Sunday Dec 04, 2022

The Almost Girlfriends

This has been a long time coming. When I was in 200 level, my neighbor Amelia came to my room to ask for a wrapper. And when I said I didn’t have one, she asked “then how do you cope when your girlfriend comes to visit?”. I calmly told her I didn’t have a girlfriend. Back then I didn’t understand what that had to do with having a wrapper, but I told her “well, when I have a girlfriend I’ll buy a very big wrapper and spread it outside for all to see”.5 years later and I haven’t still bought that wrapper.

And it’s not because I didn’t try (or because I didn’t like the girls enough). There were just many things I had to learn about starting a relationship that things didn’t just work out. Maybe a young man or two can learn about life from me (see, I already feel very old).

  1. AMELIA

In my first year while I was house-hunting, the first 3 houses didn’t seem okay- the first one was still under construction and was quite a distance from school (plus I had seen the exact same house in a dream some months before I got into school), the second house had someone smoking weed in the compound as I was entering with my uncle (I didn’t notice because I’d never smelt weed before. It smelt like burning plastic). The third house was nice- it had tiles, 3 gates before my flat, a tall fence, an orange tree and a shared kitchen. Better still, it had Idoma people living it (the downside was it cost 120k ($1000 in those days). As I was about giving up, I saw an apparition- beautiful, sizeable, with soft ringing laughter. She had charming teeth and white eyes. And yes, her name was Amelia. My mind was made up- looked for all the ways to convince my uncle that I could stay there as the only guy in the compound.

I did everything I knew how to get her attention. I remember cooking some awesome egg-sauces (if you ever ate them, say amen!) I wrote her poetry, I got this t-shirt for her. At a point it began to look like she was noticing- she’d spend a few extra seconds in my room, and when I gave her the t-shirt, she wore it to my room and sat on the bed for a few minutes. I had this fantasy of a long kissing session but that never even came close to happening. The closest was on her birthday, 1st April every year. She’d moved to her friend (Ann’s) place and I had to walk about 300 metres. I got a pink gift bag, with lots of pink stuff in it (of course that’s how a 16 year old thinks he can catch a girl’s attention). I put a card in there. I remember writing something lame in the card like “I hope you pin this up and read it every day, cos it’s from me”. Now I want to kick myself for being so dumb, but “young and stupid” was my defence. When I was leaving her house she said

“Peter, I like the way you treat women. You’re nice, caring and you know how to adore a lady. I wish you were JUST a little older”.

I hated that she was only 3 years older than me; I cursed being born so late…as if in rebellion the clouds gathered that night. It didn’t matter that she’d given me the longest hug ever, or that she looked particularly beautiful in that cream evening gown. I slept angry. Amelia got married in 2013, and is happily settled in her husband’s house

with Amelia, i learned to use the resources available to me. The gift of gab, a quick tongue (and my musical taste). You use what you have to achieve your goals.

 

                               2. OLA

Hmm, this is a hard one, and I’ll keep it short. It started from one of those silly arguments that never end. I first saw her in 2007 when we’d just started lectures. John Adewakun and I were walking from Convocation ground to Law Faculty when he stopped to greet her. She’d twisted her ankle and was limping, wearing something that looked like a cross between aerosoft and Kito sandals. The spark was there from the beginning… first a few hurried kisses (actually my first kiss ever). But the problem was that things went physical before we connected on an emotional, intellectual, spiritual level. And trying to work backwards was really hard. The fights got so much, I began having new friends, and after a while we just couldn’t be together. We always accused each other of being too proud to admit there was something between us (in retrospect it’s stupid to be looking for verbal confirmation when you already kissed). I really was mean to her (I think there was this pathological need to be in control, to have my personal space) and I think on more than one occasion I kicked her out of my house. She looked me in the eye and said “peter, one day you’ll look back at me and see that you were childish, and you’ll be sorry”.

With Ola, I learned that I must be careful with words. Many times we say one thing and people understand something different. In other cases we interpret what people say in the most negative light. I learned to choose the most transparent meanings possible…and yes, i get into far less fights these days.

SCORCHING

I call her scorching because of her friend Yemi (long story).

