Lost in thought, Bodun’s eyes discovered a trail of ants and she found herself imagining the world the ants lived in. She paused her thoughts as she realised she had been washing the spoon in her hand for too long.
She didn’t have the will to continue dish washing, so she washed her hands, put off the tap and left the kitchen.
Her head was banging so hard, and the music playing via her earpiece wasn’t helping matters so she pulled it out and stopped her music player. She needed peace, she needed quiet.
She had been moody all day, didn’t engage in any unnecessary conversation with anyone at work. It was one of those days she battled depression and hoped she didn’t crash.
She laid on her bed, her eyes darted about, she was trying to avoid a thought so she closed her eyes and hoped for sleep to come but it didn’t.
She had been concentrating so hard on avoiding the thought that it became the only thing on her mind. Then around a corner in her head another thought flickered.
She missed him, she needed to forgive him, then maybe, just maybe she wouldn’t feel so much weight in her chest. She dialed his number but wasn’t sure it would go through
Then the call went through, it began to ring and she hoped he wouldn’t pick up because she didn’t really have anything to say to him. She had a change of mind and was about to hang up when she heard his voice
She opened her mouth to speak but no words came out. She took deep breaths, clenched her fist as if it strengthened her and finally whispered
“how are you Abby?”
I’m not fine, my life is a mess, I’m frustrated. I’ve missed you, there’s a lot I want to tell you was what she wanted to tell him, instead she said “I’m fine, how about you?”
“I’m good dear, it’s good to finally hear from you after such a really long time, we haven’t spoken since you were about to graduate. Why did you stopped taking my calls ?
They hadn’t spoken in about 3 years and that was because she had been ignoring his calls since he told her he wouldn’t be coming for her graduation.
Bodun was trying hard to not explode, so in the calmest voice she could muster she said
“That’s because you didn’t think your daughter’s graduation was more important than some silly honeymoon”
She began to regret making the call, she envisaged sparks flying so she was surprised when rather than try to justify himself, her father said “I’m sorry Abby, I know I hurt you. I haven’t forgiven myself since. In truth the honeymoon wasn’t the reason I didn’t come, I just didn’t want to see …
“…mom” This realisation dumbfounded Bodun, she scrunched her face, scoffed, tapped her hand on the couch and shook her legs “well if it makes you feel any better, she didn’t come either, she gave some dumb work excuse but I know she just couldn’t bear seeing you”
“yes daddy, oh! Do you hate each other so much that you forget you have a child together? All my life, I have paid the price for your mistakes. I didn’t ask to be born to people who hate each other, you are my parents, you are supposed to set your differences aside and make me your priority, but it turns out I’m not”
“Abby, You are my priority, nothing can ever change that”
“Dad I’m not …I’m not a kid anymore. You don’t have to butter me up”
The conversation wasn’t going how she expected but she wasn’t quite sure what she actually expected. Her dad was quiet and she knew he was going to change the subject of discussion, she actually wanted him to.
“how are things with you and Michael?”
Wrong subject change She rolled her eyes
“Dad we haven’t spoken in years don’t ask questions like you still know what’s up. Michael… We broke up just before our final exams”
“I’m so sorry Abby, what happened? Do you want to talk about it? “
“There’s really nothing to talk about, though it took a very long while but I think I’ve healed. He just stopped talking to me, and wouldn’t even listen to me talk. All these without an explanation, honestly Dad, men are scum”
“Including your pop?”
“yes, including you daddy “
Beep. The call ended, she checked her phone for the message that came in immediately and it told her her airtime had been exhausted. She was trying to recharge through mobile banking when her phone rang, it was an international number, she knew it was her dad and she picked up.
“Abby dear, I’m sorry I haven’t been the dad you wanted, I promise to be better and I promise you’ll find love again”
Bodun rolled her eyes, if not anything she should have learned from her parents that love wasn’t all it seemed. Her parents divorce took a toll on her mom, she drowned herself in work even more, leaving no time to nurse a broken heart, while her father got into two relationships afterwards, getting married to the second lady.
“Enough sad talk, let’s talk about something exciting okay, what are your plans for your birthday? “
There it was the thought she had been avoiding This man sure knows a lot about wrong timing. Her birthday was a few days away but she wasn’t excited about it, she had never been.
