It was a bright Sunday! Church service had just finished and I was standing with my bosom male friend, Emma, having a little chat. I was in this resplendent white guinea native dress, or so I was told I appeared, with a yoruba cap to match. Even Emma had to confess that he loved the design, the style and the starchy contours made me look elegantly cute. Anyway, it was my first time in that dress and it was one of those weekends I leave the campus for my home/residence state to pay visits to my family. Right about that time, outside the church premises, I spotted a face that looked like it didn’t belong in that community. This was a church in a remote, new town and I surmised the face might be visiting. Well, it was an attractive feminine face but we had never met or had a conversation.
Just then, my youngest sister came around and quietly said to me, “She is a student of your university”. My eyes went aglowed! “Really?” I thought. “How is it I had never seen her in the campus fellowship and yet we live in the same community and attend the same local church”. With a dint of courage, I beckoned onto her and she came. “You school in xxx university?” I asked and “Yes” she replied. She continued, “I have seen you in the campus church a number of times but didn’t know you stay around my home too”. That was our first conversation, I reminisce with a faint smile.
Over the next few days, weeks and months, we became good friends, at least so I thought. I kept receiving these lovely messages that she manually drafted, I mean, not those already cooked up types you have in booklets on magazine stands. She was real and I felt, at last, I had a female friend I can relate and get along with. After a couple of nice chats over the internet, I got a shocker question; “Do you have emotions”? She asked me. “Who doesn’t have emotions?” I thought and I said to her that everyone does and even made a reference to an American movie I watched earlier where a hardened terrorist who wouldn’t bulge to disclose needed information under horrible torture eventually did when his family was brought in and his wife killed before his very eyes. So, “yes”, even hardened terrorists have emotions and so do I. Intelligent answer, you might say, but I wanted to keep me away from heading straight into what I knew she was driving her; whether I had feelings for someone or for her. She asked me who I perceived her to be and I gave her my honest reply. She was impressed and also gave me her opinion of me as well. I wasn’t particularly excited but she was correct about me. Then came the next; “Can I ask you something” she asked and “Go ahead” I replied. “Can you be my friend”? Maybe you didn’t get that well when I described this lady in the first place. Here was a young, smart and pretty, really pretty undergraduate with a good sense of humour, self-dignity, good family background and status, a top student in her department (as a matter of fact, the best in her first year) and a Christian asking me to be her friend. It wasn’t like I had an issue with self-esteem but I wanted to be sure I heard right. So I asked, “What have we been along?” as this was after about four or five months of steady interaction. “Oh no”, she said. “I mean someone like a best friend, a confidant”. So, I consented.
And that was it. We got chatting more, spoke more over the phone, exchanged messages and were getting real attached. More calls followed more sms messages and then the late-into-the-night chatting on another chat medium but maybe consciously to both of us; we never discussed anything explicitly unusual amongst platonic friends. She came to confide in me, told me her pains. I got a chance to look into this beautiful soul and saw the pain, the hurt and torture it was undergoing. It called to mind the popular maxim that a real friend sees the sadness behind your smiles and the pains behind your joys. We were having a jolly good ride, everything seemed perfect. I was proud to introduce her to friends and made her feel comfortable around me despite the obvious gap in our social relationship strata – I was a more exposed individual and a public figure. Gradually, feelings were crawling in. It takes a while for me to get attached emotionally even though I could be instantly attracted by a couple of admirable qualities in a person., especially after the one and only crush I have had and which was far back in high school. Tobi was my quiet, humble, diligent and smart classmate in secondary school and these virtues endeared her to me but I never made my feelings known and never would. However, here was my romantic bestie or at least so she made me believe. Questions, questions and questions! Yes she asks a lot of them. “What should your ideal woman look like?” “What would you do if she did this or did that?” “What pet names would you call her when you do get married?” “Would you actually treat her that nice?” were becoming the order of the chats but I was enthusiastically fielding her curiosities. I simply liked her persona. Then followed the beautiful names I started getting from her, the ‘darling, dearie, my bestie, my prince, my lord and my baby’…….oh yes! You read right, “my baby”. I had become “her baby”. Need I mention the chat kisses and hugs? We knew we were evolving from platonic friendship into something but I was never going to take that move for reasons best kept personal and neither of us had the guts to express these feelings explicitly. Truth is; she liked me and so did I her.
You might need me to refresh your memory that we met at church for the first time, so we are Christians in a Pentecostal church where immoral relationships were treated with zero tolerance and so we played extra safe. The world expects us to be the standards in social responsibility and purity so we never had a physical hug, had no peck, no kiss and even not a handshake. But within, ‘we were in love’, sizzling romance you might want to call it though I like to say ‘we were in like’ because I didn’t want to presume she wanted more than friendship and I wasn’t going to ruin the good times we were having. I’ve been very reserved the use of word ‘love’. It was about a year we’d met and still never were in a relationship. So, my pretty female ‘bestie’ took the initiative that shy me wouldn’t dare and one night said to me, “I love you”. Please advise me on what to do!