Val and Fantasies

“About a month ago, I liked your pictures.
About a month ago, I sent you a DM.
About a month ago, I shot my shot, but you ignored me.
Now Valentine is coming, where is your boyfriend?
You are sitting at home lonely!
Your mates are getting flowers, where is your boyfriend?
You are sitting at home lonely!”

That dreadful song bellowed out of Tayo’s phone as she entered my room. She was laughing hysterically and singing along with much euphoria. I tried to be unbothered so I kept repeating “I’m so unbothered” in Beyonce’s voice in my mind but that didn’t work because Tayo was enjoying this song for the tenth time in a row and I just couldn’t take it anymore!

“Tayo, e don do na, ahn ahn wetin sef!” I finally screamed. Tayo was somewhat taken aback because she wasn’t expecting that kind of reaction, but realising she had probably truly overdone it by playing the song ten times she stopped and replied sarcastically “sorry o, but e no suppose pain you na, shebi you get boyfriend.” “Which boyfriend did you dash me?” I asked immediately, now annoyed. “Ahn ahn na Valentina, didn’t you tell me last month that you met one handsome bobo that asked you out and you said yes.” “Well we broke up,” I told her flatly. “Shuuu,Valentina! And you didn’t tell me, you no try o, you no try at all at all. What happened sef, did he cheat?” “No.” “Then gist me now, what happened, when did you break up? You never even gave me the full gist of how you met and you promised you would gist me fully when I come back from Lagos. I’ve been around for a week now and you never mentioned a thing about it. I didn’t bring it up because I didn’t want to be too pushy but this is too much Valentina! Na so your own introvertedness reach? I fear una o, oya gist me joor.” Tayo gushed all in one breath.

“Okay,” I started, “So I met him last year, the first week in December if I remember correctly. It was a cliché kind of meeting. You know, the kind you see in those overly cheesy romantic movies. I was buying food stuff in the market and I had already bought all of what was on my shopping list. The heat was intense and I was extremely tired from carrying the nylon bag containing my groceries, the weight of which was overwhelming and left me shifting it from one hand to the other every five seconds. I was already leaving the market when suddenly, like an oasis in the dessert I spotted a youghurt man in the distance. The sight seemed to restore some strength to me as I hurried towards him but before I could reach him I hit a sturdy wall of muscle and went crashing down unto the ground being the fragile bag of bones I am. I was angry, of course, and ready to shit a brick but as soon as I set eyes on the face now shadowing me and asking if I was okay along with a plethora of apologies, I became dumb.”

“Miss, miss? Are you okay?”

“No, I most definitely am not! What is this feeling in my belly? What is this pounding in my chest? Why am I suddenly unable to speak?” My brain replied but of course my response countered all that with a nod of the head and then after some minutes of silence I forced myself to speak. Unfortunately I sputtered without filter and I began wishing I had remained dumb after I said “Yes, I am alright, thank you. Are you alright? I mean of course, you’re alright you’re so strong and handsome, dear Lord the muscles!” as he helped me up. I was so sure I must have turned red because the heat that overcame me is not of this world. My blushing would have shown if I weren’t black. I’ve got to be the world’s biggest moron to have given that sort of reply. I calmed myself down and appeared well put together. He smiled ever so charmingly and tried to hold back his laughter and said he was fine. “Hell yeah, you’re fine!” I heard my subconscious scream. Just then I realised some of the eggs I bought had broken and managed to soil my jeans. “Just great! More embarrassment in front of this super fine specimen of a man,” I thought and it took all my self-control not to burst in tears. Spotting the stain, he apologised again.

“Oh my God, I’m really very sorry, It is entirely my fault. I was distracted. I’ll buy you a fresh set of eggs to replace these ones.”

“No, no don’t worry, you don’t need…”
“I insist, please.”
“Okay then, the stall is right over there, I’m a regular customer of hers so she often gives me a good deal, let’s go,” I said pointing and was inwardly glad that I would get to spend a few more minutes with him. He was tall, had the brightest eyes and his complexion reminded me of my favorite treat — chocolate! I began to wonder if he would taste the same. “Valentina, you pervert! Get thee behind me Satan!” I chided myself mentally. On our way to the stall he asked for my name. “Adeleke Valentina Tamilore,” I replied but he seemed taken aback. I guessed it was because I said my full name as if he was an interviewer and I applied for some important position. “Hmmm Valentina, I guess you are a Valentine baby then, born on Valentine’s day?”
“Well, yeah I am,” I laughed. “So what is your own name?” I asked him.
“Saul,” he said curtly. He bought the eggs, I thanked him, he apologised again and said it was nice to meet me and we parted ways. I was very disappointed that he didn’t ask for my phone number but who could blame him. I probably looked like some kind of maid with all the fatigue and sweat. Even without fatigue and sweat to worsen the look sef, hmmm…hmmmm.” I paused for a moment waiting for Tayo to say something. She only stared, gesturing that I go on with the tale.

