Read Chapter 3 here
“Ayomide and I were friends for a few years before we even dated,” I began.
“It was an easy friendship; we had a lot in common, and we liked each other a lot, but we didn’t want to go there for the very reason that broke us up.”
“What reason?” Omololu asked quietly.
I smiled at him “Calm down now.”
Omololu had picked me up from my office earlier for our scheduled Friday hangout. But today was different; it was a tell-it-all kind of day, and in his classic intuitive nature, he knew we needed a quiet place, so he suggested we drive to the Oniru Private beach to have our conversation. So, we sat in the car, nibbling on the suya he bought from my favourite suya spot.
“Thank you for this,” I said, as I popped a well-garnished piece of suya into my mouth.
He shook his head, grinning “You are so easy to satisfy, you know? And I needed to keep you happy for this much-awaited blockbuster conversation,”
“Blockbuster what?” I said laughing out loud. “How do you come up with these things, guy?”
“I just do” He responded, his eyes twinkling mischievously.
Rolling my eyes, I continued “You know he is cocky too, just like you, or maybe a little more, but that’s probably one of my favourite things about him. He is the sweetest soul I know though. Mide, that's what I call him, has these beautiful intense eyes that held so much wisdom.”
“Those eyes,” I sighed “They do wonders to my soul.”
“I never knew you liked cocky,” Omololu commented with a smile
Laughing, I responded “I didn’t think I did too, but he was a different kind of cocky. It is not the arrogant kind, just funny, you know?”
“He has a way around him, unique actually; whether with words or just being. He is an incredible person. He is tall, handsome too, and he has this gorgeous thick black hair that I just love.”
“Oh, I see why you keep kicking me to the curb. I remind you too much of him abi? Tell me he does not at least have beards,” Lolu said, groaning.
I laughed out loud. Lolu always manages to beat his own records of ridiculousness but that’s why I enjoy his company so much. He is a breath of fresh air.
“He has beards too” I answered amidst my laughter. “But no, you don’t remind me of him, you are your own person,” I added, pushing him lightly.
“Thank God,” he said, feigning seriousness.
Chuckling, I continued, “We got along so well. He is very smart, I could always count on him for advice, and so could he. He doesn’t call himself a feminist, but he is— he is all for fairness and equality. He is supportive of my dreams, he just wants me to fly, and that’s how I knew he loves me. Don’t get me wrong, he tells me he does all the time, but he showed me every day too. And even when we have our little fights, I never doubted his love.”
I turned to see Lolu staring at me with an indulgent smile on his face as he listened with rapt attention. “Why are you smiling like that?” I asked scrunching my face.
“It’s just obvious how much you love him. I’m jealous,” He said, chuckling.
“I do,” I responded smiling sadly. “We had an easy friendship that metamorphosed into our relationship. We banter, tease and laugh at and with each other. We laughed a lot, and that’s something you don’t find every day,”
“Let’s take a walk to the shore while you talk. I think the fresh air will be good,” Lolu said, getting out of the car.
We walked in silence till we reached the shoreline. We stood barefooted, staring into the darkness across the ocean. I wrapped my scarf around me tightly, thankful I had brought it with me.
“Are you cold?” He asked
“Not really, it’s quite chilly though,” I responded.
He nodded and took my hand in his as we walked briskly along the shore. Neither of us spoke, both of us enjoying the comfortable silence, safe for the sound of the waves, and the distant voices of the group of prayer warriors we passed by.
“You have no reason to be jealous, you know?” I said, breaking the silence. “Mide and I will always share a special bond, that’s for sure. But our love story is over,”
Lolu turned, looking at me intently as if trying to see into my soul, “What happened though? You still haven’t said,”
“Mide and I knew that we were incompatible genetically. Our genotype was not a match.” I started, sighing.
“To be honest, we knew this was a problem, and so, for about a year, we ignored the attraction we felt, we danced around it, and would always tease each other. We also went ahead to have other relationships, that unfortunately were both short-lived. One day, out of the blues, he called me and asked if I would be willing to see a medical consultant with him. We had read about PGD (Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis), the test for genetic disorders in embryos before implantation through IVF, but it always sounded so foreign and out of reach. So, I agreed and we went in for a consultation. The doctor explained the procedure to us. The PGD itself was a simple procedure, but the IVF wasn’t and they are quite expensive too”
We had stopped walking at some point and just sat on the sand staring straight at the ocean. I don’t usually like to talk about the situation Mide and I were in, and the sacrifices we were willing to make to stay together, because the few times I did, I felt the judgment and the look that seemed to say ‘what were you thinking?’ and sometimes ‘Fools in love’. But from Lolu, I felt no judgment, just empathy, he seemed to understand that sometimes, we love against reason.
Wriggling my fingers, I turned to him, “Do you know what he told me after the consultation? He said he was willing to do this, that the money is not an issue because we would plan for it, but he needed to know if I was willing since I would be bearing most of the physical and emotional burden of the procedure,”
Omololu smiled “He sounds like a great dude, a straight shooter.”
“And I don’t blame him for doing everything to keep you, you are a keeper,” He added, rubbing my back.
“Well, this keeper agreed and was ready to go through whatever to be kept by him,” I said, winking at him.
“So, we started dating. We involved our parents early on because we knew we had to somehow convince them of our plans. We had a sure medical solution, but we knew it would be difficult to sell to them. For a while, it looked like they would eventually agree. We answered many questions, we appealed and explained, but in the end, all they saw were two loved up young people who couldn’t see beyond their noses.”
“You know my Dad once asked me if we had entered into a blood covenant,” I said laughing. “I was shocked but I guess he just couldn’t understand why I was hell-bent on Mide. Anyway, both families put their foot down, heavily too. In the end, after one year of trying, we had to let go.”
Omololu touched my arm lightly in comfort. I covered his hand with mine and continued, “I was heartbroken, but some of the closest people to me didn’t understand why. They felt I should have known this could happen. But I loved him, and the loss of that love despite the circumstance broke me”
“I understand that and I don't think anyone is equipped to tell another person how hurt they should be about things they go through. Thank you for sharing, Teniola.”
“Finally right?” I asked grinning. “And thank you for listening Lolu, and for been such a good friend”
“Friend kini? Don’t friend zone me o, this woman,” he rebutted laughing. “You know I have no plan of staying in that zone right?”
“I know oga, but good things come to those who wait,” I said with a cheeky grin.
“Well, that’s for those who remain active while waiting. And I intend to stay very active,” he stated standing up and helping me up.
“You have an answer for everything abi?” I said as we made our way back to the car.