HE LOVESME? HE LOVES ME NOT?

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Passport? Check. Luggage? Check. Snacks? Check. Weather? Check. Me? Double check.

I said a hasty goodbye to my father as I hurriedly walked out of the house to my waiting taxi, this eagerly anticipated holiday needed to start and start immediately. I was looking out the passenger’s side window on my way to the meeting point of my trip imagining what Benin Republic would be like this time of year when my phone rang, I smiled as I answered “Anjola I’m on my way” “Hurry up jor” my friend replied “I’m not the one driving” I shouted “Just hurry up” she said “The other travellers are here and the driver is close by.”

As I was driven into the hotel where the travelling party rendezvoused I immediately noticed my friend Anjola, she came up to me as I got out of the car and gave me a quick hug “Finally!” she said “one more person and we’ll be on our way” I nodded and proceeded to pay the cabbie. “Let me introduce you to the others” she said as she walked ahead of me. Anjola was the organizer of the trip. After the introductions were made I pulled Anjola to a corner “Is this a lesbian fest? Where are the guys?” I asked a little peeved, she laughed “calm down there’s one guy” “Just one? I need men swooning over me” “Ah you’ll have to find them in Benin” she laughed.

“He’s here we can leave now” I heard Anjola say, I looked at my watch It’d been 25 minutes since I arrived. What kind of man doesn’t care for being late. I bet he- “I’m so sorry everyone there was a lot of traffic.” His voice broke my thought, I looked up. I had to. His voice was as gentle as the soft wind caressing your skin, his face was the face of a Norse god and his body, the body of a- wait. Pause. Hold on. I looked at the body, how is it that such a gorgeous face was on such a svelte body, I kept looking at the body and as the silliest thought came to mind I whispered “If he was mine I’d fatten him up” “If who was yours?” Anjola asked beside me looking smug “Shut up” I replied and headed to the bus.

We arrived Benin Republic exhausted as the journey had been such an unpleasant one, we had been stopped too many times by every single kind of road official there was, one of which times we realized we had no more petrol. By the time the driver returned from getting petrol the moon had orbit round the earth at least ten times. Since we were all so burned out we found our rooms and went straight to bed.

I woke up the next morning feeling refreshed and pumped and headed straight to the beach as our hotel happened to be a beach resort. A while later Anjola came up to me to tell me breakfast was being served. After breakfast I went straight to the bus as our fist tour was to begin soon. I was sitting in the bus with my eyes glued to my phone when I heard “Hey can I sit beside you?” That voice! I looked up. That face! I contained myself and responded “You might be uncomfortable sitting here, there’s not enough leg room” “Well I guess I’d have to keep looking at your face to ease the discomfort away” he said. I was blushing I had to be, he was shamelessly flirting with me and I was revelling in every bit of it. I responded “I know how pleasant my face is but surely it can’t ease the discomfort away” “So you don’t want me to sit by you?” he asked “Suit yourself” I responded with a lopsided grin. One man swoons a million more to go!

I entered my room and instead of taking a shower and falling asleep I sat on my bed smiling and thinking of how surprising my day had been. After settling himself beside me he told me his name. David. I don’t remember what we talked about because half the time my mind was registered on his voice rather than what he was saying. He’d stayed beside me the entire day out and even at one point rested his hand on my lower back which had been very comforting to me. We arrived back at the hotel in the evening and Anjola suggested that we all went swimming. I quickly changed into my swimsuit and rushed to the pool but David wasn’t anywhere to be seen. I was in the water when I saw him walking to the pool area with another girl; his hand was also rested on her lower back I noticed. A tinge of jealously crept into my soul. So this was his thing, so he was one of those guys. I was upset. I was even more upset for being upset so I decided to leave the pool. I was on my way out when he came up to me and held my hand “Why are you leaving?” he asked “I’m not having any fun here” I answered much too quickly. He tried to make a joke but I jerked my hand out of his grip and walked away. I went back to my room, took a shower and went to sit at the beach and to my surprise David showed up, sat beside me and we talked for hours, I totally forgot I was upset with him. I looked at the time. Midnight. “It’s late we should go to bed” I said. He shook his head and stopped me from standing. We stayed out for another hour and since I was falling asleep he decided to walk me to my room. I gave him a hug and entered my room. I sat on my bed, put my hands on my face and shook my head. I actually like this boy.

