“Brotherly, have you found love again?” Olamide asked as he flipped through pictures on his tab. “Love? If I hear say I find love as I dey so! Hmm! Baba! Love see me sef dey run!” I laughed nervously. He just smiled.
Samuel approached me with a rougish smile and squinted eyes. “Andy, e be like say you don get another babe.” “Wait…who dey yarn una all this kind gist sef? Me no know wetin una dey talk o!”
But I knew it. I’m that kind of guy. It’s always obvious. I’m not terribly emotional or romantic by nature, but you can usually tell when something is happening to me in that department. At least my brothers can. I’m a one-woman kind of man, so if you know me personally it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.
Olamide and Sam are two of my closest friends right now. I call them brothers, alongside Robinson, Femi, Ola, and some of my other brothers who knew about Debby and how the whole story went down.
Long story short, I had just suffered a terrible heartbreak. Call it a heart-break-up! Absolutely horrifying. But I was slowly recovering.
“Olamide, I don’t even know which way forward right now. You know, Akin has actually been making me reconsider that Debby might come back.” “Bro, don’t worry. After the cross country marathon, the way forward will be very clear.”
I remember talking it out with Mum. I asked her “What if Debby comes back?” “Ahhhhhhh…I would be sceptical. Very. And you know your Dad…he’ll just be looking at you.” “What about that girl you went to visit that time?” “Yomi? Oh! Lara! Forget, nothing can happen on that end.” “Hmm. You never can tell!” Dad asked, “So what’s up between you and Debby now?” “She moved on. She’s with James now.” “Cool!”
That was then. Now? It’s too obvious to deny. Lara is the closest one to my heart right now. We met last year, at the Sage Conference. Elegant, driven, spiritual, down-to-earth…short story long, generally my spec.
We talked today, you know, talked and played for about 6 hours. We had been not-so-subtly exploring the possibilities of what our friendship could become for about a week. “Andy…” “Yes dear?” “We’re just friends, right?” “Yeah.” She shared some deep parts of her heart with me and I with her.
“Why me?” she asked. I told her in my mind it was quite simple: friend, close friend, closest friend, lover. That was the natural progression for me. “Do you like Yele?” “Yele? No! We’re friends and that’s it. Why?” “I just observed some things, that’s all.”
“What can you do to convince someone that you love them?” “Basically, speak the person’s love language. And then there’s something that uttering that statement ‘I love you’ does. It affects everyone differently, though. There’s no substitute for it.”
“Lara, do you trust me with your heart?” “Yes.”
“Lara, I want someone who understands what love is. Love is not emotion, love is a decision. One day you’re going to wake up next to the person you married and not feel anything! What then? That’s when we know how you define your love. I want someone who understands what the word forever means.”
“So…Andy…are you ready to commit?” “Not yet.” “Why? Are you scared?” “No…it’s not that. I can never be scared to love. We were created to love. And it’s not Debby either. I’m over her. I just…I just need more clarity. But I want you to be sure of one thing. I’m young, but I’m too old for games, Lara. I’m a faithful man. You said you trust me with your heart, right? I won’t abuse that trust.”
Mum called and they spoke for the first time ever. She absolutely loved her, but then her insecurities resurfaced. “Lara…what’s on your mind?” “I’m just thinking of other guys’ mothers that I’ve spoken to and how it always ends badly.” I told her about how even after we broke up, I still spoke with Debby’s mum when she called me. We even still went out for dinner: me, Debby, Dad, Ade, Robinson, Akin and Senator Oke. Senator Oke is Dad’s friend. He was the one who insisted Debby should join us. And the night was awesome.
Benson called Lara to tell her that Fade had finally said “Yes!” I was happy for them, especially after she told me their story.
Then we prayed together for the first time ever tonight.
The last thing I remember saying to her was “I love you.”
And I meant it.