Timi forced a smile as she listened to her Bestie's resounding excitement. She didn't understand why she was not as thrilled as she had hoped she would be. She begun to feel the ache at the edges of her jaw. She was smiling too much; from ear to ear.
"Tee, I couldn't believe my ears! I felt like I was in a movie or something. I couldn't even hear his words. The rock was staring at me right in my face! We were at the rooftop at Fareinheit and everything was just so romantic..." Ite went on and on gushing about her fairy tale proposal.
"I didn't know Damola was that romantic. He always seems so...stern." Timi managed to say. Her throat felt dry. She needed a drink. She would have wanted something with more effects than wetting a parched throat.
"He is. You have no idea!" Ite blushed. Timi knew that look. And she knew her best friend had more to say. Ite was smiling and hugging herself.
"What?" Timi asked, narrowing her eyes.
"Nothing." Ite lied, looking away and laughing.
"Ite...I hope it's not what I'm thinking."
Her bestie shut her eyes and ran her bejeweled fingers through her hair.
"It was a spur of the moment thing. We both got overwhelmed with our feelings for each other and it happened. And he appreciates me even more than he ever did because he hasn't been with a virgin before. Timi you won't understand. We are getting married soon. We are engaged so it's as good as..."
Timi yelled in anger. She exhibited all dimensions of the emotion.
"Just like that? Where you keeping yourself for the moment or were you doing it in obedience to God? Ite...We made this vow and this pact to God since we were thirteen years old. Couldn't you just hold on?"
Ite felt bad, but she was surprised at her best friend's reaction. Why was Timilehin crying more than the bereaved? It wasn't even as though she was bereaved in the circumstance. She was engaged to the man of her dreams and they were going to get married soon.
Timi started to cry and Ite got all the more confused.
"Tee..." Ite called but Timi grabbed her purse and stormed out of the flat.
She sat in her car and reclined the seat for a while. The tears wouldn't stop. She knew she had to drive off before Ite followed her and walked out of the door. She took her phone from her purse. She had three missed calls from Damola. Her phone started to ring again. It was him. She ignored the call and zoomed off.
The first time she had spoken with him was the moment she had fallen for him. The day replayed in her head. It never eluded her. She had just moved to Lagos proper after the Nysc three weeks orientation program. She had been posted to teach Economics at a public secondary school. She had thought she would be posted to a bank where she could kick start her career but somehow, every effort had proved abortive. She had gotten a self-contained apartment somewhere at Yaba. It was close to the school. She was from a staunch CAC Family back at Akure but she decided she wanted to try out more "liberal" churches in Lagos. After "window-shopping" churches, she decided on Divine Grace Network and if she wasn't comfortable with their doctrine, she would port somewhere else or simply return to her CAC roots like her mother had already instructed.
Damola Damisi had been the church worker to welcome her as a first timer and there was just something she couldn't explain. She didn't believe in love and first sight but she felt she was now a victim of the cliché. He was good looking, yes. But there was something about him that seemed to settle with her. They became good friends after then especially as they kept in touch more and more. She wanted to take it slow. She wanted him to be the one to make the move. She wanted to be a lady...a Christian lady.
He was an engineer with one of the International Oil Companies. But he was a contract staff. He had started to open up to Timi as more than a friend. And she cherished that. It gave her hope. He told her his foremost prayer point was that he be confirmed as a Permanent staff. Timi took up the potential wife-material role and encouraged him. She told him she was willing to agree with him in Spirit over it. They agreed to fast for two days. Timi fasted an extra day.
Damola got the job eventually. There had been an opening in the Drilling department and he had applied for it. She still remembered vividly how he had come to pick her from the school, giving her the good news. She had jumped for joy and hugged him with profound emotion. He had told her how much of a blessing she was to him and how he was grateful to have her in his life. She thought he would say more. Maybe tell her how beautiful she was, how much he had started to appreciate her and how he wanted to be her husband. But he hadn't.
She decided to play the jealousy card and then she told him of a guy who was asking her out and had been disturbing her.
Damola had been cold. Not a week went by that he didn't ask about this new guy and if she liked him. She felt she could draw her answers from his reaction. He probably did like her but was not ready and had not gotten a confirmation from God so she decided to wait for him. In the course of waiting, Nysc came to an end and she had to go back to Akure for a little while.