I was much too gleeful the next day. David had come to my room, spent time with me and I had really enjoyed his company. We sat together in the bus when it was time for the tour and this time although a little cheesy, we held hands. For the rest of the trip my life became one of those silly rom-com movies but I basked in all the glory of it. We went everywhere together, shared meals and even took a walk on the beach at sunset. Everybody referred to us as lovers even Anjola had asked me what was going on “I don’t know but I’m enjoying every bit of it” was my response. On the last night of the trip after sitting together by the pool David walked me to my room, he was wishing me a good night when on impulse I planted a quick kiss on his lips. “Goodnight” I said in what came out as a whisper and all but ran into my room. I rested my head on the door and shut my eyes tight what had I done? Beep. I looked at my phone “I’m sleeping on cloud nine tonight” I blushed at the text from David and responded “why?” “You know why” He texted back. I laughed out loud this time “I still have your jacket do you want it now or in the morning?” “I’m coming now.” At the drop of a hat there was a tap on my door. I took a deep breath and opened the door. “Here’s your ja-“ The rest of my words were swallowed up by his mouth which came down on mine with such fervency. He kissed me hard and deep. His tongue teased, delved, lured and promised. I crooned his name and wrapped my hands round his neck partly to steady myself as I started to feel my knees buckle. His lips were so silky, they were just warm enough just wet enough just demanding enough. They were lethal, like liquid fire. I couldn’t get enough. Just as abruptly as I felt his mouth on mine I felt his mouth withdraw. I was still in a haze when he whispered ‘goodnight’ and walked away. My eyes finally flew open. I looked at my feet where his jacket lay, when had I dropped it? I picked it up and said to no one but myself ‘He didn’t take his jacket.’

We were only a few hours from Lagos when David suggested that we take the same cab to our destinations since we lived only a few miles apart. We were approaching my house when a million and one questions crossed my mind, was this end of our idyll? Would David still want to see me? Was it a Benin thing? As if reading my mind he held my hand “If it’s fine with you I’d like to see you next weekend” “I’d like that” I nodded feeling relieved, maybe this is the start of something beautiful, maybe I should give this a chance.

David didn’t want the chance I quickly realized. We had gone out the next weekend and weekends after that. We were becoming a couple or so I thought until David stopped calling or texting me and had me constantly worried. I would complain that he needed to be available to me and he would apologise and promise to do better. I went to his house one evening to talk to him but the words he said shattered my very core. “I’m seeing someone else.” somebody wake me up from this bad dream “What!?” I stuttered “There’s another girl, it’s complicated but I want to be with you. I just have to end things with her before I can commit to you.” I didn’t realize a tear slid down my face until I was reaching up to wipe it “So end it with her” “It’s not that easy” “What’s difficult about it?” “Listen it really is complicated just give me time to figure it out” “How much time?” “I don’t know but I still want you in my life even if I can’t be your boyfriend right now, I can’t afford to lose you” I began to wail shamelessly.  He pulled me to himself and held me close “Stop crying. Everything will be fine.” I shook my head David was breaking up with me; it was over before it even really started. How had it come to this? With his hand beneath my chin he lifted my face “Hey its okay” he said very softly, as if his voice wasn’t already gentle enough and then his mouth came down on mine, his hands immediately found my breast and as he squeezed gently a moan escaped my lips. “No. Stop” I said “Shhh” he responded. I tried to protest but instead I succumbed. I succumbed! I let David have his way with me.

