I looked through the glass window of the fancy restaurant and started to wish I never agreed to come along with Yetunde. In fact, I wished I planned my trip for a later date if only I had known…
‘Ola, you need to stop dragging your feet yeah and walk with me, we’re already late! I don’t want anyone looking at us saying “Africans and their African time”’, she said pulling my arm and forcing me into the restaurant.
‘Well not only are they going to be saying that, but they’ll also be saying how it’s so African of you to bring along an uninvited guest’, I rolled my eyes.
‘You’re not an uninvited guest. He told me to bring my friend along and that’s what I’m doing, bringing you along’, she walked up the stairs laughing.
We both knew he meant Uzoma who was meant to be with us but ended up in Paris for the week, looking for a house to buy.
Three years after graduation and a lot had changed as was expected. Yetunde had stayed back in England with her fiancé and Uzoma got a job in America and was being sent to Paris for a cross posting. I, on the other hand, went back to the fatherland, Nigeria, even though I barely got any support going back. I needed to start a new chapter, I needed to forget about…
‘Look who we have here! I can’t believe it’s you’, I heard a familiar voice say as I turned to see who was speaking.
‘Hi Jackie’, I said as I leaned in to give her a hug.
‘I’m so happy to see you! It’s been three years right?’, I couldn’t tell if she was honestly happy or not, Jackie never really liked me and she had made that clear on several occasions during our time at the university, especially on the day Jordan left.
‘Yes, yes it has. How have…’
‘Excuse me everyone, may I get your attention’. His voice.
I looked at the tall figure standing beside a young lady with hair the colour of leaves dried up in autumn. My eyes fell upon their fingers knotted tightly and at that moment I could feel my heart being knotted painfully as well.
‘I want to say a big thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate my birthday with me. I want to thank this princess too standing right by me, for setting up everything. I don’t know what I would ever do without her and so…’ he got on his knees.
He got on his knees! I wanted to scream and faint at the same time and as I looked around the room to see if anyone would stop what was just about to happen, all I could see were faces lit up with smiles, including Yetunde. My eyes settled back on the ring in between his finger and as if wanting approval from the gathering of people he looked around with a smirk as people begun to chant ‘c’mon man! Ask her already’. He showed off a white set of good dentition as he tuned his head from left to right and as if being smacked suddenly, his eyes displayed shock as they met mine.
‘Stop playing tricks Jordan!’ she said laughing and bringing him back to the moment.
‘Will you marry me Nana?’ the excitement in his voice had gone. He managed to get to his feet and kiss her as she said yes.
I wanted to run out, to pack my bags and go home. I was hurt even when there was no reason to be hurt. He owed me nothing…at least not his love.
‘Hello stranger’, he said finally walking up to me while his bride-to-be showed off her ring to her friends.
‘Hello groom-to-be! Congratulations!’ I managed to fake excitement, ‘I’m so happy to see you! I’m even happier you’re getting married’, I leaned in, responding to his hug. He hugged me tightly, like a child who had just found its most cherished stuffed toy. I pulled away quickly.
‘I had no clue you were around’, he said ignoring my comments on his engagement, ‘I’ve missed you, you know’.
‘I came to see Yetunde, she’s getting married soon so I thought I’ll come help out now that I got some time off work’.
‘You’ve been gone for so long’, he glared at me and I could tell he hadn’t heard what I said.
‘It was nice seeing you again Jordan. I should get Yetunde we have a lot to do tomorrow and should really get home to rest’. This wasn’t the day or the time to talk about the past.
Placing a peck on his cheek, I walked off to get Yetunde, giving him no chance to pull me back or speak. The past belonged in the past and his future was different from mine. My heart had been right from the beginning…we just couldn’t be together.