February 10th, 2015
I always forget how much I hate to fly…until I actually have to fly. And flying when pregnant?! Oh my goodness! Why didn’t anyone tell me how difficult it would be!
Starting from the mad dash to leave the house in time to get to the airport in good enough time to check in! Phew! Even that was a mouthful! As always, we made it to the airport by the skin of our teeth! And don’t get me started on the airport drama. The heat, the annoying airport staff hustling for bribes, the less-than-clean toilets…I could barely wait to board already.
But when we boarded, egbele oh! Another wahala! Even though I had more leg room (perks of flying Business with Oga), I just couldn’t settle into position. Even my flight pillow didn’t give me any comfort. I kept on shifting and tossing the entire time. Sleep eluded me, the entertainment couldn’t captivate me, and the food…oh dear! I hate airline food on a good day, but this time, I could barely stand the smell as the flight attendants served it, talkless of opening my mouth to eat it! So, I had hunger to add to my long list of woes. And worse, I forgot to travel with any chewing gum, so I got the worst pressure block in my ears as we landed. It wasn’t the best 6 hours of my life, I can tell you that!
But as soon as I stepped into the airport, all the discomfort disappeared, and I was so excited to be back in London. I haven’t been here in a few years, so it definitely felt great. I didn’t even mind the long immigration queue, or the cheeky questions the Immigration Officer asked us, with one eye on my stomach. I was just so excited to be back here.
I was even more tickled riding in a cab (Black Cab, no less) to our hotel. If it was just me, I would have made my way into town using the train, no matter how many pieces of luggage I had. Well, maybe not with this belle I am carrying…but I definitely wouldn’t have gotten a Black Cab though. And when we got to our hotel, sheer luxury greeted us as we walked into the lobby!
When we got to our room, I couldn’t help but do the snow angel on the large, plush bed. All I could do was dream of the long hours of sleep I would get on it, and maybe a little bit else (wink, wink).
Shortly after we arrived, Patrick had left the room, to see some of his colleagues staying down the hall. Once I was alone, I was eager to text my Mom, to let her know we’d gotten here okay, so I had swapped Patrick’s Nigerian SIM with his UK one.
And that’s when all hell let loose!
As soon as the phone was on, messages started dropping in like wild fire. Curious, I clicked to check the recipient.
Toun?! Toun????!!! Was he kidding me??! Toun??!
I opened the most recent message.
Hey! Call me as soon as you get in.
Oh, this had to be a joke! A big joke!
Scrolling through the message history, I saw that they dated not only to earlier today, but to his last trip 2 months ago, and even as far back as December 2011. I read through each one of their messages, but they were all short and seemingly non-commital. Except they weren’t, as they were all about when and where they would meet up.
I couldn’t believe it.
It would have been one thing if it was some new random girl. But it wasn’t. There could only be one Toun. His ex-girlfriend. His first love.
He and Toun had been childhood sweethearts. And I’m not talking University here. They had started dating from Junior Secondary School, all the way to their early years in University. I remember when we first got to LASU, they were one of those cute Jambite couples, who were totally inseparable, and did everything together. Anywhere one of them was, all you had to do was look around, and the other would surely be nearby. Toun, being mixed race, attracted a lot of attention from almost every red blooded man on campus, but she remained dedicated to her fellow Jambite bobo, Patrick. But then, at the beginning of our third year, her father had died suddenly, and her British mother had decided to return to the UK, with all her children in tow.
Patrick had been heartbroken, and had made the library his second home. I was also still smarting from my abortion experience with my ex, Folusho, and also decided to migrate to the library. And that was where we had been drawn to each other…two wounded souls. He said I made him laugh, and that was what attracted him to me the most.
But I was so plagued with insecurity, in those early years of our relationship. Physically, Toun and I couldn’t be more different. And I sometimes couldn’t help but wonder if I measured up to her, not only in terms of beauty, but in making him happy. I sometimes compared how we were to how they had been, and I often worried that we were not as close as they had been.
But as the years went by, my fears had eased, and she soon became a thing of the past. And with Patrick’s parents being vocal about their preference for me, being that we are from the same state, I felt even more secure. Never in a thousand years would I have imagined he was still in touch with her.
But here it was. The proof in black and white.
As I read, and reread the text messages, I kept on praying it was a mistake, and not what I thought it was.
But the look of shock and trepidation on Patrick’s face, when he walked in and saw me with the phone in hand, made me realize that I was right.
Toun is back in his life. She probably never even left.