Quite recently, at a friend’s game night revelry, I made the fatal error of joining in on a “truth or dare” game. To be honest, I did not pay attention to the rules when it was being stated as I have played the game one too many times and felt “too cool to be schooled”. Unfortunately, I landed myself in a twister and now, I have to share my most recent break-up story here on BN or risk losing integrity among a few “mean” friends. So, here’s the story:
Several months back, as I worked on my computer, I got a buzz on Skype, but did not reply as I couldn’t recognise the name. Two days later, the ID sent another message: ‘hi, it’s me, u there?” Curiosity got the better of me. So, I decided to find out who it was. Worst case scenario, he would be a pervert from Egypt looking to share photos of his genitals and I will block him.
“You, who?” I typed in reply as I could not place the face on his profile page nor remember meeting any man with the name “Tosin” (not his real name obviously). He went on to explain that I had met him about seven years ago while I was in my 300level at Covenant University. I had been visiting Ibadan during one of the Easter holidays to chill with a friend in her family home when we were introduced. It all seemed vague and I was already about to write him off, as a con artist, when he did something that completely took my breath away. He sent a picture of me he had secretly taken one of the evenings we were hanging at a bar in IB. The minute I saw the picture, all the memories flooded back. It was incredibly romantic! The dude had saved and carried the picture with him all this time. I remembered that I had fancied him back then, but thanks to CU’s no-phone policy, we could hardly make anything work. Now he was in the US, working as a research assistant in a science lab and I was here in Lagos hustling to get the bills paid. Thanks to technology, we could finally actually make things work!
“And why are you still single?” he asked a few days after we started talking.
“I never told you I was single. Why would you ask that?” I replied playfully.
“Oh wow, so you are saying there is a dude I have to contend with? Oh my God, are you married?”
“No, silly” I laughed “well, not yet. I should be the one worried that you may have a baby mama in Ibadan. You Yoruba demons are not to be trusted”
“Oh really? And you Igbo girls are the purest? I am as free as a bird, my heart belongs to no one at the moment…although, I see you holding the key pretty soon.”
A very cheesy response and I should have asked for a much more specific response, but being the hopeless romantic, I swallowed it all hook, line, and sinker.
The next few months were magical, we Skyped literally every minute we could both squeeze out. It was so easy to talk to him, we discussed his assignments and experiments. We talked about my articles (the dude researched and read every single word I have written on the internet). We made plans for when we would see each other as he had persuaded me to let him buy me a return ticket to see him in New York for the summer. He was in Florida but knew I was obsessed with NY and so, wanted us to meet there. By the third month, we had dark circles around our eyes from nights we both stayed awake trying to bridge the time gap between us.
Things were basically going rosy until the horrid Thursday morning. Tosin had unexpectedly gone mute for a whole day. Extremely worried as it was the first time in like 3 months that I did not get to speak to him at 2-3 hours interval, and we had had a very juicy conversation the day before, I sent him a message on Whatsapp asking him if he was okay. He did not reply, instead, he called back via mobile network about 2 hours later. “Nkem, I have to tell you something. I want us to take this relationship further, but I know we cannot do it with secrets”. I had mixed feelings as I did not know what he wanted to say. “ok, what is it?” I asked with fake bravado “Ok. uhmm…I have a sort of girlfriend” he responded with a broken voice. As the words rolled off his tongue, I felt my heart constrict so painfully. I would have preferred a confession to having HIV or being an illegal immigrant really.
According to him, he had met a girl shortly after our Ibadan rendezvous and the girl had stuck with him even though she knew he did not really love her and he had cheated on her several times. The worst part was, she was also in the US although in another city. She was the one who helped him process his admission, e.t.c. Tosin claimed he had never taken money from her and he had been wanting to leave her for a long time. He said falling in love with me was confirmation she was not the one for him. His tale seemed authentic, but as I listened to him in silence, my head did all sorts of calculations.
First, this girl is in the US and was in closer proximity to him. Secondly, six years is not beans; she would forever have some sort of hold on him. Finally he had lied to me all this time and had comfortably cheated with me, what’s to say he won’t cheat on me too later on… It was already a lost battle, and no way in hell was I going to be the reason a girl loses a man she has loved for six years. I know karma is real.
‘Tosin, I’m terribly sorry, but I think it’s best we end this. I can’t, I am not that girl.” I responded after a long silence and cut the call.
I have always been an all or nothing girl, and certainly, if the hands of time were turned, I’d still make the same choice… but honestly, dropping the phone was possibly one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in years. Of course, he called incessantly for the next one month or more, sending me all sorts of messages, some loving, some filled with pain, some just showing how angry he was at me for reacting the way I did. One of the messages that he sent that still haunts me till date was: “did you even really love me? How is it so easy for you to just cut me off like this? How? How are you surviving without me” Several times I have been tempted to respond to him and give him some sort of closure…or maybe even get him to dump his old girlfriend and be with me, but I do not want to set myself up in any way.
I can’t help wondering though… do you think I made the right decision letting him go? What would you have done if you were in my shoes?