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No Regrets. (Short Story)

"How could you, Tolu, how could you?" Her eyes were cold and lifeless. In the fifteen years of our friendship I had never seen Kaffy like that. It was a piercing look that ran a chill through my body. 
I struggled to say something, to get the words out, but I couldn't. I tried to say something but I choked on my words. I never knew those long skinny fingers were so strong but feeling them around my neck, almost cutting off air from my lungs, I now knew. I pleaded with my eyes. I could have tried to fight her off but would it be worth it? I decided to let her wear herself out. She needed to. After all, she was in the middle of the most heart wrenching heartbreak, and hearing that I was the cause, she was entitled. She was right to want to kill me. You probably would want to kill me too.

......
"Do you love me Tolu?" 

There it was, a simple sentence. Simple yet so powerful. A sentence that could change the rest of my life. I closed my eyes. I knew the answer to his question. I sensed he knew it too and that's why he asked. 

       It was exactly this time last year that I introduced Chidi to Kaffy. I met Chidi at my boss's family annual dinner. As usual all the elite gathered in his palatial Banana Island mansion. In the living room with me were the creme de la creme of Lagos Island. The extremely wealthy, very wealthy and the wealthy. I sat in my little corner, knowing better than to mingle, I did not belong in this world. In fact I was only there because there were some papers I needed my boss to sign. The opulence was so oppressive that I decided to wait in the car park till he was ready for me. It was as I walked outside, head bowed, trying not to make any eye contact that I bumped into Chidi.

"Really? Who walks around with their eyes glued to the ground?" I heard the rich slightly American-accented voice ask.

I looked up, ready to poor out effusive apology but the eyes that met me were kind, with a mischievous smile to match. 

"I'm sorry" I whispered.

"Oh, don't be. You trying to knock me down is the most exciting thing that has happened to me in this..... this party" he said, gesticulating with his hands. 

"You're not having fun then?" I asked and he explained he wasn't. 

Chidi and I spent the next two hours talking about everything and nothing. Eventually, to my
disappointment, I had to tear myself away to meet with my boss but not before we exchanged numbers. 

In the days that followed Chidi was constantly on my mind. I couldn't stop thinking about him hard as I tried. He said he was single but even I couldn't dare to dream that big. I, Tolu Olatokun, who struggled to survive on what was left of my 100k salary after giving my widowed mother half of it for my siblings' upkeep and most of the other half going on my daily transportation from Alagbado to Ikoyi, there was no way a good looking "rich kid" like Chidi would be interested in me. I cringed every time I remembered how I had to hide my scoffed shoes from him the day we met.

      He called me a week later, just to say hi, and when he hung up a thought suddenly occurred to me. I couldn't have him, but my best friend Kaffy could! Kaffy was single and desperately searching, she had it all, except a man to call hers. Kaffy and I, although from very different backgrounds had been close since secondary school. The thing about Queen's College is that it had children of parents from
all walks of life. Otherwise, I, the daughter of a Community School teacher would never have met Kaffy, the daughter of a Supreme Court judge. Although Kaffy left for the UK to further her studies immediately after secondary school, our friendship only blossomed and got stronger. 

"Hmmm, Tolu, I really like your friend, she's pretty cool. But I'm a bit surprised you hooked us up" Chidi said to me the day after I did the introductions, and even though we were talking on the phone I could almost see his raised brows. 

"I wonder why. You guys look good together, and from what I hear you two really hit it off" I said, teasing him.

"Yes, we did" Chidi chuckled. "We're having drinks later this week and coincidentally, we will be on the same boat cruise later this weekend. Apparently we have some mutual friends" 

I wasn't surprised to hear this, they belonged to similar social circles. I grinned widely, feeling like the Matchmaker of The Year. 

       Six months after they met Kaffy flew me out to Abuja and lodged me at Transcorp for a week. It was an all expense paid trip, her way of showing gratitude to me for matchmaking her and her boo. Those two were drunk in love and everyone could see that they were headed for the altar. 
        There were times that a part of me would question, what if? What if I was with Chidi instead? But I kicked those thoughts out the minute I had them. Yes, I was pretty, even just as pretty as Kaffy... But I wasn't kaffy. 