I think many of my friends already know this story…the deepest friendzone experience ever. When I met her, I immediately disliked her because I was sure she was rude to me. But then we ended up in the same choir and I saw her everyday. A friend liked her friend, and so I became his wingman and along the line I realized I actually liked Scorching. It took a whole year to recognize that, but I was hooked. And that’s where the mistake came from…she’d told me so much about how she always had friends who ALWAYS asked her out and when she said no they disappeared, losing her lots of good friends. So I determined in my heart that I wasn’t going to let that happen with me. I went as far as letting her know how I felt, and she admitted she felt the same way. Then I shot myself in the foot- I told her it would be better if we stayed friends. See, I was sure she understood exactly why I was doing that. It was until 2 days later that she realized I seriously wanted to be friends…and from then the colour changed. I saw the mistake soon and tried to reverse it, but it was too late. I was stuck in a friendship that smelt too much like hate- she wouldn’t return my calls, reply text messages…I was sure I was doing everything right yet she still wouldn’t go out with me. In a short time I realized I was just being a milksop, and determined to let her go if she didn’t decide in my direction.

all the while she kept saying “we’re friends, let’s not spoil that”.  And i was crushed every time. But when i tried to give her the just-friends package she reacted badly…and it was a cycle of Friends-good friends-best friends-just friends…

Last year, I made a tough decision- I left Abuja for one month to cool my head. I decided I could no longer be trapped, and I needed to eject from this sinking ship with my dignity intact. So for a month I didn’t call her, didn’t text… nothing. I ignored the calls that she tried to place until I was sure I could take it. And when I returned to Abuja I realised I COULD do without her. We had an argument once…and she walked out on me for the first time in 3 years. That day i realised i was lucky to have ejected than to be trapped in such a cycle.

i didn’t need too much convincing to accept my posting to Enugu Campus of Law school. i Immersed myself in the academic experience, shut out myself. Okay i apologise to all my friends who i locked out…especially 3rd floor people in Adam&Eve, but i couldn’t expose myself so soon.

With Scorching, I learned a lot, probably the most. I learned how to be clear what I wanted, and to show that I was serious. It was with Scorching that I learned to emphasize who was THE girl in my life…my friends knew about it, even my parents. There was this time my Dad asked me after morning devotion- “Are you thinking of Getting Married?”
“Yes” I said
‘who do you have in mind?” he asked
“it’s my friend. Scorching”
“Scorching? that’s an unusual name. where is she from?”
“Kogi state”

At this point my mum said “Oh, i thought it was gonna be Joy Sanni”

I went cold at that point. Guys be careful who you mention to your mothers… even if it’s your best girl they WILL get ideas. Anyway from that day, I learned to emphasize Scorching- she was my wallpaper, password…i mean i was a deep sucker. Anytime she wanted my attention, i’d give it unfailing. I would even go all the way to her hostel to give her assignments i’d helped her type…i spent so much time at the girls hostel that the hostel guards started speaking Igala to me!

I also learned to take control. At first i was so eager to please that i took crap i wouldn’t take from anyone else…i would apologise even when we both knew she was wrong. I thought that was the righteous thing to do but I was burying myself deeper in the backyard of someone who didn’t even love me. Funny- she only paid attention to me when she thought I was angry…so i had to throw tantrums every now and then. I had to get her angry sometimes because that was the only way to make her talk (the other alternative was to coax, beg, threaten for 5 hours on the phone). i learned to be patient if i wanted to get a girl to talk.

With Scorching, i stopped kissing people. i dont know why but i think it’s bad luck for me…every time i kissed someone it happened that things ALWAYS turned sour between us. Yup, every time…Ola, Desola, Nkechi…everyone of them. So with scorching i decided i wouldn’t try kissing unless we got married.It has helped oooo…that’s all I’d say 😀

Yes,we’re still in touch. And yes, my Dad still teases me about her…in fact the aftershocks from that Almost girlfriend still rocks the building. I saw her this year..she looked particularly beautiful…we chatted for a while, laughed and everything…she asked who the new girl was, teased me about Nkechi on my wallpaper…we even argued about the best age difference between Me and Le Future Girlfriend…i dropped her off…and i realised that i’d truly gotten over her.what a feeling! (I think She still likes me. That’s what FigTree said after Scorching got out of the car….“i think that girl likes you’)

oh really?

———————————————–
TOLA

i think there’s a genetic attraction i have for Yoruba girls. They just like me for no good reason at all.

Are you done gagging?

