It feels good being with him. It always does. I smile to myself as I grab the two orders of ice cream off the counter of the Coldstone creamery outlet at the Palms mall, in Lekki. I turn around and smile at the young man in a denim shirt sitting on a bench a few feet away. His name is Rotimi and he is my boyfriend.
Rotimi and I have had a rocky past. We first met two years ago and started dating, and I fell madly in love with him. Unfortunately, we had to end it a few months down the line because he slept with someone else. The issue wasn’t the infidelity, really. I was just pissed that he cheated on me with an individual that was way, way, WAY below the average level of attractiveness. I mean, why would he leave all of this and go and sleep with a dog? I had every right to dump him.
However, my heart refused to forget him, and after a year and some months, we were back together, and I was happy once again. To be really honest, nobody else had been able to make me as happy as Rotimi made me, and nobody had been able to turn me on as much as he did. Oh yes, some people had come really close, I mean really, really close, but Rotimi takes the cake *insert drooling smiley here*
Anyway, we are both out on a date, spending well-deserved quality time with each other, and I am in cloud 9. I really love this guy, I know. Sometimes the extent to which I do scares me.
“Having fun?” I ask, handing over his coffee-and-pistachio-flavoured ice cream to him.
“Yeah, I am,” he replies, giving me a smile, but I notice that it doesn’t reach his eyes. Hmmm…
Soon after, we both leave, chartering a cab back to my place, and as soon as my front door closes behind us, he grabs me and envelopes my lips in a kiss that sends ripples of passion down my spine to my toes. In minutes, he has me screaming and biting the sheets and calling his name, culminating in a spine tingling orgasm. He does this twice.
Later that day, after giving him a good-bye kiss that lasts at least fifteen minutes, I pick up my phone and open up my BBM application; I am already missing my bae.
“Sweet baby boy,” I type. “It’s always amazing spending time with you.”
It takes a few minutes before he replies.
“I love you, baby,” he says.
I raise my eyebrows at the cryptic yet heartwarming reply. Something doesn’t feel right with Rotimi, and I’ve had the feeling for most of the day.
“Baby, is anything wrong?” I ask.
“Your perception is one of the things I love about you,” he replies. “You’re amazing, and I do not deserve you.”
Ghen-ghen, I think to myself. What is this and where is it going, bikonu?
“I am not a prize to be deserved. I am a human being, a man who is madly in love with you. There is no need to question anything about what we have.”
“You’re wrong,” he says. “You are a prize, a treasure. I love you.”
“And I love you,” I type back.
“But why??? Why do you love me? What is it that I am giving you that no one else can?” he types.
“You make me happy, and no one else has been able to do that. That’s enough reason for me,” I answer.
“It isn’t for me. You deserve better; someone that can really shower you with things, to really show you how much you mean to him.”
“This makes no sense,” I say, a cocktail of emotions swimming in my chest.
“It does, boo. How do you think I felt when we went out today and I couldn’t afford to buy anything for you? You were the one who footed all the bills!!!”
“I did because I wanted to and I can afford it. I don’t see a problem.”
“But I do. You are young and you have a career, your own income, and your own apartment. I on the other hand am a dead beat.”
I can actually feel the utter despondency in his texts, and it is breaking my heart.
“You are not a deadbeat,” I reply.
“No? How then would you describe a 25-year-old dropout with no prospects and a music career that refuses to take off?” he fires back.
I bite my lip as I stare at my phone screen. To be honest, I never approved of him dropping out of school to follow his dream of a music career, but that happened before we met and whenever I brought up the issue of him continuing his education, he would take serious offence. I really don’t know how to help him.
“I love you regardless,” I answer, sending a plethora of kisses and heart smileys his way.
“I don’t deserve your love,” he replies simply.
“But it’s my love. You don’t decide who I give it to. Just accept it.”
“What if I say I don’t want it? What if I want to set you free?”
“Are you trying to break up with me, Rotimi?” I type rapidly back, my heart pounding away in my chest. No way. He can’t do this to me. There is no way the same person is going to crush my hearts into a million bits twice in one lifetime. It just isn’t fair.
“I’m setting you free to find someone worthy of you. I’m not worth it, babes.”
I immediately exit BBM and dial his number.
“Rotimi, you are valuable! You are a treasure! Don’t ever underrate yourself, do you hear me?!” I practically scream into the phone.
“I know what I am, Santa. Don’t try to lie to me,” he says, his voice completely empty and lifeless. And then the call is disconnected.
Indignant, I proceed back to BBM to try and talk sense into my self-deprecating boyfriend. What nonsense is he even talking about? He doesn’t deserve me? Bullshit.
Granted, he is far from being anything close to a Prince Charming, and I know that all too well. But what he doesn’t understand is that I don’t want a Prince Charming, that he’s enough for me just the way he is. There is no need for this boy to start feeling all down in the dumps because his life isn’t where he wants it to be. Whose life is anyway?
But I can’t find Rotimi on BBM anymore. I flip through my contact list frantically like a possessed somebody, but my lover is no longer a contact. Could he have deleted me? Impossible.
I try calling again, but my calls aren’t picked up once, twice, six times. Wow! Was this really the way Rotimi is choosing to end this?
I stared at my phone blankly for a few minutes, as my brain attempts to process what just happened. One word just keeps ringing in my heart: Why?
And then, a text comes into my phone. It is from Rotimi. My cracking heart gives a joyful leap as I open the text. But as I read it, my heart gives up completely, first shattering into a million pieces, and then instantly remoulding itself into a cold, hard rocky substance.
“My Baby, I know you must be upset, sad, heartbroken, you name it, but we can’t be together. You are too far above me and I feel that I am a shame to you, even if you will deny it. For my sanity, I need to be away from you until I begin to feel I am deserving of you, (when my dreams of stardom materialise). I love you.”
With icy rage roiling in my newly-hardened heart, I type back a reply:
“Goodbye, Rotimi. I wish you all the best, as I always do, but don’t think I’ll be here waiting for you whenever or if ever you overcome your self esteem issues. Best regards, your ex.”
My heart may now be a hard cold rock in my chest, but it still hurts. I won’t cry. I can’t cry. And there is no Blue Bunny ice cream at home. The best I can do is soak garri with lots of milk, Milo and sugar.
As I spoon the pimped-up garri concoction into my mouth some minutes later, I realise that Rotimi actually isn’t good enough for me, but not in the way he thinks.
Life and it’s many little ironies…
Written by Santa Diaba