till now –  from how you sound when you talk about this girl, it’s clear to me that you really love her, but you are allowing the weight issue to get in the way.”

“No, I’m not!” Taribo replied vehemently. “It’s a big thing for me… I have to feel a physical attraction to someone I love, and I cannot feel that if the person is too big.”

Dele arched an eyebrow. “And you are telling me that you feel absolutely nothing in this respect when you are with Julie? Honestly?”

“It’s not as intense as it should be. It would be much different if she was slimmer.”

Exasperation took over. “Eh, then do what I had suggested a while back! Tell her to lose weight – then you’ll have the woman of your dreams.”

“No-o, I don’t want to force her to do something that she doesn’t want to do.”

“You don’t know this for sure. At least, let her know how you feel. Or I don’t know, maybe you’re afraid that if you tell her, she’ll take offence and take off?” Seeing his friend remain mute, Dele continued. “Man, you have to be the honest person I know you to be. Even if she takes off, won’t it be better for her to be free to find a man who likes her, big size and all, rather than keeping her to yourself because you can’t decide whether you love her inner qualities more than you dislike her size?”

Taribo sighed once more and held his head in his hands, then he looked up. “You’re right – I won’t keep her dangling any longer. Damn, I hate it when you present the facts in a way that I can’t ignore.”

Dele stood up and patted him on the shoulder. “That’s what friends are for, man.”

*****

He had called her the day before, saying that he had some thing that he would like to talk about with her. She had sounded strangely quiet; did she already know what he was going to say? They had agreed to meet at Tastes Right; for him, it was only right that it should end where it began.

He sat in the restaurant, looking towards the doors for her entry. It felt like deja vu, but this time he knew that things would be different. You don’t have to do this, a part of him said. Was it the same part that had hoped that she would be someone different when she had made her entrance way back then? Who knew? Time certainly changes our perspectives, he thought.

Five minutes later, she came through the doors, and his heart stopped for a moment at the sight of her. Was he really going to… but he looked at her again, and saw that she was somewhat subdued.

“Julie… is everything OK?”

Julie plastered a smile on. “I’m fine. It’s just… well, some news came in a few hours before your call, and I was going to tell you then. But I thought, well, we’re meeting here today, so I might as well tell you now.”

She sat down, and they ordered drinks. Then she turned to face him. “I’m going away.”

Taribo’s heart stopped in shock. Going away? No. This could not be happening.

“W-why? What happened?” he stammered.

Julie laughed, in spite of herself. “No, it’s actually good news – the organisation is opening an office up in the North, and they’ve decided that I’m the best person to head it up. So it’s kind of a promotion…” and here the smile faded. “But I realise that it means being away from you. Taribo, I may have said it in many little ways, but I will say it now – no man has made me feel the way you have since I was born. You’re generous, appreciative, caring; you make me want to live, not just survive. But most of all, you make me feel wonderful about myself.

“You see, a few years before I met you, I was in an emotionally abusive relationship. I gave and gave to this man, and he took everything I gave and flung it back in my face. He made me feel useless, fit for garbage. Eventually, he left me for another woman, but even though my family and friends told me I was well rid of him, I suffered badly from the break up. I was depressed for a long while; my self-confidence was smashed to pieces. In fact, that’s when I put on all this weight.

“Eventually, I recovered enough to venture back into the world again, but the experience is not something that I talk much about, because it still hurts sometimes to think about it. It left me very cautious about entering relationships, and even when Ayo pressed me to go out with you on a date, I really grilled her and made her swear on her great-grandmother’s grave that you weren’t just a player. I’m glad she was persistent, because these last two months have been the best of my life. They’ve reminded me what it’s like to be special just because I’m me,” she finished.

While Julie had been speaking, the gears in Taribo’s head had been spinning like crazy. He hadn’t really thought about what would happen once he suggested that they should just “be friends” as he had planned. Perhaps they would just see each other around town occasionally. But now, he was realising that never hearing her, seeing her again would turn his life into a bleak landscape. And in that moment, his vision cleared, and he knew exactly what he needed to do.

“Who said it just has to be just two months?” he said. “I’m sure there are phone networks where you’re going… and there are roads too… and maybe even internet service.”

