STAY IF YOU CAN (RELOADED)
AUTHOR/WRITER : TERIBA NIMOTA & RICHARD CLOVER
“I’m sorry I didnt stay with you, I’m sorry I listened to other people instead of following my heart, I’m sorry I toyed with our feelings” Anjola said with so much heavy heart.
“Its okay Anjola, the good thing is we’re back together and the love is stronger and better now. I love you to pieces. And now, we’d be together forever” Shola said as he pulled her into his arms for a hug. Being in his embrace rose the emotion she was trying very hard to keep pent down. This was the month to their introduction. They were going to fucking get married after all.
I got to know Shola when I was in my year 2 and he was in his penultimate year (yr3). Naturally, shola and I felt akin. Our friendship naturally jelled and somehow we began to fall in love with each other. I loved him so much and wouldn’t mind going through the worst just to be with him. It was evident he loved me too. We started dating the same year. I was the luckiest girl on earth. Shola isn’t only handsome, he’s also very brainy. He was the brainiest students in his class. And very social, you will see him going to events, partying and he was more out outgoing and socially active than some average students. You know how popular brainy guys get and how often girls like to flock around them? Well that was a typical definition of Shola too. It gives me a tingly feel at times, but hey! I wasnt bothered. Why? He chose me! Yes, he chose me! Often times I did wonder but did I choose him?” At times I am not so sure of that but then what I was sure of was that I had the popular handsome guy to myself. Thinking through, I think I loved Shola just as much. I loved him so fucking much. Our relationship was almost perfect. We would walk round the school laughing and flirting, sometimes he will lift me from the ground bridal style and whisper into my ear I will one day carry you like this as my own and I will whisper back to him I am already yours baby, am taken already my love. I remember the day we were walking back from the library, I don’t remember what devil entered into him he just bent down and carried me like a bag of rice on his shoulder. I screamed and fought to be set free but all he did was laugh. I could feel everyone on that road pause looking at us two foolish lovers. I banged his ass and swirled my hair that was almost touching the floor in protest for him to drop me. All he did was laugh and once in a while when he felt pained by my punch to his ass, he spanked me on my butt too. Every time I remember that day, I always feel my check warm up and I start smiling like a sheep. He dropped me in front of my hostel and I ran off to my room. I had felt like punching him but I knew that won’t do anything and he will only laugh. I loved his laugh though. And the people in front, I wont hear the last of this.
Shola was from a humble background. I know this should not be a factor to be bothered about but he was not rich. Our relationship had no fault but my friends always hammer into my ears what love without money? they will often remind me that Shola was poor. In their word, he is too wretched for a beautiful girl like you. Wait is Shola that poor? I often ask myself when this issue comes up. No hes not, he’s still a student and I dont expect him to have all the money in the world at that time. I will try as much as possible to convince them and myself that he was not that poor and that even if he was, we love each other. Shola was the perfect guy for me; I mean he was so caring, loving, adorable and just a perfect gentleman. We always hang around after lectures. Being together was enough love for us, enough reason for us to be happy. But hey! Other people spice up their love life by going out, buy stuffs, go shopping, buy themselves expensive things and probably travel together. But what do me and Shola have? He doesnt have money for all those luxury. Well, when our friends have the whole Mr. Biggs to themselves, we always have our Noreos biscuits to spice up our love life… Hahaha! I cant forget how we use to share one bottle of Fanta along with the Noreos biscuits. I remember how he plucks flower for me while he waits at the entrance of the lecture room for me to get done with lectures… hey! They were lots of things we shared together and all these mattered to me. Shola could give me his last card while he starved to death. He didnt have at all, but he wanted me to be happy. To me, all these were more than enough proof that if I ended up with him, I’d be in safe hands. I knew he wasnt a lazy man and securing our future wouldn’t be a problem. All these to me were evidence of true love but to my friends, it was evidence of suffering. I cherished them, and I wouldnt mind to have that over and over again. Those were my best memories until people of the world told me it wasn’t the best for me.
I had just got back from class one unfortunate day, when I saw Clara my roommate fuming with anger.
“Whats up Clara wetting do you?” I said as she kept parading the room
“Anjola, why do you do this to yourself?You’re too beautiful for all these” she said and I became confused. I didnt know what Clara meant so I asked “Clara what did I do?”
“Shut up Anjola, who again but that guy you dey follow?” she screamed leaving me confused still.
“Clara talk to me na, wetin he do?” I asked calmly.
“Is it that he’s the only one that asked you out in this school or na jazz him use for you?”
“Clara wetin you dey talk about?”
” Stop acting dumb joor, I’m talking about your goddamn boyfriend. Why him? That guy isn’t good for you, you’re from an okay background and youre going around with his type?”
“Clara, hold it there! Where’s all these gibberish coming from?” I asked in anger.
“Really? Grow up! Grow fucking up! How do you intend to keep up with this kind of guy? Youre too damn beautiful to be with a poor guy as such. He came over looking for you and I didnt like the way he was dressed. He looked hungry”.
