PART 3: THIS THING WE CALL LOVE
“Bia Iffy, I understand that you’re best friends o but I am not comfortable with both of you being alone in that house. A boy and a girl alone in one house adironu mma na. Before you’ll know what’s happening you will start telling stories.”
My mother says as she covers the pot of stew she’s making. My mother has made it a point of duty to either visit me in the name of bringing soup and stew for me or having me visit, all in the name of eating. She knows I like food and will always come running when she says “Nne I just cooked o”, so she uses that line over and over again. Even when I told her in the past that I will stop coming home every time, she said just one sentence −”Won’t you come and eat”?
Right now, I’m in my parents house patiently waiting for the rice to get done.
“Mummy, it’s not like he doesn’t have his own place. He’s just not feeling fine, that’s why he’s staying with me until he gets better.”
“Doesn’t he have a girlfriend? She should be the one taking care of him and not you…ehen and speaking of girlfriends, why don’t you have a boyfriend? See your mates are getting married up and down and you’re there taking care of your best friend,” She says with a deadpanned expression which makes me laugh so hard.
I replied with a shrug, “Mummy biko rapum. I’ll start dating when I find someone reasonable. Until then, I’m married to my career.”
Lies. All Lies. You just don’t have the one you want, my mind whispers. I shake my head to clear those thoughts and move to take rice from the pot as she takes it down from the fire.
“I know a career is important, and it’s good to be as ambitious as you are. I understand that you’re pushing yourself really hard to be a SAN in future. But still, do and get married before I die nu. Age is no longer on my side.”
I burst out laughing as I look at my mother that just opened her mouth to say that age is no longer on her side. The way my mother talks, you won’t know that she is a 55-year-old high court judge. You’d think she’s an uneducated old woman that thinks life and being a woman is all about getting married and having children.
Ignoring my laughter, she continues her speech as she opens the plate that contains the meat she fried,”Do and send that boy back to his own house or he should go back to his parents house so that they will tend to him before I start hearing stories of pregnancy.”
“Yes ma, Please I want three pieces of meat.”
“Are you sure three will be enough? Why don’t you tell me to give you everything.”
“Are you the only one that has mouth to eat meat?” She replies as she goes ahead to put the three pieces of meat I asked for. I knew she’ll put it and that she just feels like talking since it’s been a while she last saw me.
“Thank ma,” I say as I take off to the sitting room with my plate of rice.
“You’re too old for me to be telling you everything, shey you know? You know how I feel about you eating there and you still went ahead to do it. There’s a dining table for a reason. Those that made it are not mad.”
I sigh and move to the dining with my food. My mum is the type of person that will destroy you with her mouth if you’re not careful, and her sarcasm bites the soul but despite all that, I still love her. She’s my hero. To me, she’s the most amazing person on earth and I do well to tell her that every once in a while.
“Will you sleep over?” She asks and I shake my head.
“I have a matter tomorrow, so I have to go home and finish up my preparations.”
“Won’t your new roommate be a distraction?”
“Nooooo” I drawl while rolling my eyes. “Seriously it’s not a big deal. I hardly even know he’s there because all he does there is sleep. He works too, shey you know? Don’t make a big deal out of it. He’s just my friend.”
“And what will people have to say about you people living together?” She asks and I shrug before replying. “I’ve never been the type to care about what people say, so I’m not even thinking about that.”
She nods and continues eating while I open my WhatsApp to send a message to the one we’ve been talking about.
“My mum made rice and stew. U interested? Lemme know if I should add more to the quantity I’ll come back with.”
“Yes, I am.” He replies and I sigh. Emeka only sends short messages when he’s not in a good mood. He has been staying at my place for almost a week but has still not told me what the matter is.
“Will you tell me what’s wrong when you come back? Talking might help.”
“Talking won’t help but I will tell you when I get back just to get you off my back.”
Oh no he didn’t. He didn’t just do that I think as my hands fly across my screen.
“Did you just call me a nag?”
I just huff and lock my screen before looking at the TV screen before me. I focus on the movie and tell myself that I will not think about anything Emeka related until further notice.
I manage to avoid seeing Emeka for two more days, and that was easy because we were both busy with work. I look at the clock and let out another sigh. It is 12:05 am, and instead of being asleep in my room, I’m awake waiting for a person that didn’t think it is necessary to call to let me know whether or not he will come back today. I stay awake because I don’t want a situation where he will knock once I fall asleep.
