“Tomi” I called hesitantly, she turned to look at me. We were in one of the popular eateries in Lagos. We had gone shopping and was exhausted both physically and financially. We had spent so much more than what we budgeted for and I just knew that I would regret it the following day. We decided to crown our effort by having lunch. Actually, I had ulterior motives, I had wanted to talk to my friend about her relationship and I just didn’t know how to brooch the subject. Moreover, she has avoided talking about her boyfriend.
“What are your plans for this year?” I asked. “I mean you and Mr O.”
Tomi kept quiet for a while. I wondered what she was thinking about or maybe she would not say anything as usual. Tomi had been dating Mr O as we call him for three years now. Nobody has met him and we her friends are beginning to think maybe he was an imaginary boyfriend coined by our friend in order to keep us off her back. We were rather protective of her because she had suffered a lot. Her fiancé had died a week before their marriage and that had made her shut down emotionally but that was several years ago. We were very happy when she told us about this man that we have never met. Initially she was very excited about the relationship. She looked radiant and beautiful and was very full of life. This lasted for one year. She had since become very pensive and withdrawn again and I worry about her.
I waited patiently for her response. She played with her fork for a while. Making circles on her plate. She seemed far off and I wonder if I have not over run my mouth again.
“Ose,” she said.” I have decided to live.” She smiled and her eyes shone. “I have decided to live my life to the fullest. I have been afraid for too long. Afraid to live life but now, I am going to live. I will travel, go out on dates and enjoy my life. If I find love I will embrace it but if I don’t, so be it.” She said happily.
I looked at her curiously. I wasn’t satisfied by her answer because that was not what I expected. Tomi held my hands in her palms.
“I am going to be fifty in a year. I have mourned Ola. I have laid his ghost to rest and I think it is time for me to live again. It has taken me years to get to this point but I thank God that I finally did.” She said smiling.
“What about Mr O.” I asked tentatively. She looked at me and smiled again. “Mr O is there. But Mr O has developed cold feet. He has commitment phobia” She replied shaking her head.
“Have you guys broken up?” I asked now confused.
“No we have not. He is my friend and will remain so as long as he wants.”
“But…” I said interrupting her.
“Hear me out. She said putting her fore finger on my lips. He has a choice. He can either get his act together or the relationship will frizzle out but for me, I am going to go on dates again. Go to the cinema, travel to all those places I have always wanted to go; do all those things I have always wanted to do. I am going to cast my net wide, in the deep ocean as far as I can. I am going to spread my wings. I am going to live again.” She replied giggling.
Then she laughed. She laughed long and loud. The laugh was very infectious. I joined her laughing loud too not mindful of the people around us. Then I knew my friend is finally healed.