The Merriam Webster dictionary defines love as a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person.
While I agree with this definition, a part of me can’t help but think it’s impossible for it to be constant. I mean, if love is constant, then why do people who love each other end up becoming like strangers once things to south? It just doesn’t make sense, and this was one of the many reasons I was so skeptical on the issue of love; that and the fact that my first stab at it hadn’t gone very well.
I thought about my unfulfilled life and the fact that I’d almost died that morning, as I sat up on my bed, using the remote to channel-hop through the TV in my ward.
A slight commotion right outside the door was all the warning I had before the door was jerked open and my sexy best friend sauntered in. Isaac was simply one of the handsomest men I knew, with chiseled features on chocolate-brown skin and an attitude of self confidence he wore over himself like a toga. Even in the dull black and white nursing uniform he was wearing, he managed to make it look like he was scheduled for a fashion shoot. With his Mohawk and dazzling smile, he could get into anybody’s pants he wanted.
Except mine, of course. For some reason, we knew we were destined to be friends instead of lovers from the first time we met.
“Babe, are you okay?” he cooed as he drew close to me.
I’d sent him an SOS message via Whatsapp the moment my mother and brother left the hospital. I needed someone to relay my epiphany to.
“Why do you look different?” I asked back, drawing my head back to eye him from head to toe.
“I don’t,” he said with deliberate dismissiveness.
I arched a disbelieving brow as I grabbed at his body. He made to flinch backward but I had already grabbed purchase of his uniform. His clothes felt bulky as I pulled him determinedly to me. He let himself come forward meekly and stood as I unbuttoned his shirt to reveal the white silk shirt he had on below.
I examined his face for a split second, befuddled, before it dawned on me. I gasped. “Oh my God, Isaac! Don’t tell me you were actually going to go for the wedding!”
“Maybe,” he said, looking guiltily away.
“Without me?!” I whined as I began hitting him.
Aside from our friendship and working relationship as nursing colleagues, Isaac and I were also co-runners of an anonymous blog that reviewed Nigerian weddings. Even ones we weren’t invited to.
And let it be noted now that we weren’t exactly decent with our reviews.
And there was a small society wedding fixed for 3pm in Lekki that we’d gotten wind of. One of the caterers to the wedding had informed us of it and promised us safe passage into the festivity.
“When you didn’t show up for work and weren’t picking my calls, what should I have done, eh?” Isaac protested.
“Umm, hello?” I said, gesturing about me in a pointed reference to my current hospitalized position.
“I didn’t know that then na. But here I am, to console you.” He flashed his disarming smile, spreading his arms out wide. “I left the nursing station as soon as Doctor Osondu informed me of your admission.”
“Na so,” I scoffed, and then added, “Wait, you found out I was here through Doctor Osondu?”
“Yes. Is there a problem?”
“Not really. It’s just…I sent an SOS text to you. I thought that was what brought you along.”
“Well, I didn’t get it.”
I picked up my phone to check, only to just then notice that the message hadn’t even delivered. The network had cut back to 3G instead of 4G. These blasted network providers and their flip-flop service.
“Well, I’m here. Any 411?” Isaac said.
I let out a heavy sigh as I began to sit up.
“Oh my God, what is it?” he began. “Are you dying? Shit! I knew it – all that weight loss and –”
“Isaac, I’m not dying,” I objected with a chuckle.
“Well then, why do you have on an expression like nshi agbara catapult?”
My chuckle turned into a laugh. “What on earth does that even mean?”
“Don’t even ask.” He waved a hand. “Oya, out with it. What is it?”
“Okay so before the accident, right before I blacked out, I had a quick realization – that I haven’t really been living my life to the fullest. I mean, I thought being a nurse at day and rocking clubs as a DJ at night was gratifying enough. But deep down, I want more.”
“Okay?” Isaac said with some consternation.
“I’m saying I’m ready.”
I didn’t even have to verbalize my response. I simply gave him a nod and a wink, and he went berserk. For the next few minutes, he wouldn’t stop expressing his astonishment that I, the ultimate cynic of love and relationships, was finally looking to give it all another chance. As he jabbered on about what I’d been missing and how he couldn’t wait for me to get my groove back on, I rolled my eyes inwardly.
Oh please! I mean, what’s the big deal, right?
It took another few hours, but soon I was discharged from the hospital. And thereafter, Mother fussed over me while I got settled at home. I didn’t want her around. I just wanted to be on my own. Or with Isaac. He’d come over from the wedding and was bursting with items for our review. Eventually, Mother left. And Isaac was all set to usher me back into the dating world.
He installed a dating app in my phone and we set about introducing me into the world of online dating. And at a point, I felt like I was applying for a US Visa. There were just so many boxes to fill, check and cross-check. My goodness – all this to find a man?!
Luckily for me though, I had someone who was more than willing to spend a Monday night helping me create the perfect dating profile.
“And we’re done!” Isaac exclaimed once we had finished setting everything up.
We both sighed as we reclined on the couch with relief.