Just then, I hear a knock and jump off the couch to open the door. Enough is enough. It’s high time he goes back to his own place so that he can do whatever he wants to do with and to himself. What kind of nonsense attitude is this one kwan? I think as I turn the key.
“Hey.” He mutters as he comes in and I lock the door behind him. The smell of the alcohol on his breath wafts into my nose and I get angrier.
“Hey yourself. What’s the meaning of this kwan? I don’t like it o.”
“What did I do?” He replies as he pulls off his shoes and puts them away where they should be.
“If you will come back late, tell me. And this habit of coming back drunk I don’t like it.”
“What are you? My wife?”
“You’re staying in my fucking house for a reason completely unknown to me. Your habits have been nasty. Your attitude has been nasty. I only let you stay here because of our relationship not because I owe you a duty to do so. So whatever the fuck you want to do, do not inconvenience me. You have a place of your own. You can go back there and do whatever you want to do but not here.” I snap.
“I’ll just leave then.”
“I don’t care anymore. I’d rather you do that than let you think you can do whatever you like to me and speak to me anyhow you like. Hian! Oginidi sef? Mtcheww” I reply before stomping off to my room and slamming the door, not caring that I just probably disturbed my neighbors.
It takes me thirty minutes to finally calm down and just as I finish setting an alarm for 6 am, I hear a knock on my door followed by “Iffy, are you still awake?”
“No. Go away.” I snap before pulling my duvet up to my chin.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean any of that. I’ve just been in a very dark place and I took it out on you. I’m really sorry for being rude and inconveniencing you and stuff. I just didn’t want to be alone, that’s why I came over. I’ll leave tomorrow so that I’ll stop being a burden. I appreciate everything you’ve done so far and I want you to know that.”
After a moment, I clear my throat and then say “Do you want to talk about it?”
“Promise you won’t open the door to come out here and I’ll tell you.”
“She said no,” He says after another moment.
“Who said no?” I ask with a frown.
“Amanda. I did all that sappy romantic bullshit all in the name of proposing to the girl I love and she just looked me in the eyes and shook her head. She said she actually came over to break up. That we had been together for so long and she wanted to live a little, do something exciting, go out with other people. Who does that?” His voice breaks at the end and I leave my bed and walk to the door.
“I’m coming out.”
“No! Iffy you promised. I…I can’t let you see me like this.”
“Are you crying?” I ask with a sad smile on my face. I am hurting because he’s hurting.
“N..no I’m not. Big boys don’t cry and I’m a big boy.” He says and I laugh softly before opening the door and sitting on the floor beside him.
“That’s silly. Big boys cry. They just do it in the privacy of their house so that no one will see them.” I say softly as I pull him into a much-needed hug. I feel his warm tears soak through my shirt and I pat his back. He smells like toothpaste and shower gel.
“She wasn’t the one for you,” I whisper and he sniffs before telling me that it hurts so much.
“Of course it hurts. You’re only human. But thank God it happened now. You dodged a bullet there. She could have said yes and then you’d get married to her only for her to become ‘Her Hoeliness’ and start cheating on you just because she wants excitement.”
“Didn’t I do everything right by her? I thought I did everything I could to make her happy.”
“I’m sure you did. You’re an amazing guy. You’re a keeper. It’s not your fault she wanted something else. She doesn’t know what she’s missing out on. Don’t worry. It’s going to be fine. You’re going to be fine.” I reply before tightening my hold on him. Just one thought goes through my mind as we sit there in the corridor. Girls can be stupid.
To be continued next week…
Dera is a final year law student who loves writing just for the fun of it. She is called Dewa or Dera or Derryl by her friends. She grew up in the Eastern part of Nigeria. Her hobbies include reading novels, writing, reading mangas, watching Japanese Anime and Korean dramas. She has been described as silly and is known for cracking dry corny jokes and being unnecessarily dramatic and hyperactive, always laughing and jumping from pillar to post. She can be sarcastic when the occasion calls for it. She enjoys a good novel and at least one fan fiction everyday. She writes on wattpad and some other platforms under a penname which nobody knows and has sworn to change her identity, move to Chile and start a new life should she ever be linked to those accounts. It’s not that she’s ashamed of the write-ups, no; just that she’s weird like that. One day, she hopes to visit Japan and familiarize herself with all things anime while eating Onigiri and also hopes to visit South Korea just to eat Kimchi. Hi, I’m Dera and it’s nice to meet you.