In law school **gen gen*** i met this pretty girl. I was walking down the corridor of first floor when I met her standing with Tolu Adetomiwa… i was instantly caught…i was trying to say hello but i dont know how the first thing I said was “you’re very pretty”. i mentally kicked myself in the nuts…and physically i dont know how but my pitch dropped and I automatically entered my Awesome-Dude mode. by the time I was leaving she called out after a few seconds “I didnt get your name!

Awesome!

days ran into each other and i saw more and more of her…we had combined lectures, and she saved me a seat beside her…every single thing she did or said sucked me deeper. Even Taye and Aisha (loyal subjects of My Kingdom) recognised this and Taye kept teasing me about it. By the 3rd day of sitting together i was already going mental…i couldn’t concentrate in group meetings, and Civil Litigation started looking so difficult because she was dancing in my head. After due consultation with Tolu and Bunmi i decided to just enjoy the feeling,say nothing and go on.

but fate forced us to talk…i figured she preferred guys who were taller than she (a very tall order seeing im not even as tall as she is). And then i was younger by. just 11 months and 3 weeks difference! not even up to a year! But since we’d signed a friendlationship M.O.U witnessed by Adenitan and Sewa (yes im that much of a nerd) we’d discuss the possibility of taking things deeper AFTER exams.

Those artificial devices didn’t work…they fueled the fires even more. The love grew maybe because in a sense it was forbidden. i loved the feeling of being actually loved by someone. Weirdly i started growing taller until we were almost the same height. And my facial hair started growing with renewed zeal 😀

With her…i felt safe.i felt wanted (some people may wonder why that’s important…but up to that point i was always after girls who didn’t want anything to do with me :D). Tola sought advice on almost everything…and she actually listened. there were the endless phone calls where we said all sorts of things, made all sorts of plans, imagined all manner of scenarios together, and honestly that was the best part of law school!

She made it a point of duty to correct some of the silly things i still did…“Peter,NO GIRL will take this thing you just did”
“peter every girl needs to know she’s #1 one in her guy’s life”
“Peter enough of these past girls. trust me, when you have a girlfriend she’ll never like to hear shalom, nkechi, taye, lanre, dumebi, debbie, bose, rekkiya. she wants you to be hers ALONE”
“you dont be ‘the man’ by giving orders, you be ‘the man’ by doing what she can’t do for herself. step up, protect her. Every girl wants to be protected!”

The last one was one incident when we were at the airport trying to check in…they were gonna charge her for excess luggage and it would cost almost half the ticket…well she engaged the attendant in lively conversation and was bargaining the price down. honestly i though she had it under control and i simply continued listening to my music. Towards the end the guy said he would take 4k as the last price and then i offered to pay. we went to find an ATM and the guy asked...”is this your boyfriend?”
“if he’s my boyfriend would he have stood by and let me fight for myself?”

she was cross for a while but she eventually forgave me. From time to time she still blackmails me though 😉 I redeemed myself by going with her the next time she was gonna fly…and i did a damn good Job playing the Oga-in-charge role (didn’t, Tola?)

There were no fights. I think this is the first Almost-Girlfriend that i didn’t fight with. we always had a way of talking things through, and I admire that. But mehn, I learnt o

“you have to be sensitive, it’s not everything a girl will tell you. You have to KNOW what to do before we even talk”. So i watched her facial expressions keenly- I knew when she was hungry, sad, sick. I even learnt to calculate menstrual cycles (imagine His Royal Awesomeness learning that!)

there were the moments when the nights got colder and i almost kissed her. But there was always a reason to say no to that craving…Bad Luck remember? Oh and the other time we were on the Altar. That’s just wrong (except it’s a wedding ceremony)…Not to talk of the guilt i’m sure to feel after such an escapade (i always feel guilty after kissing people).

and so i learned how to not be too accessible, or too distant…how to know when to keep bugging her until she talked (or how to know when to just leave her alone). I learned that little surprises every now and then work better than a huge surprise occasionally. i learned that trust can be given just once and when you break it…you cant get it back. i learnt to be brave and speak my mind if I like someone. i learnt that if you tell a girl you’re crushing on another girl, that other girl will hear it.

