I met Teso five years ago. I was in my first year in the university, when he was a finalist. It was a rare meeting. I had gone to the cafeteria that day to meet another finalist for some information I needed, when I saw him. That was the first time we met, and the beginning of something beautiful. The most memorable 10 minutes of my life.
‘Hi.’ I greeted them both absently. All I had in mind was Dr. Kadiri’s number.
‘Hey Dayo, what’s good?!’ Temitope greeted, on seeing me.
‘Everything’ I smiled. ‘Um Temi, do you have Dr Kadiris number?’
‘Which Kadiri? My supervisor?’
‘Yeah, that one.’ I responded, hoping dearly that he did.
‘Please let me have it.’ I let out a sigh of relief. ‘I lost his number with my phone last week, and we need to get in touch with him regarding the assignment he gave us.’
‘Are you the class rep ni?’
‘Yes’ I hissed out. ‘Wish I wasn’t sef!’
‘Eya, pele.’ Temitope enthused mockingly.
‘It’s a good thing, you know? Never wish against good things.’ That was the first thing he said to me that day. Beyond his words, and his impeccable diction, I loved his voice.
I smiled at him.
‘I am Teslim Sobowale, Teso for short.’ He winked as he offered his hand for a shake. I took it shyly, and told him my name.
That was how it started.
From a casual friend, to school father, to very good friend, to best friend, until he eventually asked me out on his convocation day. Though the whole school had thought us to be in a relationship long before that day, hearing him profess his love, and ask me to be his girl made all the difference in the world. I loved him, and I was sure he loved me too, so I accepted.
Teso was patient, caring, forgiving, understanding, and very loving. I liked all but one thing about him. He liked girls a lot. Everytime we fought, it was either because I caught him feeling too comfortable with another girl, or because he had another girl on his display picture, or something else! Don’t blame me, you shouldn’t. Because if you see my Teso, you’ll understand he’s worth keeping to oneself. After flimsy break- ups which I initiated because of my trust issues, I came to accept him for who he is because if he didn’t love me truly, he wouldn’t keep coming back each time I shut the door. He taught me a lot of things about life. He helped me see things from a clearer and more matured perspective. Each time I became scared of my abilities, he’d cheer me up and remind me he was expecting nothing but the best from me.
We would quarrel, and fight; then make up with kisses and bowls of ice cream. He was a best friend, a brother and a lover. A patient one at that.
We shared similar views, thoughts, and ideas; but had a different taste in music, and fashion. I loved blues, he loved anything else but blues; he would say life was sad enough without them. I was an hijabite, and I hated make- up, but he would cajole me to tie a simple scarf and spare my face a powder once in a while. He would assure me that I am beautiful without all of the make- up in the world, but he just needed to see a different side of me on special occasions. I would laugh. I loved simple, he loved sophisticated, but we loved each other enough to compromise when we had to. I remember how each time he shopped for me, he would get me something knee-length, maybe a gown, or a skirt; and some fine stilettos to go with it. He would say my legs are too beautiful to hide from the world. He was charming, and highly humorous.
In short, we dated throughout my stay in school, and all through till after my youth service. People thought it funny, how we would date for five years without being engaged. Really, it was funny to me too, but we thought it better that way. We both knew we had the chance to butt out before things got any more serious. For all we knew, marriage was a tad big deal!
A few months after my youth service, he secured a job for me in his dad’s company. A few months after that, we decided to get married. It was a big step for both of us, but we knew it was what we wanted, so we went for it!
In preparation for our wedding, my parents made it compulsory for both of us to conduct certain clinical tests to confirm our genotype, HIV status and all of those. We never thought it necessary, actually, we never even gave it a thought. On getting the results, it was confirmed that we were both AS patients. Once my parents heard, that was the end! They cancelled our engagement, and forbade me to continue seeing Teso. They even asked me to resign from his fathers company if need be. Their minds are made up already, and they won’t even listen to me.
You see, both my parents are AS patients too. We used to be five- our parents and three kids- but we lost our eldest sister to Sickle Cell Anaemia some years back. Till date, mum and dad won’t stop blaming each other for bringing such misfortune to the family. They would say, if they had listened to their parents when they warned them not to get married because of the impending dangers of an ‘AS- AS’ marriage, such would not have happened. It was a difficult time for all of us when Sister Funmi died, but love and God’s grace kept us strong together. I understand their fears, but this is not fair!
Dear God, I don’t need a sign. It’s obvious Teso is the one for me. All I need is a miracle, to make us work…
Yes! I believe we’ve all been at that point in our lives where we’ve ‘LIKED’ that one person who LIKED us too, but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to take things a notch higher. I have been there before, a couple of times maybe, and I know how it hurts to deny yourself that one thing that COULD HAVE made you happier. But I guess we’ve all just got to let some things fly, because even when we know what we want, we just have to do what has to be done.
© The Short Black Girl, 2014.