I graduated top of my class with Lydia coming really close but you know what they say; almost never counts. Till date, me and Lydia remain friends. Not just her. There’s Coco, Puffy, Geisha, Ann Tequila, Tope Brad (their nicknames of course!).
All of us would get together at my place after graduation and plot our future. Omo Ode would be a part of this list but we had a falling out so bad(now that I look back, I would have done better) I checked out of our friendship. Who is Omo ode, you would wonder? At the time, my personal person; the bomb.com. we lived together from my second year through to my final year and we were very close-till I checked out of the friendship like it was some hotel.
I remember what we fell out over and how we fell out. It would later form one of the odes I would write to the best friends I have lost. So far, I have had three and they all ended up breaking my heart. Akanji, my first and beloved. Tosin, my second and most heart wrenching and Omo Ode, the final straw that broke the camel or is it my back/heart?
Post my relationship with Imoh and graduation, I swore not to get involved but live my life vicariously through others. ‘You are using people’ may be the first thing that comes to your mind. Get in line! You’re not the first to tell me but I had suffered too much heartbreaks I wasn’t sure I could stand another one.
Tife, a guy that I almost dated nagged this in my memory every day. For once in my life, I remember how we met. Sheila, a then classmate had asked that I please help give something to her friend since I was going to the island. It was one of those rainy days and the Island was as always, flooded. Since there was no Moses to come part this red sea, I decided to use my leg as a navigator. I jumped out of the cab and called Tife. He said he was waiting patiently for me outside his office. Ehn ehn! So this one is forming porche and cannot come and collect his ‘package’ from me abi? Is not kuku his fault. If I did not turn myself to Fedex/the transporter, all this rubbish will not be happening. Good riddance.
I was still fuming when I arrived Tife’s office with my wet foot/shoes. He was very pleasant and had a very flirty eyes (or was I out of a relationship for that long and any eyes could have been flirty?). He was really apologetic for my ordeal and offered to take me to dinner.
During dinner, we talked like we had known each other a long time and when I started shivering, he was right beside me; offering his jacket and body to warm me up. See gobe! I also turned up my flirt heat.
We decided his car should not travel in the red sea and so we decided to share a cab.
Tife and I were attracted to each other and we knew it! Everything we said to each other, every physical contact made was so sexual! Still, we both choose not to act on it.
When we both reached our various homes, Tife called to say goodnight. We finally did that at way past midnight. When I clicked my red button, I questioned the attraction. Even with Gabriel, it wasn’t this heated. Was Tife my soul mate and I was only fooling myself with Gabriel?
Tife’s call woke me the next morning. And the next morning and more mornings to come after that.
‘The number you have dialed is switched off. Please try again later. Thank you’ I had tried Gabriel’s number again and I was still getting the same response. I returned Tife’s phone to him in anger and explained about Gabriel to him. By now, we had started visiting each other and made a point to have lunch at least three times a week.
‘Maybe he lost his phone and couldn’t find your number?’ Tife said. I asked Tife to close his eyes and recite my number. He did. As far as I am concerned, Gabriel doesn’t have an excuse.
As I and Tife became inseparable, Sheila got concerned and decided to report me to Tife’s ex.
Tife and I had just finished dinner and were lying in his apartment in the dark, each with our own thoughts, when his phone rang. It was his ex and she opined that based on her findings about me, I was just out to use and dump Tife-everyone knew that was my style.
Tife thanked her and promised to avoid me. I stood up and was on my way out when Tife asked where I was going. ‘Home’ I responded. I was close to the door when he got in front of me. He asked why. I told him I didn’t want to ruin his life as his ex thinks and I just wanted to disa… I didn’t even finish the statement. Tife was in my mouth. He held my tongue captive with his lips as he gently whispered in my ear to shut the hell up. I had no plans to complain. This was a welcomed development. The kiss was so passionate and I started to relax. I heard the hook of my bra pop. That’s when the guilt started to rush in. I felt like I was cheating on Gabriel. I pushed Tife off me and hooked my bra.
Tife calmed down and told me how attracted he is to me. It’s a miracle he hasn’t kissed me till now. As he talked, he got close again and kissed me. I responded so naturally. Tife asked me to give us a chance. I took off. No response. I was torn.
I would later meet Tife a few years down the line. We talked at length and he explained to me that he wasn’t looking for a relationship. How about friends with benefit? That was the last day I spoke to him.
Even Gabriel would never suggest a thing like this. ‘The number you have dialed is switched off. Please try again later. Thank you’.
Its been nearly two years since I last spoke to the love of my life. Oh Gabriel! Where are you?
Surely as I blossomed into this smart, beautiful (inner beauty) and charming young lady, I would have a series of likers, toasters and one night smooches (I can’t call them stands because there was no sex involved just a lot of kisses and touches and everyone moved on quickly from there). A lot of really good guys fall into this category and because we all saw our one night smooch for what it was, we could remain friends a long time.
I started to focus more on my budding career as a communications specialist and was constantly learning from different schools. I love to break rules. Never been one for dogma. Still, I realize that I first must learn the rules so I know how to break, bend and or twist them however I find necessary.
People around me would call me various names; weird, non-conformist, creatively restless but I just wanted to find fresh and refreshing approaches to make things work. For me, nothing was cast in stone. An open mind is a winning strategy for me plus I felt really great about myself.
I started to almost forget about Gabriel save for my brother’s friend, Gabriel who gradually became a constant figure in my parent’s house. Whenever someone challenged/accused him, he would beat his chest and say ‘Emi Olugabriel!’Olugabriel ko, Olumicheal ni! Good riddance.
My relationship with my mom was getting better. My mom. My rock. My super and wonder woman all wrapped up in one! We were almost best buds and my siblings would envy me save for the day I would rock one of her bags or shoes and she would yab me and my ancestors in full public view for not asking her permission.
We were seeing an Indian movie together with my other siblings. Someone dies and is burnt at the funeral. My sister comments on how easy and economical the burial is. I agreed with her it was really no fuss and easy to carry out. My brother also agrees and wished that was our culture here in Naija. My mom looks to my cousin who was present and begs him to please make sure we don’t burn her when she dies if not, she’s coming for him from the grave. We laughed so hard tears were rolling down our eyes.
I was enjoying this family time and didn’t appreciate it when Gloria, my friend and senior colleague, calls me. ‘Babe, biko, you fit show for work? That my client just revert and I need you for brainstorm’. Brain storm for, brain drain ni. I explain carefully to Gloria that it was a Saturday and I needed to spend time with my folks. Gloria continued to try and persuade me so I pretended the network was bad and cut her off. I put my phone on silent and went to the kitchen to steal some cake from my sister’s share in the fridge. My sister joins me in the kitchen with my phone to her ear. She hands it to me and says ‘it’s for you!’duh! It’s my phone!
Hello Gloria, I can’t make it, im so… ‘Tobi, this is Gabriel’