Vanessa came back from school exhausted. After having a lecture spree with practical, she had to stand in the BRT queue for almost an hour before the bus finally came. What a day, she thought to herself. Moments later, the weather changed unexpectedly. Vanessa wished it wouldn’t rain because she hated walking under it. At times, her friends would tease her calling her Salt.
The rain fell heavily down on the city. It drummed noisily on the roof and windshield of the bus. Vanessa frowned. Rain drops slipped through the window and made her wet. She just hoped the rain would stop before she got to her bus stop. Today of all days and I’m neither holding an umbrella nor a shower cap. Vanessa hissed.
She raced out of the bus when it came to her stop. The cold rain plastered her clothes to her body. Shivering, she boarded a Keke without asking for the price. She patiently listened to the rain beating on the Keke, splashing in puddles and a journey that could have taken her ten minutes lasted for thirty minutes. Vanessa went straight to her room when she made it home. She took off her drenched clothes and went straight to have a warm bath. She came out and saw her sister was still in the kitchen and she took out her laptop. She was thankful they had power as she logged into to Facebook. She searched for Nathan Ugochukwu as she usually did every day since he left Nigeria. And this time, Vanessa couldn’t believe the search result that popped up. She freaked out.
“Seriously! After all these years, I finally have a result!” She told herself excitedly.
“But there’s no profile picture and I can’t even view his info. How am I sure he’s the one now, ‘ehen?’” She hissed. “Okay, let me just attach a message to the invitation.”
“Hey, Nathan, this is Vanessa Badmus, we were in Jss1 together. I’m not sure if you remember me and if you’re not the person I think you are, I’m sorry. I guess we can be friends on Facebook then…”
Vanessa had an awfully busy week and hardly found time to go online after her last message to the person she hoped was Nathan. At about three o’clock in the afternoon on Saturday, Vanessa decided to hit the system. Her Facebook had a new notification.
“Oh my gosh! It’s Nathan! It’s really you!” She chanted happily, staring at his profile picture. He hadn’t changed much. He still had his boyish looks with little beards; he was looking tall, well-built and way handsome than before without his funny looking glasses. Vanessa couldn’t fight the smile that was making its way across her face.
Feeling elated, she immediately accepted his request and wrote a post on his wall. For the rest of the day she eagerly anticipated his reply, checking her phone for any notification. Few hours later her phone Beeped.
“Where the hell have you been Vanessa? You said ages? It’s been years more like forever! Inbox me your number we have a lot to talk about.”
Vanessa dropped her phone and screamed for joy. Thankfully, she was the only one home. He really hasn’t forgotten about me, she thought. She opened her phone and read his reply over and over again till she fell asleep. Late that night at eleven o’clock, she opened her Facebook and was about sending her number to Nathan when he popped online, “Hey beautiful. Didn’t know you’ll still be awake by this time,”
“Hey you. Yeah I know sometimes I sleep late during the weekends.”
“You sure? Or is it some guy keeping you up?”
“If it’s any guy keeping me up, it would have to be you. But how are you?”
“I’m good and no, I’m not in Nigeria presently. I got a scholarship to study medicine.”
“Wow! That’s wonderful. You know I searched for you for a really long time.”
“Really?! So did I! I couldn’t forget about you.”
“Lol. I’m sure we have a lot to say to each other but right now I’m about to go to work. It’s 5pm here and I’m on evening shift. Would send you a message when I come online.”
“Alright, no problem. It was really nice talking to you and I must say you aged really well.”
“Lol! Likewise you hun. Lerra.” Vanessa stared down at her phone with a big smile on her face. Weeks passed, Vanessa and Nathan were always online chatting about their lives in Jss1, expressing emotions, tagging each other on Facebook and commenting on each other’s pictures and posts. Through Nathan she met several other friends and one of them was Austin Okonkwo. Austin and Nathan had been friends since childhood and he was also with Nathan on the scholarship deal. Soon he became good friends with Vanessa.
During their chats, Austin always jokingly told Vanessa he had always had a crush on her but she was more interested in Nathan but history began to repeat itself. Months later, Nathan stopped calling. He hardly came online and Vanessa soon realized that they’d been living in the memories of the past. As Nathan became more awol, Austin became more of a friend.
He would always like her posts on Facebook, he always complimented her on every of her pictures. Chatting with him soon became a routine; he would ask about her day and called her all through the night. Neither of them knew when the friendship sailed to a relationship.
