“You were always afraid. I knew you were hiding something. So when you called, I knew something was going to happen. But I didn’t know what.” I knew. I knew. He was right; he had always been. He knew me, just like a hacker knew codes. I adjusted on his bed, and turned over to face the wall. I start, “I just think…I think I am not ready for the girls now.”
“Or you are scared?” I turned and stoned him with a pillow, “Guy, I’m not!” “You know it’s okay to be scared,” his voice was a calm river now. “I am too…” “No, of course not. You have all these girls at your beck and call.” “Is that even correct?” “What?” “Beck and call, those words. Sounds funny.” “Oh, I heard Dr. Charles use it once or twice,” I said. It sounded like a nice word to me, and that was all it mattered. “But you really have the girls, don’t you?” I drove the conversation back to him. “Maybe. But you know I’m not happy.”
Ife raised his hand as if to catch something then stopped midway. His overdramatic attitude. “And everyone deserves to be happy.” “Do you know why you aren’t happy?” I didn’t know what else to ask. “Yes, I do!” His eyes glistened like a star in a dark night. “I need love to be happy.” Ife, always making everything sound easy. Why would someone think happiness was something that easy? I really wanted to ask about his relationships, why he thought love is what he needed to be happy. He had love, I believed. He had these girls who showed him their breasts and allowed him caress them. He had girls who wanted him to have the whole world. “But why are you scared?” I asked instead. He stayed silent for a while, brooding. It looked like he was carefully searching for the right words. For the right reaction to the question.
“The problem is, guy, I don’t know. But I think fear is like this thing we all deal with. Maybe sometimes there shouldn’t be a WHY. Maybe it’s all inside us, you know, so we can overcome them and feel alive for a while, until another one comes.” I smiled, not at him, not at his words, but at how Ife was able to conjure an answer for the things that bothered him. It was a superpower I wasn’t blessed with. I jumped off the bed abruptly, “I really have to go!” After greeting his parents, I and Ife walked down to street to my house, which was just a few blocks from his. It was dark already, and we walked in silence. I found myself thinking about what was going on in his head. As we shook hands at the front of my house, I told him, hoping it helped,
“I’m afraid too.” I am sitting at Love Garden, waiting for Ife to show up. Ever since I resumed at the university, we do not have the time to see each other as we used to. But we try all the same. He arrives, wearing a faded Man of Steel shirt. His hair is beautifully combed, and his dark skin shines under the afternoon sun. Ife is a fine young man, and will pass for a model any day. “How was the exam?” I ask him immediately he settles beside me.
“It’s my third POST-UTME. Do you want a dishonest answer or none at all?” I shake my head, “I will go for none.” Ife laughs and hits me with his shoulder playfully. We make jokes, laugh like children and reminisce about the old days. He tells me of Mary. She studies here. He says he has never felt like this with anyone else. “It has always been give and take for me. All I had to do was sleep with these girls. It always felt like I was looking for something. Something I didn’t even know. And now that I feel like I have found it, I feel like I am not good enough.” It is scary not to see Ife all collected and calm.