“So what now?” I asked
“We sit and wait for the app to find you a match,” he answered as he got up from the couch. “But first, I need to find a drink, preferably something strong.”
He headed into my kitchen
“Vodka! Top shelf, behind the detergents!” I hollered after him.
“Thanks boo!” he hollered back.
And as if my phone was waiting for Isaac to leave the room, a couple of notifications pinged in.
I grabbed the phone, my heart thumping a bit, a wary smile on my face. The smile straightened immediately into a scowl when I saw the notifications were from WhatsApp – messages from Mother enquiring about my welfare.
Woman, you left here like an hour ago. Nothing’s changed in an hour, I wanted to type back. Instead, I responded that I was fine and dropped the phone back on the couch beside me, blowing an exasperated breath as I did so.
“You’re going to have to be more patient than that, honey,” Isaac said as he walked back into the room in that moment. He held two glasses of Vodka in his hand; he handed me one and settled back on the couch beside me.
“Does it take much time for you?” I said, giving him an arch look.
Isaac was a serial dater, constantly moving through relationships like it was a game of revolving doors. And somehow, he never had any bad breakups. All his exes wanted to stay friends, some of them even opting for benefits. He was just that good.
He chuckled as he took a sip from his glass. “It’s so cute that you think we’re on the same level.”
“Whatever,” I scoffed with a scowl.
“Look, babe, aside from the fact that I’ve been doing this for a long time, the time we spend waiting for feedback from these dating apps don’t compare.”
“Because I’m on all of them, that’s why,” he crowed. “One of the benefits of playing both sides.”
Ah yes, remember when I said Isaac could get into anybody’s pants, well, I meant that almost literally. He’s bisexual, so basically – anybody. He doesn’t discriminate, he likes to say with a laugh.
I groaned. “Why can’t we just date each other and get it over with?”
Isaac arched a brow at me. “Desperation isn’t a good colour on you, Funke.”
“Fuck you!” I shot back.
“I really wish you wouldn’t,” he retorted, his lips twisted with humour.
I giggled as I slapped a hand on his arm. “It’s so unfair. You already score with the ladies. Do you really have to add guys to your list too?”
“Duh! This body can’t be limited to one gender,” he said as he waved a hand over the length sprawled on the couch next to me. I rolled my eyes as he chuckled. “Besides, I’m refraining from girls for a while. Their drama don tire person.”
“No offense, but guys know what guys want, sexually and romantically – much easier, less mess to deal with.”
“Abeg, let me hear word,” I said, waving a dismissive hand. “Just because you’re bi doesn’t make you a rock star.”
“Now it’s jealousy? Tsk, tsk, you are full of ugly colours today, Funke,” Isaac rejoined with a laugh, one that I readily joined in.
After an hour of meaningless chatter and idly watching Netflix shows, during which time I got three matches on the app that I outrightly rejected, Isaac soon dozed off right there on the couch, his head lolling close to my shoulder. My eyelids were getting heavy too, and I was about to drift off as well, when my phone’s screen lit up. I groaned, playing a mental game where I tried to decide what the notification was for – Mother’s WhatsApp message or another unattractive offer from the app.
Reluctantly, I picked up the phone and swiped it open. It wasn’t a WhatsApp message. It wasn’t a message from the app either. Well, it kind of was. Apparently, the site had opened up an ad to another dating website – but this ad looked completely different.
It only had pictures of girls, and it was more colorful than the one I was registered to.
It took me a full moment to realize this was a dating app for lesbians.
I gaped at it, and with a quick flutter in my heart, I shot a look at Isaac, wondering whether I should wake him up, hesitating, and turning back to my phone screen. Curiosity surged through me, dispelling the sleep that had been tugging at me just a moment ago.
I clicked into the site, ushering myself into the world of women wanting women. My heart was beating a bit faster than usual. A small snore erupted from Isaac, causing me to jump slightly with guilt. I looked quickly at him. He was still sleeping. For some reason, I suddenly didn’t want him to know what I was doing.
I turned back to my phone, remembering what he said about guys knowing what guys want, and I began to wonder if the same was for girls. I mean, I’d had a relationship with a man and that had ended badly.
Perhaps you should see what a girl has to offer? A voice whispered cheekily into my left ear.
No! That’ll make you a lesbian! Another voice, rich with revulsion, forbade into my right ear.
Not a lesbian, silly. Bisexual – like Isaac!
Do you really want to be like Isaac?
And before I knew it, I was setting up a profile. It was pretty easy; all the site required was my email address and a password.
The message pinged into my brand new account seconds after it was up, startling me. Feeling my breath catch, I stared at it for a full second.
What do you say to a girl’s ‘Hi’?
Hello, of course! What are you, dense?
I clicked open the girl’s profile page; she lived a few thousand miles away in Australia.
Well, you have to start from somewhere.
I began thumbing through my phone’s keypad.
“Hello,” I typed. And then I looked to see if Isaac was awake, before I clicked the send button.
Written by The Reverend