It was the fourth day of the third week and I really wanted to keep thoughts of David at bay but all my effort proved abortive. He’d been texting me all week telling me how much he missed me and I was caught between two stools, let him go or fight for him. I eventually responded to his last text “I’m home why are you asking?” “Can you come over this weekend?” I paused, I really wanted to but I was feeling a little under the weather, I’d been constipated and I was still expecting my period. “I can’t. I don’t feel too good” “Please come cutie, I’ll take care of you.” Cutie? Hmmn “Okay.” I went over to David’s that weekend and all was well with the world again, he treated me like I was cake and he was a fat kid. The David I knew in Benin was definitely back to me. We lay on the bed spent after bouts of sex and I looked at him “Have you ended things with the other person?” “Let’s not discuss it.” “Why not?” I asked “Let’s not” he said again and turned his back to me. I looked at the ceiling, nothing had changed. It was already morning when I finally managed to get a shut eye only to be awoken shortly after by the feel of a hand on my back trailing down towards my… My senses became alert. Is he serious? “Don’t touch me” I barked, furious “Why?” he asked” “Are you serious?” I returned, sitting up. “Let’s not fight; you’re blowing this entirely out of proportion.” He said and looked at me more intensely “It’s not that I don’t love you, I really do, you just need to give me time” I looked at him, oh but this bastard was scored on my heart. I was about to respond when the sudden need to puke arose so I ran into the bathroom. “Are you okay?” David asked as I entered the room “Yes” I replied. He hadn’t even followed me into the bathroom. “Are you sure?” he asked again, I nodded. I wasn’t sure. I hadn’t been feeling right, my period was late and now this? God please. He touched the back of his hands to my neck “You’re not burning up” he said and before I could respond I was out the door again. When I returned this time he was looking at me with suspecting eyes. I sat on the bed “My period is kind of late” I fiddled with my shirt “But it’ll come, I have irregular periods” Was I telling him or telling myself? I wondered as I buried my face in my hands. Door open. Door close. David was gone.

As I stood in the bathroom of David’s house I prayed that the ground would very quickly swallow me. This couldn’t be happening. I was 26 and unmarried. I still lived with and was still very dependent on my parents. This couldn’t be happening! “Maybe it’s broken” I said aloud trying to encourage myself even though I knew otherwise. David. My thoughts immediately shifted to him. He had left the house only to return a moment later with a pregnancy strip. He was on the other side of the door waiting, very anxiously. What was I going to tell him? What was I going to tell my parents? I got up, flushed the toilet, wiped my tears, braced myself and went into the room. David. He would probably hate me. “It’s positive” I said slowly. He looked at me with hard angry eyes and said nothing. Two decades passed. He still said nothing but continued staring at me. I thought I was beginning to see lava spew out of his eyes so I said with a croaked voice “Say something” “Why are you crying? You’ve succeeded” he said in what still remained the most beautiful voice that belonged to a human. I shook my head “What do you mean?” but instead of replying he walked out of the door.  

 I sat on the bed with my eyes red and my face blotchy thinking of David’s hard stare I didn’t know he could look so terrifying with his face of a Norse god but I guess Norse gods looked like that when they were upset. He had said I succeeded but he was wrong. This wasn’t the colour of success; this didn’t even begin to look, feel, taste or even smell like success. All I wanted was to be happy with the man I was falling in love with. This wasn’t intentional. My phone beeped, “I’m sorry I can’t take responsibility for it. I already have a child, heck I already have a wife. You shouldn’t have done this to me; we could have just had fun and been happy. I’ll send you some money to get rid of it. Can you please leave my house.” A shiver ran down my spine. Whose life am I living because it definitely isn’t mine. David had said he loved me, I laughed at the thought of that.

He loves me? He loves me not? Check.

                          EPILOGUE

I never considered depression a thing until I found myself living in it. An entire week had passed and not a single text from David. I hadn’t even told anyone what was going on except the person who had given me the doctor’s number.

 Waiting for the doctor to arrive had been my most trying time. An array of unpalatable thoughts occupied my mind. Is this murder? What if I lost my womb? Worse, what if I lost my life? What will ha- “The doctor will see you now” The nurse interrupted my thoughts. I was sure I stopped breathing when I entered the doctor’s office but how was I still alive. After a brief discussion with the doctor he asked “You’re certain you want to do this?” I nodded “Okay. First we’ll do an ultrasound.” he continued and pointed at a small bed in the corner “Please lie on your back and lift up your blouse.” After covering my belly with gel and moving the transducer across it a few times he looked at me “Something is not right” he said “What?” I croaked fearfully “There’s nothing here” he continued. “What do you mean?” I asked perplexed “You’re not pregnant.” “What!?”

Thank you so much for making it to the end of this really long story. Gentle reminder; This story and all the stories to come on this space are completely and utterly random.
Of course If you have any questions, suggestions or thoughts please drop them in the comment section below. I would love to hear from you.

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