‘I love him but I can’t tell him’ Zainab told her friend Haneefa as she scooped the last drop of ice cream.
Soon enough her phone rang and it was Akin, her so-called boyfriend. ‘Take, it’s your boyfriend o’ Haneefa said as she gave a jumpy look and passed her phone to her. I’ve told you we’re not dating; we’re just friends Zainab replied as she answered the call with a bit of reluctance. Her tone was unappreciative clearly because he teased her about going out with her boyfriend and after a short while, he promised to call her when she got home.
‘I hope you eventually tell him how you feel about him’ her eager friend suggested with purpose after the call ended. Do you think I should tell him, Zainab asked while throwing away the disposable ice cream pack and hurriedly looked at Haneefa.
There are a lot of things you don’t know about Akin and I she said as they approached the love garden where they would take their seat to the sight of the beautiful sunset. I’ve known him since we were little. We grew up together in Oyo, she started. A small town named Oke-Iho before they moved to Ibadan while we were about time for secondary school. He was a fragile boy.
She reached for her bag and rolled out some tissue to wipe away dirt from their sit then prepared to continue with her story.
I was very excited to be given admission into Akin’s school which was clearly one of the best secondary schools at that time. Though we attended the same primary school, I always wanted to attend the same secondary school with Akin but distance was a problem. My parents then decided I stayed in the boarding house. Already I knew I had a lot to catch up with in my new school. I had always wanted to leave but my parents insisted I wrote my junior waec exam before starting afresh in another school. I resumed my new school almost at the end of the second week due to my late arrival from my aunt’s house where I spent my holiday in Jos.
My class teacher took me to my new class, to a warm welcome I introduced myself and I got a sit on the second row beside a guy who looked like a nerd with a round lens covering his eyes and the rope just above his neck. He was one of the most brilliant in the class and was obvious with the way many students came to him for explanations and corrections. ‘Can I help you write some of your notes’ he asked politely. Of course I would never refuse that I chuckled. We looked at each other and laughed as his hands entered mine. I’m so happy you’re finally here Akin said joyously. He was my guide and our friendship continued to grow with time.
Secondary school finished and though we used to reach out to each other via phone calls and social media, we were a long way apart. Now that the emotional attachments began to set in. I was too naïve to realize what it really was in secondary school. While he was in a school in the Swiss capital, I was still hoping to gain admission into a top university back home. Years passed on and communication grew thinner but I still thought about him.
The pursuit of education took me to one of the private universities in the southern part of Nigeria. By the time he was to come back home finally, I was in my final year. Our chats became frequent and more interesting. I wasn’t coming out of a breakup but I needed someone to love me of course. The calls started to come in gradually.
He finally set his foot on Nigerian soil towards the end of June. It was almost time for my end of session exams. His good luck text messages accompanied me to the exam hall. He knew the exact time to send them; right before I locked my phone in my locker. The attention kept on coming in. I almost lost concentration for my exam thanks to previous romantic moments with my books. I always looked forward to our ‘truth or dare’ game. That was the only way to get to know what he really wanted and thought of me and about me but he never told me anything: not what I wanted to hear. We had plans to hang out during the holidays after I was through with my exams. We hung out several times at various places during my stay in his house. I was no stranger to his house neither was he to mine.
My family was also planning to relocate to Ibadan. You could imagine the happiness I felt when I heard such news. Distance stopped being a barrier and we got to see each other. We became very fond of each other. Of course I had no other guy in mind. We were not dating though. I didn’t know what he had in mind because he never talked about it. Most times I just lie on my bed and get butterflies of what would be if we dated. He was everything I wanted in a man. He wasn’t a male model but should have been he seem to be moulded from a different cast and had a look uncommon to most people. My own fine boy with glasses. I imagined what our kiss would feel like. Maybe he doesn’t want any commitments I thought to myself. Maybe he thinks we we’re too closely related to be in a relationship. But I don’t belong to that school of thought which believes that because Love Don’t Care.
Zainab: I’m really confused, I don’t know whether to tell him how I feel about him or not she asked Haneefa with tears almost filling her eyes.
Haneefa: The only thing I can say is that if you don’t, you’ll live to regret it for the rest of your life.
But what if the feeling isn’t mutual, she asked with a faint of hope as they heard the call to prayer…..
What if the feeling really isn’t mutual? Share your thoughts below.