Life moved on and they continued to keep in touch. Then one day, he called and told her his mother was having her 50th birthday anniversary and there was going to be a big party. He wanted her to meet his family. Timi had been beyond nervous. She told her parents she was going to spend the week with her childhood best friend, Iteoluwa who was taking a masters degree at the University of Lagos.
Getting to Ite's flat, of course she spilled the beans and told her everything. Well, she left out the part that she was madly in love with Damola. She kept on insisting that they were just friends but that she was shy seeing him again and meeting his family. Ite was recently going through a break up with an ex boyfriend so Timi thought it was a good idea that she accompanied her to the party.
And it was at the party that Ite had met Damola. Timi was a little uncomfortable at first because after a while, she started to feel like the one who had accompanied Ite. They spoke endlessly and seemed to finish each other's sentences. Yes, Timi had met Damola's family and they did love her, but Ite had met his person. She had gone depths and spoken lengths which she hadn't reached with him throughout the two years they had been friends.
The first shocker came when Ite started asking her if she was sure she didn't have feelings for Damola. She didn't want to appear like a fool. So she had laughed it off and said No. Then everyday, Ite started to talk about Damola, and Damola started to talk about Ite. The job offer at Abuja couldn't have come at a better time. She got a job with a Microfinance bank at Maitama and she was glad to move away. Maybe it was time to let go of Damola and come to the reality that he would never see her as more than a friend.
Two weeks after she moved, Ite had sent her a message on Bbm.
"God answers prayers. I thought after Fola left me, I would not find a good man. And God used you as an instrument of love to bring Damola into my life. We are officially a couple."
After Timi had calmed down, she got out of her car and walked towards her block. She now worked in Lagos. Her company had transferred her. As she opened her door, she heard someone call her name. She turned around. Well, she didn't have to. She knew his voice. She knew who he was.
"Hi Damola." She said dryly, walking into the apartment.
He cleared his throat then walked in behind her.
"Timi, I have been calling you for ages." He said.
"What do you want?"
He was silent for a while.
"Ite has told you, right?" He said.
Timi knew she was going to cry again. She removed her nude high heels and walked bare feet to the kitchen to get a glass of cold water. Damola followed her.
"I had no idea. I..." He started. She couldn't help it anymore. She started to cry.
"I feel like a freaking fool! I feel so stupid...I... I..was...sending..." She started to catch her breath. Damola went closer to her and held her, stroking her hair. Timi knew this was not right. She wanted to push him away but she could not. She was weak to her knees. Weak from the proposal, weak from hearing that they had sex, weak from how stupid she had been, and weak from the scent of his perfume.
"It's alright." He said.
She found her courage and pushed him away.
"No it isn't. You proposed to my best friend and you slept with her! How could you. Damola you're a Christian. We talk about this all the time."
Damola shook his head.
"It was a mistake. Yes I got carried away but I love her. But that's not what I came to talk about." He said.
Timi knew what he came to talk about and she didn't want to hear it.
"I had no idea you wanted me." He said softly.
"Just go, please." She wept.
"I can't. I love you...as a friend."
"I don't think you are stupid. You will always mean a lot to me." He said, then walked out of her apartment.
Timi sank into the beanbag in her living room and burst into another round of tears. She took her phone from the table and searched for the long message she had sent to Damola the very same night he had proposed to Ite.
She had decided to come out clean and to be more mature about everything. Yes she knew Damola and Ite were dating, but she felt she couldn't continue to hide it. She had tried to move on. But she could not. The men she had met especially in Abuja, were only interested in sex, fun and more sex, and she wasn't game for that. She had talked to her pastor, and he had told her that as long as Damola and Ite were not married, she had the freedom to let him know her feelings and convictions, especially because she said God had told her that Damola was her husband. So she had planned to see him that weekend and spill the beans. But then again, she knew she would be extremely embarrassed to look him in the eye. So she had sent a text. She had included the scriptures she had to back up her confirmation that they were meant to be together. She apologized for how Ite would feel and told him that even if they were best friends, she couldn't let go of her destiny. She knew he had read the message. She had sent it via Whatsapp. But he never replied.
The next morning, Ite called her and told her she needed her to come over to her place. Timi had been scared. She hadn't expected Damola to show the message to ite. She decided she would face the situation like an adult and explain everything to her. What was the worst that would happen?
But then Timi had gone over to Ite's house and had been welcomed with the huge Ascher diamond rock that graced her fourth finger.
Damola hadn't spilled the beans to Ite after all, but he had spilled the remains of her heart.
*Rollercoaster Episode One