Monday, 10 June 2013

I HAVE MOVED ON (A Story)



"Yes I did fall in love with him, but I have moved on." Lois said to Helen quietly.
Helen teased almost immediately, “but it was written all over you that you were madly in love with Tobiloba."

"I have not denied falling in love with Tobiloba, have I?" Lois said again, this time a little louder, as they walked past Tobiloba and his friends after greeting them.

Helen and Lois have been friends from their second semester in their first year of study at the University of Hertfordshire, in the United Kingdom. They were classmates and also foreign students, Nigerian precisely, although they were not friends back in Nigeria.
Lois met Tobiloba right there in the United Kingdom, during a dinner party organized for foreign students in her second year. The joy of meeting a peer from her country endeared her more. Tobiloba and Lois became friends afterwards, although he didn't ask Lois for a relationship, but this unusual closeness was so loud that people did not bother to confirm their status, as they thought they were in a relationship due to their proximity. Lois and Tobiloba shared the same state of origin in Nigeria.

Lois told Helen every step of the way, such friendship between herself and Tobiloba.

Lois had also enrolled in the school of thought of most Nigerians that marrying a person from your state was a good idea. This encouraged Lois in this pursuit of closeness.

Tobiloba was a committed Christian, a worker in Christ Domain International Ministries, where he attended during his undergraduate years.
...................................................................................

Lois hummed the tone to the song Eledumare, it was a track by Kenny K'ore, one that she really loved, as she stepped out of the bathroom. Although Lois was home away from home, she never forgot all the music back there in Nigeria. Lois, who also bears Oluwajomiloju as her native name, was a chorister in the church, although not the same one Tobiloba attended.

She rushed for her phone as it beeped continuously, still wrapped in her towel. It was Tobiloba calling. "Yes I am free for the weekend," she replied her caller. "One o' clock I will be there.

Tobiloba had just invited her for a programme in church that same day. She didn't raise an eyebrow since it was Tobiloba's invitation, although it was on short notice.

"You are not engaged until you are engaged..." the pastor preached loudly.

Lois quickly found a seat at the back as she was late for the programme. Whatever kept her late did not matter now, not as much as the message the pastor preached.

The pastor preached on the topic "Are You Fit for Marriage"

"Make sure every friendship is defined," the pastor echoed as he changed the microphone to a better one handed over to him by a member of the Technical Crew.

Well I thought that only happens in Nigeria.

"Don't give him the benefits of a relationship when he has not asked you for one," the pastor preached. "And also don't give him the benefits of marriage if he has not put a ring on your left fourth finger, not just any finger. Why would I buy a magazine if I could read for free? He said he would marry me. No! That’s not enough, let him marry you first." This time around the preacher raised his voice.

Lois felt the pastor had chosen that topic because of her; anyway she has never met the man before. The proximity between herself and Tobiloba had suddenly become unexplainable.
"I enjoyed the service, thanks for asking me to come along." Lois spoke to Tobiloba, as they walked to the bus-stop.

"Will you come by the house tomorrow?" he asked as she hopped into the bus.

Tilting her head twice, she replied "Let's see how tomorrow unfolds."

"Ok then I will be expecting you. Bye, and thanks for coming." He waved.

Lois kept reminiscing on the message as she sat quietly in the bus. "You are not in a relationship until you are in a relationship." The words echoed in her heart, although the words sounded like a repetition but they made more meaning than their grammatical implications at the moment.

Then she remembered one of the lines of the preacher again. "If you are not sure of where your relationship is headed, ask him and save yourself"

Recalling these words, she made up her mind to ask Tobiloba on her next visit.





...........................................................................................

"It's me, Lois." Lois announced as she knocked the door slightly

"Welcome my dear." Tobiloba said as she opened the door with a broad smile.

"So how has been your day Tobi?" She stepped in.

"Splendid!" He replied. "Have your seat"

Lois responded quickly, "I will dear, not after I have checked what's in the refridgerator.

"What shall separate you from the love of juice? Only God knows!" Tobiloba said jokingly.
"Nothing o, not even diabetes I pray," Lois replied in like manner.

The pastor's words came to her mind again as she settled down with her juice on a tray. She gathered the confidence to ask him.

"Tobiloba you haven't spoken to me about your relationship all these while." Lois started.
"What relationship? The one I have with God or with man?" Tobiloba teased.

"C'mon, don't play pranks with me, I mean what about your spouse!" She continued.

"Very funny, relationship issues all the time."

That was the response he gave her.

"It is well." Lois dropped the topic in the most popular Christian manner, since she didn't want to press further.

"I hope you've been enjoying the weekend." Tobiloba asked

"Yes I have, I just need to finish this book, "Act Like a Lady Think Like a Man" I have been reading it for weeks now". Lois replied, reaching for the book she had dropped on the table on her arrival.
"Ladies and marriage talk, why on earth do you need to think like a man if you will not act like one, anyway who is the author?" He asked.
"Steve Harvey," she answered.
...................................................................................................

It was a new semester at the University of Hertfordshire; students were getting set for the semester's activities, while some were just settling down.

Lois decided to check on her dear friend in his room.

"Who's there?" Tobiloba said with his masculine voice as he approached the door hastily.

"It's me Lois," she answered.

"You didn't tell me to you were coming." Tobiloba said with a surprised look as he opened the door.

