There was one particular thought that kept buzzing around my mind as I closed for work that Friday evening – the thought of a romantic weekend with my lady! I hastily packed my bag, placing my laptop upside down – something I never do – with a smile on my face while humming Don Williams’ ‘Shelter of Your Eyes’. She should almost be home by now, if not already at home. Moyin likes to surprise me whenever she’s visiting, or so she thinks but the way her face lights up when I feign surprise gives me a kind of happiness that makes me want to keep that smile on her face forever. It’s been five months since her last visit so when she called me Wednesday evening to tell me she was coming that Friday, you can imagine my excitement because that meant romantic dinner, cuddling, staring at the night sky in each other’s arms, giggling like kids and, I won’t bother telling you about the sex other than it always left us breathless and satisfied.
I got out of the office feeling fly, hailed a cab, and luckily the traffic was light. I checked my wristwatch, it was 6:10 already so I told the driver to step on the throttle as I was in a hurry. I wanted to get home as soon as possible for my weekend to start early, but the man didn’t even acknowledge me. Any other Friday night, I’d have called my best friend, John, to let’s go see a movie or something. We’d then go back to my place or sometimes his, and play video game till midnight while sharing how the week went, whatever we left out during our chats. I’d tell him about the stupid guy I met and how I’d wished I could punch him In the face, but after considering my size, I’d decided that what he’d done was not worth me going home with broken nose, and how I’d smiled instead. And he’d tell me about the hot girl that came to his workplace and how he was convinced she was his soulmate, how he’d had the best conversation ever with her in his head but was too shy to walk up to her. We would drink beers some nights and play game some more. We rarely go to parties or clubs and the reason is simple, we don’t see a point to it. However, the last time we went to a club was for a friend’s birthday and I woke up with the worst hangover having no memory of how I got home. That day, I vowed never to get drunk again…but that was any other Friday, today was different.
Today, Moyin is visiting me. Tonight would be one of the best nights I’ve had in five months and I could hardly contain my joy. The driver pulled up in front of my apartment and I hastily got down, dropping my phone on the curb in the process. I paid the fare and let the driver move before picking my phone and as I rushed into my building, I put the phone in my pocket. I live on the first floor of the three-storied building that houses my apartment, so I took the stairs two at a time. With my heart racing by the time I got to my door, I took about a minute or so to catch my breath and tried as best as I could to have a neutral look on my face. I put my key in the lock as I began singing “…tune out the world and rest my head neath the shelter of your eyes”. She always kept the door locked when she wants to surprise me, but tonight the door was unlocked. I paused for just a split second thinking she probably forgot to lock the door.
Stepping into my apartment, the first thing I saw gave me another pause. There she was seated on the couch looking like the angel that she was but there was a brave-yourself-for-what-comes-now look on her face. I smiled at her nonetheless. Dropping my bag as she got up to meet me, I gave her a tight hug that says ‘I’ve missed you so much, babe’, but she barely returned the hug. As I let go of her, wondering what was wrong, the first thing she said told me all I needed to know.
“Segun, we need to talk”.
I was still staring into empty space twenty minutes after she’d left, that statement of woe ringing in my ears. Trying to figure out what I’d done wrong as I sat there just staring at nothing. Of course she gave me the cliché speech of “it’s not me it’s you” and “I need to work on myself”, but all she said after that first statement barely registered. I knew she was the best thing that had happened to me in forever. I knew she was a prize, a godsent, and I knew I treated her like a princess that she was. I adored her. So I couldn’t understand what just happened. After a while I picked my phone to call John only to see the screen damaged from the drop earlier, still I tried to dial but his number wasn’t going through. I got up, went to the fridge and got a can of beer. I tried John’s other line and it went through.
“Moyin just dumped me”, I said.
“Oh!” he paused for a while, then “get dressed, I’m getting you drunk tonight”.
Twenty minutes later we were heading to a club.
As I woke up next morning with a banging headache, I tried to figure out where I was and the events of last night. Turning in the bed, I tried to locate my phone so I could check the time. I felt for it on the nightstand by my bed, it was there. Picking it up and squinting as the light hurts my eyes, I checked the time, it was 10:53. I was about to put it down when I noticed I had missed five calls. I unlocked the phone but the password wasn’t working, I tried two more times and got the same “Wrong Pin” alert. Confused, I examined the phone to see if it wasn’t mine or last night’s event had messed with my head so badly I couldn’t remember my pin, it was then I noticed that it was John’s phone. We use the same type of phone so we sometimes take one for the other. He is my best friend and I know his pin, so I entered the right one this time thinking he probably already noticed it was my phone he took and was the one calling to tell me. Just like I thought, my name was the first on the list, but the other four calls were from Moyin.
I was curious. Why would she be calling my best friend after dumping me the night before? Was she concerned about me? Or perhaps, she had called me and John told her his phone was with me. Thoughts were racing through my mind and I ignored the pounding in my head for a minute. My excitement was building up again as I saw a message bearing her name. I opened the message, my hand shaking slightly, the message read:
“John, where are you? Waited up all night for you. Call me back as soon as you get this.”
Why would she send this message? I was more curious now, so I checked to see if there was a message before that. Lo and behold!, there was.
“Hi, I finally ended things with Segun. I don’t think it’s a good idea to tell him now as he looked pretty shaken when I left his place just now. I’ll be at your place in thirty minutes. XO”.
A wave of nausea hits me, and I rushed into the bathroom to throw up. The headache now seemed stronger. I couldn’t breathe. My brothers used to call me a sissy because, they said I was too emotional and emotions are for sissies. I didn’t think about that as I sat there and cried my eyes out. When I was done with my self-pity, I got up cleaned myself up and took some aspirin to dull the ache. I didn’t know what I was going to do but I knew I needed answers. As I finished dressing up, John came in, he greeted me laughing just like he would any other day. I smiled at him. He told me he left his phone and I replied “I know” handing his phone to him. My sombre expression must have told him my response was double packed; I knew he left his phone and I knew what he didn’t want me to know.
He spent the next ten minutes telling me how they had just connected and they both didn’t act on it, because they respected me. He told me how they’d stayed away from each other trying to see if the feelings would go away and I tried to remember the last time they were together in a room for more than ten minutes but couldn’t, John always gave an excuse for having to leave. He also told me they didn’t cheat on me, because that would be wrong which was why she decided to end the relationship. I just sat there and listened. He told me they didn’t mean to hurt me and the way I was last night, he couldn’t have explained to me which was why he suggested we go to the club.
He is my best friend. I love him like a brother that he is. But now my angel, my godsent has picked him over me. I know things would not be the same from that moment but instead I told him I understood what he was saying, after all I did understand what he said, it was just hard to believe he was saying those words.
That weekend turned out to be a type I hadn’t had in five months and over. It turned out to be the worst weekend of my life so far. I lost a best friend and a lover. Thinking about it now only reminds me that life is a like a book, some chapters interesting while others, not quite interesting, but until you open the next page you won’t know how the story goes. I learnt this six months after things with Moyin ended when I decided to close that bitter-sweet chapter of my life, and open a new one. I started seeing a therapist, one Doctor Kemisola, to help me move on with my life. Turns out Moyin breaking up with me only happened so I could meet the right woman for me, as Kemisola and I are set to tie the knot in two weeks. Today John and I are going to get the wedding suits, he said he’s honored to be my best man.