“Hello mother, I think I might not be coming to Port-Harcourt now” Tehilah put the ceramic bowl she had used for eating cornflakes, under the running tap. After rinsing it, she stacked it on the dish rack, and walked bare foot into the living room. “I got a publishing contract, with a new but top publishing company”
“Wow, oh my God!” her mother squealed from the other side of the phone, such that Tehilah had to put the phone a little distance from her ear. “My God Tehilah, this has always been your dream”
“Yes mother, but it means I have to relocate to Lagos, it is the reason I am not coming home”
“But where will you stay?” her mother sounded worried.
“I am already staying with Bims. You do remember she stays in Lagos, right?”
“Bless her. Bimpe has always been a good friend. I am happy that finally…”
“Stop mother, don’t bring back the past. I will talk to you later bye” she ended the call abruptly, and flung the phone on the couch.
“Haba na, you want to destroy the phone?” her friend Bimpe walked in.
Tehilah looked at her friend and smiled. Bimpe always brought smiles to Tehilah’s face, and it had nothing to do with her bronze beauty, but with the twinkle in her eyes. She always looked like she was in on a secret no one else knew, with a smirk on her lips.
“My mother, she keeps bringing back the past. I don’t know what to do, to convince her I am over my past”
“Don’t blame her, she saw you hit rock bottom, and that is one thing no mother wants to see” Bimpe tucked her Peruvian weave by the side of her ear. “Come one dress up, you are going to the boutique with me”
“I will have to get a lawyer to go through this contract with me. I am so excited I can hardly sit still” Tehilah giggled, and Bimpe joined her.
In the afternoon of that same day, Tehilah stepped into the Yellow Chili restaurant to have lunch. It had been a long session with the lawyer Bimpe recommended. She called Bimpe to join her, but before the latter came, Tehilah was sitting with a long face, brooding over her pseudo relationship with Wale. When Bimpe walked in, sashaying in her brown pair of block wedges, she did not miss the sadness on her friend’s face.
“What is going on?” she asked, sitting across her friend.
“Nothing, just a man” Tehilah confessed.
“A man, don’t tell me you are still hung up on Ben, that good for nothing Yoruba demon” Bimpe was already agitated by the possibility that her friend still had feelings for the man who had torn her heart in shreds.
Ben was Tehilah’s first love. He was the reason she became suicidal, and would have been dead, if her mother had not found her. Tehilah went through rehabilitation before she could find joy in living again. She found her passion for writing could help her through the process of finding herself again, and so, she started writing her first novel.
Theirs had been a fairytale romance, he even introduced her to his family, and soon she was spending holidays with them. However, her world turned upside down, when one weekend she had gone to Ben’s family house as she was used to.
Tehilah remembered the day as though it was yesterday.
She had gone on a weekend trip with Ben and his family at their vacation home. During the trip, she was helping Ben’s mother in the kitchen when Ben walked in, wearing a troubled face. He had kissed her absentmindedly, and took his mother away. Tehilah heard them arguing and became worried. She left the kitchen and followed their voices to the parents’ bedroom. There, she also heard his father’s voice and she got really worried. She wanted to go in, but hesitated when Ben’s mother began to talk.
“You cannot marry her, she is from Port-Harcourt for God sake. You don’t even speak the same language” there was a pause, and she heard Ben’s mother heave a breath. “It is good that Deola got pregnant. It is an eye opener for you, and it is better now than later”
Tehilah staggered backward and would have fallen down, if she had not held on to the door handle. Afterwards, she had hurried to the room she shared with Ben and packed her things. While she did so, she cried her eyes out.
Her heart constricted with pain, as she thought of the times Ben had promised not to hurt or betray her, and how his parents had called her their daughter-in-law. It turned out to be a lie, because they did not even think her good enough for their son. She had been so lost in her pain that she did not notice Ben enter the bedroom that they shared.
“Tehilah” he said soberly. When she turned, he was surprised to see her tear stained face.
“Tehilah, what is wrong?” Ben moved to touch her, but Tehilah stepped back.
“Don’t you dare come near me, and put your dirty fingers on me” she snarled, like a wounded lion. Her face was contorted in fury, and her eyes were filled with hate.
“Tehilah, what have I done?” Ben had asked, looking surprised, but his eyes had betrayed him, for they looked guilty.
“I loved you, and gave you all of me. My heart, my pride, I gave to you, but you threw it back in my face. How could you hurt me so much? I am leaving and my life would be happier if I never saw you again.” Tehilah took her belongings and left the house. She had booked into a hotel, and it was only her mother’s intervention that had brought her back to Port-Harcourt. When she went for NYSC, after one year of rehabilitation, she had met Bimpe, who was also recovering from heartbreak, and they had bonded.
“Tehilah, earth to Tehilah, where is your mind?” Bimpe shook her out of her reverie. Tehilah blinked and turned to look at her friend. They had both healed from their bruises and gone ahead to be strong, independent women. Impulsively, she pulled Bimpe into a hug.
“No, it is not Ben, it is a new guy” Tehila said with a smile.
“Oh my God, there are so many beautiful things happening to you. I am so happy for you” Bimpe said, and got ready to hear the juicy details.
“His name is Wale, an engineer with a telecom giant here in Lagos. We had nights of passion and he is like the sweetest guy I ever met” she gushed.
“Tehilah” Bimpe said sadly.
“Hold on BimBim, I know it looks like I am down that lane again, but this feels right. I am tired of guarding my heart, I just want to live without the fear of getting broken again” she said trying hard to get her best friend to support her.
“Dearie, I know, but you don’t even know anything about this guy… is this just sex or what?” Bimpe signaled the waiter to come attend to them.
“He asked me to be his girlfriend, he adores me Bim. I see it in his eyes” Tehilah replied.
“Oh really” Bimpe quipped without enthusiasm.
“But the thing is, he doesn’t call me until I do” Tehilah said, confusion settling in her eyes.
“I don’t think this is just fun because, you are allowing your heart get involved. I cannot tell you what to do, but all I can say is this, be careful with your heart, your career is shaping up now, do not allow anyone hurt you again” Bimpe admonished.
Maybe I don’t know anything about him, but I feel like we belong together.
Turning to look at her friend who was watching her with worried eyes, Tehilah sighed. No matter what her friend felt, she was ready to open her heart again.