01 May A Thousand needles…
It was literally the perfect match. Teni couldn’t believe it when she finally met Tolu but it was as if someone had gone into Teni’s mind and decided to construct the perfect person for her. Tolu and Teni could not be more alike. It’s been said that opposites attract but in their case similarities ignited.
Her friends told her: “Teni, you’ve got to meet Tolu and speak to him, you guys have so much in common!” She smiled at them, not thinking they were serious. Her friends knew she had never had a boyfriend and were always trying to matchmake her. Although they were in the same faculty and studying the same course, she had only come across Tolu on a fleeting basis. Until one day he came up to her, shook her hand and said he was interested in knowing more about her as his friends had told him that he had a lot in common with her.
After that introduction, they became inseparable. Always spending time together, studying together, taking long walks together and just gisting, planning their whole weekend around each other. Their friends called them by the others’ names and they were so in sync they sometimes completed each others sentences. They were the sickeningly cute perfect pair and Teni had never been more sure he was Mr Right. There was only one problem. Tolu was already in a committed relationship. Although the lady was in another university, they were already engaged and he had every intention of marrying her. Well, that was until he met Teni. He had talked about his girlfriend quite a lot to her and although she resented it, she had come to accept that she couldn’t be anything more than his female best friend. Then the tables turned. The more time they spent together the more Tolu felt unsure about his relationship. Before they knew it, they had totally crossed the platonic boundary and entered into the romantic and Tolu was talking about breaking up with his girlfriend. The only problem with it he told Teni, was that he was not the kind of guy that broke ladies’ hearts and he had been in a romantic relationship with her for years. They entered into a sort of deadlock with Tolu vacillating between her and the girl. Teni felt she was in an impossible situation but try as she would, she couldn’t bring herself to tear away from him. She felt she would be losing a part of herself. Months dragged on and they reached an impasse where Tolu had to choose. He chose his girlfriend. When he told Teni this, the pain of it hit her chest and she felt rather faint. She felt like she had been stabbed with a thousand needles.
Teni couldn’t bring herself to talk to her friends about what had happened. She blamed herself for falling in love with a boy that was already attached to someone else. She distanced herself completely from him as she knew that she needed to heal away from him. She avoided places where they spent together and would avoid the questions her friends asked about him. She didn’t want to look foolish to them crying over a boy who had obviously never been hers. She grieved in silence and in the privacy of her room and determined to move on with her life. Given her childhood with an absentee father and a mother who put all of her love and attention on her older brother, she was nothing if not resilient. She convinced herself that she needed no one. She focused on her studies and finished her course in accounting with a 2:1.
Within a short period of time, she completed her youth service and got a job with a bank in the metropolis. Things were looking promising. She had her own job and flat and was pretty independent. One day a friend of hers introduced her to someone who wanted to open a business bank account in her bank. She caught her breath when she saw him. He was strikingly handsome. He opened the bank account and got her number but soon it became clear that he was coming to the bank a lot looking for opportunities to spend time with her. She was flattered by his attention but convinced herself there was no way he could be interested in her until he asked her out. This time around, she had done her research and there were no hidden skeletons in his closet. There were no girlfriends or ghost of ex-girlfriends hanging around.
Femi seemed serious and mature. He was talking about a long term relationship leading into marriage. Teni had no idea her heart could open up again after Tolu but it did. This time she felt, she would be more cautious as she was more mature. The relationship was exciting in the beginning and they couldn’t get enough of each other until six months into the relationship Teni began to sense a sort of coolness in Femi. For no reason at all, he began to slowly withdraw from her. She tried to find out what was going on but he was evasive. She tried to discover if there was another woman but could find no evidence of anything. Things eventually came to a head on her birthday where Femi all but ignored it. When she challenged him about it, he stated that they needed to reevaluate their relationship. He stated that he did not feel they could work together as a couple and that they should just remain friends. Teni couldn’t believe it. He had given no reason to her why he thought this and didn’t seem to care what she felt or thought. She realised if she forced the issue, she would be dragging a man into a relationship he was obviously not interested in. What was perplexing was that she could not fathom any reason why he would want to break up. She let him go. This time it was like the thousand needles had not only stabbed her but glass shards exploded in her chest.
Her thoughts haunted her. She began to wonder if there was something intrinsically wrong with her that turned people away. She had no support from her family who basically ignored her and by this time many of her friends had either moved out of state or were married with children of her own. Life suddenly lost meaning. The pain in her chest was constant. She became distrustful of people and would not allow anyone get close to her. She lost sleep. She lost her interest in food and lost a lot of weight. One day, she sat in her living room and tried to imagine her future. The future stretched out bleak and uncertain before her and she saw herself alone and unhappy. Then something snapped. She decided she would not live like this anymore. She went out that evening to the pharmacy and came back armed with three satchets of tramadol. This should do the trick, she told herself. When she came to, she was in hospital and she saw someone looking at her with kind eyes. He said he was a doctor and told her she would need to stay on a psychiatric ward for a few days and that she might need medication. Teni stared at him wordlessly as he spoke wondering how she had let herself get to this point. She let his words wash over her, words of comfort telling her that she was not alone. There was help for her, there was understanding and not judgement but most importantly there was hope. Tomorrow would be a brighter day for her. She dared to believe it as his words eased her back to sleep