My Failed Love Story (Chapter 2)
‘He was such a ladies man’
I really liked my workplace. There were no distractions and the boys were so nice. We ate breakfast and lunch together daily; my supervisor was such a great person. He never complained even when you didn’t get anything right. As he always said, you don’t kill the bug, you de-bug. He was so funny.
Then there was Mama Rico, the caterer. She always treated me like her daughter. I got extra meat every day from her.
Work was not even close to how great home was throughout my IT. My cousins came to stay with us. Their parents had problems so mom agreed to take in the kids for a while. It was so great to be with visitors. That is one of the greatest issues an only child like me faces. Visitors, especially kids our age or younger bring us so much joy. And oh, how happy I was.
Ovie and Nathan were my closest cousins. After work, I would call them over so we go out for snacks and drinks.
On that fateful day, as we walked home, I saw a tall, dark figure standing by the roadside. It was as if he was waiting for someone. He wore glasses as I did but I doubt it was for occupation hazard. It looked more ‘shacommended’ as my little cousin Jasmine will say. But it fitted him so well. Wait, who is he even?
An older woman came out of the bus and he held her hands to get down. They walked slowly back to our street. I was still lost in thought when Nathan brought me back to reality.
“Sis… Sis… No one is back home. Are you with the spare key?” He said to me
“Mom is not back? What is she still doing at the market?” I said still watching the ‘mystery guy’
“Sis. The spare”
“Oh. Sorry. Here is the key” I said as I opened my bag to take it out
“What are you even looking at?” Ovie asked
“Can you open the gate? I am tired” I immediately said, changing the conversation. But deep down, I wanted to know, ‘Who is that guy?’
“He is the new neighbour. He lives with his grandma. The Ojos” Ovie told me
“Oh well. The Ojos. The man died a few years ago right? I didn’t know they had a grandson” I said to my cousins
“I just came here some weeks ago and I already know people in your neighbourhood” Ovie said
“You are jobless. That is why”
“I am a teenager. Why should I be working?” He replied sulking
“So, what is his name? Do you know that?” I asked my already annoyed cousin
“I won’t tell you”
“Please now. I will buy… erm… what’s that video game called? I will buy it for you”
“Which videogame? I don’t play videogames. It’s you and Nathan that have a videogame obsession”
“Fair point. What do you want then?”
“Doesn’t the videogame cost money? Oh, you wanted to get a hacked version”
“Fine. What is his name, silly?”
“Lawrence. Hmm” I only said
The next day couldn’t come any quicker. Just as I opened the door to leave for work, I heard someone shouting. ‘Lawrence, Lawrence. Come out. You will be late for the appointment’ It was a middle-aged woman. She looked a lot like Lawrence so I guess she is his mother.
I gave Ovie money for no reason.
It was so hard to become friends with Lawrence. I felt bad for being a stalker. His routine was quite complicated. He was always doing different things every day. Today, he is jogging down the street. Another day, he is going to the market. Another, he is hanging out with friends.
Did I mention he is a girls magnet? It was so hard to come close without being like the ‘other’ girls. I really don’t want to be a ‘pick me’ like they were. How would I get Lawrence to talk to me?
One Saturday morning, my opportunity came without me realising it. I saw his grandmother coming back from the market.
“Mama, let me help you with this” I said as I took some of the heavy loads from her
“Thank you, my daughter. This your face. It looks familiar” She said to me
“Yes. I live down this street”
“Oh… You are Godwin’s daughter, right? The only child?” She said
“Yes ma; we got to the front of her house and I dropped the loads next to the gate and waited patiently for Lawrence to open it.
Just then, he came out and our eyes met.
“Mama. You didn’t call me to pick you up as usual” He told his grandma
“I did. Where did you drop your phone? If not because of this wonderful girl here, what would I have done?”
“I was washing clothes outside and my phone wasn’t with me. Sorry”
“Take this inside, please. Your mom will be back soon” His grandma said entering the house
“Ok, mama. Thank you, uhm. I don’t know your name” Lawrence said turning to me who was waiting patiently to be noticed
“Nene” I replied excitedly
“Ok. My name is Lawrence. See you later” He said as he entered
‘See you later’ My head immediately went to the clouds
The next day, we did see ourselves. Lawrence went out to jog and so did I and my cousins.
Although his routine fluctuates, I had a nudge he will go out jogging that weekend. I woke my cousins up to follow me so my parents don’t get overly suspicious.
“Nene, where are you going to?” My mom asked when she saw me with one of my sneakers
“Jog? When did that one start?”
“Ovie and Nathan would be going with me. I want to start exercising my body. You know how I have bad cramps and I read somewhere that jogging relieves the muscles that contract during cramps” I lied
“When did you start making research?”
“Its okay. You guys can go but come home early. Also, help me get a tin of milk when coming back.” Mom said handing me some cash.
