Drab, hot Wednesday afternoon. The office case
files provide no excitement, and I am all alone,
with a wallet as flat as my slippers back home
(my tardiness that morning means no going to
court and ultimately no appearance fee), so I
look to my BBM for solace. I am not sure
however of who would be up for a chat, between
the busy ones who won’t check their phones
until 6pm, or the ones changing selfie after selfie
and updating their contacts with their life history.
I soon find something catchy though, on my
BBM’s ‘Recent Updates’. Three of my female contacts put up a photo of a left hand whose middle finger is adorned
with a diamond ring, and accompany it with the
words “Congrats Lydia”.
Apparently, Lydia just got engaged. I know who the lucky lady is,
but for some reason, we no longer keep in touch,
so i can only find this out from our mutual
friends. I look at the photos one more time,
and I chuckle as I reminisce on interactions with a girl I used to be really familiar with.
It had been one cold Thursday evening years ago, not quite half a decade. I was reading with my
earphones in a classroom located somewhere in the Eastern highlands, on course to cross the final hurdle that stood between me and the title
“Barrister”, when i felt a prod in my back.
“Hey mister, don’t you hear? I’ve been trying to
get your attention.”
I looked up. She was dark and slender with curled hair, and while her voice was not exactly Soprano, it made me want to listen.
“I am Lydia. Ermm, there is this class activity I am struggling with. Can you help?”
Looking back now, I don’t think I really solved the problem, but I offered my opinion anyway, and
she left happily, but not without exchanging phone digits with me.
I would see her again 24 hours later. We would
sit under a tree even when it was the wrong side of 9pm, and I would learn that she was of Yoruba
extraction, that we were born the same year, that
her boyfriend of six years had been treating her
like crap. I played the role of a good listener, and
encouraged her to hold on to her flawed man, but
that didnt stop her from calling it quits with him; I found that out the following day.
She needed to cool off, and I took her outside the school gate for a walk round the small town surrounding the
campus. We chatted and laughed but there is
this thing with chilly nights and hormones, and as we walked back to avoid getting locked outside, I pulled her to a dark corner and kissed her. We would repeat the process at various poorly-lit
spots until we (reluctantly) got to the gate.
“Let’s take things slowly”, she said.
But there was no slowing down as the weeks
progressed. We talked everyday, we texted at intervals in class, we reserved seats for each
other, and (of course) we made the most of the darkness. I returned to bed really late most
nights, I spent less time with my friends, and in time all her roommates knew my name. Lydia
was in love.
She only had eyes for me, and when I took ill for a few days, she went into panic mode, frequenting
my room even when it was against the rules for females to enter rooms designated to males. She was honest and real to a fault, treating me to every minute detail about her day, and if her affection
was food, then I got overfed all the time…..
But Lydia scared me. She would say things like, “I
don’t mind carrying your babies” and “when are we going to Delta to see your peeps?” There was also the issue of her inability to draw the line between harmless chatter and downright gossip. I soon freaked out, and eventually I decided not to
commit. She noticed my change in attitude, and
when her attempts at getting me jealous by
flirting with other male students met no response
from me, she drifted away from me and found new
company…..in someone of her ethnic group.
On hearing news of her engagement, I go into
CIA mode, and I find that ‘Mr. Fiance’ is a
totally different guy, apparently not the one she
left me for. I chuckle some u and I wonder
where those promises of undying love went. Many questions arise: Are the girls using us guys as emotional punching bags to
‘practise’ for the real one? Is it that they dont
know who they want? Or rather, is it that they
have their targets in view and just mess with us?
Then again, won’t it be selfish to expect a girl of our age to ‘wait’ for us? Don’t we know what a
‘biological clock’ is? Don’t we know that ladies have targets, never mind the issue of societal
demands and individual priorities? Do we intend
to slow them down?
I think of all this, and all I can do is smile. I put things in perspective, and I proceed to Lydia’s
Facebook inbox to drop a congratulatory message.