“That means I’m in love with about five ladies’. Yes, that’s what he said.

I’ve been waiting for the right time to share this experience. I think it’s time now. I thought this matter of time wasters would have faded into almost non-existence but from what I hear, it’s still on, big time, and some ladies are getting caught in their webs. Let me tell you about my encounter with one. I’ll call him Timbo.

In the early nineties, my family moved into a rented house. A few weeks in, we got acquainted with our neighbours and one of them was Timbo. He was older by a few years and seemed like a very focused individual. The way he headed out to school each morning seemed to shout ‘I’m on a mission. I don’t have time to play. I’m going somewhere to make a difference. That was admirable. As years passed we had a few opportunities to chat outside when power failure forced most people out of their homes. Back then in our part of the country, not many people had power generators, so we would spend the time outside chatting with neighbours till NEPA decided to smile at us or till it was too late to remain outside.

One day, Timbo left for the 1-year National Youth Service Program. I sent a message or two to him while he was away but got no response. I thought we were friends enough for him to respond but I guess I was wrong. I was disappointed but hey… I moved on. Months later, he came to town but didn’t stop by to say ‘Hi’. I wondered about that.

Soon enough I also left town. Academic pursuits found me in Niger state, about 800km from home.  I met a number of people and made good friends and by the time I was in my fourth year, I went for the compulsory Students Industrial Work Experience Program and eventually found a placement in Abuja. One day, I got a call from Timbo. He said he was posted to the Abuja Branch of his office and didn’t know anywhere in town. He was trying to settle in and wanted to know where I lived. I gave him the address, ended the call and sat back to think about all that had happened in the past. I wasn’t going to make myself vulnerable this time.

I picked up my journal and summarized our history. Then I outlined some rules of engagement to guide me as we reconnected. The points included stuff like do not allow yourself get carried away, be very observant, guard your heart, beware – he may disappear again’. He showed up all smiles. Everyone was happy to see him, our long-lost neighbour. He looked well, was well dressed and seemed to have money now. Good for him. We chatted a bit and he left, and then I made my journal entries on the subject.

He began to call me on the phone almost every morning just after arriving at his office; he would call again at the close of business. A few times he stopped by to see me during lunch and would say something like ‘Work today’s so stressful, I just needed to see your face. Now I can go back and continue working. Well, work was worth his while because a few months in, he bought his first car. It was small but fit for purpose. His frequent calls and visits were beginning to leave an impression on people’s minds. A few assumed he was ready to settle down and was looking for a wife. I tried not to jump to conclusions.

In the course of our many conversations, he said a few things that made me think he was beating about the bush on the ‘marriage matter’. Here are the ones I can recall:

  • One of these days I will go to your mother’s office and lay prostrate on the floor and tell her I won’t stand up until she agrees to let you marry me
  • What time do you wake up? He asked. Around 6 am, I replied. In that case, I’ll just wake up and leave you there. When you’re ready you get up.

To be continued…. 

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