Ife used to be the sort of person that had everything under control. But here he is, wounded by a woman, a species he once claimed he had completely mastered. “I really don’t understand,” even though I do. He continues, “She’s a good girl. But the University isn’t a good place.” “Scared you are going to lose her?” “I’m scared for a lot of things…
You know, I told her I didn’t want her going out with someone else?” “Of course. What did she say?” Ife smiles, “She promised she wasn’t going to.” He pauses. “Isn’t that a good thing?” “It is…for me. But then it is one-sided and unfair. She should have a chance to explore her youth… You know, live and all…” I didn’t ‘know’. I think it is beautiful what he wanted to protect. This is the happiness he wanted three years ago while we sat in his room.
The happiness from love. His words cut into my line of thoughts, “Do you have a girl now?” I heave heavily, “No…I guess I’m still searching for that woman.”
“I want you to go out with Mary.” His voice is firm. For some reason, the voice becomes a memory in my head. Unfolding as my principal in secondary school, sitting behind his large office table and adjusting his glasses on his nose. I feel like a child, helpless. “What? Why?” My helplessness, shock and fear is hidden by the indifference on my face. Talk about hiding emotions. “I know you. You are a good guy, if she’s to go out with anybody…
I have to know it’s someone I trust.” Ife speaks like he has everything planned in his head, which for some reason angers me. “Are you even listening to yourself?” “Yes, I am, and I know what I am saying…” There is a long, overdrawn silence hovering above us like a cloudy sky. I turn my head and run it through the garden. Lovers. Course mates doing assignments. Friends who are clearly in love but acting like they aren’t. Boys hoping to find a catch. Girls making small talk.
It is on a Friday I meet with Mary, a beautiful, light lady. She tells me she is glad to meet me, and has heard a lot about me from Ife. Don’t you think Ife is crazy, she asks, asking us to do such thing?I love him so much, I don’t know why he isn’t ready to make this work out. I tell her he has his reasons. We laugh and make fun of the way he talks, like a philosopher.
We talk about how crazy he is, yet so scared. She says it’s like he hides who he really is by being somebody else. She asks about my relationship and I tell her there is really nothing to know about it. She tells me of this guy she has a crush on, but it’s nothing. It’s just a stupid crush. She tells me about the dreams she have. Don’t mind me, she smiles, I’m just a hopeless romantic. “
Tell me about it,” I say. “Oh no,” she blushes, “you know, girls and these dreams.” “I don’t know. You tell me.” Seeing my seriousness, she turns her face down, smiling childishly.
“It’s always a weekend getaway and we are both in this big fancy hotel. We’d lie naked on the bed all day, talking about random stuffs, kissing and having sex. Then he’d sing to me the Silence by Before You Exit. That’s my favorite song…” “That’s beautiful.” She smiles, and it is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. “I have never seen anyone as beautiful as you are.” Her whole face gushes in delight, “You are a flatterer just like Ife.” She turns her face away from mine. I really am saying the truth. She is, more than beautiful than any woman I have set my eyes on. The way her lips curved into a smile. The beam in her eyes when she blushed. Her soft and graceful way of carrying herself. Her gentle voice, and occasional high pitched laughter. I walk her to her hostel, and tell her I will inform Ife of our meeting. “Did you kiss her?” is the first question Ife throws at me when I call him.