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 will 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 so 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.
“Guess what, Rachael, I’ve finally decided to take your advice,” she said as we rode on at the back of a taxi.
“I don’t understand,” I said, wondering what she meant.
“I have just met this guy. His name is Mayowa. I think I like him very much. Perhaps, he’s the one.”
I saw the seriousness on her face and I had to rush forward and hug her.
“I’m so happy for you, baby girl.” I said happily.
“I only hope you’re serious this time.”
“Of course I am. Have I ever been this serious?”
We laughed cheerfully.
The dinner turned out to be a totally wonderful one and I had no regrets whatsoever for attending. Daniella had invited this Mayowa to the dinner and I had to admit that at first sight, I was bowled over. I could hardly suppress the envy I felt towards my best friend.
“Hi, you must be Rachael,” Mayowa said in the most gentlemanly fashion, as he extended his hand.
I took the soft hand and I felt a bolt of lightening pass through me. I simply couldn’t understand the feeling.
Daniella did me a big favour that night by leaving this hunk of a guy in my company, while she attended to other matters, and I enjoyed every moment we spent talking. He was a lawyer working in the chambers of one of the Senior Advocates of Nigeria and he was about becoming an Associate in the firm. We talked about so many things, ranging from professional to social issues and Mayowa’s wealth of knowledge amazed me. At 30, he was already firmly positioned for the world ahead. I had to check myself however as I reminded myself that the man was my friend’s man and not mine. I silently wished my friend all the best and hoped so much that she wouldn’t waste this guy like so many others before him. Meanwhile, I continued to hope that the right man would come for me.
I continued to study my friend’s movement and I noticed that she didn’t seem to have any change of character. I had thought meeting Mayowa would mark the termination of the persistent traffic of men in her life, but nothing of such happened.
“Daniella, I thought you had decided,” I challenged her at a point, when I couldn’t hide my irritation any further.
“Rachael, please don’t start, okay. I need some time to adjust,” she defended.
“I only hope you know what you’re doing,” I said at last, with pain in my heart.
In my mind, I felt seriously for Mayowa and I couldn’t imagine why Daniella would find such a guy she didn’t even deserve, and worst of it all, treat him like dirt. I didn’t even know the guy in question here was aware of all that was going on until he called me up one day.
“Hi Rachael,” Mayowa said from the other end.
My heart skipped a beat, as I recovered from the initial shock.
“Mayowa, hey been a while. How are you?”
“I need to see you urgently. Do you have the time?”
I knew I agreed to see him immediately not because of any problem he might have been having but because I longed to see his face again.
I met him in a restaurant that evening and it was there he poured out his heart to me on how much he cared about my friend Daniella, and how it hurt him to watch her treat him the way she was.
As I listened on to his tale of woe, I couldn’t help my rage for Daniella, and at the same time, I couldn’t help the instant longing I felt for him. He wanted my advice on what step to take and at that moment, I decided to take the bull by its horns.
“Mayowa, are you sure you’re ready to hear this?”
He looked startled. “Sure, anything you tell me.”
“Daniella, doesn’t deserve you and you sure don’t deserve her. Move on with someone else.”
He was obviously shocked. “I don’t understand.”
I smiled and I could feel my confidence building up.
“Mayowa, there are so many people, I mean girls out there who desire to be yours so why kill yourself over someone who doesn’t even deserve or appreciate you.
I reached across the table and touched his hands. “You deserve better, Mayowa.”
Our eyes met and I could see clearly that he understood me perfectly. Now I am planning the next phase of my actions. As far as I am concerned, I would not rest until I have him. He is the man I deserve and Daniella could go to hell for all I care. I love Mayowa and I would have him for keeps!
…to be continued