Every day, Chinedu left his hostel on campus looking forward to meeting Fadeke. He had made it a habit of going to the halls where the Business administration students had their lectures to hang around. Fadeke, also was never hesitant to go to the school cafeteria to have lunch with him as long as their time together wasn’t clashing with her lectures.
One of Chinedu’s friends had started noticing he was never around in-between lectures and began to wonder. During one of Chinedu and Fadeke’s lunch dates in the cafeteria, he walked in and spotted the couple chatting and laughing. He noticed the sparkle in Chinedu’s eyes when he looked at Fadeke and knew that his friend had been smitten. He decided not to interrupt them but made a mental note to ask Chinedu about his catch.
Later that evening, Chinedu was reading in his room when Kunle walked in. Chinedu’s roommate, Tola was more or less an absentee student as he was always running around doing one business or the other. He had even advised Chinedu that he could go ahead and sell his bed space but Chinedu had thought otherwise. He would rather have students squatting with him from time to time than have a permanent roommate who could become a nuisance.
“Whassup dawg?” Kunle asked raising his fist for a bump.
“I’m good”. Chinedu said returning the hand greeting.
“So, who’s the babe?” Kunle asked nudging Chinedu and giving him a teasing look.
Even though Chinedu knew who Kunle was referring to, he decided to play along. He hadn’t thought his friends would notice that he wasn’t hanging out with them as he used to; so he decided to know what they thought about his recent change of attitude and who best to find out from but Kunle; his closest pal.
“Babe? I don’t understand”. He said faking ignorance.
“Hey, don’t go there man. I saw both of you today at the cafeteria and the look in your eyes was something else”.
“The look in my eyes?” Chinedu asked with surprise.
“Yes, you love that girl and don’t even try to deny it. Now I know why you haven’t been hanging out with us the past few weeks”.
“Are you serious? Was it that obvious? I mean, how did I look at her?
“I’ll take your questioning to mean that you haven’t told her how you feel about her”.
“No, I haven’t”. Chinedu said sighing. “I haven’t been able to. Besides, I don’t want her to feel rushed”.
“You don’t want her to feel rushed? Kunle laughed. “Are you saying you intend to keep her for more than a year?”
“Kunle, you know I have never supported the way you and the others date jambites and dump them after one year for a new set. So, I’m trying to take it slow with her. I don’t intend to dump her after a year”.
“Yes, for real”.
“Well, what can I say? I guess I should wish you good luck”. Kunle said stretching out his hand for a hand shake.
“Thanks man. I need that”. Chinedu said returning the handshake. “So, have the others said anything or noticed my absence as well?”
“Funny enough, no one has noticed. They are all busy looking for which jambite to hook up with for the year”.
“Meaning they have all dumped their previous girlfriends again?”
“You know the game, man. You know the game”. Kunle said smiling. “I just wanted to check up on you. See ya later, dawg”. He continued as he stepped out of the room.
As Chinedu lay on his bed that night trying to sleep, he reminisced on what had happened the whole day. His lunch with Fadeke and what Kunle had said earlier. Had Fadeke been able to see how much he loved her from his actions? Kunle said it was obvious, but was Fadeke seeing what Kunle saw? Since he met her about a month ago, he hadn’t been able tell her how he felt about her. He was trying to be careful not to hurt her feelings. He intended to have her for keeps regardless of what or how his friends felt. But he also needed to let her know he really cared. As he drifted into deep sleep, he made up his mind to voice his feelings to her the next day. She had to know.
Fadeke sat on her bed with her head cupped in her hands. Had she heard Chinedu right? She had waited for this for a whole month and she hadn’t been able to give an answer. Why hadn’t she spoken up? She should have told him how she felt about him. She liked him a lot; there was no doubt about that in her heart. But she wasn’t sure if she was ready for a commitment. She was just sixteen and she still had a whole lot of fun to catch at her age.