As a child she was placed in boarding school for her secondary education and she never got visits from her parents on her birthdays like other students did, not even gifts, only a call through the house mistress’ phone.
Her first birthday out of secondary school was the worst because her parents had filed for divorce and were battling for child custody. Her last birthday in University brought another heart break, because that was when Michael stopped talking to her.
She feared what this birthday had in store for her because the entire year had been a bumpy ride, from her dysmenorrhea getting worse, Kelvin’s shenanigans and then Feranmi’s disappointment. The only constant source of happiness she had in her life was Ariel and she was going to hold on to her like her life depended on it.
“I don’t have plans daddy, can we talk later someone’s buzzing my work line” she lied
“Alright baby, I’m sorry okay, you are still my one true love”
It wouldn’t be bad to have a happy birthday for once in my life. For everyone who’s ever hurt me to come begging. To be loved and wanted and cared for. It’s not too much to ask, is it?
Sitting on the couch, watching marathon episodes of The Thundermans on Nickelodeon, Bodun still in her pyjamas sipped on her creamy coffee engrossed in the series and didn’t have a worry… for now. Then her phone rang and without taking her eyes off the TV she picked up the call and held the phone to her ear.
Hearing the voice made her almost choke, she fluttered her eyes and coughed lightly to clear her throat. She knew who was speaking, only one person called her Dunrin, but she couldn’t give them the satisfaction of them knowing they had left that much impact.
“who is this?” She asked as she dropped the cup of coffee on the table
“I won’t say I’m surprised you don’t have my number anymore”
She took a glance at the number and realised she remembered it, it had stuck to her head from several calls and it took a long while to forget it even after she deleted it to prevent her from calling.
“I’m sorry which Michael is this? ” She couldn’t let him think she remembered him effortlessly
“If there’s another Michael that calls you Dunrin, then I would gladly give you further descriptions “
“Oh, Hi” Bodun replied wanting to get to the reason of the call
There was an attempt to be neutral and civilised in their conversation, asking questions they didn’t really mean, trying to evade what they really wanted to talk about.
“I can’t explain how much I’ve missed you Dunrin”
“Oh please, you cut off from me remember?”
“And not one day goes by that I don’t regret it, it’s…”
“It’s what Michael? Because I am trying to understand what could be the reason behind you suddenly acting like I didn’t exist.”
He was quiet, she sensed there was something bothering him .
“Can we see? Just talk”
“Talk? Oh my goodness, you want us to talk? About what? What could you possibly have to say to me that would justify anything, everything? “
“Please understand me, I’m not trying to justify myself trust me. I guess it’s time I told you the truth, something I should have done a long time ago. “
After much begging Bodun agreed to meet the next day at a restaurant close to Bodun’s environ. He initially suggested the Ikeja city mall but Bodun wasn’t up for it yet, it still reeked of Feranmi and his skinny girlfriend.
Bodun still couldn’t understand why Michael cut off from her so cruelly and that was the reason she agreed to meet, after all these years she realised she needed closure. Interrupting her thoughts was a knock on her door
“Who is it? ” Bodun asked walking to the door
By the voice you shall know them
“My love!” Ariel squealed the moment Bodun opened the door, opening her hands wide for a hug, but Bodun walked away leaving her hanging.
What kind of friend refuses a hug from her best friend? Ariel asked with a pretend sad face
“The kind of friend who wants to go back to bed” Bodun replies while walking back to the bedroom ” I don’t understand how you can go clubbing one day and be this active the next day”
“How do you know I went clubbing? “
“Because I know you “ Bodun heaved as she threw herself on her bed
“It’s not my fault you don’t have a social life”
Bodun would have clapped back but the call from Michael was all Bodun could think of and she wanted to tell Ariel without seeming to excited about it. Then again she also had to tell Ariel she made up with her dad. Trying to figure out which to tell first she looked a bit absent and Ariel observed it
“B what’s up? “
“I don’t even know where to start from “
“Just start “
Bodun sighed, not from the situation but from relief of knowing she wasn’t alone, she had a friend, a best friend she could tell anything to.
Ariel was about to open Bodun’s wardrobe when she heard her say
“I called my dad yesterday?”
