Two hours later and we were still talking. My phone kept beeping from Gloria’s incoming calls but I figured she’ll get tired and find another colleague to help out plus I figured she wasn’t resigning soon so I could always help on Monday. I hadn’t spoken to Gabriel in two and a half years and I wasn’t willing to put him on hold for Gloria.
What did we talk about? Sweet nothings! How was i? how was he? Was the sky still blue? I was blushing like a school girl. We finally got down to serious talk. He had lost his phone and was disillusioned about some things. He had caught Paula with his other best friend in bed and they admitted to been in love. Chris would not have him back since he broke up with her for Paula. His life was a mess and he didn’t want to drag any one down. When he lost his phone, he choose not to have it replaced and focused on becoming a better person for himself so he didn’t rebound with anyone especially me. He was saying many many things that men said to women in romantic movies to explain foolish behavior and I was buying it all!
When we were done with the conversation, I not knowing when next we were going to talk said ‘talk someday?’ Gabriel flipped. Didn’t I believe everything he had just said to me? Did I think he was going to abandon me again? Did I not believe him when he said he was a better man?
He didn’t even let me finish my statement. ‘if you would have me, I’m here to stay. Would you have me? Please have me’
Omo! See wash! The wash was very alright for me. My perfect kind of wash. I told him I’d have him but we needed to go slow. Who was I kidding?
Every day, we would talk every hour on the hour and the gist was different each time. Every platform worked for us. It took me back to sixteen when he and I would talk for endless hours in his car.
One night, he called. Was I in a relationship? No. was he seeing any one? No. Could we date?
We talked about what our lives would look like together. I even went as far as gushing about the wedding of my dreams and described my ideal ring. Gabriel was determined to be the man I want; the best of himself. We agreed to start dating. Finally! Gabriel was mine!
Gabriel was coming to Lagos the following week to visit me. I was very excited, I swear, my heart skipped every time I thought of him. Which was a lot! I decided not to give myself heart attack before my love arrives and so to get him off my mind, I went to see Tayo the Thursday before Gabriel’s arrival.
Tayo is my friend and has been in a relationship with my brother Teju for eight years. Tayo’s eyes were swollen like she’d been crying when she came to the door. When we got in and I asked what was wrong, amidst tears, she told me Teju broke up with her and is currently seeing Toyin who only just recently moved to our area. Teju drops Toyin off at work every day and that’s how they got attracted. I call Teju to challenge me only for him to tell me that mom and dad are having a go at each other and he might need back up because dad has his shot gun and he is ready to fire it at mom. Suddenly, it seemed that gloom was the order of the day.
I developed cold feet. What if me and Gabriel date and it doesn’t work out? We didn’t have the intimate experience of years to dust and put ourselves together like Teju and Tayo or my mom and dad always will. Ours would be ugly. I decided. Better a friend than an irreparable relationship with the love of my life.
Gabriel tried to allay my fears but I was uncontrollable. We broke up only after four days of dating via phone.
I called Gabriel back a few months after and begged him like my entire being depended on him taking me back. I cried like a child and after a long bout of silence, he screamed at me like a volcano. I couldn’t make out what he said. All I could hear was the scream. When he calmed down, I asked what was wrong and he told me ‘Babe, I’m too old for this shit. The sun does not rise and set on your ass. You better believe it. I can’t keep pinning for you to come around and hoping that you don’t bail on me every chance you get. I met someone. She says she loves me. I believe her. I don’t love her but I sure as hell will learn to. Please wish me well and never call me again!’
I sobbed. Sorry, I wailed like a child forced to bury her favorite Cat. I could hear his sobs. I prayed for him. Wished him well. Pressed the red button on my phone and cried some more.
It’s been three years since I last spoke to Gabriel and God knows I tried to move on. I even dated someone howbeit briefly but I realized I needed to fall in love with myself first. You can’t give what you don’t have.
Loving me was a long, lonely and hard road but I did it. One day at a time I’m making progress.
On one of such loving days, I decide to take a stroll out in the evening. As I stepped out of the house, I notice a gold car with someone ducking behind the wheels as I approach.
Out of curiosity, I approach the car and knock on the glass. It’s Gabriel. I was so furious I start to walk away. How dare he? He comes out and begs me to listen to him. He makes a scene on my street and just out of annoyance and some curiosity, I follow him to the car. He brings out a ring. The ring I had so perfectly described to him three years back. He asks me to marry him. No questions asked. I say yes. he hugs and kiss me. We both cry and I promised to never leave him or have cold feet. I would make it work.
How about your girlfriend, I asked. She is fine, he said. She is fine? What? You propose to me and I accept but your girlfriend is fine? What the heck is wrong with this man?
You are the one and I will break up with her this week so you and I can be together finally. I’m tired of being without you. I’m tired of playing games with my heart.
We agree to him breaking up with her. I give him back the ring and ask that he come propose to me properly, on bent knees once he’s done. We kiss and find a way to cuddle in his car. I don’t return home till 4am the next morning.
Its been three weeks since my proposal. I haven’t seen or heard from Gabriel and my ring. I decided to call him. It rings three times but he doesn’t answer so I sent him a text.
So much back and forth over the years.
When I’m free, you’re not. When you’re free, I’m not
Then we both were free, I got cold feet and ran
By the time I was strong enough, you had moved on
We recently saw and we both know what was said…
It doesn’t take long for a man to make up his mind
If he is taking long, then his mind is made up;
You are not the one.
I wish you the best you wish yourself
God bless you
I tried to cry but it was like my body felt like we had wasted so much tears on one man and choose to not oblige me. Three weeks later, I was on facebook and it asked me to congratulate Gabriel. He got married two weeks ago and his traditional was the same week he came to ask me to marry him.
His bride showed off her ring. It was the exact one I had described to him three years ago. It was the same ring he had asked me to marry him with three weeks ago. It was my ring. She was showing off my ring!
–END OF ODE–