Like beauty, love lurks around in the most ordinary places — (checks script)- yes, most ordinary places.
“Adaeze? You finally picked my call, ope oh.”
I rolled my eyes. Since the day of the incident, somehow, I couldn’t find the guts to talk to Afam or any of his friends. It is silly, I know. My best friend Shalewa has called me a coward like one million times, but abeg.
Once, she asked me if I was ready to throw away Afam and I’s friendship just like that. She asked if I had a plan, and I asked her if she was hungry. She abandoned the dynamics of my non-existent love life for food. Classic Shalewa. I don’t blame her. I’ll do the same.
I jolted myself back to reality. “You called me five times, Tayo, why? Did somebody die?”
“Adaeze, are you for real? So, you watched your phone ring or what?”
“Toh, you would have texted if it was an emergency.”
“I should have texted that Afam had an accident?”
“What?” my phone dropped from my hand.
I had never driven the way I was driving now, and if Shalewa or any of my family members could see me now, they would be distraught. I honked impatiently at the guy in front of me, fighting tears. Tayo said he was at Tidal Hospital. The Hospital was just a stone’s throw from my house, but the journey took forever.
Worry gripped my heart. Afam’s brother owned Tidal, so I knew Afam was in good hands but still. I sighed and palmed my forehead. Why did I keep avoiding his calls? God, God. What if? I shook my head vehemently and scolded myself “No What if’s, Ada. He is fine”
As soon as I arrived at the Hospital, I ran to Afam’s brother’s office. He reassured me that I had nothing to worry about and took me to Afam’s room. Tell me why when I opened the door, the person I was worried about was playing whot with Shalewa and Tayo.
I was too stunned to speak.
“Here comes the bride! Here comes the bride,” Tayo sings in a low tone. Shalewa joined in “All dressed in…” she paused dramatically and tried to pick out the color of my dress, then continued, “all dressed in olive green….”
I have never been so angry in my whole life. My eye burned with tears. I turned and started to walk away. Afam ran after me and held my hands, and honestly, if I wasn’t still recovering from shock and panic, I would have hit him.
“I don’t want to raise my voice, Afam. This is an hospital please, let go.”
“Can we go somewhere to talk?”
“Go somewhere to talk? Go somewhere to talk?! I was worried sick! I drove like a maniac. I could have had an accident.”
“I am sorry, I didn’t think it through.”
“You, Shalewa, Tayo, even your brother. Nobody could say “oh no, fellas, this is the most stupid plan I have ever heard in my life” nobody?”
“Well, except my brother, we are not exactly the brightest. You know, Ada, you know.”
My emotions betrayed me, and I started to smile and then laugh. That statement was not even funny, but I laughed, maybe out of relief. Afam was here, standing in front of me. Suddenly, I wanted to pull him in a hug, hold his face and tell him I missed him. I was mad as hell but beyond my anger was gratitude.
“Ada, l have a lot to tell you. Can we sit somewhere?”
I followed him sheepishly as he led me to a waiting area. As we sat, he held my hands and looked into my eye. I might have rolled my eye if I was watching from a screen.
“Ada, I love you.”
People of God! Butterflies were somersaulting in my tummy!
“I’ve known for a long time but, I thought that our friendship was too sacred to be tainted with uncertainty. But, these past days of no-contact has forced me to think. Ada, there is nothing uncertain about my love for you.”
I could cry. I pinched myself to be sure I was not dreaming. Afam saw me and smiled.
“When you do silly things like that, it’s like you give my happiness expression. You make me want to dance in the rain, make me want to play-wrestle, sing off-tune, dance off-music. Ada, you make me want to be silly, you make me want to take off my shoes and make myself at home in your heart.”
I laughed, and he shook his head like he was struggling with words. That was my clue. I leaned in and kissed his cheek. He blushed crimson, and I laughed.
“I love you too, Afam. I don’t know why it took me so long to see it. But, I love you. You are my happy place. Your smile is like a warm embrace, and on my bad days, your sacarsm is like a balm. I love you, Afam. I don’t want anybody like you, it’s you I want.”
He pulled me to himself and held me.
“Our friends are probably dying to know the update,” I said.
“Or placing bets on top of our matter.”
I laughed because it was true and because my being in Afam’s arms was intoxicating.
“So now what?”
“Now, we remain like this”
“For how long?”
“Adaaaa, don’t ruin the moment.”
I laughed. “Okay, maybe for an hour.”
“Or maybe, forever.”
“I like the sound of that.”
*Whot is a common card game