I saw it coming.
It’s funny how they always think we don’t know. Maybe it massages their egos to think that they’re smooth, i don’t know. We may chose to let it slide and not say anything, but we know. We always do.
This one was different. There’d always been others. But this one was different. He was different. He actually excused himself to take her calls. With the others, he’d cut the call or make it brief. He never had to excuse himself. This was one was important, meant something to him.
I could tell when he was going to see her. The other weekend i was at his place, in the evening, after one of the aforementioned excused phone calls, he had a shower, put on his ‘nice clothes’ and sprayed Black. Kenneth Cole’s Black is my favorite male scent. He only wore it on special occasions. He was so excited.
Business drinks, he said. I didn’t pursue it.
You see, when we first started, i took up post as the neighbourhood chairperson on Insecure Lane. Bolaji. Tall, fine, well spoken, financially stable, confident, witty, charming Bolaji. Scratch that, i wasn’t the chairperson, i was the Realtor in charge of all the houses on the lane.
We had a lot of spats that time. One prolonged look at any girl who was giving him the eyes and we’d have our own little civil war. I was fiercely in love with him. I however came to the realsiation that i was giving myself unnecessary headache. He was a very attractive man and so the girls were bound to be drawn like moth to flame. Being the person he was, he was going to flirt with the odd one once in a while. But he was mine and he loved me. I knew it, he knew it, and he always made sure they knew it. Plus my constant nagging was beginning to push him away. I handed over the keys to my apartment and all the deeds to the houses and fled Insecure lane.
It wasn’t always easy. But i learned to deal. He was almost everything i’d ever wanted and he loved only me.
We were happy. You know that couple that everyone looks up to? The perfect couple? The ones next in line for marriage? Yes, that’s what we were. And it wasn’t pretending. We were happy. Very very happy.
That time seems so far away now. That happy place seems so different from this bathroom floor. My insides hurt so bad, i don’t think i can pull myself up.
When i realised she was different, i decided to snoop around a bit. I found out who it was, and my heart stopped. I can’t compete with this now, Bolaji? She’s flawless. Average heigth, dark skinned, long hair (no friggn’ extensions, damn her!), slender (with a washboard stomach). Just the way he liked. All of a sudden my tummy seemed to mock me. It wasn’t outrightly big, but it wasn’t flat either. I’d definitely put on some weight since we started dating 2 years ago. And the hair. He didn’t make a big deal out of it, but i knew Boalji was a fan of long natural hair. He liked to run his fingers through…he’d learn’t not to anymore though; coming up against tracks in the hair wasnt always pleasant. I looked in the mirror and started to scrutinise my body inch by inch. And then i realised what i was doing. Damn you Bolaji! Damn you to hell for making me feel this way. What did i ever do to you?
It wasn’t just her physical appearance though. She had a sterling reputation. The quintessential female. Successful, independent, good girl. And what’s worse, they were in the same line of work. I could not compete with that. With all of it.
What to do? I did not know what to do. Confront him? Keep quiet and watch it for a while? Confront her? Get the girls to beat her up?
I decided to ask him.
“Ah come on babe, we’re just friends. Seriously.” And he dismissed it, with a light kiss to my forehead.
Oh God. Oh Lord God. It wasn’t his answer. It was the way he answered. He wasn’t lying. At least knowingly. He believed it. He actually believed they were friends. But i knew better. I KNOW him.
I decided to wait it out. Maybe just like the rest of the them, this one would fade. But deep down, i knew. This one was different.
I took up residence on Insecure lane again. This time though, i was a secret resident. I couldn’t let him see; i didn’t want to push him away. I could not imagine a life without him in it. I couldn’t tell my friends or anyone. We were the Perfect couple; i needed to keep up that appearance. I watched him get distant. I watched “work get hectic”. Even when he was there, he was never there. I was a mess inside. I wanted to scream at him. I wanted to ask him why? All i ever did was love him so why? But i couldn’t, i was afraid. I didn’t want to push him over the edge. I was afraid that if it came down to it and i asked him to choose…
Until today. I can’t say exactly what happened, but i just snapped. My ‘waiting it out’ wasn’t working, he’d just gotten more distant. I wasn’t going to let some tramp- no matter how perfect she was- to come in and destroy my whole world. All of my plans, present and future, included him and i was not giving up on all of that without a fight.