She turned around to face Bodun with genuine surprise on her face “wow that must have been, I don’t know “ she threw her hands in the air and shrugged from lack of words
“it was alright, I decided to forgive him, not talking to him was beginning to feel stressful and I really missed him ” Bodun was the happiest she had been in a long while. One more person on team Bodun She Smiled to assure Ariel it was alright and Ariel in turn heaved a sigh of relief
“I’m really happy for you girlfriend, so I guess you’ll be spending the Christmas holidays over there”
“I don’t know yet, let December come first” She hadn’t really thought about it. After her parents’ court battle, primary custody was given to her mom and she would spend holidays with her dad. The court after her mom revealed that her dad had plans to relocate out of the country, figured relocation wasn’t in the best interest of the child. So during holidays Bodun travelled to the United States that is until she got angry with him.
Ariel was back to rampaging through Bodun’s wardrobe trying out clothes “okay, so what’s the other issue?”
“He called me ” Bodun said in a way that suggested Ariel knew what she was talking about
“Who?” Ariel said almost absentmindedly expecting to hear Bodun say Kelvin, so the moment she heard Bodun say “Michael” Ariel froze. It was like the room was suddenly too hot and all the oxygen had been sucked out. She tried to hide her shock, she didn’t want her shock to be over the top .
“You are shocked right? Some guys just have problem oh? Although I don’t understand why he cut off from you oh, you guys were best friends for crying out loud. It’s not like him cutting off from his girlfriend is anymore understandable, we didn’t even have a fight. Everything was super good, like just when things were finally right between us, one demon from his village possessed him and he cut off from the two best things that will ever happen to him” Bodun had too much thoughts pent up inside that she didn’t initially realise that Ariel hadn’t turned around.
“Aunty turn around now, are my clothes better than this gist? ”
Ariel turned around a little too quick with an animated smile on her face
“I’m listening to you Bodun “
“Better, anyway he tried apologizing I wasn’t having it, long story short we’ll be seeing tomorrow, he says he wants to explain…on some Kelvin Hart level na” Bodun laughed but stopped when she realised Ariel wasn’t laughing, Ariel was sober.
“Ariel what’s up? “
“I’m sorry Bodun “
“Oh no, did you fart? “
“It’s my fault”
“Your fault? You mean Michael? How is that possible, how could you have known your best friend was an ass? Oh well you should have known”
“You know Michael and I were friends before school, we put ourselves in the best friend zone because we once tried the dating thing and it failed miserably”
Okay I didn’t see that coming. What’s my response supposed to be… “oh OK cool” cool? Are you serious?
“Do you remember the birthday party Chidi threw just before our final exams? “
She’s asking like she actually expects me to remember. How do I remember what I don’t even attend? But I can’t dull this gist… “yes I do” Liar!
“Remember Michael and I tried to get you to attend but you refused so we went without you. The party ended quite late and as usual I crashed at Michael’s because I was really drunk and he was too drunk to drive me home
Yeee! Best friend goals Bodun rolled her inner eyes Just nod Bodun, nod and she nod, she did.
“We slept together that night “
“Yeah you did, on the same bed, no dealio, is that what you were now narrating as if… Abeg, you and Michael could make anyone jealous if they didn’t just understand that you guys are… were really close”
“No I mean, we made Lo…”
Bodun couldn’t hold back the laughter that overwhelmed her and she completely expected Ariel to join in the laugh but instead she was as serious as it could get, she had more to say
“We were both drunk and it just sort of happened and we …”
Breathing was becoming hard for Ariel, she was panting, she couldn’t look into Bodun’s eyes anymore, she was staring at the floor. Ariel reached for her inhaler in her purse and took three puffs.
Bodun felt chills all over her body, she couldn’t believe her ears, she couldn’t believe the moment. She would give anything to un-hear this
“The next morning we both hated ourselves, Michael said he loved you and what we did was he worst mistake of his life. He said he couldn’t bear to face you again. That was why he cut off… “
It was like a giant clock was ticking in Bodun head, everywhere was spinning and suddenly she felt confused.
“Ariel what are you saying? ” she asked hoping to God it was all a joke
Ariel also realising the weight of her confession couldn’t say anything, she hated herself and her silence killed Bodun more.
With widened eyes and an icy tone Bodun whispered without a thought “Get out! “