His name is Gabriel. How we met? I don’t remember. Through whom we met? I have no idea. Was I the one who saw him first or he saw me first? I have no recollection. So what do I remember? Why write this ode?
I’m a sucker for broken songs. Even when I’m in a relationship and should genuinely be happy, songs like ‘Baby Gone’ by Asa keep me steady. I sit here, this early morning and I’m wondering why I should tilt more to these kinds of songs. It’s occurring to me; I must write this ode-The ode to my first love.
Here’s what I remember. I was sixteen when we met. A tall,dark,lean maybe not so handsome boy and a few years older than me. He fulfilled the physical impressions of my ‘ideal’ as ‘Silhouette’ and Nora Roberts were my best companions at this phase. There was only one problem; he had asked me to date him and I said no(weren’t we all told by our mothers that boys like it when you play hard to get?). At this point, he was twenty nearing twenty-one and you can only imagine the kind of attention other girls were throwing his way.
I think he just moved on from asking me out(I wish he would continue though) and before I knew it, we had friend-zoned each other. As bad as that sounds, and believe me, I really just wanted to beat him with a stick on the head so he would remember to ask me out again, there were a few perks to being in the friend zone.
Gabriel would drive all the way to my house(and I say all the way because it really was for him)mostly at night and tell me all about his day and budding business and encourage me to talk about mine and my aspirations for the future. When there was nothing to say, we would find comfort in the silence of his car just sitting there, saying nothing and holding hands. Oh! How I looked forward to his visits. I convinced myself that we were just meant to be friends and so we were; two young fellows exploring the world as they knew it and helping each other get better.
By the time I was eighteen, we had lost touch. How? I had gained admission into university and was offered a course that I didn’t like but took anyways because I didn’t want to upset my father. After a year of passing but being upset and sad about what I was doing, I dropped out of school. My dad almost had a heart attack. I decided to take pre-degree for a year in Ife to rediscover myself and what I really wanted to do with my life. The process of rediscovery had to take a physical form. I changed everything about me: my hair, my course of study, my phone number.
In pre-degree, I met awesometastic(awesome+fantastic)people who, just like me, wanted to find the path that they loved. One of such persons was Adeola and she would come to play a major hand in my reconnecting with Gabriel.
Adeola invited myself and some other friends to her house for drinks. I was my usual crazy self and even when her brother Flo walked in, I was still in my ‘zone’. Flo laughed really hard at my jokes and thought my mind was beautiful(well, either he said that much or that’s how I’m choosing to remember the story!). After my meeting Flo, he was describing me to his friends of which Gabriel was one of,and my description matched the profile Gabriel remembered. Flo got my number from Adeola and gave to Gabriel. All this happened behind my back but I was soon to be brought in the light.
By pre-degree, no one was playing hard to get any more. Everyone was rebelling against what our mothers told us and was having boyfriends and sex for breakfast, orgasms for lunch and makeup sex for dinner. They all had become really cute at disobeying.
I am a very late bloomer. I started growing breast when everyone was firmed up and menstruating when some of my mates had had at least one abortion so I wasn’t really shocked when by now, I hadn’t been kissed or ever been in a relationship (I’m a late bloomer, damn it!)
My annoying monotone phone ringtone cut through my sleep. Grudgingly, I picked up to say hello. My voice sounded really sexy so I decided to say iy again ‘Hello’. ‘Hi, Tobi’ I froze! I really did freeze! In a shaken voice I responded ‘Gabriel? Is that you?’ ‘Yes’ he said. That’s how we reconnected again. He told me how he got my new number but I honestly couldn’t be bothered. My friend was back! The dynamic duo was back together!
Once I returned home for the holiday, we were inseparable. Gisting and laughing every opportunity we got. His dreams were huge and so were mine. He had started up a business and I was still finding myself. We laughed hard at some of his friends who shopped around their resume without knowing what their objectives were. He’d encourage me to find and stay true to myself. ‘that really is the key to happiness’, he would say to me. A fine,wise,young man. I was happy to be his friend and he mine.
We had gone out together one evening and it was getting late so Gabriel decided to drop me at home. Gabriel pulled his car to a stop. I said goodnight and wanted to hug him. The damn seatbelt wasn’t releasing so Gabriel leaned over to help me. He released the seat belt but he wasn’t moving. My heart stopped. Why, oh why did I feel this way? Didn’t my heart just stop now? Why was it beating fast like the rock rhythms of Michael Jackson? By the way, what happened to all the air in the car? It suddenly was too hot.
By now, Gabriel was looking in my soul. I could swear he saw it. I could see his eyes and I saw the want in it. The want for me. He wanted me? Why? Couldn’t he see that I was a tom boy with no girly features whatsoever? And the way he smelt? Try a thirty-five year whiskey from a cask! Sweet and fruity! It was like the first time in my life I could properly smell.
He came close(or maybe I was the one who went close). Really close. I felt his lips on mine. He guided my tongue and directed my lips. Sloppy? It was the perfect first kiss.
I couldn’t hold still. This kiss had me shaken? What happens next? Are we still friends? Why did he kiss me? He wanted us to talk. I wanted to figure stuff out on my own before talking about what I had no idea about. I left the car and hurriedly walked home.
I would later delete his number(silly much?) and stop picking his calls. The damn kiss blew my mind away and got me spinning out of control-one thing I hate to loose. With my new resolve, Gabriel and I stopped talking and before I knew it, we lost touch.