I took ‘my big leap of faith’ and decided to go visit Jide in Ogun state all the way from Delta state. I had met him about a month ago at my brother’s wedding in Lagos. He was related to my brother’s wife – her mother’s uncle’s grandson or something along that line. The attraction was mutual when we met; I would have called it love at first sight except that I did not believe in that phrase. He was tall, good looking and had a welcoming smile; that smile got me bad! We exchanged numbers at the wedding ceremony and afterwards, we spoke every day. He was also an engineer just like me so we had a lot to talk about.
Everything seemed perfect, except that he was Yoruba and I was not, and I was Roman Catholic and he was not. I did not see the firstly mentioned as a big problem as I believed that I could persuade my parents to accept his tribe if things got serious between us, even though naturally they would prefer an Itsekiri man.
The latter issue was the main problem as I knew my parents would threaten to disown me rather than allow me wed a non-Catholic. However, I was quickly developing stronger feelings for Jide. Therefore, when he invited me to come and visit him in Ogun, I did some things that I had never done before – I lied to my family about my intended destination and I travelled alone to a place that I had never been to or knew anyone. This was why I called it my big leap of faith because the odds seemed to be against me but at that moment, I did not care much.
The only person who knew about my whereabouts was a close friend of mine, Sylvia, because I stopped over at her place in Lagos for a night. I could have easily gone directly to Ogun; in fact the journey would have been shorter for me but I wanted to look fresh for Jide since I was going by road. I could not stay at my brother’s place even though he lived in Lagos because I did not want him to spill the beans to my family. So I went first to Sylvia’s place and early the next morning I headed to Ogun.
I was tired by the time I got there but seeing Jide made the trip feel worthwhile. He was still as charming as I remembered him to be and he was sweet throughout my three-night stay. He had booked a hotel for us; I do not remember what his reasons were for not letting me stay at his place but I was not bothered about that. Despite his tight work schedule (as I had come during the week), he was still able to make some time to see me during the day and we stay together at night. He asked me to charge my hotel meals when he was at work in his name but somehow I felt inclined to pay. So I pay for most of my food or I should say “our” food as I continued to pay even when he returned from work in the evenings.
During my stay I was fortunate to meet one of his friends, Tunde. I would not describe Tunde as handsome but he had a good sense of humour and was amiable. In fact, he was one of the reasons I enjoyed my stay in Ogun as it was him who fed me with great hopes of love. He hung out with Jide and I twice and on both occasions, was quick to pay me compliments and to observe that Jide and I had similar noses.
“Both of you truly look alike. And that is one of the biggest signs that a couple will last together. Ah, Iyawo wa!” he said the first night we met, grinning as he swallowed a spoon of fresh fish peppersoup.
“What does that mean – Iya…what?” I asked.
“It means –our wife.” Jide laughed and responded. I blushed slightly, not knowing how to respond.
“You better start learning our language o, so that your in-laws will not sell you.” Tunde chipped in while I continued to smile sheepishly.
The rest of my stay was lovely and by the time I returned to Warri, I was sure that I was in love. The only new obstacle was that I was travelling to the US for a master’s program soon but Jide was also planning to come over to do his, the following year, so I remained hopeful.
We did not manage to meet again before I left Nigeria but we kept in touch and as I bid him farewell over the phone, he said “I love you” just before the flight took off.
For the first couple of weeks after my arrival in the US, I called Jide daily before I noticed that he never called. After two weeks of constant calling, I decided to ‘test’ him and not call him one day. He called back, a year later! Of course I had deleted his number by then. After an awkward start to a conversation filled with apologies and excuses from him for not calling, he told me that he had begun his plans to relocate to the US and he needed my help with GRE past questions and writing his statement of purpose for school applications.
“You’ve got nerves!” was all I could manage to say before I hung up and blocked his number.
He still came to the States the next year but he was in Minnesota while I was in New York which was a relief for me. Once in a while, he would call to say that he missed me or he wanted us to get back together but I paid him no attention. One particular day, he called to say that he wanted to come to New York so that he could explain in person the reasons behind our broken relationship. I refused but asked him to send his explanations via email instead.
He did write; a two-page letter which I read solely out of curiosity rather than interest. In summary, he confessed that he had a serious girlfriend back then but they were having issues and he truly had strong feelings for me… and he hoped that I could forgive him. I was furious even before I got to the end of the email.
“So why didn’t you tell me about her?” I tried to remain calm as I asked some of the many questions in my head when he called back; after all he was still sort of an in-law to my brother. “Because I knew that if I had told you, you would not have dated me.” He answered coolly, as if he had no regret.
“One more question – you said you were dating this girl for a while. Did Tunde know about her?” He fell silent for a brief moment before answering “Yes.” I could not trust myself if I spoke again so I hung up.
“But why did he suddenly decide to tell me?” I was telling Sylvia about the conversation between Jide and me, confused. “He probably just wanted quick sex, that’s how guys are. Forget him” she said firmly. I forgot about Jide and with time, after totally ignoring his calls, he also forgot about me or so it seemed until another year later.
I had just moved to Australia to start my dream job and I was still trying to settle in when I got a call from him.
“What is it again this time? Are you looking for Australian job past questions because I don’t have any!” I said impatiently.
“No no! I just called to say that I can never give up on you and I still love you…” he launched into his usual talk. “I don’t have time for this right now and don’t call me again please!” I said hastily and hung up. He did not call me back.
The next weekend as I was browsing through Facebook while sipping some tea I saw his new update: ‘Jide Adebayo got engaged to Bisi Alabi’ but that was not what drew my interest the most. What had made my jaw drop was the first comment on the post that read – ‘Congrats Iyawo wa. Remember I told you both of you so (wink)’, written by Tunde. I shook my head; I did not bother to feel sorry for the lady as that would have been a waste of my emotion, neither did I write to wish them good luck nor bad luck because I sincerely thought that it was none of my business. I just continued sipping my tea while I scrolled down my Facebook page looking for more interesting news.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Michael Zhang