boy and girl in loveThere was a time I used to wish that somebody of the opposite sex, anybody of the opposite sex would fall in love with me irrespective of their physical attributes or class. This was way back in secondary school. I never had a girlfriend throughout my six years in secondary school. I never fell in love with anybody in that six years span, not because I didn’t want to but because it just didn’t happen. I didn’t know what it was like to be in love.

I had read of stories of people’s first love and it always occurred way back in either their nursery or primary level of education. I never had a childhood first love. Heck! As a child, what did I know? I hadn’t finished falling in love with my mom’s breast milk, so how could I fall in love with another girl? There’s only so much love one could fall into at a time after all.

The closest emotional encounter I had with a girl in primary school was a fiery one. The girl was a bully and I was her victim.  I fell in hate with her.

The first time I really felt something nice for a girl (which I don’t think was love) was in my final year in secondary school. And it happened in comical circumstances? A guy picked up a fight with me because he noticed the girl he was into, had an eye for me instead.  After the fight, I walked up to the girl and tried to understand what my fight partner was all about. In the process, I think Cupid struck me with his arrow (not the love arrow, but something close) and I started seeing this girl in a whole new light! I kept on her trail for a while and tried to let everyone notice we were an item. I don’t think we ever were. I did this because I wanted to let my friends know that I too could have a girl.

I remember using all my life savings at the time (if I ever had any) to get her a beautiful, but definitely inexpensive perfume on Valentine day. I think I added a cheap card too. That was all I could afford. The next time I gave her something was on our graduation day: an envelope of minty N20 bills amounting to N100. Yes! Just N100. And I gave it, feeling I had overly impressed her with my total expression of “love.” We then said our goodbyes.

In all that time, this girl never reciprocated my gestures or showed that she cared about either me or even, my efforts. She definitely wasn’t into me.

When I got to the university, my search for love continued. I looked forward to loving somebody, anybody, but this time around, I had a list of qualities my potential lover should possess. Top on my list was that she must be slender and beautiful. Second on the list was that she must be slender and beautiful. The hundredth requirement on my list was that she must be slender and beautiful.

I met girls with such “qualities” but the problem was that they came with other baggages as well: they were well out of my league. Or so I thought. And I never approached them for fear of being rejected.

It was not until my third year in the university that I met yet another slender and beautiful girl. But this time around, there was something about her which caught my fancy and it wasn’t just her looks. In the process of wooing her, I confirmed that there was really more to this girl than her charms. I loved her wit, soft-spokeness, innocence, arrogance, maturity, truths,stupidity, lies and thoughts about life. And as much as this girl appeared also to be out of my league, I wasn’t going to let that deter me.

I was finally in love.

This experience shaped my understanding of this concept called love till this day.

Many a time I hear folks say love happens when you least expect it. As much as this argument holds sway, I dare say too that love also happens when you expect it to! Many a time we lose the “love of our life” without even meeting them. Why? Because we are too busy expecting love in stranger places. We don’t think we can find love on a “platter of gold.” We manufacture all kind of reasons why it will never work out with the person. It is either the person is “way out of our league,” they won’t be endorsed by our friends, they are just too good for us or the age difference is not what we envisaged. We give up without even trying.  We overlook love even when love is starring us right in the face. We see love as a complex concept and as such, don’t believe it could come easily.

Sometimes, we expect the other person to make the first move. Our girls are guilty of this. We would rather die in silence, than be the first to express our feelings towards the other person for fear of being turned down. We forget that we are already in a lose-lose situation if we keep quiet. What if in the course of being silent, we lose “the love of our life” to somebody else? Did I hear you say “If he was the love of my life, he wouldn’t leave”? Dearest one, people eventually get tired of waiting. Moreover,  we are responsible for our fate. Every tiny little step you take leads up to somewhere or something and vice-versa. Haven’t you ever heard of somebody missing his flight by two minutes? If only he had woken up by 7:00am instead of 7:02am, he would have made that flight! Every action or inaction count!

Same goes for love. Something must happen for something to happen. Love doesn’t just happen in a vacuum. If the situation is right, make the move. It doesn’t have to be larger than life for it to be true love. It doesn’t have to be difficult. It doesn’t have to look divine or heavenly. You don’t need to feel butterflies in your stomach for it to be love. You don’t need to see the stars in the sky to confirm it is love. You can find love in familiar places. You just have to be ready when love comes knocking.


  1. Anita says:

    You write beautifully and from the heart – a rare gift. Love in familiar places is a heRt-warming phrase and I love the way you string words together to make poetry in prose. I’ve also found love in a million things :). In English, we use the word love pretty indiscriminately bunching together the many different kinds of love – agape, eros, philia – as you know. Romantic (eros) love is over-rated. Keep writing. Grace and peace.

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