I walked among the pillars, trying not to think about her. It was a foolish idea coming here if I wanted to forget about her. This was where we used to come. It was our favorite place. We used to chase each other down the long corridors. I still remember the first time we kissed. She was leaning against one of the pillars and I approached her. She was smiling but I was dead serious.
When I was standing in front of her, our eyes met and the smile on her face faded when she saw the expression on mine. Then, wordlessly, she reached up and held my face between her hands and drew it down to hers. When our lips touched, my heart stopped and the world seemed to stand still too. It was the most exquisite sensation that I have ever experienced in my life. I can still remember it as if it happened a moment ago.
When we drew apart, she slipped her hand in mine and we walked away. That day marked the beginning of a new relationship. We had transitioned from friendship to romance. Our relationship lasted for two glorious years until the fateful afternoon when I saw her with another man. They didn’t see me. I watched them. Jealousy surged through me like a tidal wave. I felt hurt, betrayed and so angry that if I didn’t force myself to walk away, I know I would have done something really stupid. I have no idea how I got home but I managed somehow.
My phone rang incessantly that day but I ignored it. It was her. I didn’t want to talk to her. I was still too angry and hurt. I might have said things I couldn’t take back. Instead, I called my best buddy and we went for a couple of pints. As we sat in a corner, I poured out my troubles to him and he just listened, a sympathetic expression on his face.
“Are you sure about what you saw?” he asked. “Did you see them kiss or anything to indicate that something was going on between them?”
I racked my brains to try to recall exactly what I saw. “No, they didn’t kiss,” I said. “They hugged.”
“If all they did was hug, then it’s possible that he was just a friend or even a relative.”
“He wasn’t a relative, Mosi. He looked Asian, probably Japanese.”
“Even so, Tomas, it’s possible that you made a mistake. Why don’t you talk to her?”
I shook my head at once. “No, I don’t want to talk to her or see her right now. I’m still too hurt and angry. I might do or say something I’ll regret.”
Mosi watched me for a moment. “All right,” he said. “Give it some more time and then talk to her.”
I didn’t answer. I just took another gulp of the beer.
Weeks passed and I didn’t call her. When she called me, I didn’t answer. When she showed up at my place, I pretended that I wasn’t home. I still couldn’t face her.
And here I am now, trying to forget about her which is impossible because I’m so crazy about her. I lean against the pillar and close my eyes in despair. I have to get over her somehow.
My eyes flew open and I stiffen when I found myself staring into her beautiful face. I swallow hard. I try to act indifferent but failed miserably. My heart is pounding and my hands are shaking. I want to touch her but at the same time, I want to rake her over the coals. “What are you doing here?” I demanded.
“I’ve been looking for you and thought that I’d find you here. Tomas–”
I couldn’t stand it any longer. “Who was he, Abiola?”
She stared at me. “Who?”
“The Asian guy I saw you with outside of Tejuosho Shopping Centre a couple of weeks ago?”
“You mean Eito. I met him when I did an internship program in Japan. He was here in Lagos on vacation and we ran into each other. When you saw us, why didn’t you come over? I would have loved for him to meet you and the three of us could have had lunch together.”
I searched her face and I could tell that she was being completely honest with me. Boy, did I feel like a real heel at that moment. Mosi was right. For a long while, I didn’t say anything.
She looked at me. “Is that why you’ve been avoiding me and ignoring my calls?” she asked. “You saw me with Eito and assumed that something was going on between us?”
I took a step forward. “I’m sorry,” I mumbled. “I acted like a jerk and I’m sorry.”
“You should be sorry,” she retorted. “I have a good mind to dump you right here and now.”
“I wouldn’t blame you if you did.”
I must have looked pitiful because her features softened and she grabbed my hand. “Come on,” she said. “Let’s grab something to eat. You’re buying.”