It is not often you fall in love but when you do, it leaves you speechless, sometimes useless and at other times, senseless. Often though, knowing someone loves you puts smiles on your face every morning. Waking up each morning to the knowledge that you are the centre of someone else’s world is not only soothing but also satisfying. There is a sense of fulfillment.
‘What is love’ is the question that got me so confused the moment Gboye came into my life. If love is such an important aspect of life and if it is true that we are so connected to a soul, why will such a person abuse the rare privilege of being your soul? They say be careful whom you give your soul to but we often don’t choose who we fall in love with or do we? It seems love comes around when it wishes after a shot of cupid’s arrow. What happens when you think you love someone and then someone else comes along and you begin to wonder if you love the first person at all? You struggle with the feeling for a while on the moral background of dumping the one you are sure of for the one you know nothing about.
It’s strange how a stranger one year can suddenly become the most important person in your life while the most important a year ago suddenly becomes a stranger. Gboye became the most important thing in my life. One without whose input I did nothing. Oh the folly of that; for love does not mean you cannot do some things on your own. It does mean that you both need each other but not necessarily over-dependence. I loved so much I poured myself into Gboye; I hid nothing, no; not a thing.
It was funny how the centre of my world once now sat across from me a complete stranger, asking me official questions and nothing more.
“So if you kindly oblige me, I will like to begin immediately with the inventory for the last 6months. I should be able to work on that in the next two days. And I will also need two of your staff here to assist me’ Gboye said.
“Ok, it shouldn’t be a problem; let me call the man in charge” I said picking the telephone. While I made the call, he kept his eyes fixed on me and I seem to read concern in his eyes. What does he care! I thought.
“Well come with me” I said upon dropping the call. He seemed not to hear me though as he stayed rooted to his seat. His demeanor spoke of a raging storm within. He looked like a man at a fix; at a crossroad with no clue as to which of the roads to take.
He made a long sigh and then said “Adenike, be sincere with me: how are you?
“Better than you left me” I replied curtly with a hint of sarcasm in my voice. He waited, expecting me to say more but I had nothing to tell him so I kept my lips sealed. He opened his mouth and tried to say something which refused to produce anything coherent. He was obviously confused. I wondered why he seemed to suddenly develop guilt. After all, he was all smiles just a couple of minutes ago. He opened his mouth again and closed it. The words were failing him; he could not put expressions to his feeling. I saw he was making an effort and it was draining him but I wasn’t about to help a wicked soul as his. I was once all emotional but he taught me otherwise; taught me how to develop a thick skin, a carefree attitude to people’s emotional battles.
Eventually, not being able to say what he really intended to, he simply invited me to his fiancée’s house for her mother’s birthday party. I initially wanted to decline but upon due consideration, I thought it was a great opportunity to know the woman who took my happiness away. She didn’t really take my happiness away though. Maybe the woman who replaced me should be the appropriate thing. I asked him the details of the event venue and promised to be there. I walked him down to the office Library where two of my people were waiting for him. We exchanged a few half hearted banters and I left them to work.
As I walked back to my office, I remembered David. I felt pained at what I did to him but was comforted by the fact that he is now happily married while I remain without hope. I recently saw his wife and beautiful children and the thought that I could have been the mother of his lovely children but for Gboye brought a sad smile to my face. David and I had a long history. We met in our fresh year at the University. He was my closest friend and confidant. We were often inseparable even when he had to change his department. He had no passion for numbers or anything statistical but was made to apply for it by his ever demanding Father who thought it was the best for him to read Economics.
After our first year results were released, it became obvious that David was not cut out for it. He was therefore advised to move to another department. His Dad refused and it took the intervention of the Dean of the Faculty, a close friend of his dad to persuade him to allow the poor boy move. Even after he successfully moved to Department of Sociology, we refused to let go of each other. We made sure we took the same elective courses. Our ‘attachment’ was so obvious that the Lecturers took notice of it and would ask whenever one of us failed to show up in class. Our classmates called us ‘kori kosu’, meaning that we would not go to bed till we had seen each other. During one of those elective classes, a female class mate had attempted to sit beside David and according to the ‘gist’ I later got from David and other eye-witnesses; he had insisted that the seat was reserved. The poor girl resisted saying no seat was ever reserved in class. After gently insisting that she changes seat and she refused, he took his bag and moved to another area of the Lecture Hall. It should have ended there but then the Lecturer came into class and looking in the direction we usually sit, he asked the whole class “where are David and Nike? The class busted into laughter as they pointed in our direction.
After the drama, Dr. Chukwu looked at the Girl and asked “why are you sitting in their corner? I would never forget the commotion those words caused; it became the mantra of all our class mates and they would say it each time they wanted to tease us. I remember looking in the girl’s direction and reading confusion on her face. We will later find out it was her first day in Dr. Chukwu’s class.
With the kind of history we had, guys rarely came to ask me out. They simply believed that I was David’s. And since nobody wanted to cross him because he was quite popular on campus, the few that would have attempted approaching were told by their informants in the faculty not to bother: Nike was a ‘no go area’. David was very popular on campus, not because he was academically brilliant or such like. In fact, he hated school with passion, he always said that his life will be better if his parent would simply allow him pursue his dream of becoming a painter; he would have no need of attending a university. Each time I replied that being a painter does not mean he shouldn’t attend a University, he would reply that he prefers vocational school where he could learn practically the rudiment of the Art. He always said he was wasting away his life attending class. The only reason he attended class was me, he would say. The days I tell him I wouldn’t attend class; he will find a reason to skip class as well. I had to insist that he attends classes for his departmental courses. While in class most times, he was often busy drawing one image or the other, he was so creative with his paintings he became very popular on campus. He would draw and paint events on campus and paste the art piece on notice boards with the pseudo name ‘Colour riot’. People however knew he was behind the paintings and soon requests to make paintings rolled in. I suggested he collects money for the works, he didn’t want to but I prevailed on him and became his manager. If you wanted a ‘colour riot’ painting, you had to see Nike and she was definitely going to charge you.
Our best customers were the Campus ‘lover boys’. As a matter of fact, it was an open secret that you were sure not going to get a girl’s attention until you had presented her a painting with the ‘colour riot’ trademark neatly written at its bottom. What David lacked in academics, he made up for in charm and elegance. He had a very charming personality and was easily likable; thus he was one of the hottest boys on campus. And I was the love of his life according to the stories flying around on campus then. It was true that David loved me dearly. That I knew!
However, David had never opened his mouth to say what he felt, I guessed he thought I knew and there was no need for him to say it but a woman’s heart doesn’t operate this way; she wants to know you love her, she wants to come to that knowledge by hearing you say it and even when she knows, she still wants to hear it. Such is the heart of a woman.
For four years, David never said a word. We went out on dates, attended most campus events together, went to church, went to class together, went to Library together (of course at my insistence), spent most evenings in each other’s company, and not even once did David express his feelings for me, not until Gboye stupidly asked for my pen and pencil in the Library that day.
To be continued…………….
Oluwatosin Fatoyinbo is a Christ-follower..simple.. friendly.. music lover..writer..arsenal fan..Lawyer in equity..curator at http://paarapo.com. He Tweets from @tosinfat
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