I gazed at the picture in my hand, fondly stroking it.
That day, he had set the timer on the camera, run to where I was seated and wrapped his arms around me. I noticed a lint of thread in his hair. The flash went off as I reached to pick it out.
“Awww…..we’ll have to take it again.”
He had flashed his milky white teeth at me and walked to the camera.
“And the picture isn’t bad at all o,” he said, looking at the digital display
He walked back to me and showed it to me. I agreed that it was beautiful too.
That was our first year anniversary, one year after I had agreed to be his girl.
Behind the photograph, he had scribbled two sentences.
The first was “Ti temi nikan.”
I smiled as I read those words. The first time he had called me that, I sat opposite him reading a book he had bought for me as a birthday gift. When he said it, I looked up and caught his twinkling eyes. His dimples crept up his cheeks as the sun rose up in the sky at dawn. Then he had looked away. I laughed and returned to my book. That was the problem, it had always been a problem, I couldn’t always tell when he was joking and when he was serious. That day I had simply dismissed those words as a joke.
Months later, when we started going out, he completely christened me by that name.
“Who told me I am yours alone? I’m also my mothers’ and my fathers'”I jokingly asked him one day, folding my hands, with a smirk on my face.
The sun rose in his cheeks again. “They birthed you, but you belong to me, as I belong to you.”
I smiled wryly as I read the second sentence he had scribbled “Ti ogiri o ba lanu, Alangba o le wo ogiri.”
It had been a line in our favourite love song. “If there are no cracks in the wall, lizards can’t come in.”
However, come in the lizards did. I felt the tears sting my eyes and blinked to hold them back in.
The first crack in the wall came when after studying microbiology in the university, he told me he had decided to travel abroad to study medicine. I stared at him blankly without hearing a word, actually I heard just three words “dreams, vision and passion.”.
What about my own dreams, vision and passions, I wanted to scream. I had them, but had built them around him and there he was ranting on about it as if I had no understanding of what they meant.
Then guilt smothered me, should his love for me keep him from his dreams.
“When did you decide this? When did you decide you were going back to study medicine?” I finally asked.
“Emm….l-last month,” he stuttered.
“That’s good news, sugbon o so fun mi, you never told me,” I mumbled under my breath.
“I’ll be right back.”
I stood up and walked out of the parlour in a haste. I did not want him to see the tears that had begun to blur my vision. That would be unfair.
The second crack came after he left, I missed him so much, so much so that I could feel the pain in my heart. I would see my friends going out with their guys and miss him more, I would miss those dimples, his eyes that first smiled when they met mine before his lips formed a crescent shape.
I sent him a text message that it was over, three weeks after he had left. Then I had switched off the phone. I did not trust myself, I knew he just had to call and we’d be back together.
I was sick and tired of missing him, breaking up seemed like the perfect solution. However, I was so wrong, I began to miss him more. He seemed to haunt me, everywhere I turned, something reminded me of him; the TV, the radio, paintings, books….even the sun.
Then my heart and subconscious mind connived against me and made him the standard by which every other man was judged. Any other man was either to reserved or too lousy, too dark or too fair, too tall or too short.
I sighed and stretched my legs. I did not want to cry, I was beyond that.
My phone beeped by the lamp on the bedside table. I jumped, startled and looked at the the clock on the wall, 2:00am. I picked the phone and glanced at the caller’s identity. It read ‘Durotimi’; my heartbeat quickened as I picked the phone.
“I will, I will,” he replied, breathing harshly “I’ve missed you.”
He was serious. I know him now.
“I’ve missed you too.”
“The same rain that makes the waterleaf fresher and tastier, makes the bitter leaf more bitter.” He paused, then went on, “The distance will make us stronger,” he said quietly.
Morenikeji – I have another
Durotimi – stay with me