It’s been hectic trying to reason things. What do you make of a man that is there, yet never there? His words say one thing, his actions say another. He leaves you today, yet comes after you tomorrow? I don’t understand Denrele, maybe you will.
We officially started dating for the first time late last year after we met at my elder sisters wedding. He was difficult to miss, taking pictures after pictures on his Nikon Camera with the skill of a hunter targeting his kill. I was difficult to miss too- hey, it was my elder sisters wedding! I could not not be everywhere that day, serving this and that. It’s difficult to remember who saw who first but one thing I would never forget is how he caught me staring at him- or more precisely, his beards- unawares, with a flash of his camera. My first reaction was a thorough flush, then a giggle, and a smile as he closed the distance between us in a warm handshake and an introduction as my sisters husbands younger brothers best friends’ brother. Whew! That took some learning. He was all shades of lovable, and charming, turning a rather hectic day, into a fun memory. We exchanged numbers that day, hung out a few times after that and started dating just shortly after… But nothing about him that day promised the turmoil my heart is in right now.
It started just two weeks into our relationship when Denrele travelled to Paris for a photo shoot course. He said it’d take roughly Seven hours and promised to get in touch upon getting to Paris that Thursday. I waited. And waited. And waited. Seven, eight, nine hours passed by, yet nothing. I got scared, refused to eat, called his phones and sent messages but received no reply. That day passed, and so did the next, and just when I had almost given up on him, he called…
‘Hey honey! How have you been? Missed me yet?’
Really? Honey? Missed me yet? Nothing added up. It was two days after he travelled and he was just calling?
‘What happened? Why didn’t you call?’
‘Ah, Mi amore. I got so damn busy I even forgot to have coffee!’
Yeah, coffee is a must-take for him, that if he doesn’t take it he would barely function… but no, that didn’t explain anything. It didn’t explain how he’d keep someone he claimed to love in suspense for that long without thinking of what fear she must be in.
‘It’s over Denrele! Don’t call me again… ever!’
And the call was off. He didn’t try calling back.
He had said he’d be back to Lagos in three months. Those were three miserably and agonisingly slow months, by the way. And although I told him off, I watched the clock tick, and counted the days that remained till he was back home. He called, a few times less than I would expect of someone madly in love, but I didn’t respond. I craved for his text messages, something to change my mind about him, words from him to soothe me, plead with me and profess his love for me, but nothing… even as the days counted on still.
I was sure he had returned home on the 14th of May, per my calender; but a discreet call to my sister’s husbands brother further confirmed my thoughts. And I waited again, eagerly, expectantly, for a more defining move from him— damn! I hadn’t spoken to him in a little less of four months and I missed him. Amidst my melancholic thoughts, on an unsuspecting Sunday morning, he sent a text message.
“Felicia, can we meet? The Regent, 5pm? Same seat. See you there.”
Yes, he is a bad- ass like that! They know him so well there that he gets first- class service, and he even has a signature seat! Beat that, while I rummage on his text message for a second… again.
Is that really it? I was speechless, embodying a war of emotions fighting for space. Not a single word since his return, and all he could send was this? A few scanty lines without pleas or apologies for his first text in aeons?! “I won’t go!”, “No, I won’t!” that was what I said, but I knew better…
I was at the restaurant for 5:00 sharp, i don’t know how I did it but I was there on time. Once I stepped in, I walked straight to him with my head held high, my countenance showing no strain of emotion… knowing I looked just fabulous in what I mentally picked out the instant I got his message- an Eva black mini dress, a Diamond Choker Necklace and it’s matching Studs, and a pair of Camel open toe half- heels with it’s matching purse. His eyes were on me the whole walk from the door to his seat. He took me in stride by stride, raising my dress up my thighs with his inner eyes. I acted oblivious to all that, as I took my seat opposite his and signalled to the waiter for a glass of Juice.
‘I knew you’d come.’ he said.
‘I knew you’d be expecting me.’ I retorted with ease. I was a bad- ass of my own, with rights!
‘So… how are- how have you been?’
‘Ah! Just great. Work and life, you know!’
He nodded with the gait of a disappointed child ‘right. So, err… you’ve been shunning my calls.’
‘I told you not to call me anymore.’
He smiled then, that smile that highlights his full beards. I fainted a little inside. ‘I remember. Yes, you made it clear and even said we were over.’
‘Awesome! You still have that great memory.’ no, I couldn’t cut him any slack until he stopped being an arse!
‘But you came tonight.’ he said, a spark of hope lighting his eyes.
‘It’s a Sunday, and I am free.’
He nodded again, this time, with exhaustion. ‘Are you hungry?’
I shook my head. Is he crazy? He hadn’t said the three words I expected of him!
‘Nah. I ate at a friends’ before coming over.’
‘What?’ his anger was evident at that point, but he contained himself ‘You did what? I invited you for dinner Felicia.’
‘You said you wanted to meet Denrele, that’s why ‘m here.’
His eyes told me I was unbelievable. I knew I was, and so was he!
‘Denrele, just three words and a little more thought and action from you is all I needed a second before now, a second after your call came through on the 6th of March. Just three words Denrele. Not ‘are you hungry’, not ‘I love you‘, just ‘I am sorry‘. Did you not think I needed to hear that? You travelled and failed to call me until 2 days after. Denrele, I was scared. The plane could have crashed, you could have been dead, you could have been shot, you could have gone missing… anything could have happened, but I prayed that you’d arrive there safely, and all I needed was a call from you to be sure you were fine. But you let my thoughts race on in overdrive. I was worried Denrele, you know? I loved you and that’s what people who love you do. They pray for and worry about you. But no, maybe I was wrong. I loved you, but it didn’t mean you loved me too. So maybe I should say ‘I am sorry‘ for thinking the best of you, for loving you the way I do, for thinking you love me too. You never said you did, you just took pictures of me and us, you made me laugh, you kissed me and made me want more… no, that is not love. You were just being a nice guy. I am sorry for being angry at you over my own foolishness. You see, it is what love does to you. It makes you foolish. Maybe you should try it sometime.’
I was exhausted now, after pouring my heart out… waiting every second for that moment when he’d pause me with his own countering words, telling me to shut up, and telling me he loves me. No, he didn’t pause me, he didn’t shut me up, he didn’t even make a move or hold my hand or try to comfort me, or try to catch that stray tear that fell while I was talking… he just sat there. He didn’t even try to stop me when I said goodbye.
© The Short Black Girl, 2015.