‘That means I’m in love with about five ladies’…
My dad’s late. That’s why he spoke of permission from my mum. These statements seemed to hold a lot of promise but hey, they came from Timbo, so I documented them and carried on using my head.
Easter came around and some friends of mine returned from school. We always took advantage of birthdays and holidays to hangout. Our parents knew the drill already and even if there was no money for a party, you were sure to have this group of friends at your house on your birthday. Even if all you had to offer was water, we would still show up. Our favorite activity was the hot seat because the celebrant had to answer every question asked; it was a good way to get to know a lot about our friends. That Easter we planned to meet at one of the parks in Abuja.
Everything was set but just a day to the event, Timbo asked me to go out with him the following day. He sounded like it was important. I was keeping my options open so I agreed, just in case. I figured I could meet up with my friends later and I thought they wouldn’t miss me as much compared to Timbo if I let him spend the day alone. I wondered about this outing. I allowed myself drift a little. He had mentioned a different park, I assumed there was somewhere quiet where we could sit and talk. I really wanted to know what was on this guy’s mind.
Well, time came and we left for the park. When we arrived, he began searching for some people. I didn’t know what to expect but was extremely disappointed when he found his group of friends, quite a number, and quickly introduced me to them. It seemed he met them at Church or something. They were total strangers to me and that didn’t feel good at all. Where was I to start from… and they were going all over the park in their cliques, I couldn’t even remember their names. I thought Timbo who brought me into this mess would at least stay with me and be the link between me and the rest of his friends but noooo… that was too much to expect. He left me all alone and came back a few times during our stay there to check on me. I wished I could leave but for some reason I can no longer recall, I stayed till it was time for everyone to leave. I spent most of the time wishing I was with my friends and upset that Timbo withheld from me the information about it being a group outing.
Weeks went by and the date for my return to school for my final year drew near. I wanted to know for sure what Timbo had in mind so that I would know how to respond if anyone tried to ask me out in school. You know how it is, in final year some guys find their voices, clear their throats and say stuff like ‘you know, I loved you from the moment I first saw you, but I had to focus on my academics… now that we’re about to leave school, will you go out with me?’ and so on and so forth. So since he wasn’t coming out clean on the matter, I decided I would tactfully get the information I required from him. This is how it went:
One Saturday he asked me to accompany him to lunch saying he didn’t want to eat alone. I had already eaten at home so I had a glass of water while he ate. I began my line of questioning by asking him if he was in a relationship with anyone. He said he had different relationships with different people. Okay, ‘have you ever been in love before?’ I asked. ‘In love? What does it mean to be in love?’ He asked. At this point, I didn’t know if he was serious or joking; I couldn’t imagine that he didn’t know what it meant. I calmly explained to the best of my ability – ‘you know, when you always want to be with a particular person, you think of them almost all the time when they are not with you, you can’t wait to see them again, you enjoy their company so much, and you’re always on the look out for opportunities to give to them or do something that will make them happy.’ I hoped my response was good enough but nothing could have prepared me for his. ‘Hmn…’ He muttered. ‘That means I’m in love with about five ladies – Gloria, Emediong, Mabel, Helen and you’. What! He even had the audacity to count me in the number. Ha! Number 5.
At this point I was so irritated. Everything within me said, ‘pick up that glass of water and baptize him back to his senses’ but the love of Christ constrained me. At least he was blunt enough to tell the truth and help me realize that there was no light at the end of this tunnel. I concealed my displeasure and changed the subject. I counted down to the last ball of ‘eba’ he swallowed and said thank you and goodbye when he dropped me at home. Yes, goodbye, ‘good riddance to bad rubbish’ as a friend in school often said.
A few days later I returned to school. He came to mind every now and then. I thought I wouldn’t miss him at all, but to some extent I did. I guess my journaling and trying to be objective about the whole thing helped but didn’t shield me completely from the fondness that could develop as a result of communicating frequently with someone and hearing them say certain things. Though I tried to consider them untrue, it seems a part of me held out hope that he meant what he said. I was slightly disappointed but grateful to God that I had put those restraints in place. Without them, I would have been dealing with a serious heartbreak in my final year. Can you just imagine that?
I thought of other ladies that he could be treating the same way – maybe the other four he named – and decided to send him a mail. In summary, I told him not to hang around ladies and create the impression that he’s interested in marrying them and say things to buttress the point if he has no intention of this sort. He said he was just being friendly and apologized. Then he sent me a mail one day saying he had been somewhere near my home and had thought of stopping by to see my mother. I said, ‘for what? please do not go to my house for anything…’ What would he have gone as? Friend, very caring friend, suitor, neighbor or what? Abeg, I had had enough. Funny enough, that’s the last time we were in touch.
Maybe he was actually being friendly, maybe he really meant no harm, but there comes a time in a woman’s life when guys shouldn’t be hanging around them so much if they have no plan to marry them. Some guys are so much in a woman’s space that other genuine prospects back off because they think she’s already taken. They just stay there and spoil her chances. Then they wake up one morning and happily inform her – after she’s waited patiently for years hoping that one day he’ll ask her to marry him – that they’re getting marring to someone else.
Some ladies also find it hard to move on when a man is marking time around them, especially when he has some of those features that they desire in a husband. But if there’s any truth in your relationship with that person, you should be able to ask real questions that will help you analyze your situation and decide whether you want to stay or move on. You should be able to ask, after sometime of ‘being friends’ and the guy saying nothing, questions such as:
- What exactly are we doing?
- Define this relationship….where’s it going? what’s the future?
- What’s your plan for your life? 5 year, 10 years, 20+
- When do you plan to get married?
- What kind of person do you want to marry?
and so on. Their answers will help you know what to do with your own life. But for goodness sake, don’t put your life on hold because of some guy who hasn’t said ‘Jack’. Some of them even become possessive, controlling, demanding and jealous…. Let’s not even go there.
Please, tell your sisters and your friends. This thing called LOVE… women have to go beyond emotions and engage their brains. Be objective, think, rationalize. This is not a ‘love is blind’ matter. Your love must wear glasses. Look well and don’t let anybody waste your time. Your time is your life.