I cleared my throat, “Ahem Tayo, as my hype woman you are supposed to interrupt me and tell me I’m a fine babe.” Tayo laughed, “Oh sorry, I was engrossed. Ahn ahn fresh babe like you, even in rags you would look like a princess.”
“Eeees, hold it joor, no need to whine me again,” I said feigning annoyance. “Anyway, that was how I started fantasizing about Saul. Wondering if I’ll ever see him again and after a week I got a DM from none other than Saul. I asked how he got my phone number and he said he searched and stalked me on Instagram and Facebook and all the while had been gathering courage to talk to me. He went on to tell me my beautiful face kept taunting him in his dreams and he kept thinking of seeing me again. I was surprised. I never expected it and I was pretty content with my fantasies. It was normal, crush on this guy for a month and move on to crushing on the next fine guy I see, all from a distance of course. Suddenly my fantasies actually looked like they were close to coming true, the first being that he would somehow get my phone number and reach me. I began to wonder if he was a player because he was so handsome it was probable. I mean I’m not even that pretty.”

“Ahn ahn, come off it joor. Cutie pie like you! Even fatigued and sweaty you’re irresistible, opoor!” Tayo exclaimed, right on cue. We both laughed and then I continued. “We grew closer and closer with each passing day, he’d call like five times in a day, he’d send sweet texts, we’d video chat at night. We couldn’t meet up because he actually lives in Lagos and I stay in Akure. I had resolved that I would never be party to a long distance relationship but one particular night in January he brought down my wall of resolve with his sweet words. Oh, he’s such a talented poet and I’m a huge sucker for words, He’s a skilled charmer I tell you, the tune of his rich and deep voice was utterly bewitching. He was the snake charmer and I was the cobra.

I was defenceless with no other choice than to succumb to his tune. With his words he painted such vivid and beautiful pictures of how wonderful our relationship would be. All my fantasies suddenly came to life before my eyes. Long walks on the beach, romantic dinners, cuddling while watching a movie, every romantic scenario there is, right up to the cute babies we’d one day have and without thinking, with utmost glee I said yes. Oh damn his honey-laden tongue! I became his girlfriend and the timer was set. Nothing changed during the first week. We still continued our frequent chats and calls and video chat but soon enough, only seeing each other on screen grew tiresome and he demanded I come to Lagos to see him. I told him I couldn’t. I still live with my parents and we are kind of in a complicated place so I can’t tell them I am dating someone or worse that I’m going to Lagos to go and see “boyfren”, after all the gory stories we’ve read about women who went on such quests I was never going to be allowed to travel to see friends and frankly I wasn’t even keen on the idea myself. He then got an opportunity that would allow him come to Akure for a few days and said he would see me then. That wouldn’t work either because well, I was not at liberty to go out willy nilly and of course he couldn’t come and see me at home. This bred frustration and the rut of our routine chats and calls didn’t help matters. Slowly we ran out of things to say. It was clear the end was near and I couldn’t bring myself to end it. One day, he called several times and I couldn’t pick up because I was very busy and part of me really didn’t want to talk. He texted me later that night with that ominous phrase, “We need to talk.” I had the foreboding that it was time. The end had come. He said that in the long run we couldn’t continue like this and he was entirely right. This is exactly why I am strongly against long distance relationships, they hardly work and if they will, take a lot of time, sacrifice and commitment which I am not ready for. However, when he texted the words, “I think we should end it.” I couldn’t bring myself to agree. I pleaded that he had patience and he did for another week or so but after that, he broke it off finally. My first relationship and it only lasted three weeks. I can’t even count all of it because in the last week, we hardly spoke to each other. I was miserable after, I slipped into depression, having gone through the stages of denial, anger, and bargaining. Depression took the longest. Those fantasies taunted me everyday and I would cry my eyes out. It honestly felt like God abandoned me. I couldn’t continue to keep it all in so I told my mom and I’m currently seeing a therapist. You might think it shouldn’t take me so much time to get over it and move on; it was only a two-week relationship after all. You see, getting over the relationship isn’t the problem, getting over those fantasies is the real headache. They make me want to hold on because I wanted them to be real so badly. The mere mention of love makes me cringe right now and this Valentine fever really annoys me. Happy couples disgust me, they make it look so easy.