Vanessa got butterflies every single time he called her. She would tell her friends but they all said it was because she liked him but she doubted it. On her 19th birthday, she got wishes from everyone, family, friends and acquaintances on Facebook but she waited for only one person to come online, Austin. Few minutes to midnight, she called him and he disconnected the call. Seconds later, he called her back.
“Hey angel, how are you doing today?”
“Just there, only thing is someone forgot to wish me happy birthday.”
“Oh my gosh! I’m really sorry. I’ve been working on something and I think today is the right time to show you.” He paused. “Hold on…” it was silent for a moment then he returned. Vanessa heard the strings of a guitar play and Austin started to sing. That was the most precious gift she’d ever received and she felt like she was on top of the world. When Austin finished, Vanessa found her voice and thanked him.
“You deserve it dear and I wonder why no guy has swept you off or taken interest like I have.” Austin confessed. Did he just say he was interested in me? Vanessa wondered.
“You know guys, they all want a relationship for one thing and am not ready for that.” Vanessa said sadly.
“Yeah, I understand you but just know I’m not like every other guy and I’ll never hurt you.” He paused.
“Vanessa, I have developed strong feelings for you and I can’t keep it to myself anymore.” There was no response at the other end.
“Yes, I’m here and I heard what you said.”
“Austin,” Vanessa sighed. She didn’t want to hurt him but she couldn’t lie either. “We are in two different countries with different time zones,” she said. “Are you sure it’s going to work out?”
“I’m not sure about anything; I’m just sure about my feelings.” Vanessa took a deep breath. What can possibly go wrong? It’s going to be a long distance relationship with no sexual involvement, she thought to herself.
“Ok Austin. I’ll be your girlfriend.” She agreed.
Months passed, Vanessa and Austin were still as close as before. Although she got advances here and there from other guys, she chose to stay faithful because she trusted Austin and she knew he would never hurt her. When Nathan found out about the relationship, his friendship with Austin became sour.
After soon time, Austin and Vanessa’s relationship also changed drastically. Austin hardly shared his problems with Vanessa and it became a big issue whenever he told her he would be coming home and would later cancel. She wanted to know if his refusal to come home had anything to do with finances so she could help. It’d been six months since they’d been together and on one fateful afternoon, Vanessa took a nap on the couch and dreamt Austin broke up with her. It was so real that she woke up with tears in her eyes. She became scared and hoped it was nothing more than just a dream.
Two weeks after her dream, Austin called her one Friday evening. They spoke for a while and Vanessa could tell there was something wrong. She persuaded him to tell her the problem and he finally gave in.
“Vanessa, I think we should have a break in this relationship.”
“Okay. You see that wasn’t hard to say, was it?” She tried controlling her emotions.
“Vanessa are you ok?”
“Of cause I am, why wouldn’t I be? If I may ask, what’s the reason for the break?”
“Vanessa you’re a wonderful girl and I don’t deserve you. You’re a kind of girl every guy in his right senses would want to have. But I’m not right for you. I can’t make you happy.”
“Says who? I decide who can make me happy, Austin and I’m happy with you.”
“Please don’t make this more difficult. I’m still trying to figure myself out and I can’t drag you behind. Vanessa you deserve someone who is better and who would keep your pretty face smiling but I’m not the one.”
“Austin, I hear my mom calling, I have to go. Would send you a message on Facebook when am online.”
“No Vanessa, please wait!” The line went dead. Vanessa sat motionless on her bed. No way would she cry over a guy. But it was too late; her rules didn’t apply to her anymore. She buried her face in her pillow and cried. She cried the pain out but the hurt was too deep. Why must first heartbreak hurt so much?! She took out her phone and deleted his pictures and his songs.
Vanessa became clingy and felt like a pest every time she found the courage to say “hi” to him. Sometimes, he would reply and then he would randomly stop replying back. She came to a conclusion that it was all her fault and she that must have done something wrong.
Vanessa then stopped putting in the effort. She stopped texting him and tried as much as possible to get him off her mind but she just couldn’t erase him out of her heart. She got involved in activities that took her mind off him but sometimes when she thought of the breakup, she would cry all over again.
It took Vanessa six months to finally get over Austin. She erased him completely and the thought of the break up didn’t hurt any more. Now she knows what people meant when they said “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Sometimes she wished he could explain why he did it because she didn’t want to believe she got played.
After so many experiences, Vanessa began to understand life and love. And no matter how hurt one may feel during a breakup, they would surely come out stronger and better.
One bright afternoon, she opened her Facebook and saw a new message; a message from Austin.