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Too good to be true

Nov 17, 2011, 1:53 PM | Article By: Isatou Dumbuya

Right now I am supposed to be excited because I am getting ready for a New Year’s Eve party that my friends and I are organizing. We have all rushed to our apartments to make our final preparations, and that is ‘Dress to Kill’

My hair-weave is well combed and oiled, and it is carefully laid on the bed with my slinky blue-suede dress. I know I am supposed to be excited but here I stand on the rich Persian carpet, my four inch pump heels around my feet, dreaming, wishing to do, to say……the unthinkable to the one man who makes my skin come alive…..jump…and my heart to dance at the mere thought of him….to the one man who wouldn’t even care so much as to give me a glance. I am full of anxiety wishing that he would honor our invitation.

My mind wanders as I reach for a comb to tie my hair into a bun.

We grew up together in the same neighborhood. He was of the upper-class, and I of the lower-class. His childhood was the one I never had.

He would ride in his father’s car to buy some patisserie while my single mother would work her hands to the bones all day to get us two meals a day.

His toys would attract me, and I would peep through their gate for hours till their maid would come shoo me away.

Thirteen years later, we are now in the same University, and I can’t help contain my admiration for him.

My phone rings, and I am forced out of my little world. The evening comes and by some sort of magic he notices me from the rest and asks me for a dance. He whisks me into the dance hall, and we swirl our world away.

We meet again, this time in a supermarket. He recognizes my face and offers to pay my bills.

On our way out, he takes me by surprise by asking, “Would you mind to come to my engagement party next week?”

I can’t dare swallow my own spit now.

 “Uhmmmh… ,”  I stutter.

He cuts me in mid-sentence, “I won’t take no for an answer.”

I can’t help but stare into his larger than- life-eyes. With the sun cast on his face, I feel like I have my own little part of the sun. He smiles, coaxing me. And for the first time I take in his unshaved stubble of beard. Perhaps he was in a hurry to grab a few things at the supermarket.

I grow speechless because I don’t know how to deal with this news. I feel bile rising in my stomach and my legs go cold, my mind refuses to think but only one thing: I wish that I would be in that lucky girl’s shoes for a minute. I force a smile, nodding my consent.

I lean on him for support and wrapped my arms around him. He takes that as a hug…..as a congratulatory hug. He guides me to my apartment and leaves at the gate. Once in my room, I take an aspirin, down it with a glass of water in one go and force myself to catch a few winks.

I manage to see him through his engagement.

Days become weeks and weeks into months, and we become best friends. I earn his confidence, but he still sees me as a good friend who he can lean on and pour out his heart to.

A few days before graduation, my phone rings. The voice on the other side of the line says, “He has been in a car accident……..hurry…..Saint Mary’s Hospital…………No, your number was the only one we found in his back pocket………..He keeps calling your name.”

Until today, I used to think that his engagement was going to be the death of me, but this is killing a part of me.

As I stand in the middle of his hospital room and seeing him sleeping, an oxygen mask placed over his nose, bandages around his head and bruises here and there on his body, I forget to breathe. Tears start streaming down my face because I can’t bear seeing him in such a pitiful state. I sit beside his bed all day, praying for him and wishing that every now and then the picture of the other woman wouldn’t spring up in my mind.

Few days later, his eyes fly open, and I am the first person he sees. He faintly calls my name and drifts back to sleep with his mouth half-open, and I sit there kissing his knuckles…praying for him with tear-filled eyes.

Years later, when he has had a break-up with the other girl, and I am happily married to him with three kids, we would laugh at the past over a bottle of champagne during dinner. Sometimes I would look at him with admiration playing with our kids and tell myself “this is too good to be true”. The only thing which would make me believe is his larger than life-eyes and unshaved stubble around his mouth.