“I’m so sorry Val, I truly am, I can’t even imagine this. It must be really rough! I do hope sincerely that you get better. It sounds to me though that you’ve turned into a Valentine grinch. Shall I call you Valentina Scrooge from now on?”
“Ha ha ha, very funny Tayo, although if I truly have turned into Valentina Scrooge it would take more than the ghosts of Valentine past, present and future to reform me.”
“Cheer up Val, It just wasn’t meant to be, very soon the right one will come along”
“Do you think if I experienced all those lovey dovey dates and walks, it would be easier to get over him?”
“No, I don’t think so. I think you’d feel worse.”
“My therapist said the same thing. I guess I was doomed from the start then.” I sighed and continued.

“I just wish…it’s just I have so many feelings. I feel guilty, sad, bereft, tortured, regretful and l don’t want to feel anything.”
“So basically, your problem is that you are human? Girl, get in line.”
“Funny thing is I’ve always had those fantasies but my guy has always been faceless and now it’s only Saul’s face and I wish it would just go away. I’m dreading Valentine’s day, I was so sure it would be the happiest day of my life in January. Now I just wish it would be wiped off the calendar.”

“That’s really sad Val. It’s your birthday, you should just forget Saul and have a great day. Why do you feel guilty though?”
“Well because he didn’t do anything wrong. It is entirely my fault our relationship didn’t work. Part of me just wishes he did do something bad so that my anger can be justified and I’d easily let him go knowing I deserve better. I finally succeeded in deleting his pictures yesterday but I couldn’t bring myself to delete the poem he wrote specially for me. It was too beautiful.” I searched for it on my phone and gave it to Tayo to read. She began reading and slowly her expression changed from an aww, to bewilderment. “What’s wrong I asked?”

“Paul wrote me the exact same poem” she said .

“Paul? Who’s Paul?” I asked also surprised. “Some dude I met on new year’s day. He collected my number and has been pestering me ever since. I’ve been playing hard to get because I’m not ready for a relationship but this guy won’t take no for an answer. I won’t lie, my defences have slowly started to crumble, he’s really likeable and damn cute. He asked me to be his Valentine around two weeks ago and I told him I’d think about it.” Tayo explained.

“Wawu, that’s interesting! Maybe he knows Saul and they are using the same poem to charm girls. Do you have his picture?” I asked. “Yeah sure”, Tayo took her phone and scrolled through her gallery. When she showed me the picture my eyes nearly burst out of their sockets. It was Saul! “This is Saul!” I yelled. “What! no way. This guy told me his name is Paul, how could he be your Saul?” Tayo didn’t want to believe it. A realisation suddenly hit me and I voiced it out.

“You know, in the Bible, Saul and Paul are the same person, what if he’s also the same person. Or did Saul, I mean Paul ever mention having an identical twin brother?”
“No he didn’t.”
“Did he ever tell you about his family? “
“Yes he said he had two sisters but…”
“One of them passed away?”
“Yes, Saul said so too?”
“Yes! Oh my God, that no good lying son of a …”
“Wait Valentina, that still doesn’t prove anything. Do you still have your chats with him? Let’s compare our chats”
I brought my phone and we did compare chats. It was exactly the same lingo, always opening with “hey sugar”, the same expressions, the same stickers and at times, the same timing. There was too much similarity to call it a different person.
“Valentina, do you realise that this means he was texting me while he was still in a relationship with you?”
“Damn that handsome devil. My gut was right in the beginning, he’s a damn player!” I said excitedly and I began to laugh hysterically and jump for joy. “Val, Valentina are you okay?” Tayo was worried I was going crazy.
“Tayo, I’m better than okay! Don’t you realise? I can finally be free of all those cursed fantasies he brainwashed me with! My fantasies can have faceless guys again. I am finally free knowing I dodged a bullet. He didn’t succeed in playing us. He’s a bad person and deserves all the anger I nursed towards him. Suddenly I’m not even angry anymore, I’m just glad I didn’t fall so deep into the trap, that would have left me even more shattered. All these two-timing bastards sef, mtcheeew. Oh Tayooooo! I’m so relieved. How do you feel though?” I hugged Tayo tightly, I was elated. Tayo hugged me back and said. “Honestly, I don’t even know how I feel. I’m glad you feel free though. Looks like Baba God was looking out for us after all. So now that I don’t have a Val, Val will you be my Val?”
We both laughed. “Of course I will! I’m exepecting two gifts then, a Val gift and a birthday gift.”
“Keep fantasising o,” Tayo replied and laughed.

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