It came as no surprise when Chidi proposed to Kaffy, even less of a surprise when I was asked to be her Maid of Honour. I was so happy for Kaffy. She had kept me awake several nights analyzing her relationship with Chidi and "asking would he, would he not?". Kaffy's biggest dreams had come true.
She was about to be Mrs Kaffy Enumelu. And I was so genuinely happy for her. Or was I?

........
"I don't understand your question Chidi. And how did you find my house?" I asked. I felt so naked standing outside the door of the two bedroom flat I shared with my mother and four brothers. 

"Tolu, I'm sure you do. Look, I just need to know. The day we met you and I really hit it off, I thought we had a connection. So I was a bit surprised when you introduced me to your friend, I thought it might be because you had someone. But now, I know you don't, and you didn't. That's why I'm here"

"Chidi, seriously? Your wedding is tomorrow. By this time tomorrow my friend would be your wife. In fact I'm on my way to her hotel right now, I'm not sure what you came here for but I think you've wasted your time"

"I know my timing is a bit off...... But I just, I just don't want to spend the rest of my life asking what if. I need..."

"Chidi you're a selfish man! I don't freaking care what you need. What do you take me for? You're about to practically abandon my besto at the altar and you expect me, who's like a sister to her, to be an accomplice? Hell no! Please leave my house before I change my mind about telling Kaffy that this happened". 

"Naturally you're upset. Just answer my question and I'll be out of your way. Do you feel something, anything, for me? Tolu?" He said very calmly and gently lifted my chin up with his fingers and looked me in the eyes. I looked into his eyes. 
       Lord, they were so beautiful.... but I wanted to claw them out. How dare he! How dare he 
show up the night before he was to wed my best friend and ask me these questions. How dare he tempt me with so many wonderful possibilities? How dare he do this now, barely a few hours to his wedding. I thought of the millions of naira that had been poured into the planning of this wedding, I thought of Kaffy's Vera Wang wedding dress and the Versace one she was to wear at the reception, I thought of her plans to get pregnant immediately, at their honeymoon in Venice. What did Chidi expect? That I would say yes and we would elope? Was he insane?

"Yes Chidi" I said. I didn't know how the words escaped from my mouth but they had. I immediately felt so sad and confused, I began to cry but he shut me up with his lips firmly pressed against mine. For the first time in my life I caught a glimpse of heaven. 

"What does this mean Chidi?" I asked him when were finally able to tear our lips apart, my chest pressed against his. Our hearts beat in synchrony. 

"I'll take care of it" he promised. 

" This is a horrible mistake. So what now? I become your mistress after the wedding?" I asked, filled with righteous indignation. 

"There won't be a wedding" Chidi said quietly. 

.........
Kaffy didn't seem like she was going to stop till she killed me, and seeing as my life suddenly looked very promising, I couldn't afford for her to waste it just like that. With every bit of strength I could muster I shoved her away from me and she staggered backwards hitting her back against the wall. I didn't mean to hurt her, I was only trying to save my life. 

"I'm so sorry Kafayat. I know you hate me. And I understand, I'll understand if you never forgive me either, but please believe me, it was never my intention to hurt you"

Despite my attempts not to, I cried. Kaffy had gone from a size 10 to a size 6 in the 2 weeks since her wedding had been cancelled, her eyes were shrunken and her skin was pale and blotched. She looked like someone suffering from a terminal disease and it was all my fault. 
       Kaffy gave me one final look, those eyes, those dead eyes frightened me. I felt like she would suddenly pull out a gun and shoot me right in the middle of my head. But she just shook her head and walked away. That was the last time I ever saw Kaffy. 

........
"Fasten your seatbelt ma'am, we're about to descend into Lagos."

I did as Mariam the air hostess told me. I was so deep in thoughts that I did not hear it the first time it was said. She was my favourite air hostess among the many we used in the private jet. I looked at Chike and Chiamaka, my adorable twin children and an intense joy flooded through me. They had had so much fun at their cousin's country home in Connecticut. I snuggled into the plush leather seat and imagined how my life would have been without Chidi. No flying private jets, a home in Parkview, my mum and brothers in their own home in Magodo, trips to parts of the world I only ever saw on maps, not ever having to worry about money. And I, now an executive director in a company where I once was a lowly assistant, running errands..... Hmmm, life was good. Looking down from up above I could already make out the heavy Lagos traffic. I giggled, wishing the jet could land on our roof top. I just couldn't wait to get home to my best friend, my lover, my brother, my husband, my all, Chidi.
      
