It;s a bit long but one of the most touching stories I have ever seen...
Segun had been on my case for at least 2 years.
I met him one hot Saturday as I was waiting for a taxi on a Grogner Street in Iwaya, Onike. He pulled over and asked where I was headed. I don’t ever talk to people on the road but this day, the look of the mist o...n the window of his air conditioned car made it difficult to ignore him given the extreme heat I was exposed to.
I stepped into his car, grateful for the ride, yet determined to let him know I was no cheap girl that jumps into available cars...
“Thank you so much, Sir, for the ride. I normally wouldn’t do this but I have been standing outside in the sun for at least 30 minutes. The cabs come in trickles and are either taken or too expensive. No one is interested in going my way”
“Where might that be?” He asked, totally ignoring every other thing I had said.
“I’m going to Ikota but I’ll drop off once we get to any major road where I can find a cab”.
“You’re in luck. I’m actually going to VGC but I need to get to Surulere first. So I can either drop you off at a taxi park or you accompany me to Surulere and then I drop you off at your doorstep.”
Inasmuch as I was so eager not to overuse help being rendered, I opted for the latter option. I was in no hurry whatsoever to go my empty home. Mom and dad were on their way to Ikene for a week long engagement and my younger siblings were all in school. My best friend, Mololu had kindly volunteered to spend the week with me but she would not be getting to mine until Sunday night so that meant I’d be spending Saturday night by myself with only Larry, the dog and Mustafa, the gate man, for company.
I looked at my wristwatch, with its recently cracked screen and declared,
“Well, it’s just 1.00 and I’m not in a hurry so I’ll go with you”.
I got to meet him properly. His name is Segun, a businessman who was into the oil and gas sector. He had been working for himself in Libya before moving to Nigeria earlier that year. The Nigerian side of his business was only just growing and was already facing major challenges but a meeting he had in Abuja two weeks from our meeting would determine if a major stumbling block would be removed and his license would be granted. He saw an RCCG band on my wrist and asked me to pray along with him. I promised to.
As he dropped me off at about 4pm that Saturday evening, I felt like I knew him already. Segun was very chatty, divulging a lot so quickly. During those hours we spent together, I also found out that he has a 5 year old daughter by a white French girl he dated all through his university years in France. The lady had gone on to marry another Nigerian and they lived in Port Harcourt with his daughter, Amélie. His dad was long gone and his mom had raised him and his siblings by herself. I did what I do not ever do. I gave him my phone numbers and my pin and from there, we became friends.
The problem with Segun was with his way of showing concern and love. My primary love language is Quality Time and I’m not really the type to get all mushy too early. So it came as a bit of a rude shock to me when I received my first “love you baby”, 2 weeks from the day we met. I really didn’t know what to make of the message and it abruptly ended our chat as I did not respond. To be fair to him, I assumed he was simply overjoyed as he was granted all necessary permits we prayed for, that he spoke out of turn.
About four hours after, at 1 am, I got another message from him telling me how much he’s so into me and how he feels like he has finally found what he had been looking for and if I would be okay being a second mom to his daughter and how he wants me to meet his mom. I read it and responded with a “BRB”. Later in the day, we met up for a meal and then I explained how, though I appreciate his feelings, it was all too soon for me and I would appreciate if I am given a bit more time to be on that kind of level with him. In the meanwhile, I suggested that we remain friends. He looked a bit disappointed but accepted and declared that he was in no hurry and would wait for me however long it took me to realise my feelings for him or develop them.
Segun was extremely generous to me, almost worryingly so. Once he travelled and bought me an orange Hermès’ Birkin 40cm bag which retails for about $2000. I was shocked and despite loving nice stuff, I didn’t want to take it from him initially but I eventually did mentioning it to him that he really didn’t need to spend that much on me and he should focus more on growing his business.
Mololu usually saw one Harrods or Neiman Marcus shopping bag or the other and was always encouraging me to “stop fronting and say yes to Segun before a sharp girl does”. I guess because of the manner in which he approached me, it made me a bit overly cautious since this his asking out was more like a proposal and he seemed so sure of his feelings for me. I slowed things down a lot and outrightly refused to meet his mom for the first three months. I didn’t want to get carried away at all and kept praying and taking things slow. Despite our living so close to each other, I hardly went to his and since I come from a relatively strict home, his visits were sparing as well (of my doing).
