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The blogging sphere has crowded up very quickly in the past decade and it even looks like YouTube is taking over. Starting a blog in 2021 se...

Saturday 13 February 2016

From Infatuation To True Friendship

I was strongly attracted to Nnadi from the first day I saw him after Bible study. I didn't know his name. He wasn't working in any department and he wasn't conspicuous. I was just drawn to him somehow. Yea, he was a fine boy. You could say tall, dark and handsome. But it was more than that. His smile radiated peace, joy, love, things so beautiful that I just wanted to be a part of. From that day, I always looked out for him. I was just satisfied to see him. 

One day, I visited one of our sisters who had just given birth. As I was going through her wedding photos, I noticed him in a picture. So I pointed at him and asked her for his name. That night, I went to our Whatsapp group to look for him. I saved his number but I didn't call. I knew it was good etiquette to let the man do the chasing. However, one day it was announced on the group that he had lost his car during Bible study. I thought to myself, "Here is my opportunity. Now I have a reason to call and I wouldn't sound desperate". So I buzzed him on Whatsapp saying, "This is Chidiogo... I heard your car got missing. I'm so sorry about that. How are you coping?".

He gave me a quick answer that day. But from that day he took notice of me. We began to greet each other during Bible study and then even look out for each other and sit beside each other.  He was very mischievous. We could be reading from the Bible and then he'll point to a particular part of scripture that was funny. One day I had to tell him to concentrate on the sermon. We were getting fond of ourselves and I was happy we were becoming close. He now used to drop me at a convenient bus stop after meetings. I would take a bus to the car park and then a taxi to my house.

One day, while he was giving me a lift, I so wished in my heart that he'd just offer to go all the way and drop me at my house at the outskirts of town. I knew it was a hard call, too much to ask but I wasn't in the mood to wait for a taxi at the park. He decided to take me to the park this time. I was glad. We were chatting and having fun. I told him to be alert so that he wouldn't miss the turn that led to the park from the express. He was vigilant but somehow he missed it. So we had to go all the way. I rejoiced within me but felt guilty at the same time 'cause that was not his original plan. Anyway, we talked all through the journey and when we approached the gate, I felt like the journey should continue. He had asked me some personal questions about my hometown, family background and all which confirmed my suspicion that he liked me and was thinking of a relationship.

However, my bubble burst that night when I called to thank him for the kind gesture and to know if he had gotten to his house. While chatting, he mentioned something about his fiancée. I was shocked to the marrow that I couldn't even disguise it. "You're engaged?", I asked in sheer horror. He replied carefully, "I'm sorry. I should have told you all along. I just couldn't find the opportunity to". I didn't hear whatever else he had to say. I just wanted to cut the call and crawl under the sofa. It was like a sharp dagger had been thrust into my heart. When he dropped the call, I questioned God. Why did He let me get so close to him. Why did he even give me green lights. Why? Why? I was so pained I complained bitterly to God.

The next day Nnadi pinged me asking how I was doing. I replied, "managing". He was a very sensitive and caring fellow. He noticed I was still upset from the previous night's discovery so he requested to meet. I told him I was already in town making my hair and so we could meet after that as long as he would drive me back. We agreed. I finished my hair around 7pm. He came and took me to a hotel's serene pool-side. There were just about 2 or 3 people there and classical music playing. It was a perfect melancholic air for mourning my loss of him.

We talked deeply that night. He knew I really liked him. But Nnadi was a faithful guy. He had given his word to someone else and he wasn't going to go back on it even though she was farther from him than I was. He said, "Diogo, you're a very attractive lady... but one has to marry one wife". He said the latter in Igbo and with such humour that it didn't sound like an insult. There is something I've always liked about our conversations. We always mix English with Igbo in a pleasant way. 

By the time we were done talking, it was already 10pm. He asked if I still wanted to go back home that night or sleep over at his place. I didn't want to sleep at his place, so I asked to go. He said he was willing to take me there but he didn't want to risk it 'cause he was driving a friend's car and it would be too late and lonely on driving back. I didn't want to be the one that forced him to do what he didn't want, should something happen on his way back, so I conceded. 

When we got to his apartment, he gave me slippers and a toothbrush and soap to wash my face. He showed me the mattress on the floor that I was to sleep on. He was going to sleep on the floor beside me. He had told Chidinma, his fiancée I was sleeping over. I lay down and slept. In the middle of the night, he tapped me and asked me to shift for him so he could get on the bed. Apparently, the floor was too cold or too hard for him. I shifted, amazed at his guts. I longed for him to cuddle me but he didn't. We just slept side by side till morning.

