I thought for a minute. I always preferred my privacy and that was why I had gone all the way to get a space all alone. Besides, I did not even know this girl from anywhere and sharing a room with her would probably mean sharing so many other things. Now, I didn’t know if I was ready for that. Again, I looked at my options, I could reject the offer of sharing and be back on the streets, searching for a relatively cheaper accommodation or I could take up the offer, save myself some cash and pray my new partner and I got along well.
“He said the full amount is forty-six thousand naira,” I told the girl, motioning to the agent.
“I heard. So how do you prefer we pay? Half a piece, right?” she said, flashing a smile that showed her dimples. At that moment, I liked her. I smiled back.
“Sure, that’s twenty-three thousand each.” I said, feeling quite happy, having saved seventeen thousand naira.
“I appreciate your kind gesture. I’m Daniella,” she said, offering her hand.
“I am Rachael”, I said, taking her hand.
“Department of mathematics and statistics, year 3.”
“We happen to be in the same faculty then. How come I’ve never seen you before? I am in Economics, year 3.”
By the end of that day, Daniella and I had become friends and paid up all we had to. Within weeks, our new room was perfectly taken care of, as we both made our contributions towards buying the fixtures, fittings and all other things students love to have in their rooms, I was immediately taken to Daniella and I was sure I had not made a mistake in choosing her as my roommate. She was jovial, caring and pretty funny too, and we had so much in common. We talked about everything and with time, we got to meet each other’s families. We sort of became like sisters.
One thing, however, seemed to separate Daniella and I, and that was basically in our attitudes to relationships. While I believed in giving your heart totally to the man you love and thus, leaving no room for anyone else, she believed in going into the ‘game’ as she called it with your ‘heart’ and your ‘head’.
“Baby girl,” she would often say, “I go into the fame with 70% head and 30% heart, just in case, so that I don’t lose so much once it all crashes.”
“But why would you hope it would crash, Daniella?” I would challenge.
“Hey Baby,” she would say, lifting a brow.
“Nothing lasts forever. We only have what we have while we have it. Once it’s time for it to go to someone else, it goes, and you’re left back in square one. So, why throw all your heart into something that might not last, pardon me, would not last forever.
I had to admit I didn’t like Daniella’s approach to issues of this nature and it often annoyed me to see her treat guys the way she did. While I had just one boyfriend while we were in school, she had scores of them. They often came in their numbers and as much as I hated to, I was often the one who had to do the cover-up for her.
“Hi Rachel, is Daniella at home?” Dennis, her boyfriend in Geology Dept. might say, once he popped by.
“Hey Dennis, what’s up? Sorry, she had to rush for a lecture some minutes ago,” I would defend.
“Damn! But I just left her department and there’s no lecture going on there at the moment for her class.”
I would simply shrug. “Well, I don’t know, but she’s not here. Or do you wanna come in and check?”
“No, that won’t be necessary.” The dejected Dennis would say as he took his leave. I had to do so much of the cover-up acts that I soon got so used to lying to cover my best friend’s ass. Time passed and soon, the university was done with.
We served in different parts of the country, I had my youth service in Katsina State while Daniella had hers in Ebonyi State. All the while, we would keep in touch and our strong sisterly bond remained stronger than ever. After rounding off our service year, we decided to take up residence together and from there, we made our living as good jobs soon came calling for each one of us. It was at this height of our maturity that things began to change in a drastic manner.
I was determined to excel in my profession and as well as in life, and while I worked hard at my job in the bank, I also kept my eyes open for the right man that would come and sweep me off my feet.
As far as I knew, I had got to the prime of my life and the earlier I understood that I wasn’t getting any younger, the better. I was already over 25 by then and Daniella was about three months older.
If I had ever thought that getting out of school and finding a good job would make my best friend get her head straight. I was in for a rude shock. She simply took her new found freedom as an opportunity to go all the way on the road of recklessness. The men continued coming and she continued playing her games. It all sounded so barbaric to me and I had to try calling her to order.
“Daniella, what is wrong with you for God’s sake?”
“How long do you plan doing all these for? Don’t you even have plans to settle down with someone soon?”
My friend smiled.
“When I get to that bridge, I’ll cross it.”
“You have already got there, Daniella,” I continued.
“You’re just too lazy to cross it.”
I wished so much that my best friend would come to her senses and for once stop allowing men to waste their time. However, in spite of all my concern for Daniella, I was quite scared for myself too. Here I was, claiming and playing the saint, but I really had nothing to show for my pain. Sometimes, I silently envied Daniella and I wished I could have some fun too. But truth was, I couldn’t afford it, I also couldn’t understand why I couldn’t find the right man I so much deserved. I had of course kept myself and more than anything else. I knew I deserved to find that true happiness in the arms of the man of my dreams. That longing soon became a desperation that made me take actions I had never seen myself capable of ever taking.
Daniella invited me to a dinner organized by her office sometime later and I had agreed to attend, even if I was often bored by such events.
…to be continued