About six months after we met, work commitments took him away from Nigeria for a long while. During that period, he would come to Nigeria at least once a month, bombarding me with all manners of gifts. Even when he was not around, he’d randomly have flowers delivered to my office.
He would send handwritten letters by DHL and whenever anyone was travelling to Nigeria, he would have them deliver something to me, however small. There was a time he sent me a bottle of Lucozade because I had lamented that the Nigerian one tasted different. When it came to giving, Segun was without fault. But in my opinion, there was more to consider than how generous a man is.
Sometime, five months ago, Mololu was sent to England for a training to last 3 weeks and she used the opportunity to shop and ended up having 2 extra boxes. She complained over the phone to me telling me the airline was overcharging her and then, partly because I felt it right to help and partly because I had ordered somethings which she was bringing for me, I decided to ask Segun if he could help out since I know he always travelled light and never uses the extra allowance granted to him. He accepted to help bring the extra boxes and I gave her his hotel address to drop them off a day before her flight. He was due in Nigeria a week and half after.
My suspicion was first roused when, upon his arrival, he took the bags to Mololu’s in Ogudu, instead of as I expected, bringing it to me and having us sort ourselves out. I asked for the favour. I mentioned to him that my stuff was included in the box so it came as a surprise to me when he drove all the way to hers the next day to drop the boxes off. When I asked him why he did that, he said the boxes were quite heavy and that he was going that way and decided to drop them off. I had more questions but felt since I was not his girlfriend, there is a limit to the questions I can pose without looking funny. My pride got in the way and I decided not to mention it anymore.
The calls reduced. The texts were shorter. The usual “love you” closing went missing. ‘Mololu too reduced her communication with me. Then one day, she drove to mine and after lunch asked the most random question, ‘Are you and Segun in a relationship?”. She looked like she had struggled to ask that question but at the same time, as though that was her aim for coming to mine.
“Why do you ask?”
“Nothing at all o. Just wondering ’cause you have known him for a while and you said you were praying a while back for direction and was wondering if maybe God said no since you are not dating him”, she mumbled.
“Omololu, did I say we are not dating?”
“Oh sorry. But I kinda know you are not”
At this stage, I know she and Segun must have spoken about our relationship status and so I decided to cut to the chase.
“Did Segun mention it to you himself?”
She looked down and playing with her perfectly manicured nails, said yes. I had noticed she brought a brand new car to mine with a new plate number. She had the black of my Hermes bag too. Wow! I didn’t want to believe what I know just had to be the truth. It was written all over her face. I don’t know where I got the strength but I said not a word after that. Awkwardly, she picked up her bag and car keys. I noticed then it was a Hyundai. It must be the Sonata she always wanted ever since it was released last year. She would always point at every 2011 Sonata she saw on the road and say she’d one day, get it.
To cut the very long tale short, my best friend Omololu and my 2 year old toaster are now together. Segun drove to mine 2 weeks after Omololu did and said somethings to me. He first of all apologised. He said he was not sorry for moving on but sorry that it had to be someone I knew simply because of the sake of his consideration of my feelings and not because it was wrong. He said, as I never for once, declared any form of feelings for him during our almost 2 year friendship, he does not feel he had wronged me in any way. He said he would always be grateful for meeting me as, through me, a door of everlasting joy had been opened to him and he would like my blessing as he walks into it. I was weak.
To be honest, I’m not hundred percent certain which hurts more, the fact that I’m losing a really nice and eligible suitor, that I lost him to a ‘friend’, the sneaky way it happened or the fact that I almost executed the deed for them by creating an enabling environment.
I really wanted to know how it all happened and so I demanded the tale, not from Mololu, but from Segun himself. He told me that the week before he travelled, when he saw her at mine, they had got talking whilst I was in the bathroom and she had mentioned she would be off on training and that she would be doing crazy shopping for her new apartment. They had a few ‘moments’ that day but they did not exchange numbers. It was the day she brought the bags to his hotel that the sparks went flying. She had gotten to his hotel at about 12 noon and they went out together and he dropped her off at her hotel at about 9pm. Early the next morning, at about 5am, he drove down to her hotel to take her to the airport himself and from their journey, they got even closer. According to him, he knew that morning that he was ‘home’. That conversation sounded painfully familiar and I couldn’t help my grimace. At that juncture, I held up my hands and told him I was satisfied with the information he furnished and that they both have my blessing. He hugged me and left.
