You never know what you have till it’s gone and then comes back and it’s gone again. Only then would you feel so miserable, wear nothing but shorts and bra, sit in front of the television watching crappy Nollywood movies while you eat ice cream and cake.
I laugh at a terrible scene in the movie I’m watching, my stomach is so big at the moment I can pass for a pregnant woman in her first trimester. I don’t care; I’m too messed up emotionally to give a rat’s ass.
My phone rings and without checking I know who it is – Dammy.
He’s been calling since I angrily left his house some minutes ago and came to mine where I have been purposely ignoring.
I had cried about Dipo, grabbed my things, called my cabman and left the house without saying a goodbye to Dammy. Now he is calling. He’d sent me series of messages on BBM but I’ve ignored them all – Every single one of them.
I know I should be stronger but I also know deep down that the only time I will be stronger is when I know that the wedding ceremony is over and Dipo has been married to someone else.
That’s when I’d know it’s all over, pick the pieces of my heart and move on.
Dammy calls again and for the hundredth time, I ignore him.
As the end credits roll in the movie that I’ve busied myself with in the last 120minutes, I mutter a little prayer that in a saner moment I’d never have said, “God, if he’s truly mine and he would make me very happy, please bring him back. But if he isn’t, please let Angie have him forever”
I stare at Dammy as he picks his words carefully, while apologising for his indiscretion the night before.
“I am very sorry Dolapo… “ He says, trying to hold my hands which I make impossible for him as I fold them across my chest.
“Dolapo…” He calls, surprised that I still won’t respond to his apology.
“For how long have you been thinking about being friendzoned?” I ask, stressing the word friend-zone with so much irritation. What in the world is Dammy doing using that word where we are concerned anyway? I still find the word extremely ridiculous!
“Listen Dolapo, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. I love that you are my friend, I adore what we have and I don’t want to ruin it. Just let’s forget this as hard as it may be” he responds.
I nod slowly. I’ve been with Dammy many times while he’s under the influence of alcohol and he’s never been that way. Whatever happened to him last night? Or why in God’s name did kissing me or trying to get in my pants suddenly translate to taking care of me in his dictionary?
He’s still my best friend though and last night isn’t enough to kill what we have but I certainly will need time away from him. Time to let last night totally fizzle out and have no effect on our amazing friendship.
I glance nervously at my wristwatch; it is 11am. The wedding service should have started by now and Dipo and his bride would soon be joined together in holy matrimony. My heart beats faster and my pulse quickens as it occurs to me that I have to move on and continue with life without Dipo. Hard as it may be though, I am willing to give it a try. Maybe I can bury my head in work the way I did when he walked a year ago? I had buried my head in my writing and it had been rewarding, exceedingly rewarding. The award plaques that decorate my bedroom are the physical proof of that. Maybe that can happen again.
I grab my purse, phone, and house keys, get on my feet and smile at Dammy.
“I’m going home” I say to him, ready to leave the pizza place we have been for an hour.
“Let me drive you home” he says and I shake my head.
“No”. Then I walk towards the exit and he follows me.
As he follows me outside, his words to me were, “Come on Dolapo, if you think I’d let you go home by yourself when I’m here, have another thing coming”
To which I respond, “my cab man will be here soon”
“Tell him you aren’t going to need him and let me take you home” he says firmly and I eventually nod. I nod simply because people are beginning to recognise him and are now staring. And I also know in no time they’d grab their cameras/phones and begin to snap away without knowing what exactly is going on. And in minutes there’d be some ridiculous news/article on every blog in the country.
So because of that purpose I agree so we don’t give people unnecessary news.
By the time we get to my house in thirty minutes, I have forgiven Dammy and I have decided Dipo and Angie are meant to be.
Watch a crappy low budget Nollywood movie alone and it’s not so funny, watch it with your best friend and it is so damn hilarious.
Dammy and I share food and drinks as we watch yet another silly movie on TV some four Saturdays later.
“You know, if you’d ever acted in any of these, we wouldn’t have been friends” I say to him as I put in my mouth yet another slice of pizza.
“And if you’d ever written any of those we would never have met!” He replies as we both shake our heads and find another scene to laugh at. “Thank heavens for good Nigerian movies, they give hope.” He adds and I can’t help but agree more.
After a few more scenes, Dammy faces me and says “Thank you”
I am utterly confused as I watch the serious expression that accompanies the apology, “what’s going on Dammy? What am I being thanked for?” I inquire.
