“I am so sorry Amanda,” I said as soon she picked up. “I got home to disturbing situation and I got carried away. I know I should have called even at that but I just forgot. I am sorry.” I paused. She was silent. I waited for her to speak up but she didn’t. I wondered if maybe on the course of my apology I have said something bad. “Are you there?” I voiced.
“Yes.” Her voice was cold.
“Look I am sorry okay. I messed up, I should have called. My bad.”
“Okay.” The cold voice came again but this time a little warm.
“so has your father gone?” I asked though I know she was not totally cool. I couldn’t think of anything else to say to appease her angry mind so I resulted to discussion diversion.
“He’s gone back to his hotel room. He will be leaving first flight tomorrow.” She said. “So what was the disturbing situation?”
“A sick friend, but it’s under control now.” I said.
“Okay. I have to go now. Good night and take care of…”
“What is it?” she jumped in.
I didn’t know what happened but her voice was not cool, she sounded harsh and I shut off instantly. I wanted to ask her when we could see again, I wanted to let her know I enjoyed my evening with her, I wanted to tell her most importantly that I love her, but she shut off.
“Nothing!” I replied. “Good night.”
She replied affirmatively and dropped the call. I held the phone on my ear for some seconds imagining myself letting my mind out on her. Slowly I pulled my hand down and stared at the phone sternly with mixed feeling of excitement and disappointment. “I love you!” I muttered. My face lit up as I said those words. It made me feel better. I wonder why I couldn’t say it to her hearing; I was not going to bother about saying it to her face as that I know would be very hard. I frazzled my head trying to fathom the weight and importance placed on this phrase. I love you should be a common words to denote a mutual likeness between two people, opposite or same sex. Why has the world turned it into a scared phrase said only with some level of courage and boldness? My head ached as I figured this out. I quickly opened the SMS app on my phone and typed a message. “Good night Amanda. I love you.” Then I stared at the message like a dollar notes in a naira wrap. I couldn’t bring myself to amount the required courage needed to press the send button on my phone. Slowly, just as I had typed it, I deleted it, letter by letter with my heart cursing my introversion and lack of courage. The message wiped off my phone’s screen and I locked my phone. With a bitter heart I relaxed myself on the chair and joined Eric on the peaceful journey to the only getaway from the troubles and worries of life.
I was lost in the dream land where my courage was restored and my shyness gone. I felt comfortable in it because I finally became the man I had always wanted to be; a man who would is not afraid of letting any girl know how I feel about her. I finally talked to Amanda and she responded affirmatively and we started dating. It was like months have passed and our relationship only got stronger. I almost cried when a hand shook me and drew me out of my peaceful cabin; my safe box, the only place I could live my fantasy without fear. I scornfully looked up with my eyes not ready to open. I saw his face in the blurred vision that my semi open eyes could give. I was mad; whoever woke me up should have known better than not minding his or her business. I ran my right hand across my face and sight got clearer. Ahmed was standing in front of me with a look so strange that I jerked up.
“You scared me.” I said as I ran my hand through my hair.
“I am sorry. I thought you ought to know that your friend’s girlfriend is going to be fine.”
I was kind of happy though I did not express it. I turned to Eric and saw him sleeping so peacefully, then I turned to Ahmed. “Thank you, for saving her.”
“I did my work. Praise to Allah for giving us the grace and power to save her life.” Ahmed said and made to leave.
I called him back, but as he turned , I became speechless, practically, because my heart and my head knew exactly what I wanted to say but my body through my mouth which was now sealed wouldn’t let me.
“It’s okay. I understand.” Ahmed said and walked closer to me. “You don’t want to act on it and I understand.”
I quickly glanced at Eric, his eyes were tight close but I still did not trust he was fully asleep, so I dragged Ahmed out of the reception into his office. He confusedly followed me without any form of resistance. I let go of his hand and locked the door. When I looked at him, his eyes were resting on me in a curious manner. I quickly bent my head again. I couldn’t say anything yet I have so many things to say.
“Do you mind telling me what is going on?” Ahmed spoke. “Why did you drag me off that way?”