That evening, Omololu updated her status with these words “Those that wait on the Lord will rejoice. I rejoice. Behold, my Boaz!”. His picture was her DP. I remember that picture. I took it with his iPhone whilst trying out an app. Each day, a new picture of him would be put on display. There was even one of herself, Segun and his daughter. She had firmly ingrained herself in his life.
Due to how serious I know Segun is, it came as no shock to me when she told me they were getting married and she really wanted me to be her chief bridesmaid though if I felt I could not do it, she would understand. According to her, she was doing that for the friendship we once shared which she hoped we could revive. I refused. But not before letting her know that I could be counted on if she needed any assistance.
At about 12 midnight, I got this email from her,
“Sweetheart, I love you. God knows I do. I apologise for how I might have hurt you but despite all, I would be a liar to say I would or could elect to do things differently if given a second chance.
Oluwasegun has brought me the type of joy I thought was only for the fairy tales. But through him, I have my very own fairy tale. I love him with all my being. I know I might come across as insensitive and selfish. I am sorry. But please, try and find a place in your kind heart to let go of any hurt you might be experiencing and enter into a place of happiness for me, Omololu, your sister and best friend since our Corona days. It should not be heard that we are fighting over a man and remember, my darling, you never were in a relationship with Segun.
You never took the plunge, you shielded your heart from hurt and refused to commit to anything. I know you babes. When you truly love a man, you have no time for such long due diligence exercises. If you want to be sincere with yourself, you would admit that Segun never did anything to your heart. Your heart did not skip beats with the sound of his voice. Your body never quivered with the touch of his hands. I understand you two never even kissed. You clearly never felt love for him.
However, I cannot discount the friendship you shared. Till date, he still goes on and on about how you are the only friend whose loss moved him to his core. I can testify too of your level of regard of your friendship and respect for him. But my dear, friendship and respect are not solid foundation enough upon which to construct a marriage. You knew this and this is why you stalled. What did not grow in 2 years would most likely never grow.
I hope you understand that the aim of this email is not to throw in your face the fact that Oluwasegun and yourself never had anything concrete but to let you take a proper, honest and dispassionate look at goings on. If you do, forgiving me would come, naturally.
I can’t stop loving you dear. I am sad that the vow we made to each other 16 years ago to be each others’ maids of honour even if one got married first would not be fulfilled. Please, re-examine your heart and find a place in it to forgive me.
Yours now and always,
The tears came pouring down. I couldn’t say exactly why and they were not asking. I felt sorry for myself. I felt sad because I really wasn’t crazy about Segun but we could have made it work, I guess. Omololu now was benefitting from all the prayers I invested in Segun, all the fasting. That, more than anything hurt me. I would have married Segun. I just needed him to pass one more test and voila, I’d have said yes to him. I never thought he’d stop loving me. I never though I’d lose him and certainly not to my friend, my supposed best friend.
I eventually decided to be her Chief Bridesmaid and muster strength to be happy for her. There was no faking the look of intense joy on her face when I told her I changed my mind. She jumped on me in her usual boisterous fashion, laughing and crying at the same time.
God has been helping me. It has been hard. Especially when I see the look on Segun’s face as he looks at her. He never looked at me that way, I must confess.
His business has been doing greatly and he is sparing nothing for his wedding. His daughter, upon Omololu’s request, will be both the little bride and the flower girl. Omololu’s nephew will be the ringbearer. Her Eli Saab dress is absolutely beautiful. Segun flew us both to England to get it. She asked for a size bigger and I suspect she is pregnant.
With each day, the feeling of hurt and betrayal gets slowly taken over by happiness for her and hope for my own future. I still haven’t met anyone worth reporting on and despite this, I have joy. Not happiness, but joy; joy that all will turn out well. But for now, I still can’t help from asking myself each time I look at Omololu, ‘How could she?!‘