‘I think you should find someone with you in Lagos to love. This long distance relationship isn’t working for me.’
Bayo played those words over and over in his head as he tried to make sense of the message on his blackberry screen.
His vision blurred and the tears threatened to overflow their banks.
‘How did we get here?’ he wondered. ‘I thought we were happy together.’
Bayo met Busola on twitter.
Someone retweeted her tweet onto his timeline and Bayo was drawn to the wit. He replied and got a reply almost instantly. Curious, he checked her bio and liked what he read there. He hit the follow button, but had to wait three days for the follow back.
The DMs flowed between them until Bayo stopped and wondered at the silliness of it – they both had smartphones with access to different social media and chat platforms, yet there they were, DMing.
When they met up for a movie two weeks later, it felt like they had known each other for years.
Bayo could not remember most of the movie they saw because, halfway through it she leaned against him and rested her head on his shoulder.
‘Are you alright?’ his voice was a croak.
‘Yes, just cold.’ She replied.
The arm rest that separated them was movable so Bayo pulled it up, adjusted his body so that she had her back on his chest, and wrapped his arms around her.
‘That’s better.’ She whispered, pulling his arms up to her breasts.
Bayo, not sure what to do, pretended to stretch. He let his arms drop a few inches.
Without looking away from the giant screen in front of them, Busola moved his arms up, her breasts resting on his right forearm.
Bayo felt the heat through her blouse transfer to that spot on his arm and then spread up and down; to his ears and neck, and to his loins.
His jaw dropped to the top of her hair, the clean scent of which assailed his nostrils.
After the movie they stopped at a fast food restaurant for a bite. They sat side by side at the high table that ran along one side of the walls, their feet dangling.
‘She really wants it.‘ Bayo thought, when Busola started playing footsie.
Before she got into the cab, she hugged him a little too tightly and brushed her lips against his left cheek.
On his bus ride home, Bayo’s had a goofy grin on his face. Though his pocket was a few thousand Naira lighter, it was the best night of his life – yet.
‘Yes dear.’ He replied. ‘Dear? Really? Oh well, it’s done.’
‘I didn’t see you pay the cabbie,’ she was saying. ‘I tried to pay him but he said “oga don pay.” Ah Bayo, you are too smooth jo.’
He felt the flush creep up his neck again. ‘I’m sure this mama next to me will think I’m going crazy, smiling to myself.’
‘Haba, it was nothing jare. Hope I see you again soon.’ His heart pounded faster as he pushed send.
‘Now I’ve gone and blown it.’ The minute or so before her reply felt like a lifetime.
‘I hope so too…’
‘Yes!’ He pumped his fist.
The elderly woman sitting next to him shifted a few inches away from him.
‘Don’t worry mama, I’m just happy.’ He wanted to tell her. He soon got to his bus stop.
That was over a year ago. Bayo had married Busola over and over in his plans – no dreams of his future was complete without Busola in it.
His family had taken to calling her Iyawo wa, our wife.
In the time since, Bayo met the sister Busola was staying with – their parents were in Ilorin.
They were making plans for a trip to Ilorin to go and see them when Busola got invited to Abuja for a job interview, a job she got. They were ecstatic. If they pooled their resources together, they said, they should be able to settle down in another six months.
Thinking about it now Bayo realised he should not have discounted that incident.
It was Busola’s second week in Abuja. Bayo was at work – he worked at a bank – when the flashing light of his phone caught his attention. He knew it was Busola before he slid his finger across the screen.
Hi bae, how’s work? I’m thinking of getting a place of my own. What do you think?
She was staying with some cousins at Gwarimpa which was a fair journey into town, Bayo knew.
He had stayed at a hotel when he visited her last week. She complained about the distance then, but did not say anything about getting a place of her own.
‘I guess it’s inevitable.’ He mused.
Where do you have in mind? He asked.
Call me. Came back her response.
Give me five minutes to find someone to cover for me. Love you.
The rent she gave when he called made Bayo close the toilet lid and sit on it.
He tried to reason with her that they could not afford the rent.
‘I’ll find someone to lend me and I’ll repay as I can.’
‘First, realise that there’s no I or you in this matter. What do you need a two-bedroom flat for? We’ll be married soon and your primary house, your home will be in Lagos. Can’t you get a selfcon?’ Bayo struggled keep his voice low.
Three minutes later he stepped out of the toilet stall, the issue unresolved.
‘How can anybody be this pigheaded?’ He slammed the door behind him.
Before the close of work, when he had calmed down to a degree, Bayo transferred some money to her – she had somehow edged how broke she was into their argument.
Busola eventually got the apartment she wanted.
‘At least I’m not asking you to help me repay my gbese.’ She said when he voiced his disapproval.
Things became strained between them after that and they were working at fixing it. He was working at fixing it. He even applied for leave, intending to travel to Abuja.
‘Distance and absence can do this to relationships.’ His friends told him. He held onto those words because he wanted something to believe.
Even when she sent him the message to find himself a girl in Lagos.
‘She needs some time to herself.’ Twitterfolk said when he tweeted about it. “Asking for a friend,” he had typed.
So how come he’s seeing these hashtags retweeted onto his timeline complete with pictures?
‘Who the fuck’s Olufemi?’
He wanted to tweet at her, but thoughts of the slander to follow stilled his hand.
Nothing could still his whirring brain. Nothing could soothe his aching heart. And nothing could swallow up the sound of his heart shattering into a million tiny pieces.