“I dont think that is your business because all these don’t matter to me. I love him! I countered quickly”.
“Love? Na love you wan chop? You dont intend to settle down with him do you?”
“Well we intend becoming man and wife once he’s done with school” I rolled out even before I could hold myself.
“Ha! Mumu oo, the garri wey you dey drink never tire you? You still wan suffer your poor unborn kids join? Anjola I always feel bad for you when we all plan things and you cant meet up all because you dont have a boyfriend that can cater for you.” She shook her head in pity and right there I felt something snapped within me.
“Clara I love him and I dont expect him to have all the money in the word. He’s not working yet!”
” Okay now, I hear you,” She said as she walked out on me.
Shola had been here and I bet Clara must have embarrassed him. But why will he come here without calling me? They all always seem to talk whenever they catch a glimpse of him. I have to call Shola to apologise to him. No I dont have to, I feel irritated by everything already. He should have just waited for me; if he truly loved me he should have endured it for me. I am not ashamed of him so why should he be ashamed of himself? I actually do love Shola and I can buy those things myself, I just dont want to hurt his ego. This isn’t the first time Clara and my other friends are talking about me suffering with Shola. But then love conquers all they say. After the saga with Clara that day, I found it hard to stop thinking of all she said. I was turned between two walls and as such, I’ve been acting weird to Shola, even though he couldnt stop asking me what was wrong. Poor guy! I couldnt tell Shola about it so I just kept it all to myself. Clara didnt stop there; she went ahead and told our friends. What did I not hear? “Don’t die for love”, “love doesn’t reward everyone” “dont suffer for love, he wont remember you after all these”, blah, blah, blah. Ever since then, I couldnt stop thinking about it all. I couldnt stop contemplating on me staying or leaving, I didnt know if I should choose between love and life. Ever since then, my ways with Shola changed. I didnt know how to be with him. He always asked what the problem was but I couldnt tell him.
I was in the library that day. The day the donkey will eat the last straw that broke the camels back. I was sitting on my own when heard some girls talking about my Shola.
“That guy is just good, I couldn’t stop staring at his lips” one girl said. Another replied , “girl he has a girlfriend o and I heard they are waxing strong”. She replied saying “all na wash, I’m meeting up with him tonight. He is so cute! I am imagining myself in his solid arms. The only reason I’d stop bothering myself over him is if he says so himself”.
I was stunned that moment. Wow so Shola has been meeting up with other girls? He is cheating on me? I was determined to go after them and see things for myself. The girl was set to leave the library and I left with her. Luckily enough for me, she wasnt going far at all. It was just beside the library. Next thing I saw was her hugging my Shola so tight. I put a call through to Shola and asked where he was. All Shola could do was lie to me. He told me he was at the library when I could Cleary see him hugging a girl. I couldnt wait for his next action as I left there in tears. On getting to my hostel, Clara and our other friends were there. They didnt hesitate to feed me with words as I narrated my ordeal to them. I couldnt cry as I was ready to move on. And Clara already had a guy for me. That was how I closed the episode of Shola and we both moved on with our lives. Time went by so fast. Lets not lie to ourselves, after I had left Shola, I’ve not found any guy to love me as much as he does. It was always all about sex to every one of them. Yeah sex was good but I grew up knowing I didnt want sex to be the order of my life. I wanted to be loved and cared for. I wasn’t getting any of that with my boyfriends so I decided to start a new life. I finally travelled out of the county and in all honesty, I hoped love would find me.
I was at the mall one day when I saw this really cute guy. Ever since I’ve been here, I’ve not actually met a guy that tickles my fancy. I moved closer to him in a bid to make a move that would make him get my number at least. So I got closer to him trying to play my little pranks. I purposely hit him with my elbow while I also reacted to my action as it hurts “Ouch!” I yelled.
“Oh! I’m so sorry” the handsome guy said.
“Its Okay”; I said looking up at him.
Just then I realized it was Shola. We were both shocked I immediately turned back in an attempt to flee. He caught my arm and pulled me in for a hug. I bumped into his solid chest, after all this years so this is how we will meet? Hugging me tightly he whispered you just dumped me without saying a word! I squeezed my face to his chest expecting he was going to be mad at me. He couldnt stop hugging me and I broke into tears remembering how it all started. He pulled away and looked into my eyes. That moment was priceless.
