How do you handle the pain? The pain of a knife plunged into your chest and turned inside out? The pain of betrayal where you never expected it? Just how? Pray tell because Bose is in a fix right now.
The first time she suspected it was on her weekend getaway. She arrived at his room at Festac, from Lagos State University, Iba campus. On opening the door, Melvin’s room was neatly arranged so that she gasped. His bed sheets were tucked in, his laundry set at the side of the room. His apartment smelled of lavender and strawberry. That was unlike Melvin, her sweetheart-turned-boyfriend. He hardly arranged his belongings. He flung them at the slightest instance; his shoes, socks, shirt, and even wristwatch.
Hence the surprise in her voice when she asked,
“Darl, did the angel visit your home?
He had laughed and stroked her wavy curly hair. He was a balm to sore eyes. His smile alone—a warm, mysterious, and joyous kind of smile warmed her heart. She poked at the slightly revealed dimple on his right cheek as he answered.
“No baby. Your words are affecting me.” she blushed. Ordinarily, She should have probed further and questioned his newfound attitude. She allowed her head to swell and enveloped him with a welcome kiss.
That weekend was her last but she never imagined it. After the first round of sex which of course was one of the reasons for the get-together. She asked when he’d be visiting her in school.
“Next week,” he said as he rocked her body and blocked her senses with passionate kisses.
“ Alright darl, I can’t wait to flaunt you around,” she said as they launched into another round of pleasure.
The week he promised to come passed. Another followed suit. She waited. Called. Left several messages and checked frequently yet he responded to none. She panicked. Fears paralyzed her. Her thoughts spiraled towards misfortunes. If not that exams were fast approaching, she’d have visited him again. She studied hard and hoped that he stayed safe.
It was on her way to the Iyana-oba market that Bose found the answers to her questions.
Her roommate, Shade had made sure she ran low on food supply every month. That one? A glutton from the pit of hell. No matter how hard she tries, she always has a way of ridding herself of any blame.
It was as she trudged down the road, black nylon rustling in her hand that she saw Patrick. Patrick was broad-chested, his eyes were tiny; his nose, a big pound of flesh. For a man, he had appealing puffy cheeks and walked with a gait of a tiger. He was Melvin’s bosom friend. And when he sighted her, he pulled off his headphones and flashed a knowing smile.
Her heart leapt in excitement. She knew the answers to the nagging questions about her boyfriend were to be answered. If anyone knows Melvin’s whereabouts it is, and can only be Patrick.
He has always been the one with happy vibes. They (Melvin and Patrick) had shared a lot of things; their rooms, textbooks, lunch money, and down to cigarettes.
“Heyyy Bose!” he screamed. He likes to draw attention and he does it with ease.
“Hello Pat,” she said as they enveloped each other in a hug.
“Well, well, well. See who we have here.” he held her arm and whistled.
“How did it go?”
“ How did what go?”
“The ceremony.” seeing the confusion on her face, he recoiled “ you didn’t attend?”
“Attend what? What are you talking about?” anxiety tugged at her chest.
“ Wait o, you don’t know? How can his bestie not know?”
Bestie? Who the hell did Patrick call bestie? Had he not known or was he not aware? He had caught them at different times making out. Why would he say those hurtful words so easily as if it didn’t matter?
“Bestie? Is that what Melvin told you I am to him?”
He nodded and grabbed my hand.
“He had always portrayed you to be a friend with benefits. When I asked him how you took the news, he said you were fine with it. So he didn’t even tell you?”
The words pierced her heart, shattering her resolve in the process.
“Tell me the truth, Patrick. What ceremony, what news are you talking about?” she queried.
He lowered his eyelids. The words became heavy on his lips but he spat them out.
“Well, Melvin’s wedding was last Saturday. And he is furious at me, refusing to pick up my calls and all because I couldn’t attend.”
The truth hit Bose headlong, she staggered, her eyes blurred and as she fell, big muscular outstretched arms caught her.
© Stephen Toochi