This Thing We Call Love
I look at my phone with a smile when I hear the notification beep, already knowing who the message is from.
“Dinner is served.” He says with a picture of the said dinner attached. Downloading it, I chuckle a little as I look at the picture of jollof rice, fried fish and fried plantain with steamed green vegetable.
“There’s no meat,” I reply.
“Shhhhh. Just shut up and eat it through the picture. I’m chewing right now, so swallow it for me.”
“Lol. Emeka, I have had dinner so I’m not even moved. And there’s no meat.” I type back before setting my phone aside just to shut down my laptop and put it back where it belongs since I am done with work for the day.
Emeka is my best friend. We met back in our university days in the University of Nigeria when I was a 500 level law student while he was a 600 level medical student. We were both members of a very silly WhatsApp group chat but we were what people call ghost members, always reading the chats but never contributing. Once in a while, I dropped sarcastic replies to people’s messages. One day, another silly argument arose in the group chat and I did my usual thing and he replied one of my comments and I sent a reply too. Next thing, I got a private message from him.
“I checked to see your picture to know how you look only to see a sweet. So I decided to slide into your DM or whatever it’s called.”
“Issa beautiful sweet. Here’s the full picture. Enjoy.” I replied with a shrug emoji and a grin emoji.
“Lol. May I see your picture?” He asked and I rolled my eyes and wondered why guys always ruin a conversation before it fully takes off with may I see your picture.
I downloaded and sent a picture of the donkey from Shrek and replied that it was the most beautiful donkey he has ever seen and so we started talking. That was 5 years ago.
Hearing my phone vibrate again, I shake my head to return to reality and clear my mind of thoughts of the past and proceed to reply the last message he sent.
“I cannot eat food without meat,” I reply with a shrug emoji. Emeka and I are very comfortable around each other. We speak to each other using a lot of informal terms and even converse in Igbo.
“Mtcheew. No be you again?”
“It’s not my fault I like meat… What’s the occasion? You never cook. Ever. Unless it’s for little miss wife.”
Little Miss Wife, a.k.a Emeka’s girlfriend, a.k.a. the future mother of his kids, a.k.a the woman I hate the most. Why? Because I want him for me. Unfortunately, I’m the only one holding the torch of love. Over the years, the one-sided lover has become my secret second middle name. I love my best friend who is madly in love with his girlfriend. Super.
“The meat is still grilling shaa. I was too hungry to wait for it to get done, so I just ate without it. Also, yes. She’s coming over AND I’m going to do it.”
I freeze when I see what he just sent. Propose? He is going to propose? A horrible feeling blooms in my chest and sinks into my stomach as my fingers fly across my screen in an attempt to say anything that will discourage him from doing it.
“Propose? Are you sure? Isn’t it too early? Aren’t there other things to consider? Finance? Anything?”
“You know money isn’t the problem. And it feels right. Amanda and I have been together for 5 years. I’m ready and she said she’s ready whenever I’m ready, so there’s no problem.”
The horrible feeling in my stomach gets worse and an agonized sound leaves my throat as I drop my phone on the bedside drawer with trembling fingers. I hear another beep and look at the phone again to see the new message.
“Iffy? You there?”
I press my fingers to my eyes in an attempt to stop the tears from coming even though I know its a futile attempt. I crawl into my bed and pull the duvet over my head as the dam breaks free. I already knew that this day would come and already made peace with it, but it still hurt so much I thought I will die from the pain of it all.
To be continued next week.