The next days did little more to help my plight. I needed to bare my thoughts to someone, but who? Who would understand? The only person I ever felt so free to discuss things with was Mensah, and now that he was the center of this turmoil, he was the last person I wanted to talk to about it. And I felt even worse that Bello had been left out of the true picture from the very beginning. He never knew about Mensah or my feelings for him. I just thought being with him would erase what I felt for Mensah because they were almost unfounded. For the love of God, I thought there was the saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’.. And there’s the one that says ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ my head responded. I was crying now. I was confused. My phone had rung like a dozen times but I refused to pick it up because I was sure it was Bello and I wasn’t sure I wanted to speak with him just yet either. When the sound wouldn’t let me rest as the caller seemed irritatingly persistent, I grabbed the phone with all the anger in me and picked the call ready to unleash my anger on Bello for not giving me space to be but then his voice came through before I got the chance to speak.
‘Finally she answers my call’ it was Mensah. Words stuck in my throat. ‘Hey, are you there?’ He called out again. I burst into even more tears as I disconnected the call and switched my phone off. An hour later, there was a knock on my door. It stirred me from my sleep. I waited it out but it wouldn’t stop. I dragged my lazy self from the bed, carrying my heavy head in my hand as I made to the door. It was Mensah. The anger returned. I opened the door to unleash it on him since he insisted he wanted a piece of it. I couldn’t run away from my problems any longer, maybe it was time to face them.
I held my hand up to hush him. ‘What do you want from me? I won’t reply your chats, and won’t return your calls, should that not be enough clue that I don’t want to have anything to do with you anymore? I spent months falling for you thinking you felt same way about me, but you never made a move or hinted at your love for me.. And then I told you I had met someone and you went on dancing like a mad man whose body had been set on fire, still no clue.. Some days after, you then start on and on about how you think you love me and can’t get me out of your head, when I’ve decided to move on with my life. What kind of game is that? Now, you’re back from the UK and you are all over me again? Don’t you get it? I can’t breathe with you all over my face like this? And ‘m getting married to the love of my life soon, so you had better get on with your life too.’
Now I paused. His face was calm, too calm it made my face flush. He is just a cute bastard, I thought! I marched back into my house and slammed the door in his face. I went into my room and resumed my tears. These days will pass I told myself as I willed myself to just breathe.
The knock came again. After a while, I calmed myself and went to see who it was. It was still Mensah. And that was when I opened the door to let him in.
Finally, I summoned up some courage and pulled him into the house to have a seat. I went to the kitchen where I had about 10 glasses of water as if I meant to drown my thoughts in it before making out to the sitting room again to make the most difficult speech of my life. To worsen things, my head was blank. I had successfully drowned it in water, I guess. The stark quiet that welcomed me weakened my knees, I don’t know how it is that I made it to the remaining unoccupied seat in the room.
‘So?’ Bello finally broke the ice. ‘What’s going on Ayomide?’ He hadn’t called my name in full in a long time, it was obvious he was dying of curiousity. I looked from one man to the other, both of them stared at me keenly, and it broke my heart that someone would go home hurt tonight.
‘Mensah meet Tope Bello, Tope meet Peter Mensah’ I let out as a preamble, hoping they’d ease the look on their faces a little atleast, but nothing! What were you expecting anyway? My mind questioned. That they’d stand up to hug each other with a warm pat on the back?
‘Tope, I never mentioned Mensah to you but he’s the reason why it took me so long to accept to having a relationship with you. The only thing that stopped me from being with him was the fact that he wasn’t in Nigeria at the time..’ I dared to look at him but he had long shifted his gaze. His perfection was flawed by distinct anger mixed with another emotion I couldn’t place. ‘.. I took some time to think today and it was in the middle of that thought that Mensah came in thankfully. We had never really talked about our feelings or being in a relationship like we did today and I was glad we talked because it helped me realise some things. It helped me heal. It helped me decide. I think it took my seeing him again to realise that all that remains all the love I once harboured for him is irritation at the fact that he let my feelings stretch so much, and let them fall right back in place without as much as a flinch. Peter Mensah, I’m sorry but like I said earlier, it’s a little too late to come at me with these feelings. I am engaged to this grey eyed man here, and I am afraid he’s the one I want to spend the rest of my life with.’ I almost added the ‘let’s remain good friends’ line but I didn’t dare.
The night eventually did end, and I was glad to be finally rid of those feelings that tied me down all this time and free to love Bello without feeling like I was hiding the best part of my life from him. Later that night, he held me in his arms so tight afraid to let me go lest I changed my mind about wanting to be with him. I smiled into his brilliant face and pulled his head down to mine for a kiss. He kissed me slowly, as if meaning to discover me all over again for the first time. And then, he lifted me into his arms and carried me to the room where we lay side by side with my head on his chest, his heartbeat, my lullaby.
© The Short Black Girl, 2014.