“You know how much you mean to me, don’t you?”
He takes her hands in his and looks deeply into her eyes, golden brown eyes that stare into his soul
“I love you. I am in love with you”
Tears form at the corners of her eyes and rolls down her cheeks. She makes no attempt at wiping them.
“Why are you telling me?’’ her voice hoarse.
He raises an eyebrow
‘’Why now?” her voice has risen a notch and she removes his hands from his.
He opens his mouth to reply but realizes he has no answer. He had loved her all his life but had not had the courage to tell her. Even now he hadn’t known what had made him to say it. It was bad timing. She was getting married in a week’s time.
“I waited for you all these years” her voice sounds distant and she is hugging herself and rocking on the spot. “You had all the time in the world” she faces him “what do you want from me?”
“I am sorry, I didn’t know what came over me’’
“You are sorry?” she says slowly, like she was testing the words. “You are sorry?!” she moves close to him and puts her face close to his. “That is all you have to say? What are you sorry for? The fact that you kept me waiting all these years or the fact that you chose to tell me how you feel about me or is it the fact that you waited till a week before my wedding?”
“I…Er’’ He struggles for the right words to say.
“You have nothing to say right?”
“Honestly speaking, I didn’t know you felt that way about me. I was afraid if I told you how I felt and you didn’t feel the same way, our friendship might not survive it and I couldn’t risk that happening”
“I convinced myself that I would rather have you as a friend than not having you at all”
“You are a coward Tope. You loved me and you were not willing to take a chance and try your possible best to get me” she raises her hand to stop him “You are also blind. You are as blind as a bat! I can’t believe you didn’t see the signs.”
“So all those times that I would stay over at your place rather than going out with my female friends didn’t give you a hint that I liked your company? And when I asked you whether I should start dating Bayo, what did you think I was asking you? Did you think I needed your permission? I was giving you a chance to speak out!
“You stayed there watching as things became serious with him and even when he proposed to me, you were the first person I told and you encouraged me to agree to his proposal. And all the while you had feelings for me? And you could watch me walk away and be with another guy all because you didn’t want to lose our friendship?”
“You were always talking nonstop about him and you seemed to like him very much. I thought you were happy with him and decided to just be your faithful friend and I wasn’t supposed to even mention anything about my feelings towards you”
She shakes her head and turns away.
“I am sorry Sade. I shouldn’t have said what I said, not when you are about to get married. I had my chance and I blew it and now it’s too late. It was very insensitive of me”
Her eyes were on fire as she turns towards him. “You should be sorry; sorry for breaking my heart and believing that I was not good enough for you. You should be sorry for being a coward and not speaking up about how you felt about me. You should be sorry for turning my life upside down with your confessions of love for me now that I am about to be married. How do you want me to deal with your profession of love ehn Tope?”
“Sade, please forgive me. Forget that I said anything”
“I should just forget that you said you love me abi? It is easy for you to say. When you are not the one that has been pining for the man you love with all your heart to notice you and to say those words to you. You are not the one that has dreams of getting married to the guy that makes your world stop and makes you weak at the knees with just a smile. Why won’t it be easy for you to say ‘forget I said anything’?”
The tears were rolling down her cheeks now and her eyes were getting red and swollen. “You should not have said anything, you should have kept your feelings to yourself”
“I am sorry” the words sounds hollow even to him. He inwardly berates himself for his tactlessness and stupidity. He is at a loss for what to do and he just stands and watch her, wringing his fingers.
He forces himself not to think about her words. He did not want to believe that he could be that clueless as not to have noticed how much she had liked him all along. He did not want to think about the fact that she could have been his now and he would have been the happiest man on earth.
He watches rooted to the spot as she picks her bag and walks out the door. Out of his life