Tuesday, 2 May 2017

The Girl I Never Had: A Boy's Trial at What He Thought Was Love.



Ever since Ifeoma broke my heart, I found it hard to fall in love. Girls came into my life and left almost immediately. It wasn't that I did not give them the chance they wanted, or repaid them with the same affection they dished out towards me, it was something else. I just couldn't fall in love. I couldn't because I was yet to fall out of that which had enslaved me for years on end.

 I fell in love with Ifeoma when she turned 13. 

She was my next door neighbor and my mother's friend's daughter. I watched her grow, blossoming from a tender innocent child into a woman in her prime. Even when her family moved out of the house they had lived in for 11 years, my
love still remained. I was with her when she got into secondary school, with her when she called everyone together to announce that she had passed jamb in flying colours, with her when she went to Maami market to purchase things for the University, with her when she bid everyone goodbye.

 I have been with her, through the years, as a boy in the background, the brother, the helper, the FRIEND.
Even today, four months after I heard from her and four years after she gained admission into the university, I will be with her.

 She hadCalled. For Two Hours fifteen minutes we spoke on phone.. She told me she missed me, and our little chats, after apologizing for staying away too long. She had something to tell me, she said, something  she believed would be good news. I was happy after the call. I was going to sit with my Ifeoma and finally tell her what I have borne in my heart for so long. For three long months I have gone through my lines over and over again, making sure I touched the strategic points, and perfected my display of emotions..Now, today, I would finally be free.

 "You look so good Dike" Ifeoma mouthed, after we had lunch at the Chinese restaurant along Mbadike Roundabout.

 "You are looking as beautiful as I can remember" I said, my lips shivering as the words came out. I didn't know it would be so difficult.

 "Thank you sweetheart" she replied, blushing... "Ifeanyi says that all the time" 

My ears cringed.

 "Ifeanyi?" I asked, drawing back a vision of some boy she told me she was dating in her 300'l 

 "Yes, my boyfriend, ......oh..my Fiance.."

 "Fiance?" I asked again, my heart running and seeking solace in nothingness.

 "Yes...I am getting married Dike!... He proposed to me,, see.." she stretched forth her hands in a bid to show me her ring, I looked away.

 "What's wrong " she asked, stretching her other hand to touch my face..

 "Nothing" I replied, moving away.. "Nothing, the ring......it's beautiful....congrats"
"Talk to me Dike" 

 "There's nothing to talk about..." I muttered under my breathe, pushing my chair backward, and standing almost immediately..

 "Where are you going?"..

 "To calm my nerves" I replied leaving her with a confused look on her angelic face "To soothe my aching heart"....

 "Dike!" she called. "Come back!"... 

... But I was already on my way, creating a chasm that I knew would take ages to cover, and wiping my tears as they ran out of my eyes uncontrollably, as if running from something scary deep within, something I thought was love.

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