I decided to surprise him. I had his key so even if he wasn’t home, I’d wait. I’d finish up at work, pick up a few things at the supermarket and go to his place. I’d cook him dinner, and bring up the issue after dinner, over a bottle of wine. I’d ask him about it calmly and if he denied it, then I’d scream and shout. And if it came down to it, I’d beg. Yes. I’d cry and beg and grovel.
When i got to his house, i parked and sat in the car for a bit, gathering my wits about me. I was rehearsing how i was going to bring it up when his front door opened and he walked out. OMG! OMG! Is that a…Is that?? Calm down babe, think. Dammit, I’m done with thinking.
“Ahn, Booboo, I was just coming to see you.” I ran to him shouting. He turned. I watched in dismay as the look on his face changed from shock to irritation in the space of one second. And then he quickly masked it with a smile. He’d never been good at faking a smile.
“I…I had no idea”.
This hug is awkward. So awkward.
“Where are you off to?”
“I…err…Just drinks with friends…”
Oh? Then why do you look so uncomfortable Bolaji mi?
“What’s wrong baby?” I dropped the bags of stuff I’d picked up at the supermarket. I slipped my hands into his. I had to know if he was really holding what i thought he was.
“What’s this, Bolaji?” As i picked out the blue velvet box, my heart stopped. I’m not even sure how i managed to stay upright.
No way. I’m not letting you go. Dammit Bolaji, you belong to me! I will not let you go.
I opened the box.
“Oh my God!..Gosh Bolaji! You didn’t!”
You bastard! You doggone bastard, you are not going anywhere!
“Awww baby…was this why you’d been acting distant since?” I put my head against his chest and let the tears flow. I couldn’t let him see my face, he might figure that they weren’t tears of joy. I wasn’t sure for how much longer i could keep up the act.
“Will you marry me, Sophie?”
Smooth liar! You chose her! You were going to her! You didnt know where i was, you didnt call me! You were going to her.
“Baby Yess! Oh yes! I’m sorry I didn’t let you ask me in the way that you were going to”
After we hugged and kissed, i told him i had to go and tell the girls. He wanted me to stay, wanted us to spend some time together but i had to get away from him for a while. I needed to be alone; to think. The pretense was killing me. I told him I’d be back to spend the night.
On second thoughts, i decided i didn’t want to be alone. So I called up the girls anyway, told them to meet me up at Swe. No it wasn’t random. I knew SHE frequented there a lot. It was stupid and a one off chance and i didn’t even know what i was going to do but but i hoped she’d be there tonight.
What are the odds, i thought as we walked in and i spotted her sitting at the bar. She looked like hell. Good. I felt worse.
A while after she left, I excused myself and came to the bathroom. I’d had just about enough of the fake laughter and smiling when my heart was breaking inside.
So now I’m here in the fetal position. I can’t even cry out and scream like i want to. Like i need to. So i settle for silent tears. Silent screams.
A part of me actually wished he hadn’t proposed. Wished he had been honest.
But he did. I made him to. I cannot live without him. So now i have to live with him. Knowing. Knowing that i was second best. Knowing that he didnt choose me.
I’ve taken up full residence on Insecure Lane once again. This time i got the Penthouse Suite of Heartbreak Towers; with a clear view to Lonely Avenue, where this same minute on Side Street, another woman lies on a bathroom floor clutching her stomach in like manner.
Dania’s Thoughts: Okay, there you have it. The third side. Goes to show there’s always more than one side to a story. Funny thing is i know actual people who have similar stories, some even have been both Sophie and Obim at different times.
P.S: I know oh, part 3 abi? I’d take that Nollywood pass now, thank you very much :)
P.P.S: In case you didn’t read the first two:
Part 1: NO 1 Side Street, Lonely Avenue.
Part 2: On the Corner of 1st and Indecision.
Links at the top of the page.