I’ve always maintained that friendship is far more important than relationship and that we must never let our friendship get destroyed just because of love matter.
In January 2016, that is almost three years now, I met a friend I had know from children church.
She was a member of the children choir; and so was I.
We took solo together in one of the songs during our annual retreat and I had often considered her very beautiful to look upon.
When we reconnected in 2016, I was very glad to see her and we couldn’t stop laughing as we recalled the sweet memories of years gone by.
She was also rounding off her masters degree during that time and I was able to get some tips on research design from her.
From memories to research, our discussions in chats and calls drifted from agape to ‘I-must-hear-your-voice-or-I-die’.
I mean, I literally felt my stomach squirm anytime she called me ‘dear’.
I never called her the same name but there were other subtle ways I sent my signals and ‘shoot my shots’.
My humour always increased exponentially whenever we talk, and she was a very cheerful laugher.
In about a month after we met, I had changed her name on my contact from ‘Damilola’ to ‘HeartDami’.
It was a cheeky move; but it was the truth I felt within me.
There were some words I had always thought were harmless and dry; but whenever she said those words, I found my heart migrate from my chest to my stomach region.
And I felt as if someone had poured a frozen water into my alimentary canal.
And on a day she sent a screenshot of her chat to me; I was able to see she had also stored my name as ‘My Conqueror’ instead of ordinary ‘Victor’.
Things went on smoothly between us and I began to suspect that I had found the perfect one for me.
In fact, whenever commenters ask me when I would marry on Facebook then, I would type ‘soon’ in capital letters.
But in all this, something always told me she wasn’t the one.
‘I reject you, devil’ I often shouted whenever the doubt came.
In April of that year, I listened to a message on overcoming doubts through prayers and I decided to trust my faith and pray until I get a clean and clear confirmation that she was indeed the one.
But after a long two hours of prayers and sleeping with my Bible open before me after reading seven chapters of Proverbs, I had no wise words of The Lord or conviction whatsoever.
As if she was also feeling same way, she messaged me three days later and said she would be going off internet for a couple of weeks.
‘Ah! Why?!’ I asked.
She laughed and said, ‘I just want to have time to think.’
I knew what she meant and we chatted for three happy hours before 12am.
Her weeks turned to months and surprisingly, she never returned to internet till November 2016.
By then, the love I thought I had had disappeared like a Nigerian village spirit; and all the butterflies in my belly had been killed with Sniper.
During that time, whenever my people on facebook asked when I would marry, I would just Like such comments. And sometimes, I would reply ‘God will do it.’
When she returned that November, Dami and I stayed friends online and the friendship was very beneficial to both of us.
I sent her a sample of PhD proposal and she also sent me journal publishing sites.
The platonic friendship felt better for both of us and we respected each other until the chats dried up and it all became a part of history.
Well, at least, until last saturday.
Two years had gone and, I saw Dami again.
A classmate of mine in secondary school invited me to a wedding ceremony in town. He also told me his future-wife is one of the bridesmaids.
We were sitting and waiting to be served the small-chops when a bridesmaid came to us.
‘Have you all eaten?’ the sweet voice came from a beautiful lady’s parted lips while her eyes winked at my friend.
‘This is Damilola’. I thought simply.
‘Dami?’ I called in question.
It was only then she turned to me and the look on her face was memorable.
We shook hands and exchanged compliments before she said she had to get back to the bride.
My friend asked me immediately she was out of sight,
‘How far? You know Dami too? She is the one I told you about o’
I told him diplomatically that we were both members of the children choir; and I didn’t say more than that.
I smiled and asked him if he would eat the buns that remained before us.
And thus, we forgot about Dami and faced the buns.
When I got home, I reminisced on the past I shared with Dami and I smiled a bit and frowned when I remembered she had been taken by my friend.
Some butterflies tried to raise their wings and jump about in my belly but I drank water immediately and drowned them to their death.
And then, on Sunday evening, I got a message from Dami and was very surprised she still had my phone number.
Before thirty minutes into the chat, she had sent me the screenshots of our previous two-year old chats. She told me she missed our good times and I was short of words.
Her chat has increased since last Sunday and she has not been allowing me to clearly see the other Godly-and-searching single sisters who I had considered wife-materials.
I have now been forced to off my ‘last seen’ and disable the ‘Read’ Receipts on WhatsApp. I have also off my ‘Active’ icon on facebook messenger.
From her signals and codes, I am beginning to suspect some things.
And I can not betray my friend. I don’t think it is right for good humans to do things like that.
In the same vein, I can’t just tell Dami to stop messaging me; I don’t think it has gotten to that level.
But the bitter truth is, she is starting to make my heart spark little by little. And the butterflies are slowly rising again.
My friends and brethren, help us out.