When I woke up, I respected him all the more for not taking advantage of the fact that I was attracted to him and so vulnerable to temptation. I envied Chidinma for what she had. We prayed together, ate breakfast and he drove me home. Since then, Nnadi has been like a big brother to me. He knows when I'm dating someone. He knows when we've gone our separate ways. We could spend hours on the phone chatting and in stitches. I've long gotten over the infatuation. I cherish his friendship and I'm grateful he didn't ever ignore me. I'm no longer envious of Chidinma. I've come to know that he is simply not the one for me and since I don't want another's man, I'm willing to wait for mine. God's plan for me is good, pleasing and perfect. Because of this knowledge, I can be friends with him and not have any such feelings anymore. I only make a joke out of it.

©Radiant ~February 2016

*names have been changed to protect persons' privacy

Thursday 4 February 2016

A Friend Indeed: Happy Friends Day

Choxy had so much love to give. I couldn't understand it. We were not birds of a feather but we flocked together. We were different in many ways as much as our backgrounds were. Mine preferred privacy. Hers enjoyed communionshe once asked me to sleep over at her house, actually to spend the hols, before even consulting her parents. I would receive her like a visitor, she would receive me like family. I never took her past the sitting room except to pee. But I was familiar with her kitchen and her bed room. I always had nothing to offer her save a cup of water 'cause I had no liberty to touch anything in my house without obtaining permission from my parents. On the other hand, when I visited her, she would fry a bunch of plantains, make me noodles or serve me chocolate from the fridge without flinching. She would pay my bike fare before I could say no and ask me not to worry. We would take a bus and she would offer to pay for both of us. I always thought that was unnecessary since we practically boarded buses together every time. How long was she going to keep doing that? But she didn't stop.

Choxy and I had been friends since primary school though we never attended the same school. We only did extra lessons together. From the first day we met, we got on like a house on fire. When I went to boarding school, she always tried to send me a letter each term. Many times she'd get her classmates to write on it. On Val's day, she'd send a card all the way from Federal Government Girls College, Onitsha to Federal Government Academy, Suleja. During holidays, Choxy called my mom's phone most nights asking to speak with me and we spent minutes over the phone. I envied the free hand her parents gave her. 

However, I felt very uneasy in our friendship. I hated the fact that I just couldn't match her display of affection. I knew she didn't need me to but it racked me that I couldn't. I couldn't take it anymore. It was like her love was choking me. So one day I decided that I was going to end our friendship.

It was some minutes before the new year. Choxy called. I had my own phone now. "Chidiogo, I want to write my new year resolution. Can you please tell me the things I do that are not good, so I can change them?" I thought for a while, excited that time had finally come to tell her the truth, but the thought unnerved me. She noticed my hesitation. "Think about it. I'll call you back", and she dropped.

I told my sister what I was about to do. She was baffled by my decision saying she wished she had that kind of friend. There I was rejecting what she desperately longed for.

When Choxy called back, I began, in the most empathic tone I could muster, "you are a very good friend. I really appreciate your friendship but I am not comfortable with it, the way you give me gifts and all". There was silence. I decided to explain further. "I think it's because I went to a mixed school and you went to an only-girls school. I'm not used to such." 

"O my God! You...", her voice trailed off. It was then it dawned on me the implication of what I had just said.

I didn't know what to do to clean up my mess. She said something I didn't hear, then the phone cut. I felt so bad I had really hurt her by what I'd insinuated. But that was not what I meant at all. I was just explaining that I wasn't used to such generosity and care. I knew she was just being her self but I felt very uncomfortable to be in a friendship where I was just at the receiving end and couldn't do more. I was ready to end the friendship because of that but I hadn't imagined I'd hurt her that way. It was a horrible way to end our friendship. I felt worse now and I couldn't turn back the hands of time.

After then I went back to school. We rarely called each other. Well, mostly because of school activities. But during holidays, when I tried to reach out, it was obvious I had lost her. She'd come to my house and she'd just sit some distance from me, not initiating any conversation and only answering "yes" and "no" to mine. I could tell she was being careful not to do anything that would pass a wrong message. 

There was nothing I could do about it. The deed had been done. I accepted the fact that I had lost her. However, sometime in my 5th year in the University, I felt a compulsion to call her to ask her forgiveness for hurting her. I felt she had not forgotten and that she was still hurt. I think I must have listened to a sermon around that time. So I called her that day and asked her forgiveness. I'm not sure if I asked to rekindle our friendship to how it was before. I doubt that I did. 

Well, after school we got back together. Now, we are no more thick as thieves though we know we've got each other's back and can do anything to help one another. I wish I never said that that day. I wish I found a better way to let her know how I felt. I wish I never spoilt what we had. 

In the spirit of this season, I celebrate you Onyinye my most trusted friend, who showered me with pristine love that once seemed too good to be true.

It's Friends Day!

©Radiant~ February 2016