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Chris was the new girl in Gabriel’s life. She fought for him(I didn’t) and she was a virgin(well, I am too…technically). My heart was broken in several different pieces but with a brave face, I wished Gabriel well in his relationship.
I was unhappy in mine and every chance I got, I would suggest a break up with Imoh. I was so annoyed with myself for agreeing to date him. I was angry at myself, my friends and my family. I was mad. Every opportunity I got, I would show my anger. No one knew why or how I got that way, but I was and again, I wasn’t willing to share. That would be a weak stance and I don’t like to be weak.
A few more months rolled by and I think Imoh had gotten the message but was not going to let go of me without finding an alternative. He had proposed. I had said yes. We both knew we weren’t going to get married and so we never announced our engagement. I love rings! I never fussed about getting an engagement ring. I think Imoh knew it would be useless to buy me one because then we would have to talk about breaking up.
It was a weird relationship and I said no to everything he wanted us to do together. I just couldn’t be bothered. Once, his friend was doing this movie premiere and they had invited just him. His friend apologised profusely to me for the omission. I was busy thinking about my grades and how to balance going to two different schools at once. Imoh’s friend thought I was cool for not making a fuss. I thought he was dumb to assume my anger.
We talked about breaking up once more and I felt like Imoh’s ego wouldn’t take our break up. So, I devised a means to help his ego and get my breakup. Yep! Go ahead! Call me ruthless.
I became sober and tried to be remorseful. I agreed to spending time together on weekends anytime I was home (God! Those days were the BORINGNEST Of my life! But how we go do naa? We have to follow the plan)
One day, Imoh came to my house and he broke up with me. Relief washed through me. I was so happy. Then I grew sad. I had wasted seven months of my life in this useless relationship and had gotten my first C and my CGPA had dropped a little. I wept! I didn’t cry. I wept. Imoh must have felt weird maybe even guilty about making me cry that his uncle called me the next day and requested that we make up and fly to see him. There, Imoh’s uncle asked why Imoh was in love with me. He said ‘Tobi is so funny and intelligent. She is quite beautiful and hot’ ‘What?! How dare this MOFO? So if I had an accident tomorrow, he wouldn’t love me anymore? How shallow can this man get? I HAVE TO Get out of this relationship fast!’ This was going on in my mind but on the surface, I was sitting pretty and smiling. Imoh uncle asked me if I ever loved Imoh. I answered yes. Why?, He asked. Well, I thought about it long and hard. Dude doesn’t give me money neither is he fine or anything. ‘I just did’, I answered.
It was obvious, Imoh never really loved me. Seven months of my life gone! His uncle pleaded for us to stay together. No relationship was smooth all the way so we should please rekindle our love. I agreed.
In the eight month of our relationship, Imoh stared acting funny. News on set was that he had started seeing one of the new production assistants on set. She spoke the same language as he did and was around the same age as he was. I prayed everyday silently that they grow to like each other and he would leave me alone.
By now, Imoh was already acting funny. I knew he would rather be the one to initiate the breakup and for his own moral and ego reasons. I counted the minutes till he did. Anything to make him feel like ‘the man’ works just fine.
By the ninth month, I was ill. Imoh insisted I come see him at home. I went. He ate. He forgot that I existed. On my way to school, I begged him to please stop at a restaurant so I could buy food. I closed my eyes for a minute and we were in the garage. Was this man trying to kill me? When I got back to school, we spoke at length and then, he broke up with me. When I begged, he declined stating irreconcilable difference. You could hear the smile in his voice. It was almost as if he felt like God as he was the one who initiated the break up. Good riddance to bad rubbish!
I was free! It was finally over! I was right after all and my plan worked.
Once that phase of my life was over, I got back on my straight A roll in class. Everyone said I glowed and even my family knew that I was at peace. I knew I was at peace and in order not to rock my peaceful boat, I decided not to tell anyone of the breakup. I didn’t want any unsolicited advice on how no relationship was perfect and why Imoh and I needed to get back together. I had done that in the past with his uncle wading in and I was not about to make the same mistake.
