The silence was insane. It was like Big Brother told everyone to freeze because we were all preparing to clap and congratulate them, when Ashezi rejected Jude’s proposal. The drink in my hand fell and the sound of shattering glass brought most of the attention on me. I guess it was a good thing for Ashezi because it gave her the opportunity to take Jude aside to talk to him. Every other person whizzed their way out of the awkwardness. Lota looked at me with a knowing smile and I shrugged “I didn’t do it on purpose” I said, when she was close enough to hear me. “Well, it looks like you did to distract us from the catastrophe of the night” she replied as she began to sweep the pieces of glass together.
“Some mistakes are God-sent” “Indeed”, she agreed letting my brother take over from her. My dear brother Amaechi had this huge crush on Lota that has been there ever since I can remember. He followed Lota around like bee following honey and the funny thing is that she did not mind. I frowned at it in the beginning and warned him to stay away from her but as time went by I decided to remove myself from the situation. I mean a twenty-two year old boy is legally an adult and I technically shouldn’t be telling him what to do. So I left them, when he is tired he will leve her alone.
As they cleaned up the mess I made, Abdul entered and he was alone. Before I could say anything to him, he gave me a hug… a very long hug… a hug that made my good leg weak. I invited him and I told him that he could come with his girlfriend but I was so glad that he came alone. “Where is your date?” I asked as if I cared. “She had somethings to take care of”, he replied looking at me as if I was in a ghastly motor accident. “It’s only my ankle, don’t mind my clutches; they make it look more serious than it actually is” I wanted him to get the pity off his face and pretend like everyone else.
The night suddenly became bright; Abdul and I were kind of glued together for the rest of the night. It was like we had never had any drama between us in the past, being with him was so easy. Abdul’s presence made the night move really quickly; it was nice to have him around. We haven’t hung out together in a very long while so I guess I missed him. I actually did.
When the night drew to a close, Abdul, Lota, Amaechi and I cleaned up the place; well, I did the best I could with my one leg even though they told me to chill. I don’t like to feel useless. I had just bidden Abdul farewell when Ashezi came back inside. She took a glass of wine, finished it in one gulp and sighed deeply. “What does the sigh mean?” I asked, the rest of them looking at her carefully. “It means that I am now a single woman”. On hearing that Amaechi excused himself as Lota and I looked at each other.
“Congratulations?” Lota asked “congratulations and sorry” she replied then we hugged her. We knew that she was not happy about the situation but judging from everything she told us, breaking up was the best thing for her. This was the only way for her to build her self-esteem back up and live the life she had always wanted; the life she always talked about living.
“Marriage is not the be-all and end-all of my life, I am more than that”
“Yes you are!” Lota cheered and we hugged again. Ashezi didn’t seem heartbroken instead she appeared free of emotional stress. It was a beautiful thing to watch and the respect that I once had for her returned completely.
“Is that the new love of your life?”, she suddenly changed the topic. I looked at her with a puzzled expression like “Nope, that is Abdul” and then she was like “I know that it is Abdul but does he know that you are in love with him?” she questioned. Her question took me aback. Where did she get the confidence to ask me such questions? “I think he does, they both know that they feel something for each other” Lota answered. “Are you kidding me?” I thought. Since when did my love life become a group discussion for them without my permission?
I was afraid to hear more from them about that topic; so I carried me, myself and my clutches away. I told them that they could let themselves out when they were ready to do so. That was dramatic yeah? I know, I just didn’t want to discuss Abdul at all; I didn’t want to remind myself that he had a girlfriend who he is probably in love with.
I sat in my room thinking about what Ashezi said. I know that I have feelings for Abdul, feelings that I have suppressed like no man’s business; but for her to use the L-word. Love? Nah, I am not in love with anybody… not right now… not Abdul. Besides he has a girlfriend, what am I supposed to do if I did feel the love Ashezi claimed that I felt for him? Tell him to leave her? You know what? I am not in love with him… let’s just leave it at that.