… continued from Episode 5
Suddenly, everything seemed a hundred times more difficult. Final year was as I expected, only harder. I now saw Kelvin in a different light since the night before I left for school, the night I let him see the scar Oke had given me, the scar I always tried to hide. He had paced for minutes after I stopped talking, asking questions about Oke whose answers I didn’t know. His anger had scared me at first – he was ready to find Oke and beat him to death – but after a while, it had been oddly comforting. When he saw I wasn’t saying anything, he had quietly assumed his position on the bench. I sat next to him, in his comforting embrace until I started dozing off.
After that night, a lot of things began to happen to me, a lot of things I couldn’t really explain. Thoughts of Kelvin constantly occupied my mind. His calls were the highlight of each day and I knew he could tell since I was terrible at hiding how I felt.
“What are we doing?” His question startled me and I searched for the words to speak into the phone I had been holding to my ear for about thirty minutes. I had just told him I missed him and he did not hesitate to reply how much he missed me too but then after the awkward silence that followed, he asked the question that still kept me thinking. Really, what were we doing? I knew he still had feelings for me and I had no doubt that he knew I felt something for him too even though I never admitted it.
“I don’t understand,” I stalled.
“Yes, you do.” I hated and loved that he knew me so well but I really didn’t know what to say. I had avoided thinking about it until now. Oke’s assault had left very deep scars, so deep they have hindered any possible romantic relationships. The thought of closeness with a man still scared me, but Kelvin was different. Because he knew.
I had also tried to leave Abigail out of my thoughts but it was near to impossible as I spoke to her every other day. I wasn’t sure I could live with the guilt of being in a relationship with the man my friend wanted. I just couldn’t.
“Nothing can happen, Kelvin. I’m sorry for giving you any ideas.”
“Is this because of what he did to you?”
I was grateful he didn’t mention his name. “Well, that and – ”
What?!! How did he know?! “How did you know?”
“Come on,” Kelvin drawled. “Did you really think I didn’t know? I know she’s your friend, but I don’t have feelings for her.”
I was silent for so long he had to say hello. I resolved that there couldn’t be anything between us. Kelvin was at that point in his life when he wanted to settle down and I knew I couldn’t date him and make him wait till I was ready. Plus the idea of marriage still freaked me out; it wasn’t something I was ready for, nor expected to be ready for anytime soon. He said he understood, that it would be difficult to let go; he probably needed to focus on someone else. I winced at the thought of him with someone else but remained silent. I knew we were both thinking about Abigail.
We agreed to be friends and forget about whatever this was, to say nothing about it henceforth; that way it would be easier to move on.
We both kept to our agreement. Days grew into weeks. It was no more difficult holding back with him than it was with Abigail. I eventually decided to move past it. I hadn’t done anything wrong so why should I feel guilty. I would move past this stage of my life; I said those words to myself every day and even started believing it, until I received a text message from Abigail one Monday afternoon.
I dreaded Mondays – starting classes at 7am and ending at 5pm; a text message was all the distraction I needed from the tiring day. So when I saw it was from Abigail, I hastened to read it hoping she had gist for me, and she did. She wanted to know how school was going. She had been going for dance rehearsals in a bid to spend more time with Kelvin and had gone to his place the previous day after rehearsals. They had watched episodes of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and eaten a lot of junk, which she was trying to avoid. They –
I felt my heart skip a beat as I read the next line. I read it over and over again hoping the words would change. But they did not. I suddenly wished I was at home, in the quiet of my room so I could scream away the hurt I felt.
I stopped reading the message. I couldn’t go on, not after what I had read; Kelvin kissed her.
To be continued next week …
By Keren-Happuch Odinenu
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