ROUND AND AROUND

Reading Time: 3 minutes

I grabbed my phone and decided to send her a text message. It was the best I could do seeing as thirteen missed calls couldn’t get her attention. My twenty-five year old self could not believe that he was about to lose the girl of his dreams. As my hands shook on my keypad, I imagined all sorts of negative outcomes – I was a mess.
“Baby I love you; don’t do this to me…” That was how the text message started and that is how that relationship ended. I admit I was hurt but could I really blame her? I knew I had a bright future and I fold her that. She wanted to believe me but how much belief could she muster when I couldn’t buy her airtime or pay for her hair? She wasn’t materialistic but she was under pressure and neither of us knew how to deal with it. She would often tell me that she was getting older and she would want to get married. I laugh when I think about it now. She was 24 at the time and yes I wanted to marry her but I could not make up Three hundred and Seventy thousand Naira for the first phase of traditional rites. Her mother would tell her that she needed grand children and since my girlfriend was the first daughter, she needed to hurry up…damn!
I don’t wish to get into painful details but he was 41 at the time. He was a customer who offered to drop her off one day after she closed from work and he said the magic words that Nigerian girls above 23 love to hear so much “I want to settle down”. He was rich and she was desperate ready. The number of times she called me reduced and yes she told me about him when I got suspicious. She told me the magic words which scare the living daylights out of any man in a relationship ” he’s just a friend” and then they were wedded five months later.
I didn’t attend the wedding but I was invited. I decided to continue focusing on my business which was already in the works and I said I wasn’t going to get hurt like that ever again. This all happened 12 years ago.
Things are a bit different now. My business kicked off finally and I can say I am doing well. I think about bringing children into this world and teach them what I’ve learned in life, love and business. I thought to myself “I should let go finally of my heartbreak and build a new relationship” but there in lies the challenge. Ladies seem to respond to me without a lot of effort on my part and while it feels nice, I don’t think its genuine; I think it’s because my company got a contract about a year ago and my name has been in the news on and off. I tried to rekindle some relationships with ladies I knew back in secondary school and university but they are not as I remember them. They are not as pretty or as smart as I thought they would be. And then I met her.
She just started working in the company that handles my real estate portfolio and because I need to see her, I schedule meetings more frequently that I used to. I find myself asking for hardcopy reports so she can be the one to deliver them. I think I’ll just talk to her and see if there is something there.
Goodmorning Sir she said to me as I walked into her building.
” where is your boss?” I asked
“He’s out sir” she replied but I already knew that. I never go to their building without calling him first. It’s her I wanted to talk to…and I was nervous.
“Are you about to close?” I asked and she confirmed she would be rounding up in about twelve minutes. “I’ll give you a ride home” I said.
Three months down the line and it has been amazing. She is twenty-five years old and smart. I have met her parents and my accounts are not scared of bride-price anymore. I am finally going to have my happy ending.
“Babe aren’t you going t answer that?” I asked her on the drive back from our favorite Chinese restaurant. “There must be like twenty missed calls on your phone right now”
“Don’t worry about it honey” she said. “I just don’t want any distractions when I am with you”.
There was something eeriely familiar about this scene and I couldn’t shake off the feeling. As she went into the bathroom to freshen up that evening, I reached for her phone to see who had been pestering her. If a person doesn’t answer your call, send a text I thought and it was almost as thought the person had read my mind.
Her iPhone (which I paid for) beeped and a text flashed on the screen. The words sent me back to a place I never wanted to visit ever again. I didn’t read the entire message but the preview that flashed on the screen was enough.
“Baby I’ve been calling you… I love you; please don’t do this to me…”

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