Ahhh the cinema! The place where no teen on a date hardly pays attention to the movie; and from the looks of it, tonight would be no different. I watched on as love birds got consumed by the greeting darkness as they went through the aisle that led to the assemble of seats. Clara had her hand wrapped in mine and used our closeness to try and loosen me up. She was a beautiful girl, just not my beautiful girl. She had on a red crochet, spaghetti straps crop top that looked ever ready to show more than her belly and a white pair of fitting jeans to go with it. Definitely looking hot in them. I looked over at my best friend and smiled to myself. She had on a casual blue dress finished with the most beautiful eyes I had seen. I wondered where her smile was and how long it’ll take for her to find it again.
“So where is your boyfriend?” Clara asked me. Without looking up from my phone I replied an ‘he will be here soon but please take the lead, we’ll catch up with you two.’ Jim looked hesitant and just when he was about to voice out his thoughts, he was cutoff. I smiled as my date approached and stole a quick glance at Clara who didn’t think she was going to eat her words up until that moment. “You got me worried baby,” I said before we hugged. He asked that we forgive him for the delay and went ahead to introduce himself. “…. and you must be Jim. This charming lady here has told me all about you,” he added
“Did she tell you that I love her too?” I said to myself. I honestly didn’t know what to say or do next. The immediate happenings left me staring deeply at my bestie. Almost as if I was looking for the girl I so dearly loved but she was drowned in a new confusing self. Her eyes looked uneasy and I could tell she was trying to avoid contact with mine. Clara cleared her throat and suggested that we go get seated, now that the full number of people were present. For once, I agreed with her.
I honestly couldn’t even remember the title of the movie we had paid to watch. There was a mixture of guns and roses and love and hate from the scenes that I managed to concentrate on. Clara was touchy but I had too much on my mind to think about whatever it was she was playing at. From the corner of my eyes I could see my best friend and her date cozying up together. It was too dark to make out their facial expressions but I bet they must have been smiling so wide. My pain turned to sudden anger and for a moment it seemed controllable. Flashes of series of times we spent together came by and it did nothing but show me what I ‘once’ had. A relationship so pure that we didn’t need to have a tag (boyfriend and girlfriend/lovers) before we could care and love each other. I cherished our bond the most, but now, I’m beating myself up for not sealing the deal and ask her to be my wife. Okay maybe I wouldn’t have said wife but you get the picture. Clara didn’t know there was a battle on going in my head and so she continues tracing her fingers to places she had no business reaching. “Clara obviously likes you and she’s ready Jim. Why don’t you just go out with her instead? It will all work out in the end and you’ll see that you’ll learn to …” I shook my head to make sure whatever voice feeding me these thoughts fade. And then looked at Clara and smiled. I began.
“It’s so good to be able to be around you again, Cee, really is ..” I heard Jim whisper to Clara. If he thought no one else could hear him, he was definitely wrong. Everyone seated around had their hands in their popcorn and continued to listen to Jim as he delivered this interlude in the middle of the movie. If I wasn’t scared that Jim was going to end by proposing to Clara, I would have cracked up laughing at the number of people eavesdropping. “..But the thing is that whatever it was we had back then just isn’t there anymore. I know you’re still sweet and fun and caring and all that but time really has taken away anything we shared together. I have a best friend now and I really want to keep her so please, please let’s not soil the beautiful memories you and I have shared by pursuing a relationship we both know won’t amount to any good. You’re a beautiful girl and there’s a lot of guys as well as there is a lot of time for you to find true love. I know you’ll surely find it soon. Sadly, for me, the one I love doesn’t love me the same way and so..” Jim said in one breath but couldn’t finish. Out of know where, in the dark of the room. Came the loudest ‘awwwwwwww’ Jim had ever heard. His jaw dropped when he realised he might have said all those things a little bit louder than he thought. “Uh oh”.
I saw Clara slap Jim and leave. Jim walked out also but more relieved than angry. Before I could follow, I felt my date’s hand slide under my dress. “Hell no!” I exclaimed before slapping him. I stopped halfway, turned back, smiled and told him, “thank you for helping me sell my lie.” The people shushed me and demanded I leave if I wasn’t interested in the movie. “Okay okay, sheesh!”
I looked around and prayed to find Jim standing somewhere close. He must have gone back to the hotel. I hurried back and tried to push the door open. It didn’t look like anyone was home so I left to check other places. “The music hallway!” I said to myself. Why didn’t I think of that earlier. I turned to left at the crossway and slowed down as I approached the music section. My eyes widened when I saw someone with Jim’s posture stand facing the vacant space on the wall with the inscription ‘Who will be next to be honoured?’ Jim heard me walk up to him.
“Hey,” I voiced out still looking at the empty space on the wall. She replied and stood by me and looked up at the wall also. “I’m sorry I lied Jim.” she said after about 30 seconds. “I don’t know why I feel that thing crawl up my neck anytime Clara is around you. Jealousy doesn’t feel too good.” I smiled and turned to look at her as she continued, “The guy that came to the cinema with me is some random dude I saw in the corridor earlier today. I asked him to pretend to be my boyfriend so that I wouldn’t be left out when the cinema date was taking place.” My jaw dropped dead. It wasn’t the first time she has made it drop and I can bet my wallet on it that it certainly won’t be the last. “So there isn’t really a guy?” I asked with a pinch of hopeful. She shook her head no and mouthed ‘sorry’. I broke out into the most uncontrollable laughter I have ever had with my head thrown back and my eyes closed. “So you mean to tell me this whole day had been a lie?” I added. “Well all except for the part you told Clara all those things, right?” my African Bead asked. I hugged her tight.
Once again, Jim has been given the opportunity to ask me to be his Girlfriend and truth be told, it’s been a long time coming. I stopped expecting it to happen anytime soon because even I knew that we weren’t ready emotionally. But I didn’t want to wait anymore. And I don’t mean that if he doesn’t I’ll leave or anything. I can’t leave. I need him more than anything else. It’s just that battling thoughts and ‘how does he feel’ emotions everyday is really tiring and i’ll like for it all to be confirmed. All doubts cleared. He loosened his grip and held my hands. Now looking directly into my eyes I felt so naked. As though I couldn’t hide anything from him. It felt like he could see straight through to my soul.
“You know I …” he began to say before I lifted my hand to signal for him to stop talking. He looked on confused and I cleared my throat. “If you’re coming to tell me about how much you love me and don’t want to lose me, then please skip, Jim. Skip right to the end of whatever it is you want to say. Because whenever you start your ‘lover boy ‘ wording, it always ends with us more confused than we were before.” Jim giggled and put his finger on my lips. “Shhhhh, allow me.” he insisted. I bit my lower lip and nodded for him to go on. He didn’t go on with whatever he wanted to say. He couldn’t go on with it. Why because we had already began locking lips like a couple after hearing the priest say ‘you may kiss the bride’. Typical, we skipped! He spun me around and hugged me from behind, making sure his arms were wrapped around me good. “I want to be your girlfriend,” I blurted out as we swayed from left to right. And then Jim said no. Time froze and I felt my world stop with it. I freed myself from his grip and launched my hands for his cheek. He caught my hand mid-air and held it in both of his before kneeling down. “No I don’t want you to be my girlfriend,” he added. “I want you to be my wife.” My mouth flung open and I tried to hold back my screams by covering my mouth. Tears rushed out and before I knew it I was on my knees also. I nodded yes more times than I could count and watched as Jim fit a beautiful heart necklace around my neck.
Aside the fact that we were young, we were also too broke to get actual rings so the necklace would have to suffice. By God’s grace, soon there’d be a ring to follow.