“Look Ahmed, I moved out because I wanted to find my life. And it is beginning to make sense to me. Please, do not ruin it for me please.” My two hands were clapped in a pleading form. “Do not by any means think you getting back into my life again; I am not what you think I am, I am different from you.”
Ahmed laughed so hard like I staged a comic show for him. I could see tears gathering in his eyes as a result of the laughter. “You are delusional.” He voiced amidst laughter. I was confused as I stood looking lost at him. He waved his left hand in front of me. “Does that say anything?” he added.
I saw a ring on his finger and I couldn’t believe it. “You are married?” I shivered in shock.
“Yes I am.” His smile subsided. “Isn’t that what you wanted? You wanted me to get married so I can get over you, I am married now but I am not over you. When I came back from UK, I asked your parents and they told me you changed school. I was mad, very mad. All I wanted was just to see you and tell you I finally got married to the most beautiful woman in Africa, but you were not there. I travelled down to here to find you and after one month of fruitless search I stumbled upon a vacancy of a resident doctor, so I applied and with my UK certificate I was able to get the job waiting that one day, I would see you and my prayer got answered this night.” He paused.
I was only looking at him not hearing everything he was saying. I was surprised. He was married so should leave me alone. I gasped when he started coming closer to me. I took few steps backwards with my hand pushed forward to halt him.
“I only want to be your friend Thony, nothing more. You made me what I am today and I cannot just neglect you.”
“Enough!” I shouted lowly. “We cannot be friends, you and I, cannot be friends. We need to keep being away from each other till this devilish feeling is totally gone. Coming close now, can only resurrect what is on the verge of death. I won’t let that happen.” I was mean. My whole mind was rested on Amanda. I love her and would not want anything jeopardize the relationship I was trying to build with her.
“I am sorry that is not going to happen.” Ahmed said to my greatest shock. “What do you think? That I am not handsome enough to get other guys or what? Or that you are too handsome to let go?”
“I don’t know. Whichever just let me go.” I intoned.
“There is something in you Thony that makes me want to fight this. I woke up every day and the thought of you and the man you want me to be, I strive to overcome this abnormality. I am trying Thony but it’s not easy. It’s just telling a left-handed person to turn right-handed in old age. This is how I was born and to…”
“It’s your choice Ahmed. You might have been born with some hormonal deformation but this is evil. And trust me, only you can fight this, and not until you realize how evil it is, you would not understand how important it is that you fight it. You are married, go to your wife, make love to her, if possible envision a guy while at it and with time, you will totally forget about guys.” I paused, looked at his smirked face and quickly added. “Don’t do that.”
“Do what?” he smiled.
“Don’t think about me when doing it. Don’t.”
“You know that’s not possible.” He said. “Anyway, I have always trusted your guts so I will again trust you.”
“Good!” I said. “And please, stay away from me, my friends need not know about us.”
“How is she?” he asked.
“My rival. How is she?”
I smiled. Amanda was the beauty yet unseen. In her I could say the beautiful ones are already with us. She symbolized everything that I could imagine in any girl. “But there is a problem?”
“Let me guess, you can’t talk to her right?” Ahmed said smiling at me. I sighed. “I thought as much. How close are to her?”
“Close? I don’t know. We were out on a date earlier this evening, though I could barely call that a date.”
“Should I guess again about happened? Because, believe me, I would get it right.” He said with a smile. I shook my head. “Girls don’t bite you know, and they love attention. You have to talk to her, let her know how you feel. Two things will only happen, she either says no, or yes.”
“Like it’s that easy.” I muttered.
“I could teach you how. But that’s if you want.”
There was a moment of silence, one filled with so many strange thoughts. “If this is your way of getting back into my life, I am sorry, but thank you. I have got a very good friend who will not stop at anything to see me into a relationship.” I replied.
“Common Thony,” He moved stood up again from the table and moved towards me. “In as much as I love you, I also respect your decisions about your life. I accept, I want back into your life but this now, is not it. I just want to see you happy.” His hands were on my shoulders, as he stood with his stomach on my face. I looked up to his face.
“I don’t believe you. And I am not going to fall for you this time, which would only make me a fool.” I pushed him back and made for the door. Then I paused and turned at him. “My friends know nothing about this okay.” I opened the door and left.
….the story continues….