Sunday, July 01, 2012

How I Fell in Love with Two Women (Final Episode)

This story is continued from part six here...

My mind went blank and time seemed to stop. I would not have been more shocked if an embalmed monkey had climbed into the bus and taken a seat next to me.

‘Sayo was equally shocked. Here she was, presumably going to obtain some exotic ingredient from a market in town – and the object of all her ‘work’ was off on a trip with some other girl?

I tried to speak, but the words would not form. There was nothing to say: no lie or excuse; no hurriedly concocted fib with the slightest chance to save my sorry ass. I was caught, not red-handed – but pants down!

Again the events of the past few weeks flashed before my eyes. The dinner in Spices, the play at the Pit Theatre, the repeated visits to the Natural History Museum, the walks in the Staff Quarters… It had been fun to finally do what I wanted with someone who shared similar passions, but I knew then that those days were gone forever.

There was a loud commotion in the bus. Somebody was asking me questions, but they had two different voices. I did not answer; my mind could not decide which voice to process. I was lost in thought, far away – thinking back to the text message that started it all. Something stung the left side of my face, then the right. My eyes shook violently in their sockets. I was now entering Spices, selecting the table in the corner. I was hit again, alternately – left then right. ‘Tomi started to cry. I was now standing, to introduce myself to ‘Sayo.

My face was hot. The bus had stopped. I heard the soft whoosh of a nylon bag as it swung through the air. I tasted tomatoes. I was now rising again, approaching the counter to ask for our food. There was pepper in my eyes. My face felt even hotter. The conductor held tight to one struggling woman, the driver to another. I was now turning in slow-motion to greet ‘Koye. I tried hard to see, but the tears made it difficult. Somebody was grabbing me, pulling me, their arms under mine. I was now noticing ‘Tomi, she was standing right behind ‘Koye. I was moving through the air one instant, laying on the ground in the next. Two more people were deposited beside me. The bus moved off. I was now feeling like a cheat, caught at my first attempt. And then I came back to reality.

We, all three of us, were on the ground – beside the bus-stop. There was pepper all over me. ‘Tomi was sobbing furiously while ‘Sayo cursed in Yoruba: till the very end, differences between them screaming for my notice. Some fool was taking pictures; passing students stopping to point and giggle. I had successfully made a public ridicule of myself.

I scarcely noticed when the UJCM bus pulled up at the bus-stop, parked so as to ‘shield us from public view. The last I remember is ‘Koye running down from the bus, and dragging me and ‘Tomi into the back. ‘Sayo refused to move, despite his entreaties – so we left her there. And then I broke down in tears…

If I ever get down to making a list of the things I am not, ‘player’ must come first. I simply sucked at it.

The rest of the day passed in a blur. I scarcely heard my roommates as they sympathized with me. I hardly heard ‘Sayo’s vituperation when she returned with her friends for her handbag. I had moved on. I knew I had lost her, and had accepted the fact already. I knew what I had to do next.

I went back to ‘Tomi’s room that night. It took all my courage to knock at her door, to bring myself to walk into her room amidst hostile stares from her roommates, to sit on her plastic-chair-that-was-originally-mine when she burst into tears rather than offer me a seat. It took all my courage to say the words, appreciating her for the years when she had been a loyal friend; acknowledging that she was right to have refused my offer to ‘date’, knowing that we really did not have much in common; pleading that she put the happenings of the day behind her and allow us to continue as good friends.

I told her about the many questions I had asked myself already on my way to her room. I told her that I would never stop wondering if a little more loyalty from my end would have won her over, if a little more perseverance would have helped her to find joy in the things that made me happy. What if I had not sent that text to both of them? What if I had not met ‘Sayo? What if I had not written that article?

I knew then that I loved them both, but I would always love ‘Tomi more. ‘Tomi was the quintessential friend, the type that did not understand or get involved in what you did – but was loyal none-the-less; ‘Sayo was the stuff of which dream girls were made – shared passions and common interests – but she was too good to be true. I knew then that I would meet some girl later on, who would combine attributes from these two.

All of a sudden, there was a lump in my throat.

Tears gathered in my eyes as I watched ‘Tomi cry, threatening to reveal the turmoil I felt inside. I swallowed hard as I fought the urge to put my arm around her shoulders and comfort her. I dug my fingers into the back of my chair till they hurt, willing myself to remain seated. It was better to let her cry, to leave her to settle this on her own.

It hurt me even deeper to see her hurt so. The sight of tears wracking her body, throwing her lean frame to and fro like a leaf before the wind, would haunt me for years to come. The sound of her crying would wake me from my sleep, stabbing at my heart in an endless rhetoric: “What If?


1 comment:

  1. Its wrong to double date but as far as am concerned u might love Tomi but she never agreed to date u n she doesn't even read the stories ur write. Beta go back to Sayo. Cos she loves u just the way u re.