Ten weeks after Sola’s visit to Wale’s apartment, he walks into Wales Construction Company on a warm Tuesday afternoon. Wale stands up from his desk immediately Sola is ushered into his office and they shake hands. He signals to the couch and they both sit down.
“My guy, where have you been?” Wale asks.
“Port-Harcourt”. Sola says smiling.
Wale laughs. “Port-Harcourt? Doing what?”
“I needed a breather. First, I decided to take a well-deserved vacation and go lick my wounds alone. I was in Calabar for four weeks. I had barely resumed when I was asked to go do some work in Port-Harcourt. I was there for another four weeks. I came back to Lagos last week but it was a very busy week. I would have checked on you”.
“You are looking well. How is Kunbi doing?”
“She is keeping up. Her introduction took place some weeks back”.
“I am happy for her”. Sola says.
“Are you sure you are?”
“Of course. I wish her the best”.
Wale stands up from the couch. “Sola, I never knew you to be one who gave up easily. I remember vividly how you refused to give up when you found a particular course difficult in school. At the end, your grade amazed me. I remember putting you through that course. What happened to that guy I knew back then who was ready to give his all till he achieved his desires?”
Sola sighs and shrugs. “Wale, I don’t know. Love is a difficult terrain”.
Wale looks at him. “Commitment issues?”
“I know I have commitment issues but I was ready to be committed to Kunbi”.
“You were but never mentioned it to her. Did you ever discuss the future with her? The only reason why she is getting married to Ola is because she is scared you will never be committed. She doesn’t even know if you have plans of settling down. She wants to be married”. Wale says in exasperation.
“It hurts me to know she is getting married to him but…..”
“But what? Guy, she loves you. I asked you never to hurt her but that’s exactly what you are doing. She cries herself to sleep sometimes. I stand behind her door and I hear her stifling her sobs. Why are you doing this to her? I trusted you but you ended up hurting her”. Wale points at him in accusation.
The expression on Sola’s face is that of surprise and confusion. “Wale, you know this is not intentional”. He says trying to explain himself. “I love her with the whole of my being….”
“If you truly love her, will you allow her spend the rest of her life in love with you but married to someone else? She is getting married in a few weeks. Preparations for the wedding are on-going already”. Wale says interrupting him.
Sola winces as he stands up. He rubs his forehead in confusion. “I am sorry I have hurt her. What do I do?”
“You should be apologizing to her, not me. Kunbi is no longer a stranger to you. If you love her, you should know what to do”.
“Thanks. You have always been a good friend”. Sola says.
“I want the best for Kunbi as well and I can’t stand the hurt she is going through. Her smiles are sad these days”.
Sola is seated in his car thinking. If you truly love her, will you allow her spend the rest of her life in love with you but married to someone else? She is getting married in a few weeks. Preparations for the wedding are on-going already. Going to Wale’s office had removed the blindfold covering his eyes. He loved Kunbi and he knew deep down his heart, he would never be happy seeing her married to someone else. Guy, she loves you. I asked you never to hurt her but that’s exactly what you are doing. She cries herself to sleep sometimes. I stand behind her door and I hear her stifling her sobs. Why are you doing this to her? I trusted you but you ended up hurting her”. He smiles sadly as he remembers their conversation. He had been wrong about Kunbi and he was sorry. He had thought she did not love him. How selfish of me to have ignored her feelings all along? He imagined how difficult it would have been for her to decide to have a future with Ola when she was actually in love with him. I made this relationship all about myself. Kunbi, I’m so sorry I hurt you.
He picks up his phone and speed-dials a number. The call is picked after the first ring. “Hi ma”.
“Sola, I was just thinking about you”. She says as she stresses his name.
He smiles. “Are you missing me already? We spoke last week”.
She laughs heartily. “You do know if I could, I would speak to you and your brother everyday”.
Her laughter warms his heart. “I want you to meet someone special”.
“When can we visit?”
“You know I am always available. Just call me when you are on your way”.
“See you next week”.
He cuts the call and smiles. He closes his eyes and lets out a long sigh before dialing a second number. The call is picked on the second ring. “Hi Kunbi”.
“I would like to see you this evening”.
“Can I come over to your apartment?”
“If Wales is fine with it, then it is fine”.
“Thank you. I will be there at 7.00pm”. He says.
Kunbi is uneasy after Sola’s call. Why does he want to see me? Is Wales aware of his visit? Oh Sola, I have missed you so much. Her heart had leapt at the sound of his voice and she had been disoriented for a few seconds. Ten weeks of no form of communication had made her heart tender. She looks at the engagement ring on her hand. In a few weeks, Ola and I will be married. She closes her eyes and remembers vividly the hurt on Sola’s face when he had heard about her engagement. If only you knew I never intended to hurt you. Her heart wills the time to hurry so it can be 7.00pm already.
Kunbi sits on her bed waiting anxiously. She looks at her bedside clock for the umpteenth time. Every second ticking looks like forever to her. She stands up and takes a look at herself in the full length mirror. She is suddenly conscious of how she looks. She takes out the ribbon she had used to pack up her hair in a bun when she was leaving for the office in the morning. She rakes her fingers through her hair and brushes it out with a comb allowing it to fall loosely on her shoulders. Just then, she hears a knock on her door. “Yes, come in”.
Wale walks into her room and looks at her with surprise. “Are you expecting someone?”
“I…..yes. Sola says he will be here. I…..I assumed he had sought your permission. I can tell him not to….” She stutters as they hear the doorbell ding.
Wale smiles. “I’ll get the door. That must be your visitor”. He winks as he walks out of her bedroom.
Wale lets Sola in and they both shake hands. Sola walks into the living room while Wale picks up his car key from the dining table. He strolls towards the door smiling. “Kunbi, please don’t keep your visitor waiting”. He calls out to her.
Kunbi takes one last look at herself in the mirror. She closes her eyes, places her right hand on her chest willing her heart to be still.
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