Love Stories That Never Took Off By Grace Ogunleti

I asked him if we were just friends or if we were more. I think I would never forget what his response was: “I think you are amazing and I like that we are getting to know each other, I really like where it’s leading to” …

It was the end of my 3rd year at the university. I had just found a place in my neighborhood for my Industrial attachment and was looking forward to making some money and meeting new people. The first day at the job and I was disappointed, looked like everyone was just there for the money and not interested in socializing. It was the end of the year too so I worked for only a couple of days before the office closed for the year. Fast forward to the resumption in the new year, got to work and he was there. Apparently, he started his training one month before I did but took an early end of the year break. Can’t remember who said what first but that day, I found out we were studying the same course in different universities, lived only one street away from each other and he knew all the songs that were playing from my phone. Nice!

I was in a relationship at that time so I wasn’t looking into anything special but I was glad he was there. We talked about random stuff that day and went home together, we started going home together. After a couple of days, we discovered we had a whole lot in common and that was a rare thing for me. Before long, we became work buddies and it was really cool. One day at work, I wasn’t feeling well and he offered to do all my work and I thought that was very sweet. Even though we were inseparable at work, we weren’t much out of work.
He finished his training before me and sure, I missed him but I already became friends with another trainee who joined us later so work wasn’t so bad. A few weeks before my training ended, my relationship with my then-boyfriend ended. It had absolutely nothing to do with my new work buddy. Strangely, at about the time when my relationship ended, he started asking about “my boyfriend”, something he never did before. Told him about my status, talked about the breakup casually and we moved on. I returned to school and our relationship took a new turn, we started talking like every day, sometimes we’d talk into the early hours of the morning, we always had a lot to talk about and he was fun! Before long, I became attached to him and I thought the feeling was mutual because he casually mentioned how I was becoming his addiction one time. He became my first contact whether I was happy, going through stuff or going through nothing. I remember asking him one day if he had a girlfriend and he replied that he had 2 – his mom and sister. We remained best friends until he finished school and I was still in the middle of the project. I remember how he used to tease me about how he was a graduate and I wasn’t. Thinking back, I don’t think I would have been able to pull through the last weeks of school without him. He was always there and he always had a way of making me feel better about anything.
Fast forward to when I finished school too and I was looking forward to going home mostly because of him. Got home and we were still always talking. We talked about our goals and our fears and all the deep conversations only close people talk about. Something strange though, even though we were both at home at the time, we didn’t initiate hanging out, it was just random chanced meetings. I didn’t think it was strange at the time, I thought it was admirable, not the random 21st century “when are you coming to my house” guy. A couple of months after school, he got a temporary job and I thought that would put a strain on our friendship. It didn’t, he always found time to reach out to me or to just be attentive to me. It was as though he was intentional about keeping our friendship. Shortly after, I started interning somewhere and even in the midst of my busy schedule, I still had time for him. Unintentionally, I started dropping his name in conversations at home and at work and before long, friends and family started asking about him. He was really good for me and I remember the time we were friends as one of the happiest and most bubbly times of my life. I started thinking about him more often and started wondering why he was yet to initiate a relationship. I thought even though we were friends at that time, we were happier than most people actually dating.
Then came service. Unfortunately, his school didn’t prepare them for service in-time that year and I went for camp before him; camped out of the state. And so it was my time to tease him and I totally enjoyed it. I fondly remember one day in camp when he dared me to go to the OBS stand to dedicate a song to him. Redeployed back home and we started hanging out more often. We started having ‘our songs”, “our books” and “our movies”. Guys… I started rooting for his football club. I started making excuses for why he was yet to ask me out and I came up with the conclusion that he probably didn’t think I was into him like that. He once said I had a poker face and that it was tough for people to know what I’m thinking or feeling so the conclusion made perfect sense to me. I was determined to let him know how I felt about him without having to say it so I initiated a movie date. Movie date came and passed, nothing. Other dates came and went, still nothing. Even though we were not exactly dating, we were basically doing what people in relationships do (I promise you, it’s not what you’re thinking). My parents started asking about him after seeing us together a couple of times and he told me all about his family too and it felt like I’d met them.
His birthday was approaching and I was the most excited, anyone that was around me then knew his birthday was coming up and it was all I could think about; how I wanted it to be special for him, how I wanted him to be happy. We both love music so I was thinking of making a mixtape of all his best songs. The night before his birthday, I actually stayed up all night to mix the tape and I was desperate to make it perfect for him and that was when I was really sure that I loved him. He loved the tape and he came around later that night. I wanted to know how he really felt about me that night but I couldn’t ask him, he was traveling the next day anyway so I thought it better to ask him while he was away. A couple of days later, in the most serious way possible, I asked him if we were just friends or if we were more. I think I would never forget what his response was: “I think you are amazing and I like that we are getting to know each other, I really like where it’s leading to”. I was really heartbroken because I thought he’d see that as a hint and tell me how he loves me but wasn’t sure if I felt the same way or not… what was worse was that I was even more confused. Even though it wasn’t a definite answer, it was clear he wasn’t ready for anything serious between us. Anyways, I made a joke about something and we laughed the moment off, it was not the least awkward but I made up my mind then, to start giving him some space in the subtlest manner. Honestly, I expected him to do the same.
To my greatest surprise, nothing changed on his part. The very next day, he made me speak with his cousins as if we were an item. I thought that was an insensitive thing to do, considering the conversation we had the previous day but I brushed it off and continued the friendship as if nothing had happened. A couple of months after, I was in church and a prayer was raised about God destroying all relationships that were not beneficial to us. I prayed passionately. If God put an end to relationships that were not beneficial, it also meant He would put meaning and purpose to every beneficial relationship, right? From that moment on, I promised myself to stop chasing or initializing anything, or even reaching out to him first. I was just going to be still and watch the Lord bring the man I love to me.
Oh well, nothing best defines what happened between us than the Lord Huron song lyrics that go “I had all then most of you, some and now none of you.” We really went from a hundred to zero. I became really depressed at first because I couldn’t fathom what happened between us, and I was avoiding all the things we both loved which were… a lot of things, but I was strong in my decision not to reach out first.
In the midst of this all, I still had hope that maybe God was taking this time to prepare the man I loved to become the person that deserved me. I couldn’t think there was a better person for me other than him so I was there waiting.
Well about 5 months later, he reached out to me on my birthday. His birthday wish was the most hope killing thing ever. He apologized for being MIA but he didn’t explain why he was and he definitely didn’t hint that he wanted to pick up where we left off so that was it I guess. Since we were at-least-reach-out-to-each-other-on-our-birthdays buddies, I reached out to him on his birthday and guys… his cake was from his girlfriend.
Honestly, I can’t say that I am over him or that I am over the moments. There’s just so much around to remind me of him. On bad days, I still think about the love story that would have been perfect but never took off. I am a child of God, and so I trust that God is preparing the man that would love me into the man that would deserve me.
PS: I stopped rooting for his football club.

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