I couldn't bring myself to get over the hurt of being rejected by her, but I also couldn't bring myself to still going to meet her. She had outrightly begged me to stay away from her, and I felt the really strong urge to give that to her.
It had been a week since I had last seen her. I felt so ripped and torn, but there was nothing I could do. So, I tried to start working towards getting over her. Even, thinking about it, us together was sort of impossible. What was I even thinking?
I sighed, dropping the spoon I was holding. I was at shop 2001, with my squatter and childhood friend - Inoma. We had decided to eat out, since we had been indoor all day, and there was also no light to cook.
"Talk to me naw, Cee. What is it that is bothering you?" Inoma asked me for almost the umpteenth time. She had been bothered, asking me since the day I had busted into the room and went straight to bed, but my answer still remained the same.
She frowned, dropping her fork down. "You have been saying the same thing for almost a week now Cee. The same damn answer, but you aren't getting better in any way. I see how you try to smile and still crack jokes like your old self, but Cee I've known you since we were in the womb, I know when something isn't clicking. So, talk to me."
Her words sank in, touching everywhere within me. Inoma was someone I could trust, talk to, but I didn't know if coming out to her - or even anyone - was a smart idea, so I shook my head. "You won't understand."
Inoma sighed, throwing her hands up. "I won't understand kwa? How? Isn't it the same brain that God gave to us ehn?" she sighed, letting her shoulders fall. "If it is something that you're scared of me judging you for, just know I won't. I will always try to support you no matter what."
There she went again, answering questions I had in my mind. She always did that, sink into something that I never let out, even if not hitting it on the head. But, she was often close. So, I sighed, deciding to let her know. My heart was beating, beating like it was going to burst out of my chest. "Are you sure you won't judge me?" I asked for more assurance, hoping she was going to tell me not to bother, so I don't have to let it out to her.
But, she nodded, crossing her arms across her chest. "I've never, so why start now?" she asked, frowning a bit.
I nodded, letting my head fall down to her plate of spaghetti as I tried to keep calm, not letting my chaosed inside get out. "I… Err… I-"
"Talk naw," she cut me off in impatience.
"Well, it's not an easy thing to say," I replied her, frowning a bit and looking away, beginning to rethink telling her at all.
"I'm not saying it is easy, it's just that… Well, you know how my curiosity gets me?"
I nodded, recalling her amebo (pokenoseing) series and how they've almost gotten her in numerous troubles and terrible situations. But, she keeps getting saved. I smiled, cooling off a bit and coming to terms with it that, I would have to tell her sooner or later. I sighed, then slouched. "I kind of erm…" - I cleared my throat - "...kind of like girls."
It was like the message didn't sink in well enough, so she adjusted herself and leaned forwards as she said, "Ehn?"
I nodded. "Yes."
"I didn't hear you ah, talk wetin you talk before."
I sighed. "I said I am attracted to females. I am a lover of women."
"Oh." Was her simple reply as she sat back in, making me frown.
"Oh?" I asked. "That's all you have to say?"
She shrugged. "What do you want me to say?"
I began to feel so unsure. "Are you not like surprised or something? Disappointed in me even? Disgusted?"
"Do you want me to be?" she asked, keeping a straight face.
I shook my head. "No I don't, I just…" I trailed, not having the words.
She nodded. "Then I'm not."
We slipped into an uncomfortable silence, on my end. It was uncomfortable to me, but I didn't know if it was to her. I had expected more, maybe a huge reaction or even words of disapproval. But, she had taken it so lightly. I honestly didn't know how to react to it, but it made me uneasy in a lot of ways. So, I sat up, sticking to eating my ofada rice and stew. I savoured the taste of the ever delicious meal, wondering how they were always able to make theirs' so sweet. I never got tired of it, but often wanted more.
After a while of simply eating my food and keeping my eyes on my plate, I let my eyes drift to Inoma's plate. She was eating her spaghetti like nothing had happened between us not long. She loved spaghetti, and would have it at any time if the day. If one didn't force her to have something else, she'd have for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She didn't mind. A small smile crept to my lips, she was such a character.
