Short Story : What Love is and is not

by - Friday, September 29, 2017


"What love is and is not" is a guest post by Amohuni Fred Jatto

"It was a hot sunny afternoon’. She revealed to me. ‘I was just leaving my office at the close of the day when my phone rang’.

‘Oh God who can this be again?’ ‘Don’t people really care to know when you’re not in the mood to talk?’

Jessica had begun narrating to me.
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I left it to keep ringing with the hope to check it when I got home. Knowing what Lagos traffic jam can cause, I spent 3 hours in a journey that should ordinarily have taken me just 25 minutes. I was dead-tired when I got home. I completely forgot that I had missed a call and I needed to make a return call.

I was shaken all over as a result of some pot-holes and gallops on the road so much that I lost even my appetite when I got home. I could only take some mouth-full of the jollof-rice I managed to warm, when I got home that evening and went straight to bed without a shower.

I followed my normal routine of having my ‘quiet time’ in the morning before attending to any other house or personal chores. When I was through, I suddenly remembered that I had a phone call the previous day, so I picked up my phone to check who the caller could be. Guess what? “THE BOY FRIEND”. I held back my fury and desperately fought to control my rage, because I had sternly warned him never to call me again and to totally forget that I ever existed, but this frustrated guy wouldn’t listen.

Chris can be very insistent and stubborn.

In a jiffy, my mind flashed back to few months back when we first met. It was my first assignment in Abuja. We met at a dinner party organized by my company’s client. He walked up to me and the first thing he said was ‘Hi, I’m Chris, I like the way you walk. It’s impressive’ He said softly.

I was blushed and almost nervous…. (Don’t mind me!). He was a little bit taller than I am, slim and light complexioned, dressed smartly. He was the kind I cherish. He was truly handsome.

I did not know what had come over me that evening. I was straightaway captivated by him. Within a short time, we exchanged phone numbers, as he became very curious to know more about me. He gave me a call that same night at about 10.00pm and we decided to meet the next day at a restaurant to interact, since I was not going back to Lagos the following day.

This was a Saturday. It was sunny and breezy. I woke up happy and optimistic that my dreams would come true. I wore a simple knee length blue gown with a beige coloured strappy sandal.

Even though I did not go late, I met him waiting at the restaurant for me. As I walked towards him he stood up to pull a chair for me like his princess. I was to sit directly opposite him. We exchanged some pleasantries and then he went to the bar to order some glass of wine for both of us and we resumed our chat again.

Soon I found out that he was a Software Engineer and has a small company of his own in Abuja. Impressive! Isn’t it? Most of his conversation was focused on me.

‘I’m a Beautician’. I told him. ‘And have a work space of my own on the Mainland in Lagos, in addition to the job I do’.

He was very calm and super easy to talk to. Funny guy too. He made me smile occasionally as we chatted. God! When was the last time a guy made me so cheerful and happy so much that I smiled away my burden? I revealed to him how I started from my one room apartment on the Mainland and how I had to make sacrifices to be who I am today. He also told me his story. We talked about Church interests and other things we did for fun at our leisure time.

We established friendship and soon became really good friends.

Even when I got back home we still spoke on the phone. From then on we spoke on the phone virtually every day after work.

A few weeks later, Chris surprised me by dropping in my office in Lagos to say hi. You can imagine how happy I was. I became emotionally attached to him as days went by.

He had waited for me to close, and took me home. When we got to my house, he waited in his car for me to change and we went for a sumptuous dinner in a very expensive restaurant in Lagos Mainland.

On our way, we talked about what had happened since the last time we met and our latest achievements. He suddenly slowed down and packed nearby.

I was wondering in my mind what he was up to. He paused for a few seconds and broke the silence.

‘We’ve being friends for over 3 months now’. He said. ‘I can’t hold this back anymore’. He continued.

Still puzzled as to what he was about to say, he went on. ‘I really like you, and I find myself thinking about you most of the time that I am alone. Nothing will make me happier than to request that you give me a place in your heart’.

Was I in a trance, did I hear him well?

‘Wake up from your slumber!’ I told myself. I had anticipated and patiently waited for this for 3 long months.

All I could do as Chris waited silently for my response, was to give him a nod of acceptance. He looked straight into my eyes and I looked into his too and smiled. He drew me closer to himself and kissed me. Oh! How I longed for that kiss.

When we arrived at our destination and sat, he told me how he had been wanting to break the news of his love for me and his desire that I allow him to be part of my life. We cheerfully enjoyed our meals that evening and he took me to my house. He went to the hotel where he lodged.

He went back to Abuja the next day. For a week and thereafter, I was really glowing for joy and couldn’t hide it from my friends. They were so happy for me and told me to jealously guard our new relationship. Everything went on smoothly and we were happy together.

I flew to Abuja once in two months to see him and he also reciprocated my kind gesture by regularly visiting me. We celebrated the 1st year anniversary of our relationship and it was like heaven on earth. We earnestly and eagerly looked forward to the day of our wedding.

Sometime in August, I attended a 3 day beauty EXPO in Abuja, on behalf of my company. I was really over the moon! I called to tell him that I would be in Abuja and would be staying over at his place during this period. He gladly welcomed the idea, because during my previous visits, I usually lodged in hotels.

