I knew that it could be difficult for me to get to see her but I was determined to try. I needed to tell her who I truly was. Perhaps that would get her to open up to me. It was only a five minute walk to her house and so I set out.
I realized that I hadn’t told Ike about her yet. I wasn’t sure why. Titi had nearly cost us everything in school. When I met her I was just considering dating Ike Okonji the hot guy in my faculty three years older than me and two years my senior. He had asked me out on my way to the hostel from class and I was so surprised that he would be interested in shy, diffident me. All I could do was nervously stammer that I would think about it. Then I avoided him for about two weeks
It didn’t take long before I told Titi about it. She was amused at my reticence and inexperience and then said she wanted to meet him to see if he would be a good fit for me.
“I don’t want anyone taking advantage of you my friend. I know you like him but I don’t want that to cloud your judgement,” she said grasping my hand.
She seemed very sincere and I believed her. I didn’t know that that meeting spelt the beginning of doom.
I came out of my reverie when I discovered that I had reached the front of her house and pressed Titi’s doorbell and waited for a response. Nothing. I pressed it again.
A boy who looked to be about seven with Tit’s eyes came to the door. He had a sad, lost look as he greeted me.
“I would like to see your mother,” I told him.
“She’s resting ma. Can I take a message?”
Smart kid, I thought. I wasn’t sure I believed him or not but I didn’t think it would be right for me to push it. Perhaps it could wait another day.
“What’s your name?” I asked him.
“Ayomide,” he replied. For someone whose name meant ‘happiness had arrived’, he didn’t look very happy.
“Ok. Just tell your mum I stopped by and that I need to discuss something important with her. I’ll come again tomorrow. Do you understand what I said?”
He nodded vigorously and watched me as I walked away.
As I walked home, I got lost in my thoughts again. I had been so naïve in school. Titi told me to invite him to my room where she and I would be waiting to meet him. It was difficult for me to muster the courage to speak to Ike on my own but I spotted him leaving one of his classes one day and the words just tumbled out.
He smiled and agreed to come. I was nervous that Saturday evening but Titi was with me and Ike arrived promptly at five dressed in a jersey and jeans and looking even more handsome than usual.
Titi had warned me to act cool while she appraised him. I bought him a cold drink and watched as she dominated the entire conversation. She seemed to do a good job of scrutinizing him. She asked him about his plans after school, what his hobbies were, whether he attended church regularly. She sked questions I would have been too shy and afraid to ask. I sat there nearly mute the entire time. Ike smiled and responded to her questions with relative ease but when it appeared as if the questions were becoming more of interrogations he stood up to leave. I escorted him out of the hostel and then he turned to me asked me why I was quiet.
“Nothing.” I mumbled. He said he hoped to see me around and left.
I was eager to hear what Titi my more experienced friend in this matters thought of him. When I got back to my room, she was waiting with a frown on her face.
“Chinelo, honestly I don’t think you should date that Ike boy.” She said giving me a serious look. “ He seems like a shifty person. I don’t trust him.”
When she saw my crestfallen look, she said. “Ok. You know what? Let me find out more about him. If he’s any good, I’ll let you know. If not, I’ll tell you. But for now, I think you should stay away from him. I think he wants to take advantage of you.”
Looking back now, it seems incredulous that I was so naive. But I was. Naïve enough to believe her every word.