Julie’s eyes lit up. “You mean…”

Taribo smiled. “Yes, I wouldn’t want to go too long without hearing the voice or seeing the sight of the woman that I’ve fallen in love with.”



36 thoughts on “First Impressions (2)” by Tola Odejayi (@TolaO)

  1. YAY, give it up for love somebody! Yipee, smart dude he turned out to be. Men, that was some putting-on-the-spot moment for Taribo oh.

    Mr. Odejayi, methinks that the abusive relationship story that made her wary of guys was a nice touch but the part of piling on the weight as a result, I think was unnecessary and simply trying to fit in the weight issue. In other words, you, Mr. TolaO have a problem with well rounded ladies. lol I digress.

    My point is, you could have left out that part and still made it seem like she’s always been a plus size and darn comfortable with it. As an aside, Nigerian ladies lose weight when they are broken hearted. Its the ‘oyibos’ who go bulimic as a result of the same. Just my thought oh; nobody should burn me at the stake oh.

    Good job, Mr O.

    1. Thanks for the compliment, @Abby.

      Was it absolutely necessary to add the bit where Julie explained why she gained weight? Not at all. But is it realistic that someone would have gained weight as a result of depression? As you’ve seen by the comments, yes. And again, is it realistic that someone would have referred to their weight gain if it is something that happened while they were depressed? I think so, too.

      I guess that was my way of showing just how much the break up affected her. Of course, I could have written the story so that Taribo didn’t like skinny girls, with Julie being skinny and explaining that she became skinny as a result of losing weight while depressed… but as the writer, I get to write the story as the fancy takes me.

      Thanks again for the feedback.

      – TO

      1. Is there a particular reason you signed off as TO? Would that be a silent complaint about my referring to you by your full name? Just wondering. I also noticed twas only on my comment.

        1. No-o, @Abby – the ‘TO’ signoff was a random decision. I do it very occasionally on very long replies that I make.

  2. Meena-Adekoya (@Olajumoke-Adekoya)

    Taribo definitely made the right choice on this one…thou i do wonder if there is another part with this one…if there is pls dont waste time in posting in oh

    1. Sorry @Meena, but there will be no part three. I mean, what do you want to hear, anyway? How Taribo and Julie discussed their wedding plans and honeymoon? Where’s the drama in that???

  3. Oh oh! Always thought TolaO was a chick?..lol. Lovely story, completely disagree with Abby (Not nailing you dear..lol) sha..the weight piling bit was a nice touch, I have sisters and we react to depression in different ways, some of us can’t eat when we are sad and some of us just comfort eat and pile on the weight…Taribo needed to know that there was a story behind her well roundedness ..lol. Well done TolaO!

    1. Okay dear, I take the disagreement in my stride. lol

      Btw, which one are you out of the ‘can’t eat(ers)’ and the ‘comfort eaters’ when depressed?

    2. @Mercy, I’m curious. How in my writings does it appear that I’m female? Is it the subject matter? Do you believe that men and women write in different ways?

      I’m curious, because this isn’t the first time someone has seen my writing and thought that I’m a woman. It’s also interesting that my SO ran my writing through a writing analyser and it says that I write like Margaret Atwood, the famous novelist.

      1. I also happen to wonder why. I have never thought of you as female. Asides from the fact that I can usually make out a writer’s sex from his/her writings; you have made it abundantly clear in some of the things you’ve written as well as your comments that you are male. I wonder where them ladies are getting their feelers from.

      2. Yeah, actually thought you were a woman too. I only just discovered you were a ‘Mr.’ today. Lol.

  4. I love this story well done . I believe people gain weight when they are depressed because my cousin gained a lot of weight after she got divorced

  5. Very nice, Tola. One up for Taribo for not being an ass at the end of the day.
    The weight thingy works in different ways for different women. I lose weight when depressed. Too bad i dont get depressed that often (er . . . did i really say that?!) my weight could do with a little crash program right now, lol.
    Welldone, bro.

  6. Okay ladies, I get the picture. That statement was an aside but my point was that she really didn’t need to have a reason for being plus sized. She could have been that way all along.

    1. I agree with you, Abby. Would have worked better if she really was a natural ‘orobo’. That way the cynical part of me wont be wondering if Taribo suddenly saw the light alongside the secret hope that what was gained in sorrow might be shed in joy.