       I closed my eyes and for a brief second, the image of Kaffy flashed through my mind, as it occasionally did. Yes, we would never be friends again. Yes, she will always hate me. Yes, I lost some friends because of what I did. But I did what I had to do. Sometimes in this life you have to be selfish and put yourself first, damning all the consequences. Looking around me, I had no regrets. 

Mrs Tolu Enumelu. 

Comments

  1. She's not a good person. Very selfish. That it turned out good doesn't mean she should commend herself.

    ReplyDelete
  2. To be honest it sometimes pays to be selfish. I can't say I blame her honestly. Look at all she would have missed if she hadn't taken that bold, selfish, wicked step. But it was totally worth it abeg. I just hope Kaffy and her family don't plot one terrible revenge against her in the future.

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  3. It was inevitable, cant say that I blame her...Don't know if I would have been bold enough to do what she did, but who knows?

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  4. "Mrs Tolu Enumelu", sounds like the name of a prominent Nigerian businessman

    ReplyDelete
  5. Tolu was indeed selfish. But I won't lie, sometimes it pays. I like how she said was he expecting her to say yes? Then she now said yes. I don't blame her jare. She and Chidi were meant to be. She was just being realistic about their different social status.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Chidi is an agent of confusion. He should have told Tolu that he felt a connection with her from the unset. Instead, he presumed. Presumptions put people in trouble.

    ReplyDelete
  7. But if you have feelings for a guy then you shouldn't hook that guy up with a friend. I have a friend who did this to her friend and trust me, it turned out to be an unpleasant situation. It's not fair on any of the parties. And why did Chidi wait until the day before the wedding? Things like this can actually break someone.

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  8. Interesting story, makes me wonder what I would do if I was Tolu. Life can get so complicated at times

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  9. Tolu had inferiority complex,why push a guy out simply because of the class difference between u two? She should ve lived with her mistake so that next time she will at least try before giving up.

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  10. This life is so complicated,if kaffy ends up marrying chidi,it might not work out between them because its obvious chidi isn't in love with kaffy..but it shouldn't have gotten to this level when the wedding is the next day,@ evry1,at one point or another we have all been selfish,agree or don't! We are just being HUMAN

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  11. Thelma I love you so much for this story. It raises so many questions. I really wonder what I would do in Tolu's shoes. I can't say I blame her. Who no like better something.

    ReplyDelete
  12. No regrets in deed. I hope she realizes that karma is a female dog. Kaffy is the innocent party in all of this. She didn't ask tolu to hook her up. She didn't ask Chidi to propose. Yet see how they both screwed her over.

    ReplyDelete
  13. The only person I blame here is Chidi, he shouldn't have even gone on that first date with kaffy when he knew there was a connection between him and Tolu. In Tolu's case I don't blame her, I've made the same mistake before, I introduced my best friend to a girl I really liked and while they were dating she asked if I didn't have feelings for her cos she could swear I did. I denied it and I still regret till date. I pity kaffy but she already has money, if she really loved Tolu she'd be happy that Tolu's family would come out of poverty. I have another friend who fell in love with her bestfriend's bf and they got married. The bestie doesn't talk to her till tomorrow but she's extremely happy with 3 kids so.....

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hmmmmmmm....the good life....somewhere in my mind I expected to read that they now had a plane crash...because you and your wicked endings....anyhooo....alls well they ends well.....sorry for kaffy....but so happy for tolu....

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  15. A well told story. Nice one T.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Beautiful story. She should carry on jare. Life goes on.

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  17. If I'm Kaffy I would not take this sitting. what nonsense?

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love this story. She didn't see him as her ticket out of poverty earlier? Hmm. Kaffy is innocent in a way but she was actually unwise. If she had given it time, they would have shown their true colours. My hubby was "associated" with a lady before he approached me. He said he had never asked her out. I believed him but he spent 2 years convicing me. I also used that time to investigate. We only started dating when I was sure I n everyone else knew the truth. So time may reveal some secrets. www.drnsmusings.wordpress.com

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  19. If Chidi had married Kaffy, the marriage would not have lasted or they would have been miserable in the marriage. Chidi will always wonder about Tolu and one day act out their wonderment, there by leading him to cheat on his wife which is definitely worse.

    ReplyDelete

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