Short Story: Hey Stranger

“You have to get over him”

“Ehn.” She sighed in between the gasps that were already heaving from her chest. “I know that. I’ve known that for a while now. The question is how? How am I supposed to get over somebody I love this much and have loved for so long?”

“I’ve told you.” Bimbo stands from the bed and paces the free area of the entire room. “I’ve told you. Get a rebound. I know all those Google articles tell you that’s the worst thing you can do. But see, this your case is serious.” She sits at the edge of the bed. “You’ve been off and on with this guy for six long ass years Helen. Six years!!! Do you know if you had had a kid, the kid will be in primary school by now? Find a new flame babe. Please!”

“It’s not that easy to meet new people.”

“Abeg, just slay and you will know how easy it is.”

Helen manages a smile.

***

She has just returned from her PR work at 7:30pm. She is fagged out. But not too fagged out for Instagram. That’s when the dm came in.

josh555: hey

josh555: You bio said I could say hey.

She remembers the bio: I do pr stuff plus I like art. say hey, I like to help.

hforhelen: hey right back at you.

josh555: So pr.

hforhelen: Yes pr. It’s not as interesting as it sounds.

josh555: Lol. I know about a bunch of stuff that’s not as interesting as they sound. Take for instance, library science.

hforhelen: Haha. How would you know? Are you a library scientist?

josh555: No, but my best friend is and he is the most boring nigga on earth.

hforhelen: Lol. Smh.

And so it went on for weeks, with Josh. He was a fashion designer. Like, a legit fashion designer. When she saw his works via shared photos on Whatsapp after she finally agreed to let them exchange numbers, she was dumbfounded. He did women and menswear, swimsuits, bridals, name it. And he wasn’t hustling either, as  per, he was already stable to an extent.

They had chemistry, if chemistry meant that two people could basically not be without contacting each other every single minute of every single day. Then, they had enough of that to call a planet. And there were calls too. Calls that seemed to last forever. People started to notice at work that she was always napping during the day because she didn’t get enough sleep at night. When she spoke to him, she felt that her life meant something, of course she knew that he life meant something before but now, with him, it meant something more.

***

Joshua A *heartemoji*: When will you come have dinner with me?

Reply: Is this a playboy move?

Joshua A *heartemoji*: So what if it is..

Reply: Lol it better not be. it’s been five months o

Joshua A *heartemoji*:…And im already your bestfriend abi

Reply: Loooool for your mind

Joshua A *heartemoji*: So dinner?

Reply: Sure.

Joshua A *heartemoji*: Where?

Reply: You choose.

It wasn’t that much of a fancy restaurant but it was classy. Helen had been to fancier places, but because she was going to see him, she was timid and self-conscious. She wondered if heels were too much for a causal first date and whether or not her dress was too short. He came a tad late and smiled a widespread smile when he saw her.

“Wow, you look hot!”

“Wow, not mincing words now are we?” She had replied as she offered him a sit.

They both laughed.

“My bad, you look amazing Helen.”

“Thanks Josh.”

“I’m sorry I am late, traffic.  What will you have?”

Meeting him was great, he was even better looking in person, better articulated. She liked him and by the time they were done with dinner he had asked her to be his girlfriend and she had stammered and said “…there’s somebody else”

“Are you kidding?” He chuckled

“No.”

“You’ve never mentioned somebody else Helen” he leaned towards her from across their table “and we’ve basically spoken every day for the past 162 days and you haven’t mentioned anybody to me.” He took a deep breath “Are you serious right now?”

She was quiet.

“Okay then.”

He called for the waiter, took care of the bills and left.

She left too, after several minutes of not understanding what had happened.

She expected him to call later that night but he didn’t, or the day after that or the week after that. By then she had tried calling him and texting him and sending him dms. But he had blocked her everywhere and now she was at the verge of hot madness. She did not know how to function without his good-mornings, or how-are-you-loves… or smile-for-me na. She never thought a time would come she would wish for days of no love. But here she was, on the floor in her room watching reruns of scandal and eating dry cereal and there was no emptiness quite like the one within her and she wanted nothing more but to hear his voice and when the urge overtook her she would go to their chat history and she would find and replay the voice note of him explaining how fashion is art and how it’s a personal statement of creativity and she would marvel at his brilliance and how foolish she had been to ruin it all and she would wonder why she had such bad luck with people and love and she would eat some more dry cereal and let herself cry as Olivia pope does Olivia pope.

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