Tag Archives: Best friends

Stages of Life

Lara saw her best friend on TV and smiled. Yemi was anchoring a game show and she was good at it. Lara remembered how close they were in secondary school. They had been best friends and other students had envied their relationship. A few friends had even tried to come in-between them by telling tales but they had seen beyond the envy and jealousy and stuck together.

Lara went on to study Chemistry at the University of Lagos while Yemi had studied Mass Communication in a University in South Africa. They had tried to keep up their friendship through phone calls and text messages but after a while, Yemi became unreachable. All efforts made by Lara ended fruitlessly and she concluded that Yemi must have changed her number. She had also tried to search for Yemi through Facebook but that had also been unsuccessful.

 

*****

Ten years after graduation from secondary school, Lara watched her friend on TV and was proud of her. Watching her now, she realized the reason why she hadn’t been able to find her on Facebook. Yemi had dropped her first name and was now identified by her second name, Joyce. She did a quick search on Facebook with the new name and found her. She immediately sent her a friend request.

 

A week passed and Lara was yet to get an acceptance from her friend. She decided to send her a message. She was however shocked when she got a rejection to her friend request and a response to her message. The message read; “I have moved on from teenage friendships. Get a life.”

Lara must have read the message a thousand times. She wondered what could have come over her friend. Had she written something that resulted in such a response? She went back to read her message to Yemi again. She had congratulated her friend on the TV programme and told her she was doing a good job. She had also mentioned how she had searched for her for so long; not realizing she had dropped her first name. She had asked her to keep in touch.

As Lara deleted the message, she made a mental note to move on and forget she ever had a friend named Yemi.

—–

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Omoshalewa – Episode 8

The next day, Tunde called Shalewa while she was in the office. She decided to pick up his call this time.

“Hi Shalewa, what’s going on? I was worried sick yesterday when you did not pick up your calls.” Tunde said.

“I’m fine. There’s nothing wrong.” She said then paused. “In actual fact, there is.”

“Oh my! What’s wrong?” Tunde asked with concern.

“We need to talk.”

“Dinner at 7?” Tunde asked.

Shalewa quickly scanned through her calendar. “Fine. Pick me up, I’ll send the driver home.”

“Okay then. See you at 7.” Tunde said.

Shalewa cut the call and took a deep breath. She closed her eyes as she mentally calculated how to break the news to Tunde. She could not continue to live this lie.

At 7.00pm, Tunde drove into the office premises where Shalewa’s office was situated. As he parked his car, he dialed her number from his phone which was attached to a cell phone holder on the dashboard. She picked up on the first ring and responded that she would be with him in five minutes.

About three minutes later, Shalewa walked out of the office complex. She was wearing a grey pant suit and Tunde smiled as he saw her. She is beautiful; he said to no one. He quickly took out a mouth spray from his glove box and freshened his breath.

As Shalewa eased into the car, Tunde planted a kiss on her cheeks. He engaged the gear and drove out of the car park. “So what’s wrong?” He said looking at her.

“Hey, I just got here. Can we talk over dinner?”

Tunde shrugged as he stretched his hand to hold hers. He noticed she was not receptive to his gesture but he refused to comment.

They arrived at their destination in fifteen minutes. They took a seat at a table for two and placed their orders. Tunde tried to make light conversations with Shalewa but she seemed distracted.

Their orders arrived and they began to eat. Tunde was almost done with his meal when he spoke up. “Shalewa, why are you keeping me in suspense? What’s the problem?”

Shalewa dropped her fork and looked at him. “Well, I had no intention of spoiling your dinner; that’s why I decided to hold on till you were done.”

“I’m all ears.” He said; looking at his plate as he tried to cut a piece of chicken.

“I need a break.”

Tunde put the piece of chicken in his mouth as he nodded, looking up at Shalewa. “A break? Why don’t you discuss with your dad. He may give you some time off.”

“That’s not what I mean, Tunde. I wasn’t referring to work. I mean a break from this relationship.”

Tunde’s eyes widened. He dropped his cutlery gently and took a sip of his drink. “A break from me?”

“Well, if you would rather put it that way.”

“Our wedding is in a few weeks.”

“I am aware of that. The more reason why I need a break.” Shalewa said as she looked at him straight-faced.

“But…but Shalewa, what went wrong?”

“I just need to sort out my feelings.”

“I thought we were past this.”

