Ro, I miss you badly. I wish we could talk, laugh, be friends just like we used to. But I feel like you keep pushing me away because you don’t need me anymore. All I can say is that I’ll still be here whenever you need me. I miss you.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Letting Go Of Ro…
…is going to be one of the hardest things I’m ever going to do. If I had a choice, I’d still keep on at trying to let her see things my way. But I have decided to give up today. I sense we are not meant to be.
You know how it is when you see someone for 14 days and you never take note of them? Then one day, POW!! You look again and then you see her. That’s how it was between Ro and me.
NYSC camp in Ekiti State was the arena in which we met. N.Y.S.C. What a camp…!!!The adventurous came to catch fun, the wise ones guard their hearts, the dim-witted get heartbreaks for all their pain while the rest of us complain. I belonged to the last category, you see.
I knew everyone in my platoon but I didn’t feel like mixing much. They knew me as the guy who would ask whenever we went on Parade: “What is the essence of NYSC? Why don’t they just pay us the full allowee? Then set us free and let us be?”
I guess I must have made a mark with these constant dissenting remarks. But that was hardly the way to charm them ladies. “The guy who always asked what the essence is” is how one of the females in my former platoon still remembers me.
Sitting in my hostel room the very last week, the soldiers came to chase us out with sticks. I flew out of the room in a rage, too angry even to speak. But my rebellious heart wasn’t silent “So they wanted me to attend a dumb lecture? Ok, let’s wait and see”, I thought as I sat under a tree.
Then I looked up and saw her as she approached me. Closer in height to short than average, plump but not really fat, wearing glasses. And after I gave her a couple of glances, she came close and joined me under the tree. I made a mental note: she is indeed pretty.
And then slowly we broke the ice, talking as if we’d known each other all our lives. Even when the soldiers came to shoo us inside the hall we still kept each other company. The resource person giving the lecture might as well have been invincible because regardless of what he said all I saw was she.
And so a pattern was born. We’d walk around talking in turn after our lectures were done. Wondering why we’d never noticed each other before even though we were in the same platoon. And she was the prettiest and smartest of them all, I could have sworn. She was all that a woman should mean to me.
It was awkward at first, as we put ourselves to test. Me, acting all gentlemanly, she like a queen. Me turning down her offers to buy me anything like I was taught since birth. There were no strings attached but in my mind somewhere at the back, ran that saying around wisdom’s track: Beware the lunch that is free.
Then like all good things do, the last 7 days came to an end and as I packed my bags my sister’s words rang true: “Be mindful of love on the NYSC camp because what the call-up letter has put together, the posting letter shall put asunder.” But that was farthest from my mind as they called out my number and not realising that would separate us, I waved my letter with glee.
Finally! No more "Corper weeee, corper waaaa!" No more otondo and “sucking the breast of Philomena”. But I would miss the refrain: “Who give you belle? RSM!!!” For indeed that was the one song that he was most uncomfortable with, seeing as he - the RSM - was indeed randy.
Then I went looking for Ro, just to her my letter to show. And when she called out where she was posted to, my face immediately lost its glow. For she has been sent far from me, to that much-sought-after yet dreaded city, Ado-Ekiti.
We would talk on the phone the next night and many others to come. Our friendship still tried to retain its spark but the distance and service year’s frustrations put it under serious attack. And after a while things turned around and we couldn’t exactly get them back. I changed and Ro changed. And we both turned out different from how we used to be.
I recall the silly things I’ve done while trying to get her attention. Even going so far as travelling on the spur of the moment to see her, keeping her company in the Lagos University Morbid Anatomy mortuary section. But as I sat down watching the blood-filled test-tube in a centrifuge turn, reality slowly began to dawn. The fact that my company wasn’t needed was indeed very glaring for all to see.
It’s been two years now and though I’ve tried to keep in touch, Ro doesn’t seem to want to have anything to do with me much. We were just friends even though I wanted more. But I never really knew what to say and when I would try to she didn’t want to hear such. Just two years yet we have changed so much. How ironic; I’m still looking for a job, she’d doing her Ph.D.
My last text message to her read:
Something told me she was meant to be the one. Letting go of Ro is the hardest thing I’ve ever done…