I think I messed up. Scratch that, I really messed up big time. And before I progress from another round of leaky eyes to wobbly-throated sobbing again, I decide to take a bath. That is the only place where I forget about everything, my worries, miseries, pains and regrets; where time stops and everything seem to cease.
I remove the old duvet I use in covering and I feel mildly nauseous, my stomach churns; dipping and rising. I find it so hard to eat lately; everything that enters my mouth tastes bitter, so it must be revolting. I sit up, pull off my pajamas; never a good idea at four in the morning, but what else will I do? I have been having sleepless nights. I sigh as I feel the touch of fresh air on my entire body, breathing in a lungful of it, I experience a rush of relief mixed with a whisk of gloom. I sigh again.
Totally naked, I walk to the bathroom, and set the tap running. Taking a peep at myself in the mirror; “who is this?’ I said to myself, I really look so haggard and craggy, a depressed version of me with dark circles around my eyes and all that. I frown.
Some birds must be awake early; I can hear them chirping and cheeping outside my window. The sun will probably follow suit soon. I sit on the edge of the bath, while I wait for my tub to fill up. I smooth in a handful of conditioner into my hair. Squidging it and running my fingers down from the roots to the tips, feeling my hair soften under my hand.
I slowly pull a comb through it and rinse. The simple things in life are now so pleasurable to me. I dip myself into the warm bubbling water, close my eyes and for a moment, it stops. My mind goes blank and I feel some relief, as if a huge weight is taken off my shoulders.
Then suddenly, it creeps up. No, this is supposed to be my place of solace, a place I run to any time I’m depressed, where I don’t feel anything. Why is it coming up now? Yes, it is always with me everywhere I go; always at the back of my mind, kicking away and dancing up and down, waving a red flag, demanding attention. When I wake up in the morning, when I eat, watch TV, when I sleep, I think about it all the time except when I am in my bath tub, it doesn’t show up but now.
I try not to allow but it will not just go. My mind keeps dredging up the memories again. Exhausted by the effort, I decide to let myself off the hook and go into the pain. My mind naturally drifts to him. It’s been three weeks now. The tears start again.
“Adebola where are you?” I whimper
My life crossed paths with Debola’s when I was a first year physics student in University of Ibadan and he was a 200 level Engineering student who organized tutorials for my class. Now, he wasn’t really my type of guy; I had always imagined my dream would be tall with a broad chest, light complexioned and charming but Debola is quite the opposite; he is short, dark and not that attractive, although most of my friends thought he was.
I asked him for help on one of my assignments back then, and our friendship started from there. In the course of it, I discovered that he was not only very articulate, smart and intelligent, but he also has a very healthy sense of humor and he was very unique in his own way – this I find quite irresistible.
Initially I felt a bit terrified and intimidated by him; though I’d always had a thing for smart guys, but Debola is just way too smart. Besides, I was this lazy, vain, lousy and cheeky individual; my main reason for being in school was just to get a degree so I could on and start my business afterwards. Later, He changed my perspective and made me realize so many facts about life and I also found out that we both have so many things in common including a passion for music and movies.
As time went on, we got really close; we would spend hours on the phone, sometimes talking about ideas and sometimes about nothing. Sometimes we would just flirt and other times we would sit down in the darkness of my room and whisper to each other; holding each other so close. He would often show up in my room with some books and movies and after studying, we would cuddle up in my bed and see the movies. But despite all that, nothing happened. We were just friends.
I got so into him. Sometimes when we lay in my bed holding each other, I had this feeling that he wanted to kiss me. I always felt that he wanted to take our relationship to the next level. But he never did anything. I didn’t want to tell him how I felt or make any move, because I really cherished our friendship and I wouldn’t want to do anything to ruin it.
I’d learnt something about guys, that if they like you enough, they would make a move. So why was he not making any? Well, because he didn’t like me enough, was the short answer I gave myself at the time. Still even though I knew this, even though I had this short answer, I was confident that it would change overtime.
He dated other people, but none of those relationships ever lasted. Most people actually thought we were dating, even my friends would not believe me when I told them the truth, and guys found it hard to come near me, to ask me out because they thought we were together, and that was very annoying, especially when they told my friends.
In my third year, I started dating a very handsome dread-lucked guy called Dave. This sent Debola into a jealous rage .He picked up a fight with me, told me to scram and walked out, only to reappear after a week, begging me. My relationship with Dave didn’t last for more than three months (didn’t even know how it lasted that long). He had this thing in his mind that he was too hot and smart for me. Actually, neither of us went beyond tolerating or liking each other. We had nothing in common and I got more laughs off the evening news than listening to his dry jokes. He was nothing like Debola. When we both got exhausted with the whole thing, we broke up and I never considered anything serious after that.
One evening, during our final exams, Debola and I were studying in my room. An earlier discussion had led to an argument and neither of us was going to concede any ground. As I shouted angrily at him, he suddenly pulled me into his arms and covered my lips with his. Debola kissed me for the very first time. I kissed him back of course (at least that’s what I’d been dreaming about) and it lasted for a while. When our lips finally parted, he looked at me and gave me a smile that melted my heart; he looked so handsome. I smiled back, then he kissed me lightly on the forehead, looking at me with a lustful way, he planted a lighter kiss on my lips, gripping me tight. My knees began to shake, my heart pounded so loudly, Beyonce could use the beats for her next album.
Then he whispered into my ears, so quietly, like a mouse trying to get some cheese without making a peep.
“Mo” he said, “I love you”.
I released myself gently from his grip, my knees still shaking and found myself trembling against the wall. I felt a rush of blood up my head. Debola kissed me, it was like music was playing in my head. My feet felt wobbly and I couldn’t trust myself to stand any longer so I sat on the bed. I couldn’t look at him either; so I stared at the carpet instead and pinched myself because it all felt like a dream.
He sat down beside me, stroking my hair away from my face, then grinning, he leaned against my body and so softly, almost not speaking, he whispered again,
“I love you so much Modele, warts and all and I want this to last forever, want us to be together forever.”
Hearing him say this, my heart skipped some beats.
“I have always wanted to do this; kiss you and say this” he continued, “ever since I met you, but I was just so scared that you may not want me, afraid to lose you or our friendship, but now, I can’t go on like that anymore. I can’t go on denying myself of what I craved for, what I wanted. All that matters now is that I love you and I hope that you feel the same way too”.
So saying, he pushed me down gently and kissed me lightly on my lips again. I smiled without breaking my lock on his eyes. He smiled back, this time holding my hands. Then he got up so swiftly like something had struck him and still holding my hands, he went straight down on his knees and In the deepest, most luxuriant voice, holding my gaze he said;
“Modele Jacobs, I love you so much, and I can’t live a day without you, Will you be my wife and soul mate? Will you like to spend the rest of your life with me? ”
I looked at him in stunned reverie. My heart started to pound so loud again; he was not only asking me to be his girlfriend but his wife, the mother of his kids, to spend the rest of his life with.
I closed my eyes. So many thoughts ran through my head, thoughts of how life with or without him was going to be. He is my best friend, I had seen his highs and lows, his good sides and his bad sides, I wasn’t sure I could marry him Can I spend my whole life with him? I mean being friends could be different; I could put up with his snoring, but could I tolerate that as his wife? What about his unnecessary and crazy temper; he gets angry very easily even at the slightest provocation. He scatters my room and leaves my bathroom messy, do so many things that make me go mad; but can I tolerate all that forever? It was so sudden for me. God what should I do? I asked myself.
“Mo?” he brought me back to reality.
I opened my eyes to see his miraculously peculiar eyes, I shook my head.
“No Debola, no” I heard myself say