I have been trying, effectively to no avail, all day to put into succinct words what Sally did to me, what she gave, and what she took. A part of me thinks, ‘oh, what easy pizzy! She hurt you, she gave you hopes and robbed you of love!’. The other half, the more settled and analytical one, thinks ‘well, what she did? She met you halfway. It was mutual consent. You liked her, apparently; whether she liked you back or not, no one knows, and it doesn’t concern this process of thought. What she gave? Oh, lots of what you gave. Maybe even more? Love, Care, Phone calls, Check-ups, Company. It was a perfect mirror- match. She effectively, gave you you. What she took? She took just as much as you gave. Simple. What was the problem again?’
It’s a ruthless process. Tiring, exhausting, exasperating– sitting here, in my old leather couch- her favourite position in my crib- holding a bottle of Star Beer in one hand, the remote to the TV in the other, my eyes on the screen, almost un-moving, and my thoughts in over-drive hosting a warring party between my halves. Time and time again. Every damning second since she pulled that stunt and ceased to be a part of my life. It’s the only other way to function.
Where exactly did I go wrong? When did what change? Or was I just never looking?
We work in the same office. She in the Accounting Department, I in the IT Department. It’s a small company. Everyone talks to everyone. I drop her at her home after work hours, alongside some other colleagues, so it was quite natural when I asked for her number that Thursday Night and had her call it out to me without the slightest hesitation. I would call her every now and then, especially weekends at first, just to ‘check’. Soon, we exchanged BlackBerry Pins, and got chatting on occasions; especially during boring office hours. Sometimes, we would have lunch together at the office cafeteria and just pretty much goof around. Soon-er, I offered to pick her at hers because it was close to mine, and we started to drive off to work together. I wouldn’t have got this far without her seeming support. Sometimes, when I thought per chance I was becoming too familiar, and maybe invading into her private life, her chat would drop in like a shattering ice-breaker–
Two words. And I am done in. And we would continue to chat, like we never even stopped talking at some point. It was always seamless. There was always something to talk about. She talked about herself and family a lot, and I did about mine too. We would talk about work– Presentations, deadlines, projects… we had each others back, the most we could. Classic Partners in Crime.
I would say something like “Woman! Have you seen Janets new hairstyle? One in town! Hehe!”
She would reply “Fine abi? You better snap it! So that you can give Iyawo inspiration when she runs out of ways to impress you. *tongue out*”
And I would say “Shebi you are the Iyawo now? If you want me to snap it for you, I will. Anything for you baby. *kisses*”
She would say “*rotflmao* Yeye! Get back to work jare! Laters baby.”
I would say, tempted to jab her in the nerves, one last time “I am sure you didn’t just *rotflyao*, Typical liar-liar Nigerian! Laters darling.”
I thought it was obvious, my hints. And I thought it was obvious, her cues; her sheer act of not speaking or acting up against my idea of wanting her as “Iyawo”. Or did I miss something?
I fail to tell you that quickly, we had become the next big gist in the Office Arena. Everyone constantly teased and called us lovers. She never, for once, denied it. Instead, she met every one such situation with a charming smile, or even best, a full blown cheery laughter which saw her throw her head back in that way I have always admired. That. And many other small big things had been enough to fuel my desire to have her as more than a friend. More than a buddy. More than a partner in crime. Or a visiting girl-friend. I wanted her as a soulmate, a partner-in-being, a lover– and so, today, being Valentines; I organised a somewhat elaborate affair. Something in the guise of the typical romantic setting Nigerian girls now obsessively dream about– I had a heart-shaped cake delivered to her cubicle, alongside a lone rose flower and a small simple clear and short note–
Maybe it was the “exclamation mark”, or the seeming “authoritativeness” of those driven yet innocuous words or the lack of a well scripted love letter, or a well versed poem… I don’t know what. Riddle me, because I am still terribly lost! All I know, and can fully conceive at this point of my thought process is that she marched into my office some smart ten minutes upon my wait for that defining moment (which my buddies and I had debated upon to be one of either a smashing kiss or a walloping hug and slight bite of my ear lobes as she whispered “why did it take you so long?”), returned the gifts and with the guise of a mother gently telling little Junior he couldn’t have candy for lunch, told me “I am sorry, but no.”
I cant describe how I felt, or even worse, how I feel now thinking about it on my third bottle of beer this night. Maybe I can sleep over it and wake up with a clear understanding of everything, or maybe a full-blown headache… because right now, I feel like another helping of beer. My phone beeps.
I head into the kitchen and back into my initial sitting position before checking who the intruder is. You guessed right. Sally! I am just as curious as you to know what she sent…
“Hey. About today…”
About Today? I am like What the bloody fuck about it!
Roftlmao- Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Ass Out
Rotflyao- Roll On The Floor Laughing Your Ass Out
© The Short Black Girl, 2016.