“No, we weren’t. We never were.”

Tunde was confused. “But you agreed to marry me?”

“To satisfy you and my dad. Have you forgotten so soon?”

Tunde pushed his half-eaten plate of chicken aside and held Shalewa’s hands on the table. “Please don’t do this to us. I love you.”

Shalewa pulled her hands from his grip. “Tunde, don’t make this more difficult than it already is. I can’t continue to live a lie.

Tunde took a deep breath.

“I would like to go home now. I can call a cab if you don’t mind.”

“I brought you here; the least I can do is drop you at home.” Tunde said as he stood up and signaled to the waiter to bring the bill. The waiter arrived with the bill and Tunde took out some notes from his wallet and slid it into the bill pouch.

Once the waiter turned away, Shalewa stood up, picked up her handbag and walked ahead while Tunde sauntered behind her.

********

Five days later, Tunde walked into Shalewa’s office to have a business meeting with her father. As the elevator doors opened, he saw Shalewa and a guy laughing in front of the elevator. He was surprised at the ease with which Shalewa chatted with him and he noticed there was a sparkle in her eyes.

“Hi Shalewa.” He said; trying to catch her attention.

Shalewa looked at him and the smile on her face faded. “Hi Tunde.”

Tunde waited expecting an introduction. When he noticed Shalewa was not going to do the honours, he decided to go ahead. “Hi.” He said as he stretched out his hand. “I’m Tunde, Shalewa’s fiancé.”

“Akin.” He said as he smiled and accepted Tunde’s hand shake. “So I get to meet you Tunde. You are the one who swept my best friend off her feet.”

Shalewa eyed Akin.

“So where are you guys off too?” Tunde asked; ignoring Akin’s comments and looking at Shalewa.

“Lunch.” Shalewa said as she looked at Akin. “Are we still going, Akin?”

“Of course.” Akin replied. “Bye Tunde. It’s a pleasure meeting you.” He continued as he did a mock bow.

Tunde watched as Shalewa and Akin stepped into the elevator. The elevator doors closed and Tunde stood transfixed to the spot. Akin, Shalewa’s best friend? How come I have never heard about him? Was he the reason Shalewa had asked for a break? She looked so happy chatting with him and there was a sparkle in her eyes when she looked at him. I have to find out who this new best friend is.

As Shalewa eased into Akin’s car, she looked at him in anger. “What was that for?”

Akin faked ignorance. “What? I don’t understand.”

“Oh come off it, Akin. You know what I am talking about; the charade with Tunde.”

“Oh that.” Akin said laughing. “Did I say something wrong there?”

“Akin?”

“Yes, Shally babe.” Akin said as he leaned forward and planted a kiss on her cheeks. “You are still engaged to him. Don’t forget that and as far as I know” – He said tapping his fingers on his nose – “Your wedding is in a few weeks.”

“Please don’t remind me.”

“So can I drive off now or are we having Tunde for lunch?”

Shalewa gave him a scornful look as Akin burst out laughing.

******

Later that evening, Mr. Samuel was seated in the living room with his wife watching the evening news. There was a glass of juice on the side stool beside each of them. Shalewa walked in at about 9.30pm. She knelt down to greet her parents and headed straight for her room.

“Shalewa, please sit down.” Her father said.

Shalewa walked back and took a seat opposite her parents.

Bayo retrieved the remote control from the side stool and switched off the TV. He looked at Shalewa; his face grim. “Your mum and I felt it was important we spoke to you this night.”

Funke nodded.

“You usually don’t come in this late and we have been wondering what has changed. Of recent, you have been coming in later than usual. And I know you have been leaving the office same time as you usually did. Is there something we should know?”

“Nothing dad.” Shalewa answered as she looked straight at her dad.

Mr. Samuel nodded. “Tunde came for a business meeting today and he was asking about Akin. He was wondering how come you suddenly had a best friend he wasn’t aware of. I had to explain the friendship between you and Akin. He also said you asked for a break some days ago. Is that right, Shalewa?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Okay, so I am assuming this break is for a few days, then you can go back to your wedding preparations.”

“No dad. It is not for a few days. I am breaking up with Tunde.” She said; the muscles of her face taut as she refused to break eye contact with her father.

“I want to assume that because you are tired and stressed, you are probably not thinking right. So I would let you go to bed now, then we can talk about this tomorrow.” Bayo said.