She remembered her expression when Chinedu had told her he loved her. He had held her hands on the table in the cafeteria and looked lovingly at her. She had been dumbfounded; not because she hadn’t seen it in his eyes all along but because he had been so open and straight to the point about it. He hadn’t bothered to beat around the bush like the other guys who had asked her out in previous years had done.
Now, she was confused. She wasn’t sure what to think. He hadn’t even tried to push when she kept mum. When he noticed she wasn’t saying anything, he had just told her that he would give her time to think about it but that he couldn’t hide his feelings from her any longer.
She smiled as she thought about him. He was such a nice guy. She had yet to meet someone so caring. He was concerned about everything that had to do with her. Her studies, her health, her stay in school; just about everything. He was the kind of guy you could take home to mama. She sighed. But that wasn’t her priority right now. She still had a lot ahead of her.
Fadeke was still in her own world when Tochukwu arrived from school. Fadeke hadn’t seen her walk in and Tochukwu had to tap her back to reality.
“Hey, you okay?” Tochukwu asked touching her forehead to check for a temperature.
“Yeah, I am”. She sighed.
“That answer does not sound like an okay to me”.
“About?” Tochukwu asked sitting down on her bed opposite Fadeke’s.
Fadeke sighed again.
“Spill it out, babe. Is it that bad?”
“It’s about a guy in school”. Fadeke said looking straight at her roommate.
“Okay? What about him?”
“He told me this afternoon that he loves me. Point blank, no beating around the bush”.
Tochukwu suddenly burst out in laughter. She laughed so much that tears ran down her cheeks. Fadeke just looked at her without saying a word.
“I’m sorry, Fadeke. I am not trying to belittle your thoughts”. She said trying to stifle more laughter. “I was just wondering why you had to bother yourself so much about what some guy in school said”.
When Tochukwu noticed that Fadeke wasn’t sharing in her amusement, she asked, “Okay, there is more to this, right?”
“Are you in love with him?” She suddenly became serious.
“I don’t know”.
“I think you are”. She stood up to sit beside her friend. “Fadeke, these guys you see hanging around aren’t serious. All they want is date you for a year and dump you when the next set of jambites arrive. I can tell you this for sure because I have also been dumped for a jambite”.
On hearing this, Fadeke looked at her with surprise. “Yes, Fadeke. That is the truth”. Tochukwu continued. “Do you remember the day I came in and told you I had a bad day at school?”
Fadeke simply nodded as she could remember how hurt she was that day over Tochukwu’s act. She decided not to interrupt her as she wanted to know the reason for the cold shoulder her roommate had given her.
“The guy I was dating broke up with me that day and I found out from one of my course mates that he was showering all his attention on some chick that just came into school. I was devastated. This is a guy who had professed his undying love for me and all of a sudden, he had a change of heart”.
Fadeke looked at her friend and could still see the hurt in her eyes. “I cried my eyes out, Fadeke. I asked him to tell me where I had gone wrong. I loved him so much and was ready to sacrifice anything, just anything; but you know what he said?” She paused, tears filling her eyes.
“He said he simply couldn’t continue with me, that it was all over. He said he thought he loved me; can you beat that? He thought”. She laughed with sarcasm. “My whole world dropped when I heard that. I never thought I could be so naïve to have fallen for his antics.
She wiped the tears that had fallen on her cheeks and looked at Fadeke with determination. “No guy, Fadeke, I repeat, no guy, is worth the trouble. They are all the same. Just some bunch of animals on heat”.
Fadeke looked at her without saying a word. She felt her pain. She could see that her friend had been deeply hurt by whoever this guy was but could all of them be generalized? Couldn’t there just be one who wouldn’t break a girl’s heart like Tochukwu had said?
She squeezed her eyes shut to stop the flow of tears that was beginning to gather around the corner of her eyes. She felt so much pain in her heart. Pain for her friend who was hurting and pain for herself because she loved Chinedu so much and couldn’t imagine letting him go. But she couldn’t risk getting hurt like Tochukwu had been. As she looked at her friend once more, she made up her mind. Chinedu wasn’t worth the trouble. Her friend was right or so she thought.