We didn’t hook up eventually…she still didn’t like the age difference and by then i had begun to see reason too…first the emotional intelligence of ladies usually grows faster than a guy’s…so somehow you have to be ahead of them to even play on equal ground. And then as a guy you just need to be financially stable if you must sustain a woman in your life. And as at that time, me,a fresh graduate with no real job experience, no real money. And okay more brutally honest…ladies age a lot faster than men. And if im gonna spend the next 50 years with someone…

I saw Tola recently in Abuja. Tola is happily hooked up with someone who’s older and taller (thank God!). And once again i have to wonder why i couldn’t have been born a year earlier!

I must confess that I didn’t give my all…i still had this fear of rejection…i was still haunted by the ghosts of (Almost) Girlfriends past. And i was biding my time, waiting for what would go wrong soon…but she positively disappointed my expectations.She broke down the walls i’d built over the years to protect myself…they were caving in on me and stopping me from growing.

That’s the only Almost that i didnt split with in a violent manner…the one that did everything right… and for that i crown her Queen of The Almosts

-_————————————————–

i really want to thank everyone who said No to me, brutal or gentle…you made me doubt myself, and in doubting myself i looked deep inside and improved myself. I am older, stronger, wiser, quiter, TALLER, finer…i have worked hard and long and unfortunately some other girl will reap what YOU have sown. Like you all said, I will find that someone who loves me , and CAN live with me. Someone who can laugh and play and be mad about guitars and learn new stuff,someone whose hair, nails and eyea are natural and someone who is young enough to grow with me.

I’m looking for where to buy a very big wrapper. I’m leaving this club soon 😉

Listen to Shontelle’s “Impossible“. That’s the mood song for this post
————————————————
AUTHOR’S NOTES
1. The names of some characters have been changed to protect their identities.
2. The photos used are in no way connected to the story. Special Thanks To Vivian Ovie-Whiskey and Ola Jesutomi for assisting.
3. Thanks to Laolu Oni for editing. Any errors you see are because of my stubborn decision to do exactly what I want 😉

Peter

9 thoughts on “The Almost Girlfriends

  1. I'm thrilled Pete, 1 of ur gyls happen to b my bday mate tho… Lol, don't worry tht gyl is near

  2. Birthday mates? That's awesome 🙂 you guys can hook up o..and about the other thing.. **ahem!**

  3. Am thrilled. Good piece born from a sincere heart. Apt and educative, good on Pete.
    Will be sharing mine soon on http://www.ideapills.blogspot.com
    See you around.

  4. I enjoyed reading this :). Was initially surprised about the pictures, but relieved to find out they weren’t pictures of the actual ladies. I’ll be surprised if they don’t come for your head after this though (even though you changed their names, a few people will still know *wink wink*).

    • Heheheheheheheheh well I warned each of the almosts that I would tell the story someday 🙂 and scorching did call me to correct some details 😀

  5. I’m laughing, Pete. This was like I Know What You Did Last Summer but for almost-girlfriends! Amazingly-hilarious and hilariously-nostalgic. Boy oh boy the things I got up to when I was supposedly learning the law, **can you tell that I am totally making obnoxious quote fingers here?**, at least I can safely say that no one has ever asked me for a big wrapper sha! Emotionally, we were most of us engaged in hard fights with short sticks; still, I want to smack you for ever saying “Let’s remain friends” to a girl you liked and give you a crown at the same time for your writing, ottouke? (Korean for ‘so what should I effing do’) Anyways, can I just say Scorching is the best name ever and leave it at that?

    • Psycho 😛

      Your love for the Korean g-boys hasn’t faded I see.

      Well…my excuse for saying let’s be friends was…I was young and stupid. That has to cover A LOT 🙂

  6. Peterrrrrr, I had a good laugh reading dis and I can tell u that dis write up, took my thursday blues away! You’ve got a really really good memory oh, well, I guess that’s why ur so smart! Anyways,I loved it. Forget blogs and write a book or sumtin! P.S, u should really think about ‘acquiring’ a wrapper, I just think its important….don’t even know what I wanted to do with that wrapper in d first place! Cheers to you peter, one of the coolest, brightest, happy fellows I know!

    • awww melia nobody told me you had thursday blues 🙂

      I could remind you why you wanted it but I guess that’d be a bit creepy.
      To whom wash is given, blush is expected. You should see the catlike grin on my face right now! 😀

      And yes, I’ve got a book in the pipes, for this October.

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