“There is nothing to talk about, dad. I am not getting married to Tunde.”

“Will you shut up your mouth there?” Bayo said getting angry.

Funke patted her husband’s hands. “Please darling, not this way.” She pleaded.

“What do you mean? Did you hear what your daughter is spewing out of her mouth?” He said; looking at his wife in irritation.

“Shalewa, you can go to bed. We would talk about this tomorrow when everyone is calmer.” Funke said to her daughter.

“Good night mum, good night dad.”

“Good night Shalewa.” Funke said as Bayo ignored his daughter.

After Shalewa left the living room, Funke looked at her husband. “Darling, I think we need to be careful with the way we handle this matter.”

Bayo looked at his wife, shock clearly written on his face. “You can’t be serious. Are you also in support of her behaviour?

“I am not. I just feel we should tread carefully.”

“What exactly are you saying Funke?” Bayo asked infuriated.

“What I am saying is this. Haven’t you noticed that she seems happier than she was before? Since Akin’s arrival, her behaviour has changed. She has dropped the look of gloom that was always on her face and she is back to how she was before we forced this relationship with Tunde on her.” Funke said; trying to make her husband understand.

“Are you saying she is in love with Akin?” Bayo looked at his wife perplexed.

Funke sighed. “I am saying she never stopped loving him.”

Bayo laughed. “You can’t be serious Funke. What do you mean she never stopped loving him? They were friends as kids and they have both moved on.”

“They were not just friends fifteen years ago, Bayo. They loved each other and they obviously never stopped.”

“What are you saying? They were kids. What did they know about love?”

“Well, they knew enough to keep them in love with each other fifteen years after.”

Bayo was surprised. “But how do you know they loved each other?”

Funke smiled as she placed her hand on her husband’s. “Do you remember when Akin’s parents told us they were moving their son out of the country to continue his education?”

Bayo nodded. “Yes, I do.”

“Your daughter was heartbroken. She cried out to me and asked that I tell Akin’s parents not to send him away. She thought Akin’s parents were intentionally trying to separate them.”

Bayo’s eyes grew big as his jaw dropped.

“Yes darling.” Funke nodded. “That was when I realized all their time together wasn’t for a lack of siblings. It was because they loved each other. I guess her heart had always been with Akin.”

Bayo let out his breath.

“Akin’s arrival has changed her completely. She is happier and you can’t miss the glint in her eyes anytime she sees him.”

Bayo rubbed his temples. “Has he said anything to her? I mean, has he proposed to her?”

“I don’t think so. With another man’s ring on her finger, I doubt it.”

“Will you talk to her then? She should let you know what Akin’s intentions are. Her wedding is supposed to be in a few weeks.” Bayo breathed hard. “I never imagined I would have to do this.” – He looked at his wife as he continued – “Cancelling the wedding of my only daughter.”

“I know you long for her happiness, you don’t have a choice.”

——-

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To Love and to Hold – Episode 12

Exams were around the corner and students were putting final touches to notes and handouts. Tochukwu sat in one of the classes in her faculty trying to compare a note she had borrowed from a course mate with hers. She raised her head for a moment trying to absorb what she had read and did not see Fadeke walk in. “Hey girl, are you here?” Fadeke smiled.

“I was trying to meditate on what I had read”. Tochukwu smiled back.

“Hmm…that’s what exams do to students”.

“So, what’s going on?” Tochukwu asked resting her chin on her palms.

“Just passing by and decided to check on my roommate”.

“Are you leaving for the hostel anytime soon?”

“No, not yet. I have a tutorial at 5pm”.

“Okay. See you later in the evening then”.

“Yeah, catch ya”. Fadeke said as she walked out of the class.

Tochukwu was about to bow her head to continue reading when she caught a glimpse of Kunle standing on the corridor outside the class. His new “jambite” girlfriend had her hands round his neck and Tochukwu remembered when she was in her shoes. She hissed, leaned over the table to see him clearly and watched him as he stared at Fadeke who was walking down the corridor. He smiled, tapped his fore finger gently on the tip of his nose and rubbed his chin continuously. The look on his face shocked Tochukwu. She saw him exhale and rub the back of his neck. As he looked away from Fadeke’s backside, he caught Tochukwu’s eyes and looked away. His girlfriend who had initially wondered who had caught his attention for the short period was smiling that she had his attention back.