“I didn’t know you are into fitness, Nene” Lawrence asked immediately after he saw me
“Hi, Lawrence. Good morning” I only said
“Thanks for yesterday”
“You shouldn’t be the one thanking me. I didn’t do anything special” I said giggling excitedly in me
“Hello Mr. Lawrence” Ovie said
“Mr. Lawrence?” He laughs; After we complete this round, let me take the three of you somewhere nice” Lawrence said
He took us to an ice cream bar. It was like we were replacing the fat we lost. We weren’t the only fitness enthusiast that was in the bar.
“Is that woman not trying to lose weight? Why is she there?” Nathan asked
“Stop body shaming” Ovie replied as he hit his head lightly
“Stop forming woke”
“Are your brothers always fighting?” Lawrence asked me. I was so lost in looking at his face that I was surprised at how shy I became when he looked at mine.
“Uhm. Not really. They are my cousins though” I said trying as much as possible to avoid eye contact
“So Nene, what do you do? Are you in school?”
“Yes. I am currently having my IT. I work at an Investment firm near the FMC at Asaba”
“Oh, i-save or something”
“Yes. I work in the ICT section. It’s a fun experience”
“So you study computer science then?”
“Yes. What about you? Are you in school?”
“Finished school. I studied Agricultural science”
“You don’t look like a farmer”
“Agric is the future, Miss. I am planning on going to NYSC soon”
“Ok. I think the next batch will start registration in three months’ time. Why is it slow this time?”
“This country doesn’t take anything seriously. Uhm, Nene… It was nice having this discussion with you. I have to go get something for my grandma and mom” Lawrence said as he stood up to leave.
“Same here. I… We will be heading home now. Have a nice day” I said smiling
I forgot to buy my mom’s tin of milk.
Lawrence and I became close. I always saw him near my house. I could feel that he wanted to be close to me. Or why else would he always be found a few centimeters close to my house? Apart from the fact that we couldn’t have a deep conversation without being interrupted by his many female friends, we were close.
I expected that he should tell me what I wanted to hear. Was I not giving him enough signal that I wouldn’t be angry if he asked me out? How can I let him know I like him too? As time went by, I realised that I needed to take the first step.
“So, I found out today that the Cinema will be showing the new Spiderman movie this weekend”
“Oh… Would you be going?”
“Of course. I want to take you with me”
“Take me? Uhm… I… I want to take you too
“Really?” I said excitedly
“But… as a chaperone”
“Chape…; I paused, ‘this is not what I expected’ I don’t understand Lawrence. You want me to follow you but you already have someone you want to take”
“Yes… There is this girl. She lives near your house.; he smiled and continued “She is slender, tall and beautiful” He smiled again. This time, I could see he was gone and in love. So, I was never the reason he was close to my place. ‘Wow’
“So, would you tag along?” He asked me
“Uhm, I will think about it. Why don’t you want to go alone with her?” I managed to ask. My heart was heavy and I wanted to start crying.
“I want to but I don’t want you to feel lonely” Lawrence replied
“Don’t worry. I won’t. Have fun” I said as my heart split into pieces
I thought it was a mutual crush, turns out I was the only one crushing while he enjoyed the attention.
“That was what happened. He didn’t like me back”
“Wow, Nene. Sorry” Musti said to me
“Really man. Why did you say sorry? Did she injure herself?” Michael asked laughing
“What is funny, guy? You are such an Idiot” Ibrahim said
“So, will there be like an extension till we graduate?” I asked them
“Extension? Some of us will graduate next year if there is no ASUU strike” Ibrahim replied
“Why did you have to bring those people? I heard they are threatening to go on strike” Michael said
“Nene, don’t worry about the deal. It doesn’t mean anything” Mustapha said to me. I should have felt reassured but I felt bad because I was the only girl yet I was the only failure.
“I will go in now. I have to call my parents” I said as I left them for my room.
I checked my phone immediately after I entered. Mom had called five times, and dad twice. I called them so they don’t think I have been kidnapped.
Mom always has a bad feeling about schooling in the west.
“Maami” She fondly calls me like I am her mother
“I hope your school environment is safe outside as it is inside”
“Yes, it is” I replied. After all, no place on earth is safe.
“Hmm, ok. I don’t know why you don’t want to stay on the school campus. You know that you are my only treasure. Please, don’t join bad gangs. Don’t make bad friends. Always wear neutral colours to classes. I don’t want to hear bad news that has your name attached to it. Nene, do you hear me?”
“You can go and prepare for school. Hope you are with all the necessary receipts”
“Yes ma” I replied to mom. This was about three years ago when I gained admission to the school.
“Hello Ma. I am sorry I didn’t call. I slept off. I was too tired”
“Keep your phone close to you. How many times are we going to tell you this? Anyway, your dad sends his greetings. Bye” Mom said as she cut the call
I could notice her anger. I brought out my laptop and went to my personal journal and typed an entry: ‘A new school year beckons. What does it hold for me? Would I find love? I guess I will have to find out’ I smiled at myself as I felt a sense of peace flow through my veins.