We made small talks as we went round picking what we came to buy. There was so much to talk about and yet so little to say. My heart beat thump thump as we walked together. Shola had changed over the years; he had grown more manly and charming. From a guy that never used to have a dime to being the one I will later meet overseas. I wanted to know how he did it. We got to the counter and without much effort, he paid both our bill in cash. I wondered why he carried so much money in him. I wanted to know how he made it, what happened, why he cheated on me despite my unfailing love for him. There were so many raging questions I wanted to ask him. Did you bring a car? He asked me. I shook my head negative, alright then. I will bring my car around and we could go out to get some lunch. He said smiling at me. His eyes seemed to say he is still very much in love with me. Seeing him only made me realize I have missed him. The love I had buried had reincarnated and was now very much alive. I was lost in thought of how our university life had been. Gad! I have missed the good old days. I have missed the love of my life; I have missed my soul mate. Something is wrong with me, what is wrong with me? Shola pulled up in front of me, I opened his back seat and loaded all that we bought in. I hopped in and he took me in his fancy shining car to a fancy restaurant. Getting to the restaurant, we sat and our orders were taken. We sat opposite each other; there was so much to talk about. “You have become more beautiful Anjola!” He said. I smiled contently, he had grown more handsome too and he seemed quieter and more reserved. I love the maturity he was displaying. “You dont look bad yourself” I said hoping to match wit with wit. “You dont have a ring on Anjola! Should that be a sign?” he asked and I could read the anticipation of the answer he wanted. I made a small heartfelt laugh and said “I remember you will carry me and whisper your wish to carry me that way when am finally yours”.
“Do you remember the way I used to respond?”
He smiled and said “how on earth will I be able to forget that? You will say I am already yours baby, am taken already my love”.
We both fell into a nice laugh before I said well the hand is still free! lifting my hand up. Slowly the laugh and smile creased from our lips. We looked at each other accusingly. The waiter came in and dropped or order before leaving.
“Why did you cheat on me Shola? What did I ever do to you that made you cheat on me?” I fell silent and took my first bite. Shola looked from his food then set it down. He sat back into his chair as if bracing up for a long talk. He had so such to say. This was where I remembered our falling apart started from, there was this day I came to look for you in your hostel. You had this kind of fat; dark girl for a roommate, that very day I dont know who on earth lit her tampon. She was so aggressive and abusive. That day, I had knocked your door calling out for you. I had noticed that the door was locked from inside so I decided to knock louder than usual. You know up until that point I never realized that I did not really know any of your friends. She came out shouting and hauling all manner of abuse on me. I tried to beg and calm her down but it only seems to aggravate her more. She specially made comment at my mode of dressing that I was shabby and hungry. I felt as poor I was that day. I was on a very casual outfit as I was on my way to play ball. I could not even play the dammed ball. When I got back to my hostel, I sat on my bed and thought it out thoroughly. What she said was true in a way! I was as poor as poor could be and I had nothing tangible to offer you. Hm, often times you were the one feeding me and sometimes even though I know it is out of good intention you cloth me. I had nothing to offer you. And you remember the guy you told me asked you out? The one who has a car? Everything just kept seemingly turning against me. You came to see me the next day and you seemed all preoccupied. I tried getting it out of you but you wont talk to me. It pained me that you wont open up to me about your troubles. And I guessed that girl had spoken to you. You know when I returned from your hostel, I imagined the only reason you kept me away from your friends was because you were not proud of me. It was a silly thought but I thought it anyways”. He sat back into his chair looking straight into my eyes. I was still sort of angry but not as much. I remember Clara being bitchy that day even to me. It was part my fault anyways but he betrayed me still. “What of the girl you were kissing that day?” I said sitting more comfortably to reassure of my confidence. For a moment he seemed lost before asking “what girl are you talking about?”
I gave a wicked smirk and said “oh so you are forgotten huh? That light skinned girl I saw you hug and kiss one day by the library! looking and sounding all surprised” . he said “trust me it is not what you think. You see that girl is a neighbour of mine. We are not really friends nor are our families that close but she liked me since we were little. I know this sound like a tall tale but it is true. She is the only one who knows how poor we were. I had a little trouble with the payment of my school fees that year and she offered to help me out. There was a bit of rapport between my mother and hers so you can guess how she knew. It was around this time we were having our glitches. You stopped calling or messaging and by the time I mustered the mind to visit you again, I met the same girl who told me you already had a new boyfriend. That day was the most embarrassing and painful day of my life. She called me a wretched soul, a gold digger and so many more. She told me not to bother searching for you again plus you already moved to your boyfriends house. I was devastated. You see the girl you claimed you saw me kissing; she offered to get me my full school fees only if I would date her. There was another condition to it though; no one was to know we were dating. Funny thing is I declined at first. Hearing what I heard day made me resolve that I will not lose in two places, so I went to meet her. The relationship did not last six months after which I have gotten with other girls but none was ever like I loved you” Silence fell over our table and we both eat our meal. We finished up and he paid the bills again. We left the restaurant and he took me to my house. Before I got out of his car, he invited me to dinner. You needed to have seen me. I was so happy and proud. I dont need to tell you I did not come back home that night.
Waking up beside him next morning, I heard him whisper will you marry me? I couldn’t contain my emotions as tears rolled down my cheeks. I was too mute to give a response. He snuggled more into me and whispered stay if you can for I love you dearly and have missed you. Stay my dear, stay and marry me!”