"What is making this one smile?" she asked me, smiling. "Did your dad just send you allowie (allowance)?"
I shook my head, letting my smiley face change to a serious look.
"What is doing you?"
I shook my head, not wanting to raise the conversation again.
"Cee, don't tell me you're still bothered about whatever you told me."
I didn't reply her, but instead began to play with my food, tossing the small meat here and there.
She sighed. "Really? Chai. Celia I've told you that, it isn't a problem. These things are everywhere now and are even in vogue. Yes, it may not be accepted here, but I wouldn't judge you by that. You have the right to feel for whosoever you choose. I have no say in what your heart wants. And if you think I would dislike you for such, then that's really silly of you. I don't even care. If that's what it is, then that's what it is. That's what you are. I still love you the same way I've always loved you. It hasn't affected our friendship the tiniest bit. I still care for you like I have since day one. And you are still my damn stupid, silly and playful best friend. Do you feel me? "
Her words settled every storm within me. I had been worrying over nothing, honestly. I didn't know why I had expected her to judge me or try to avoid me, she was Inoma, my best friend and she didn't care. A small smile made its way to my lips as I nodded. "Yes, I do."
"Better," she commented, going back to her food.
I had only gone back to my food, when one of the sellers started to shout, "Aunty pay me my money jare."
Inoma's head and my head snapped to where the noise had come from. My heart immediately skipped, beating rapidly. It was her, she had a really confused look on her pretty face. "I could swear, my purse was here. I only went to get a drink from the fridge, so I could add it to my food bill," she tried to explain to the woman who had sold food to her.
But, the woman had no interest in whatever she had to say. "Abeg Abeg (I beg), no even start that one. You think say abi mumu abi? You wan chop (eat), come say your purse disappear rubbish. Abeg abeg, pay me my money aunty. Or I go raise alarm oh," she said like she wasn't already raising alarm.
My crush's face went from confusion to that of fear and panic. "I swear ma, I didn't try to fool you. Or, I'm not trying to fool you, I was only-" she paused like an idea had come to her mind. "How about I transfer to you?" she quickly suggested.
But, the woman shook her head. "Nah lie. The money go bounce back, I no want biko (please). Nah cash I want."
"I know her," I muttered to myself, but Inoma had heard me from how quiet the hall had become. Everyone's attention was on the small fight.
"You do?" Inoma asked, causing me to nod. "How? She doesn't look familiar."
I nodded. "I kind of have a crush on her," I told her absentmindedly, causing her eyes to widen.
"Oh, she was the one that made you realize?"
I nodded, picking my purse up from where it was by my plate. "I'll be right back," I told her as I left and went to where the woman was.
Who the hell leaves their purse for a second in this Nigeria we dey? Who? No one.
"Madam, allow me transfer. I promise it won't bounce back," my crush promised the woman, but the woman didn't agree.
She began to abuse, causing me to frown and get defensive.
"Abeg, aunty no curse," I said angrily, standing beside my crush. "How much be the money?"
"All, nah five hundred naira," the woman said, standing akimbo.
"Nah why you wan almost destroy person destiny? Because of ordinary five hundred." I sighed and brought out a thousand naira note from my purse, since I didn't have change, giving it to her. "No be so you go dey treat customer. Ah ahn. Shey she look like person wey fit steal?"
"No be by face abeg," the woman muttered after she gave me my change from the money wrapped in her wrapper, walking back to her stall.
I sighed, turning to look at her. "Are you okay?"
Looking at her, it was then I noticed she had already begun to cry. Water was at the edge of her eyes, a couple of blinks were going to bring them out. But, she nodded. "I'm fine."
"Are you sure?" I asked, bending a bit so I could get a clearer look at her face.
She nodded still. "I'm good."
"I'll be right back," I quickly told her, then made my way back to Inoma.