By Ebele Monye
It was a Saturday night in the month of August- perhaps the second or third week. In any case; I was on my bed in the dark, covered with sweat amid an enigmatic choir of mosquitoes- no thanks to PHCN. Once or twice; I recall letting out rounds of satirical giggles- and cursing the power company again and again.
2go kept me busy and since my parents were now my friends on Facebook, it seemed like the only place I could truly be a ‘teenager’.
More than eighty of my friends were online which was very good because I moved from one mouth watering gossip to another. That was when Karen started telling me about one of the guys in my class that was crushing on me. I wasn’t surprised because someone else had already told me and moreover the word ‘crush’ was already becoming cliché to me.
She pleaded and pleaded and exhausted all her convincing skills to make me see how cool he was and gave me more than enough reasons to see why the relationship would work out, but I kept replying with ‘LOL’ and ‘LWKMD’ till she gave up and went to bed.
Assailed by bickering boredom and an insatiable insomnia; I stayed awake looking for someone else to chat with as every other person (with correct gist) had gone to bed.
After few minutes of what seemed like an endless search I decided to go to sleep, but not without putting up a seemingly cool update. It took a while for my profile to load (the rare gift of communication providers in Nigeria) and by the time I was done with the update I had a new message from Chidi. Coincidence? I doubt. I had that strong feeling within me that Karen had called him up to tell him I was online.
We got chatting for more than three hours, the longest we had ever chatted and we got along really well. He had a good sense of humour but I still had my reservations. The days that followed, Karen told me to keep playing games with him when I knew I was interested and I was already falling head over heels for him. Sincerely, I wasn’t. A relationship wasn’t on my agenda. I had so many goals and the elders around me kept telling me not to let ‘any Igbo boy keep me from a bright future’.
Long and short, after a while, I started liking him. He would send me a text at six in the morning and call me around eight to know if I was ‘ok’ and again around 2 to know how my day was going. Around six, he’ll call me to find out if I had said my angelus and around eight to know if I had had dinner and around nine to tell me how his day went and around ten to say goodnight.
After which we’ll chat till he falls asleep (leaving me awake to go through our chats and fall more for him). Around three AM, he’d send me a text to say he was sorry for falling asleep and the circle continued. I liked him more than the word ‘like’ and I had one of those conversations with Karen. It took me some time to convince her that i was serious and she got him to ask me out. He went on and on about how he had seen me in our ss1 and had always wanted to ask me out but he felt he wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t paying attention.
It was as if I was intoxicated by love, by his voice, by him generally. I just scrolled down to the point were I had to write yes and then settled down to grin . .
I had this shy feeling whenever he was around. I just sat there saying nothing, doing nothing with no expression on my face. He was shy too, I could clearly see that, but he tried to take control of the situation and make me talk.
But most times we would just walk and hold hands and not talk. It felt good to have someone to talk to outside family. He told me almost everything, but I wasn’t used to telling people about myself. I’m not sure he ever noticed though.
It was good to have someone that made my heart skip and have someone call me sweet names. It was even nicer when he sent me a text on the 8th of September to remind me that it had been a month since we started dating. I couldn’t believe he remembered the exact date. It left me speechless. We rarely got to see each other because both our parents were strict.
Things started to change after a while, mostly because of school. I put him first, planned my day in such a way that the time I had to chat with him wasn’t jeopardized (we were in different schools).
I don’t know if it was my imagination or if I expected too much from him, but I felt he wasn’t trying his best to make the relationship work. Some times he wouldn’t call or text for a whole day and i would restrain myself form texting either so i wouldn’t look so desperate.
When he did call or text, he always blamed the lack of communication or NEPA or network or his choir. At first I was indifferent, but then I started feeling his absence and it felt as if the distance between us was starting to get bigger with every passing second. I still loved him and I really wished we could talk about that distance, on how best to make us work, but no matter how hard I tried, he kept drifting farther away. He stopped calling entirely and started sending text messages that seemed like they were sent in a hurry.
His texts that used to be contained in nothing less than two messages were now in three lines and my love for him started to wane, extremely fast.
I even got my valentine day text on the 17th.
Even during the holiday, he made little or no time for me. I told him how I felt, I’m not sure he listened because if he had, things would have changed, but they didn’t. His school started before mine and he went back to school which gave me some time to really think about what I wanted. He may have been trying his best, but it wasn’t good enough. Calls cost no more than N100 moreover some of his school mates on my BBM kept updating their profiles so I just couldn’t understand how the light and service singled him out. Life has taught me not to love with all my heart and that was my saving grace, because this relationship was starting to tell on me. Once or twice I would sit myself down and scold myself about how he didn’t deserve me, but once the heart loves, it takes a while to reverse the reaction.
He’s been in school for two weeks now and I’ll probably be going back to school next week. On a scale of zero to hundred, I love him just fifty percent and on good days nothing more than seventy which is poor considering how much I used to love him. And just like he read my mind, he sent me a text telling me how miserable and horrible his life would be without me, which a part of me believes (the other part has lost interest). Anyway, if he is ready to put in his best shot, I can give it a re-think. And if not, at least I enjoyed our love while it lasted.