They say time heals all wounds, but in my case, time rubbed salt deep into the wound.
What the heck was Kunle doing at my engagement ceremony? Even worse, he was here with that…backstabber?!
The moment I saw them, I felt a deep pain in my heart. My feet froze on the dance floor and my sweet smile transformed into a grotesque grin. I swung my hip to the tune of the music, but my eyes followed them amidst the crowd.
After the event, I sprung out of my seat, like a malfunctioning robot, abandoning my groom-to-be.
“What the hell are you doing here? Are you out of your mind?” I blurted out.
“Today must be a great day. I can’t believe you’re speaking to me.” Kunle spread his arms wide as if to embrace me. After almost twelve years, the idiot wasn’t even remorseful.
“I said what the hell are you doing at my engagement ceremony? I don’t remember inviting you.”
“Hey babe, what’s the hurry?” Dapo’s voice interrupted my rambling.
“Ah, I can see that you have met Kunle…my stepbrother.” Dapo folded his hands together and bowed playfully. “Ebgon mi, forgive my manners. I should have introduced her to you myself.”
Kunle laughed hysterically. “Don’t be ridiculous!”
My eyes swung from Kunle to Dapo and back again, like a pendulum. My brain was still trying to process the new information. “Step brother? How?”
Dapo scratched his head. “Errm…Actually, it’s a long story. Maami – the one Ba mi got married to three years ago – is Kunle’s mother. Boom! We’re step brothers.” He hugged Kunle.
I pursed my lips into a pout. Why didn’t I see this coming? I knew that there was something about Maami the first day I met her. Her face looked familiar, but I couldn’t place it. Now I remember. I had seen her in some of Kunle’s photos.
Dapo’s father was a widower and Kunle’s mum a widow. They both had grown up children, some were already married. Still, they got married three years ago. I wondered what an old widower and widow were hoping to achieve with another marriage.
“Babe, don’t worry. You’re in safe hands. Let me quickly say hello to my colleagues before they leave.” Dapo planted a kiss on my cheek and dashed off.
With a smile plastered on his face, Kunle put his hands into his waist pocket and bounced on his feet.
“You’re at it again. You want to ruin my life, right?” I let out my frustration.
“Isabella, what makes you think I would ever want to ruin your life?”
I huffed. “No. No. I don’t want to go over this topic again.”
“Don’t tell me you’re still talking about what happened when we were in school? It’s not like it was easy for me too, but what else did you expect after we discovered our genotype was AS?”
“Whatever, except jumping at the next available thing in skirt. After six years together, Kunle. Six years! You go off and get married to my room-mate. Who does that? And to even think that I got to know about your wedding from social media…” I turned my face away so he would not see the pain in my eyes. It was still as fresh as ever.
Kunle heaved a sigh. “I reached out to you several times, but you never returned my calls. You blocked my numbers. You hung up on me. I loved you Bella, but I just couldn’t go on with the relationship. I have seen the kind of pain Sickle Cell Anemia can cause. I watched my sister writh in pain until she died. After that experience, I vowed never to go through something similar with anyone I love – wife or child. It is really heart breaking.”
I sniffed back the tears. “That’s not an excuse. Your love was never strong enough.”
I rushed into my car and zoomed off. I had no idea where I was going to. I just needed some peace and quiet. I needed some fresh air. I needed to breathe. I parked by the roadside and cried my heart out.
I never realized how much of a grudge I held against Kunle. I was hurt. I was bitter. I was angry. For twelve years, I had been trying to prove to him that I was not worthless.
I traveled abroad. I bagged a Master’s degree. I got a high-paying job. While I was at it, I plastered my photos with different hashtags all over social media. I wanted to rub it in his face. I wanted to drive the fact that he made a big mistake into his subconscious like a dagger. I wanted to pay him back in his own coin. And today, I couldn’t wait to post photos of my big day- the last straw. The final seal to let him know that I can make it in life!
But, why do I feel hurt? What is the cause of this pain? Why am I feeling miserable? Is it because every time I go through Kunle’s wall on social media, he looks happy? Is it because I feel Kunle moved on too quickly? Is it because he doesn’t even get the message I have been trying to send all these years? Is it because I feel he owes me an apology – a serious apology? Is it because all the progress in my life was just to prove a point?
As I sobbed, I remembered my sister’s counsel “Bella, your motive for success should never be to prove a point. When you do that, you give people control over your life.”