      1. lol Lade, remember the x-ray bill I mentioned sending you? Well, another one’s on its way.

        1. Ha! I go run comot for NS oh.

      2. That way the cynical part of me wont be wondering if Taribo suddenly saw the light alongside the secret hope that what was gained in sorrow might be shed in joy.

        @Lade, that’s an interesting thought. Perhaps that was indeed a factor in Taribo’s decision. But given that Taribo was quite convinced that Julie was comfortable with her weight, and that Julie herself never gave him any indication during their dating that she was looking to lose weight, wouldn’t that be a flimsy hope?

  7. TolaO,never knew you’re a guy.
    This was a very interesting piece,post part 3 sharpenly sharpenly or else???
    More grease to thy elbow

    1. Yes o, @Gretel, I’m a guy.

      I’d appreciate it if you could satisfy my curiosity and also answer the questions I posed to @Mercy above.

      Sorry, I don’t think there’ll be part 3 – I’m done with romance for now. (I hope this will satisfy those here – you know yourselves – who complain that I only write gruesome stories about people chewing on penises. :) )

      1. TolaO, did you really have to mention that again? If I could only summon your muse now, I would likely bestow ‘her’ with the gift of a never-ending-vacation where them gruesome stories are concerned. lol

  8. really loved the story… touched a nerve ther Tola. i’m plus size and for me i put on more weight whn i’m sad cos i do comfort eating, i’m ashamed to say….then i lose weight whn i’m happy and when everything and everyone is behaving just as they should…. ooops, i’m rambling , aren’t i?
    Anyway good job!

    1. @Jaz, thanks for the comments, and welcome to NaijaStories. I hope everyone is behaving as they should over there o – we can’t have you being sad.

    2. Not to worry Jaz; let us (NS) know when you’re feeling blue. We are most definitely up to the task to keep you happy, happy, happy!

  9. I tend to agree with Lade… Sounded like Taribo made an emotional decision… don’t mean to be a cynic but I really wonder if it’ll last.
    Good job Tola, a story that generates debate is also a good thing!

    1. Wow. Ce Ug’s comment has got me thinking, and he could be right. Couldn’t it be like the case of the Mommy offering a fussy child something, the child being reluctant to take it, and then only accepting to take it cos Mommy is threatening to give it to someone else? Sounds like an emotional decision to me, and though emotions do come into these decisions, they’re not reliable, and so such decisions should be based on something more.

      Well, thank God he’s not marrying her… yet.

      I loved reading this sha.

      1. That’s an interesting analogy, @Uche… but the important thing is that the child still accepts the thing, no matter the reason.

        And of course, without accepting the thing first, he can never come to appreciate it so that he ends up liking it for itself…

      2. Uche, ce ug’s a she.

  10. ce ug, I completely agree with you. I think Taribo is setting himself up to fail considering the misgivings he has about her in the first place. Find it hard to believe he suddenly got over his concerns just like that! Hopefully, he doesn’t end up hurting her more than she has already been in the past.

    1. @Lara B,

      I think that there’s absolutely nothing wrong in Taribo making an emotional decision. I think that while we use logic to validate many of the decisions that we make in life, we would never go ahead with those decisions if there wasn’t a strong emotional underpinning. And remember that at this stage, all Taribo is committing to do is to enter a serious relationship with Julie, not to marry her yet.

      @Ce ug,

      I think that just because one wrestles with a decision before making it doesn’t mean that one cannot be committed to the decision once it’s made. I doubt that there’s anyone who is so perfect for another person that they have absolutely no issues or complaints. The question is whether the things they like about the person outweigh the things they don’t like. And sometimes, it takes an event – like the possibility of never seeing that person again – to make them realise how much they like the things that they do like.

      1. Mr (lol) Odejayi, methinks I deserve points from you for letting everyone out of their ignorance about your sex. Take your time thinking about it. Don’t let it be an emotional response.

        1. @Abby, I’ve considered your request for points with cold, uncompromising logic… and the answer has to be NO. You already have far, far too many points already for your own good…

  11. still enjoying your story.
    very nice.
    i think since she added weight when she was depressed,she might as well work on losing it now that she has found love.

  12. sweet! *clapping like a giddy child!*
    :)

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