“Hello,” her sweet and melodious voice jolted me back to sanity, sending storms of emotions all over me. I froze again, with the phone glued to my ear, smile on my face, while lost in imagination.
“Hello, are you there?” she queried with yet again that sweet voice that got me displaced at first.
“Sorry, I am sorry, I am a bit distracted,” I stuttered. She chuckled. “I got your message and I am sorry I switched off. I was trying to avoid distractions from the party.”
She chuckled. “Like me?”
“Of course not,” I yelled back at her in defence, yet calmed. I wouldn’t want her to misinterpret me or find fault in my words like she did days back. “You are not a distraction. In fact if I knew you were coming, I would have sent an escort to accompany you to the venue,” I teased, hoping to lighten the atmosphere.
She chuckled again, with her voice grown faint and sober. I got worried. Maybe I have said something I shouldn’t have said, maybe I have, again insulted her indirectly. She was a mystery, a mystery I was pleased to solve and even if I couldn’t solve it, I would be thrilled to live with it all the days of my life.
“How did you know about the party?” I asked, oblivious of what next to say.
“Idima was invited by one of your friends,” she said. “We were supposed to go together till he called to tell me to meet him there.”
“Who is Idima?” The question slurred out of my mouth though I knew the only person who could bear that kind of ugly name was her hunky and below-handsome boyfriend.
“My boyfriend,” she answered, sober and thoughtfully. “I was on my way when he called to tell me he was not coming again. So I decided to use that opportunity to see you, but you know….”
And there she did it, bringing Idima or whatever his ugly name was up and even addressing him as her boyfriend in front of me, not right inside my ear drum. I wondered what she thought I was to her; a friend or just a local guy seeking a time to apologize to the lady he wronged? I got angry at her, at girls in general because I knew quite well that my intentions were well written all over my actions; my gazes and my excitement whenever I was around her. Why couldn’t she just see them? Why was she feigning ignorance of the fact that I love her, and that she was not happy with that Idima or whatever his disgusting name? Why are girl always living in denial? Why?
Then another perception bruised my thoughts. Amanda had told me that even if she knew I loved her, she still waited for me to say it. Maybe Hope was waiting for me to do same too; maybe it was in the nature of girls to just wait. But what stupid wait even? This is 21st century, if you love someone, no matter the gender; you should be able to tell that person how you feel. I paused again, if truly the century matters in matters as this, why then was I bottling the feeling I have, struggling to put up a profile I knew deep within me wasn’t my own? Nature is still nature and whatever it destined has nothing to do with century. If she wasn’t ready to see love in my actions, I could as well as I expected her to do, tell her how I really feel to her hearing.
“Are you even listening to me?” she said.
“I love you Hope!” I snuffed a bit high above mutter, hoping she didn’t hear it because I wasn’t ready to talk about it. But I was wrong, she heard me and she wanted me to say it again.
“What?” she chuckled. “What did you say?” The once sweet and melodious voice got tensed, shaken and faint.
I gaped, shocked and confused at how best to repeat the three letter words that could change everything for us, the three letter words that i say everyday to my mother, but was at that moment heavy in my mouth, like I wanted to insult my father.
“Hello,” she said.
I have been lost several times within the three minutes conversation and I wasn’t enjoying it. She heard me, and she wanted to hear it again, what was the worst thing that could happen? Hang up on me? Not even worst. So I garnered enough courage, coughed and repeated with much boldness what I said earlier.
She got speechless; no chuckle, no sigh, and I bet she didn’t bait even an eye lid. I got her, she was in love with me too, I thought, otherwise why would she just keep emotionally quite?
“Hope,” I called. “Did you hear me?”
“I heard you,” she stammered. “And I also have a boyfriend.”
“I know, but just know that I love you and I will wait till you break up with him.”
“Why would insinuate that we would break up?” she queried, angry. “I love him and we will get married.”
“Get married?” I yelled, like I was talking to someone far from me. my loud voice attracted my friends who were chilling over some drinks beside the pool. They glanced at me and continued their drink. Eric stood up and walked towards me. “You want to get married to that guy? A guy who doesn’t respect you? Don’t make such mistake. Look at the way he treats you?”
“You will not understand Thony,”
“Try me. You will be surprise at my level of understanding.”
“Please don’t make this harder than it already is,” she said. “You love me, I get it and I am grateful to that. But I have a man, so it won’t work. I have to go now, maybe we will see later.”
“When are we going to…” I was interrupted by the network disruption sound. She hung up on me. I chuckled, shook my head and looked at Eric who was standing in front of me.
“You said you didn’t want talk to Ahmed?” he asked, with his expression judging me.
“And I haven’t changed my mind.”
“You are lying. Let me see your phone. Because I know it’s only Ahmed that can make you feel this way.”
“Oh my God! Please get out,” I shushed him. “That was Hope. The girl I told you about.”
“You didn’t tell me about any girl.”
“I just did,” I said. “Now.” I added instantly.
He stood mopping at me. I knew he didn’t believe there was any Hope but I didn’t care. It was my life I owe no one, not even him any explanation about how I live it. I bruised pass him and sat with Ken and Frank whose sober mood around me was still hidden.
“Can we go home now? Eric asked still standing at the spot where I left him.
Ken and Frank flashed me a suspicious look.
“Sure!” I replied, ignoring them.
…THE STORY CONTINUES…