“This. Us” he replies and it dawns on me that I might actually know what he’s referring to. He’s thanking me for giving us another chance after that friend-zone saga.
But surely, Dammy knows he’s one of my favourite people in the world and I wouldn’t trade him even for a pair of gold studded heels?
“Oh well, I couldn’t leave you friendless in this cold world” I answer, smiling as I watch my smile infect him.
“I appreciate that. Let’s make sure this never ends” he adds and then says “I love you very much. Never forget that”
I nod and place a kiss on his forehead. This friendship means a lot to me and this moment has made me realise no matter what happens, this man would always be my best-friend.
“I got you” I mouth his own lines back at him.
He laughs and settles back in his place beside me while we continue to watch TV.
My doorbell rings and disturbs us and I grumble. I hope it’s not my nosy neighbour or the hottie that just moved into the compound ringing my doorbell. If it is the former, I’d know she came to stare at Dammy again and make a fool of herself as usual and I’d certainly dismiss her. But if it is the latter,I’d be happy to stare at his face and his hot bod while he says whatever he came for.
When I make it to the door however, I realise that it is neither of the two people and the most unexpected visitor.
I gape at him in shock.
My mind relives the events of the last two months and I can’t believe the massive turn of events, from arriving in Abeokuta for the wedding that never happened, to returning to Lagos with a freshly broken heart, to discovering Dipo at my doorstep four weeks after and now to dealing with the result of chasing him away.
As the plane I boarded from Ghana lands at the Muritala Muhammed International Airport Lagos, I grab my bag absent-mindedly and stroll towards the arrival lounge of the airport.
I have been in Ghana for two weeks and as at the time the offer had come for me to come write a script there for an upcoming movie, I had taken it to be rid of Dipo’s apologies and my messed up emotions. I had felt so angry at him for never giving us the most deserved second chance we needed before finding Angie and complicating things and at myself for still loving him so damn much.
Now, I know that I have purged myself of the anger and heartbreak I felt and I’m strong enough to live life again but somehow I feel like Dipo is gone forever.
At least I chased him away this time. I hadn’t let him explain anything to me on the eve of his wedding that never was and I hadn’t let him explain anything to me four weeks ago.
He’d sent mails about how Angie’s father had collapsed that morning and everyone had been in such a frenzy and how it had made Angie yell out and ask that the wedding be put on hold and how it had occurred to him that if he didn’t walk then, he’d regret it forever.
His words were;
…It dawned on me that it was the only time I had to walk and make a decision. If I didn’t walk then, I would never have the chance to walk again and I would forever doubt the decision of making Angie my wife.
His mom had called me and after the first call when she’d told me the wedding never happened and why, I had ignored all her other calls.
I needed to think.
I mean even Dipo said he didn’t let me know immediately the wedding was cancelled because he needed the four weeks to think. He needed to be sure I was who he wanted and he wasn’t being emotional about it all.
According to him, Angie had flown out of the country telling him she never wanted to see him again and she knew he wasn’t the one.
But now that I have chased him away and he barely speaks to me anymore, what is left? I don’t even know if he’s left the country…
As I slowly walk through the crowd of people at the airport, I tell myself it would be okay and I’d be stronger for it and that maybe I’d make it into a movie one day. After all, I’m an award-winning writer yeah?
I smile sadly and look towards the exit where I hope to see my mother waiting to pick me up, but what I see instead is, a young couple in a tight embrace, apparently saying their goodbyes and my heart stops beating for a moment. It is so wonderful that they are happy and I wonder for a minute, if I’d ever be truly happy with the man I marry. If I won’t just be settling for him because the only one I ever truly loved might just be gone forever.
I try to look past them and I become momentarily weak because of the person I see standing behind them.
He is looking at me, smiling uncertainly as if scared I might not smile back and waiting there as if he’s been expecting me.
“Dipo” I mutter, telling myself this is something from a movie. I didn’t tell him about my flight schedule. Who could have done that? And I answer my question myself because I know who it is – my mother.
She knows my flight schedule and she is should be picking me up.
He inches closer and holds me close in a very warm embrace. Tears gather in my eyes as I hold him dear, afraid to let him go…again.
As we ride home together in the back of the cab we picked at the airport, we hold hands, my head on his chest and a smile on my face, knowing deep down inside that this is going to be one happily ever after. All we need to do is take one step at a time and we’ll forever be fine.
The Very End