Isn’t it amazing how life stabs you in the back when all you do is blink, a natural thing to do when all is seemingly well? Tope and I met at the University of Lagos. At that point, I believed that she was from v well to do family with good manners and good clothes. Add to the mix the fact that she was an easy person to be with and you got me hooked on her.
The meeting itself took place in one of the many cafeterias behind the Faculty of Arts. Upon sighting her, something deep within me stirred and refused to stay still. To say the truth, it has refused to go back to sleep for many years. Perhaps that is where the problem really lies.
In my hurry to go for an early lecture that morning, I had failed to eat breakfast and after the long lecture, I decided to grab a big brunch before I catch the next one. I had finished eating a solid bowl of garri and egusi soup and drank a refreshing chilled large bottle of Mirinda, just the way I like it when I discovered that I had no money on me. My wallet was not in the back pocket of my favourite blue jeans where I traditionally kept! I started sweating profusely as if I had just run a marathon and all the sweetness in the meal I had just eating disappeared as if into thin air.
“Is anything the matter?” I heard the almost singing voice and looked up to behold a queen. The true smile on her face and evidently, the lovely face made me divulge the story my life to her.
“Don’t worry, I will take care of you,” she said exactly how I had imagined, without even knowing my name. she went ahead to pay for my meal.
“Thank you, eh…” I said.
“Tope,” she replied. “That is my name, what is yours?”
“Prosper,” I said unable to take my eyes off her. I was stunned not only by her beauty and kind gesture but also by a though that had crept into my mind the moment I heard her voice and looked at her for the first time. I had started to tell myself that the two of us could go through the journey together never letting each other out of sight.
“See you around then,” she said to break my reverie.
“When can I see you again? If nothing else, at least to say thank you and pay you back for what you have done for me today, how you have rescued me from myself”.
“I wasn’t doing it to get paid. I’m sure if I was the one in trouble, you would have stepped up. you don’t have to pay me,” she said. I knew she was trying to be modest and careful all at once so I tried another tactic.
“Will you at least allow me the pleasure of spending another moment in the presence of such a beautiful woman as yourself, an angel, my guardian angel to be precise?” I said and by the look of the smile on her face, I could tell that she was exactly where I wanted her to be.
“Okay, but right now I have v lecture to catch,” she said. So we exchanged numbers since I was on my way to a lecture myself.
As it turned out, we were both out of relationships that didn’t go quite well so our meeting felt like it had been a sign for us to get on with it. We, therefore, wasted no more time. Barely one month after our meeting, we were an item on campus and stars in a whirlwind romance of our creation. Truth is, I never knew that I could love like that. But although I feel that Tope also loved me in her own uncanny way, she never says it until I utter the words I love you. Of course, she does not reply all the time and most times she has this distant look, when I ask her she would say it is nothing. Ten years after our meeting, I stopped bothering myself particularly about her ‘nothing’ reply. What I can’t get out of my head is the fact that she is more than a stone’s throw from romantic and just never hits the mark. And even though we have been going out for this long, she sometimes disappears for up to a week without so much as a phone call or text message. Plus, we could be living together and saving money on rent but she won’t hear of it.
“I need my space sometimes to be with myself,” was what she told me the last time I brought up the issue. “I just want to blot out the noise and try to hear myself think sometimes. I can only do this alone. Please, Prosper, don’t stop me”.
We’ve both done well for ourselves in our chosen careers and I want to settle down and start a family with Tope because I love her and especially because she is a kind person that I believe will make a great mother to our children while passing her good gins to them. And I would ask her to marry me this very moment but all the bitterness in between is holding my hand. Talking about hands, she won’t allow me hold her hand and I particularly like that when we are out taking a walk. Back at university, I used to think she didn’t want anyone to know we were dating, and consequently, must have been ashamed of me. But this has endured to this day. She doesn’t like taking walks by the way. And anytime we do, it is because I forced her hand. Then there is sex. Tope has never been one to love sex. It took me all of two years to get her under the sheets. For me, that is a record that I’m not proud to share. She just kept on postponing the day until she ran out of ideas. She enjoyed it though. And in the 10 years that we have been together, she has never for one initiated the act. If I want us to make love in three months’ time, I better start making moves right away. But when the day comes, she luxuriates in it, owning every moment and never wanting to let go. Afterwards, she has no words of affection for me and does nothing to bring us close. She doesn’t even want to cuddle. She won’t even let me tease or tickle her as she losses interest so easily. She has even been known to refer to me as being childish when all I was doing was playing with the mother of my future children.
This is beginning to weigh heavily on me. I want this woman so badly for the good things I have mentioned above and yet I don’t want to have her for all the other things I feel are bad about her and tend to outweigh the good. I’m really confused now and I don’t know whether I should propose to her or let her go. This thought has crossed my mind for close to 10 years for if she is the way she is right now if I were to marry her, would she not get worse?