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We weren’t and it was ninety percent my fault.
I had decided not to date till my fourth year in university. Besides, I wasn’t sure if my felings for him were truly deep and real and not borne out of constant communication. We talked… chatted EVERYDAY.
Another factor that really troubled me was that I started chatting with him in August of a year and for the next 11 months, we never sat down face-to- face to talk. All talks were either through chats, calls or messages.
Richard planned on travelling out of the country to further his education. What would become of ‘us’ if he gets out of Nigeria? Long distance relationship?? I had never been a fan of that. What assurance did I have that he would still think of me once he takes in the first air of the world outside Nigeria? (That abroad air ehn…) Maybe I had issues with trust, maybe I was insecure, call it whatever you may, all that mattered was that I had more doubts than assurances.
Now, someone with such doubts should simply tell the guy and allow both parties to move on, right? I did not do that. I could not.
I had emotion swings. On a Monday, I would call him times without number, send him love messages and fill him with hope of our future together. By Wednesday, the doubts would have sky-rocketed and I would send him a friend-zoned message.
Through it all, Richard was understanding. At my times of excitement, he would respond with showers of love and tell me how much he cared.
I remember the first time he actually said, “I love you”. We were chatting, as usual, talking about the crazy things women do to their husbands during delivery.
“Richard, what would you do if your wife bites you at that time?”
“My wife loves me, she wouldn’t do that”.
“Who is this wife?”
“Has your wife ever said she likes you?”
“Well, she hasn’t but I know she does. Can you tell a guy you aren’t married to that you love him?”
“No, I will only say that to him on our wedding day”.
“Angel, that’s cruel, you will kill the guy with suspense. I can tell my girl that I love her once I am sure that I do”.
“Well, now I can’t tell you”.
“Is that because I said I can’t say it yet? Tell me”.
“I LOVE YOU”.
For minutes, I thought my heart would pop out of my chest. My heart was beating so fast I couldn’t reply him immediately. This was the first time those three words would mean the same to me and to a guy friend. Other times, it had meant something to me alone or the guy alone. This time, it was mutual. At least, at that moment, it was.
“I LOVE YOU”. That was my reply to him that night.
Times when my hormones tilted to his favor, I was ready to go any mile for him.
I told my brothers about it. The first brother said “If he does anything stupid, I will kill him”. (I did not doubt that) The second said, “He had better be serious”.
So, summarily, they were interested in him being the right one and him not not breaking my heart.
In all my teen imaginations, I never imagined my first ‘I love you’ confession to be on phone. The imagination had always had the guy looking into my eyes and saying the magic words with all sincerity and emotion. With Richard, I had to make do with the phone method.
In the same way, I had to make do with the strange behaviours that Richard started putting on soon after the magic night.
At the time, he attributed it all to his ongoing exams. Being the good girl I was, I understood and refrained from complaints.
I would call him, he wouldn’t pick the call and would not call back.
I would send him messages and get no replies.
I would message him on Whatsapp and get nothing.
Then, on a random day, he would reply, only on Whatsapp and before I say a word, he goes offline again.
One day, I could hold it no more and I told him exactly that.
“Richard, I am letting go”.
(Yeah.. on whatsapp. It would have been more dramatic face to face, right?)