Iyabo, an ex-friend was dating Okoro. Okoro works on the same set as myself and Imoh. Okoro told Iyabo how Imoh and I were no longer seeing each other. This was four months after myself and Imoh had broken up. Iyabo took it upon herself to spread to gospel but by the time everyone knew, I had healed properly and could talk about the past with a smile on my face and even make jokes about some weird situations.
Because I showed no pain, I heard people whisper behind my back what a cold bitch I was and how I was the one who broke Imoh’s heart. ‘Whatever that fine gentleman saw in her, we would never know. All she is concerned about is how to make money and great grades’. No one knows my struggles. They only see the troubles.
Final year had come and I was better, happier and closer to my maker. My academics was looking great and Lydia was at least four points behind me. Coco and Ola were my room mates and we had such a swell time imagining our future and how we would take over the world. Puffy, Temi, Tola and Biodun were my friends and we couldn’t get enough of playing and reading hard. My life was great and I was getting bored. Unable to resist a dramatic life for long, I dialled Gabriel’s number just to check on him.
‘My friend, I’m in deep shit!’ These were Gabriel’s first words to me and I was confused. ‘What is wrong?’, I asked concerned. ‘Its all your fault and you left me no choice’. My fault? What did I do wrong now?
‘Why didn’t you fight for me? Why didn’t you request, no demand for me to be with you? I would have asked the same of you but can you ask the same of me? Am I wrong to assume that you really want me to be in your life as much as I want to be in yours? Why is your ego larger than life? Why don’t you want to show emotions? I know you have them. I catch small signs of them when you let me but you guard yourself even more than the Queen of England. Now,to the reason why I’m in deep shit.’ I couldn’t even say a word.
Paula had come back and Chris wouldn’t let him be. Paula assumed he was back with her because he indulged her calls and was a shoulder to cry on in her time of need. Gabriel saw the other side of Chris. She was very jealous and sought attention like a baby’s ass. She would cry and make a scene every time they were out in public. He wasn’t sure what part of her was real or fake anymore. She stalked him constantly and even refused to go to school for a month as she took up residence in Gabriel’s house so Paula could not come down or sleep over. Gabriel was exhausted. He had only seen things like this play out in movies but never in real life and he certainly didn’t think this was going to be his life.
‘Well, I think I’m ready to WOMAN up now. Call it quits with both their drama and come to me. I promise to give you the warmth and peace that I know you want and deserve’. That must be what Gabriel was expecting me to say. Heck! That’s what I wanted to say to him but I couldn’t. I had just come out of a fake relationship where I stayed for more than five months so as not to bruise a man’s ego. I was finally a more relaxed version of my old self and was enjoying my independence far too much for Gabriel’s grand entrance into my life.
I sunk to the floor feeling as exhausted as Gabriel sounded. He is the right man for the wrong time. Gabriel asked me for advice on what to do. I told him to do whatever he thought was best. He went silent. He couldn’t believe that was all I had to say. He asked if that was all or I had more to say to him. What did he want me to say? Break up with them both and come to me? Was I even ready for a new relationship?
I told him yes, that was all I had to say. Immediately, I heard the red button click on my phone. Gabriel had hung up on me. How dare he? I dialled his number again to bite his head off and tell him why I said what I said and make him know what I had just gone through myself from the time he announced the entrance of Chris into his sorry, our lives. This was his fault as much as mine. We both had egos in play and he dare not hang up on me.
‘The number you have dialled is switched off. Please try again later. Thank you.’ This was the response I kept on getting for as many times as I called Gabriel that day and that month
I checked facebook two months later and there he was in a black tux and bow tie. He looked like a rabbit with his boyish grin and wide gap tooth. Imoh was smiling in the camera holding Delish the production assistant’s hand. Both of them brandishing their newly acquired wedding ring like a sword and Delish looking at Imoh as if to say she was the luckiest woman in the world! You know what they say, one man’s food is another man’s poison.
I picked up my phone to call Gabriel, the love of my life so I could talk to him about what I just saw. ‘The number you have dialled is switched off. Please try again later. Thank you’.
Again, without meaning to do so, I had lost Gabriel.