To Love & to Hold 22

The look on Tochukwu’s face as she eyed Kunle was that of disgust. She couldn’t believe it. If she had not known Kunle, she would have called it a coincidence. But this was no coincidence; Kunle was attracted to Fadeke and it was obvious from the way he ogled at her. Did Chinedu know this? She wondered. She would have loved to see Chinedu’s expression when he found out that his best friend was attracted to his girlfriend? She wondered if Fadeke was aware and made a mental note to tell her what she had seen. She wanted to know what her roommate thought about Kunle’s attraction to her.

*********************************************************************************

Tochukwu looked at Fadeke expecting an astonished look. Her roommate continued reading as if she had not heard her. “Fadeke, did you or did you not hear what I just told you? Fadeke only grunted absent-mindedly. “I just told you that your boyfriend’s best buddy is attracted to you and you don’t seem to be bothered. What the heck is going on?” Tochukwu asked alarmed.

“Look Tochukwu. What do you want me to say? You just told me he is attracted to me, so what? An attraction, right? As long as he does not open his mouth to ask for anything, it would forever remain an attraction”. Fadeke snapped back.

“This is unheard of. So you are just going to sit there and do nothing about it?”

“You want me to do something? Okay, give me ideas. I really want to know what you would do if you were in my shoes”. Fadeke replied impatiently.

“You should let Chinedu know that…..

Fadeke’s laughter, full of sarcasm interrupted her. “Know that what? That his best friend is attracted to me? Excuse me, what do I intend to achieve by telling him?”

“He has a right to know what his best friend has up his sleeves”. Tochukwu said standing up and doing her best to convince Fadeke. “What was so special about her roommate that the two men who were meant to be in her life were craving for? What did Fadeke have that she was lacking? She stopped to take a look at herself in the mirror. She was more beautiful, by all standards. She had all the curves in the right places and she was never short of admirers, she knew that much.

To Love & to Hold 22b

“You haven’t answered my question, Tochukwu. What would be my intention?” Fadeke asked jolting her roommate back to reality.

“Don’t you think he would be hurt if he finds out later that you tried to cover up for his friend?

“And don’t you think you are making a mountain out of a mole hill? For crying out loud, you said it is an attraction. It hasn’t gone beyond that. Or is there something I should know that you are not saying? Fadeke asked searching her friend’s face for an answer.

“I don’t know what you mean”. Tochukwu said becoming evasive. “Look, just forget we had this conversation, okay? You don’t seem interested in mentioning it to Chinedu. Who knows? Maybe, you even have something up your sleeves as well”. She continued with an intention to get back at Fadeke.

Fadeke who had gone back to reading her book looked up with eyes flashing with anger. “Something up my sleeves? You think I have something to do with this, Tochukwu?” She asked her whole body seething with rage. “You know what? I think you are the one who really has something up your sleeves. Do you have a personal vendetta against Chinedu? What has he done to you that any mention of his name makes your blood boil? Since you broke up with whoever your boyfriend was, you turned into a wounded lion on a revenge mission. Tell me, what do you have against him?

“Everything”. She thought. She had everything against Chinedu. He was the reason why she was in this mess. He was the reason why she had dated Kunle in the first place. It was his fault that Kunle had broken up with her for some little tramp. His fault that Fadeke had become a rival. It was his fault that Kunle; the same boyfriend who jilted her was attracted to her rival. What wasn’t his fault, anyway? He was just a bastard as far as she was concerned. But she loved him. She wanted to have him as long as she lived. And no matter what, she was going to. Her emotions wavered on the thin line between love and hate. Yes, she hated him for doing all this to her. She squeezed her hands hard until her fingers dug into her palm. She would have him, regardless of Fadeke.

Fadeke who had been watching her friend all along was shocked at the expressions she saw. She saw hate in her friend’s eyes. She was also biting her lips and gritting her teeth. What was on her mind? All of a sudden, Tochukwu’s eyes softened and filled with tears and then determination. Whatever was on her mind was definitely a mix of emotions. Fadeke thought about asking her but knew it was no use. Tochukwu wasn’t going to let her into her deep secrets.

————-

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To Love and to Hold – Episode 3

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.

To Love & to Hold 8

“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”.

“For real?”

“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.

To Love & to Hold 8 (2)

***************

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.

To Love & to Hold 9

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”.

“Just thinking”.

“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?

To Love & to Hold 9 (2)

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.

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