By Black Pen
I laughed so hard when Kunle sent me that nonsense WhatsApp sticker, with the inscription "That's why you are still a virgin". We had joked about me not having a girlfriend. I had always taken solace with my system and Google assistant.
I knew he was a d*ck, but he knows just how to rub his love life in my face. This day, it got to me. It threw me off my feet. I had always abused myself, a way to insulate myself from other's judgment. I went offline instantly, casting my mind back to why and how my solitude started
Secondary school in Ondo town was the highlight of my academics. I was what every good male student wanted to be. Smart, handsome, humorous, reserved, and of course, girls found me seducing. The eyes, the hair, the voice, the smart. Even myself would fall.
None of the girls in class caught my fancy, they were sharp contrasts to my person, I wanted someone like me. But there was none in my class. none, till she came. Fair as a fairy tale. Voice like that of a nightingale.
She was pretty, and instantly I felt a connection with her. The one I subconsciously get. Thinking of her made my heart warm - I technically feel the warmth. Writing stories made me feel characters and descriptions beyond sight, I feel touch right in my head.
I live in a fantasy world of my own, processing every word and interpreting it to actual feelings, that elicit physical reactions. My hand got sweaty as she said "yes" when I asked that I just wanted to be her friend.
Everyone wanted to be closer friends with the new girl, so I stepped back for the guys. Weeks past, I just looked from afar. We greeted when we met, talk the bit I could process, borrowed notes and went on to do me.
But something had changed, I didn't get to enjoy the attention of other girls anymore. I suddenly lost interest in those I had been forcing myself to tease and converse with. I didn't know why.
"Hey, you've been avoiding me for two weeks now" she asked
"Really? no, I haven't. Just didn't want to disturb you like the other guys did. "
"Ok, we agreed to be friends, your presence is always what I look forward to"
My fantasy neuron kicked in, I gave a thousand meaning to her statement. The other guys saw they had no hope with her. The "early birds" shot shots, but all missed. I didn't shoot any shot, neither did I plan to, but here she was.
I was happy she agreed to be friends. We closed from school together, took the school bus, seated beside one another, shared the cafeteria table. My guys resigned that we were dating. I was used to such scandals. My former school then was worse.
"I love you damola, I want to be your girlfriend" She said one day as we held hands out of the school.
Instantly, I lost the grip on her hand. The sweat dried up, my skin thickened. My skin crawled. I didnt believe what I heard. I was in complete silence, not just for the day, but for the rest of the week.
I had seen movies of people that loved and dated, they fought at the slightest chance. What wouldn't have caused a fight if they were just friends. The responsibility, the accountability, the...everything.
I kept my distance from her. I just wanted to be friends, I was satisfied with just seeing her. So, I walked away. I could see her in class. that was enough.
Seeing her didn't take long. "Paula is dead, damola" my friend ran into the class. He was coming from the staff room, he was the class rep. "She was traveling over the weekend with her father, the car had an accident. both are dead"
I lost me. Everything went cloudy. My heart felt ripped apart. I stared daily at her chair. My mind cast back to all the memories. To the few weeks we shared as intimate friends. All the life before she popped the question.
I loved her, but didn't want to say. I wished she never asked that day. For the one week we were seperate after that, I longed for the perfect way to get back.
I had seen videos on YouTube over the weekend. I found the perfect way to tell her that I loved her too. That I wanted to date her. That I wanted to just be more than friends. That I wanted to call her "sugar!". That I wanted to travel to California with her.
I waited happily till Monday. Hoping that she'd come back to school. Monday came, but she never did. I should have told her when I had the chance. I should have cast away my worries and taken the bold step.
But I took the cowards way out. I only want to date someone I am friends with, someone I can be friends with, not just a random girl. She became the friend, but I still failed her.
If I had said it, if I had not been cowardly, she wouldn't have traveled on a Valentine Weekend. She would have stayed. It was all my fault.
Now, I have the friends, but I still can't say "I love you" to the one I really do love. What if like me back then, she just wants to be friends and walk away like I did, If I say it. Being friends is better than the risk of losing the one I hold dear. Isn't it?