"Am sorry I had no call card, I should have called." Lois replied

"Anyway, come in dear."

"Good afternoon." Lois greeted Tobiloba's guest as she found a place to sit.

"Welcome, I hope you enjoyed your semester break." He said as he settled down.

"So sorry, let me introduce you guys to one another."He started.

"Linda, meet my very good friend, Lois. The one I have always spoken about." He continued.

"Oh!" Linda replied with such a sonorous voice that seems best for a soprano back-up singer in church.

"Lois, that's Linda my fiancée"

Linda said almost immediately, "am so glad to meet you ma'am."

Lois managed to let words out of her sealed lips. "It's my pleasure." She swallowed her surprise.

So Tobiloba had a fiancée, why didn't he let me know?

Why did he need to make it a secret?

Or was it intended to be a surprise?

When did he propose to her?

Where did they meet?

Why did he continue to give me an impression of been the topmost on his heart?

Why did he make me fall in love with him and now shows up with another lady?

All these why(s) kept on filling Lois' mind as she managed through the rest of the visit.

After some few minutes, she stood to say her goodbye.













"Come in." Lois shouted from her room to the guest at the door. Helen stepped in as she opened her arms wide to hug her dear friend.

"It’s you Helen.”Lois muttered, she managed to receive her hug.

Helen settled down and started the 'ladies gist' as usual, but it didn't take long before she noticed her friend's unusual mood.

"What is it baby girl?" Helen asked.

"I am fine!" she gestured with her shoulders as she adjusted on the bed.

Helen pushed further, "I know you are always fine, but what exactly is the problem. You are quite moody and you sit there and tell me you are fine ."

This time around, she stood up and reached for the bed. She tried to cuddle her.

"It's Tobi..." She started soberly.

"Okay...what is wrong with Tobi? Is he alright?" Helen probed

"Perfectly" She adjusted her blouse

"So what then is the matter?" running her fingers through her friend's loosened hair.

"He introduced his fiancée to me the last time I went visiting at his place." Lois continued.

"Are you serious?" Helen shouted with an outright shock on her face.

"Yes I am." She replied.

"And what did you tell him afterwards?" Helen asked.

"Ask him or tell him what? Why he cheated on me or what?

"But I thought you told me you guys were getting engaged soon or something!" Helen queried.

"Not really, I just meant that he showed me so much affection and professed his love for me alot." Lois defended herself.

"That means he never proposed to you at any time?" Helen said.

"Yea, really he never did, but I assumed he will soon do that considering the level of love he showed me. I just assumed on him." Lois said in addition.

"Obviously that was a costly assumption. You should have asked him what his intentions were...you should have!" Helen blurted out.

"I tried to, God knows I tried to, I just didn’t find enough courage to say them in plain words". Tears rolled down her face.

"I see, but you have enough courage to bear the sorrow in your heart alone now." Helen said as she for her handkerchief in her handbag.
"I hope you know the danger in undefined friendship now. It hurt as much as a broken relationship.

If you had made it clear to me that he never considered a relationship with you at any time, I would have warned you to define your friendship with him and steer clear if necessary." Helen said as she cleaned the tears still rolling down Lois' face with her handkerchief.

"The deed is done. You have to brace up, shake it off and move on. There are still many battles to fight in life. This is just one of them." Helen said as she cuddled her friend some more.

A week later, Helen and Lois walked along the walk-way on their way from the library. Before either of them noticed him afar off, he called their attention.
"Lois! Helen!" Tobiloba beckoned from afar as he hurried towards them.

"Hello Tobi," Helen said with a broad smile.

Lois managed to turn around. "Hi" Lois said.

"Hope academic activities have not been to tedious?" Tobiloba said after hugging the duo

Helen allowed Lois this time

"Not at all, moreover God has been faithful." She began to walk away.

"Wait" Tobiloba motioned.

"Jomiloju, what is the matter these days. You have been so cold towards me. You are a dear friend and you will always remain one. You don't pick my calls no more, neither will you return them. And now that I found you, you are giving me cold arms, you almost walked out on me. What exactly is the matter?"He asked.

Lois knew Tobiloba would only call her native name, when he really demands her attention, as it is common back in Nigeria.

"Nothing! Please can I leave now?" Lois said as she beckoned to Helen with a wink.

They both walked past Tobiloba and raised the discussion again.

"Imagine, you are a dear friend and you will always remain one." Lois mimicked him. "Where did he put all that when he continued to give me a wrong impression, when he continued to use me as a substitute to while away time"? "Am still mystified. He is not even as handsome as that, why was I so crazy about him in the first place," She continued.

"Enough! Lois but you used to love this man like something else before, why so much disgust now?" Helen asked.

"I can't really say precisely what came over me then. I let proximity decide for me rather than God. I now know better." She replied

"Are you sure he's no more handsome, or you are trying to console yourself with that? Anyway it's ok dear. Since you don't want this issue to become messy, you don't need to be impolite or rude to him. You don't need to be bitter about it or show him hatred. By doing so, you will only be drinking poison and think Tobi is the one dying. Moreover you will only give the devil a foothold in your life with offences." "Once you give the devil a foothold..." Helen said expecting Lois to complete the popular line.

"It becomes a stronghold." Lois completed.

"And we don't want that to happen right?" She asked.

"Yes dear." Lois said finally as she searched her bag for the keys to open the door to her room.


To be continued...