I had to prepare as I was one of the facilitators and I felt that putting up at his place would be better this time since he could be a source of tremendous inspiration for me.

I arrived a day before the start of the EXPO, so that we could have time to do some catching up from the last time we met. He picked me up at the airport and we went out to eat dinner, before going to his house. The first and second day of the EXPO went excellently well.

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In the morning of the 3rd day, which was on a Saturday, he knocked on my door, entered and sat at the foot of my bed. I stood up and kissed him; jokingly asked if he was already missing me, because I was flying back to Lagos the next morning. He smiled and said that he didn’t want me to go for the last day of the EXPO, but stay with him. He wanted me to spend the whole of Saturday with him, since I was leaving for Lagos on Sunday morning.

I smiled and told him that his joke wasn’t funny, but should braze up and try a funnier one. I looked into his eyes and realized he was serious.

‘Okay darling! I said calmly. ‘You know what? I can’t stay with you, because today is the last session and I must be with my colleagues. Besides, as one of the facilitators, I’m doing the last presentation today. This is why I came to Abuja, remember? ’.

I tried to explain to him with a straight face. As he was trying to convince me, I firmly, but gently told him that I couldn’t stay back. He had to see reasons with me and shouldn’t try to convince me, because it would be unfair on my company to stay with him when I was sent all the way from Lagos to Abuja for this very special assignment.

I went for the last session of the EXPO that Saturday. Though very tiring, it was an awesome session. On my way back that evening, I decided to pick some Pizza and drinks, so that I wouldn’t need to cook as I was completely exhausted. I knocked on the door and he opened for me. I tried to hug him, as usual, but he turned his back on me. I knew he was very upset as a result of our discussion in the morning. I dropped my stuffs in the dinning and removed my shoes. I came back to the living room, sat beside him and was about to explain to him why I had to go for the last session, thinking that he didn’t quite understand my explanation in the morning.

He angrily jumped up, grabbed me by my gown and dragged me off the couch. ‘I told you not to go, but you did. You disobeyed me’. He yelled at me.

I was starting to really dislike his tone and the way he was roughly handling me.

‘Calm down, please, and listen to my explanation’.

Before I could open my mouth to say a word, there was a hard slap across my face and I found myself on the floor. The massive impact of his hit! I couldn’t believe it. I was badly hurt.

What was my offence? For refusing to spend a day that has been slated for the assignment that brought me to Abuja? Hot tears rolling down my cheeks. My eyes became very red and I felt dizzy. I couldn’t get up off the floor where I helplessly laid down crying.

As he advanced towards me, I retreated to the corner of the room, because I was scared of being hit again. Then I saw his anger melt down and tears standing like balls in his eyes. He knelt down beside me to say that he was sorry and didn’t mean to do what he did. He was trying to explain that he didn’t know what got over him to act the way he acted. All I could say as I sobbed was ‘thank you’.

The more he tried to move close to me, the further I retreated. I managed to drag myself up and went to the room where I was putting up. I started packing my things. He came to me in the room. Dead scared that he might deal another blow on me, I became sensitive and suspicious of all his movements in the room. As I packed my things, I was watching to see what his next action could be.

‘I’m really sorry, dear, for my action’. He kept saying, as he stood by me in tears.

I’ve heard you, but I need to be on my way now. ‘Please don’t leave me’. He cried as he came closer and closer to me.

I didn’t know what came over me. Gradually, I found my anger melting away and felt like accepting his apologies and stay behind, not realizing that this is the beginning of my suffering.
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Jessica was tired of it all and that was why she completely opened up to me.  "Please help me”, she said.

I stood up and hugged her, while she cried her heart out. She was hurt and her trust in men destroyed. After she had calmed down, I held her hands and explained to her what true love is and is not:

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Love never gives up. Love cares for others more than self. Love doesn’t crave for what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut. It doesn’t have a swollen head. It doesn’t force itself on others. Love is not always “me first, but me last. It doesn’t fly off the handle. It doesn’t keep a score of the sins of others.

Love doesn’t revel when others grovel. It takes pleasure in the flourishing of truth. It trusts God always. It always looks for the best in others. It never looks back, but trusts God to the end.

Love never dies. A man who loves you, wants what’s best for you. He wants to see you grow and glow. Love doesn’t glory in your weakness. That way, he’s also happy, because he makes you happy.

My dear Jessica. It’s not easy, but you have to learn to trust and love God and forgive those who hurt you. Learn to love yourself and don’t be afraid to start again.

I will also explain to you on what premise you should not establish love:

Love can’t be established around the riches and successes of a guy. Love can’t be built on how he looks or how he talks and his status. Building love on a guy’s worth, is like building your castle in the air.

At the end of my session with her, she was able to smile and we decided we would see in two weeks’ time.

She walked into my office exactly two weeks after our last session, I could see the glow of joy radiating all over her face and how lovely she really is. She agreed that what I shared with her really helped her. She had decided to start all over again.

Ladies, how do you expect a guy to love you when you don’t really accept and love yourself the way you are?

My advice to you is that you do what makes you happy all the time. Develop yourself, work hard, earn a living, make name for yourself in your society, where no woman is given the opportunity to maximize her full potential. I tell you the right guy will come falling head over heels in love for you soonest.

Photo credit: Love Weddings 

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