“My Flower” was what the gorgeous Tunde Afolabi always called Flo. Whenever he called her that, she was sure that the only thing stopping her from blushing was her dark skin. She had met him in school, University of Abuja, where she had finished her education. He was a third year Accounting student while she was the naive first year English/Lit girl and the first moment she saw him, she fell in ‘crush’ with him. He was tall, dark and handsome. His best features were his teeth. He smiled a lot and Flo was convinced that his smile was not really provoked by happiness, but it was all just to show off his perfect white teeth. The quality which Flo loved most about him was his intelligence. He had the highest score in his department with a 4.0 GPA IN 300 LEVEL! When he spoke, it was erudite, absent of a yoruba accent, and articulating every single word. He could carry a conversation so well that Flo would listen for hours without really knowing what he was talking about. And the cherry on top was his talent. He could sing so well, his voice made Flo think of Angels. Flo would often go to the campus fellowship just so that she could listen to his serenade.
Eno, Flo’s friend wouldn’t describe Tunde as ‘gorgeous’ though. She was a man-magnet and had dated enough men to have high standards. Tunde was far down on Eno’s list but he was her friend. It was through Eno that Flo had become friends with Tunde as well. As Cliche as cliches could get, throughout their stay in school, Sweet-Tune (was the nickname that Eno gave him) did not reciprocate her feelings. And because Flo had never dated any other person before, she didn’t know what to do about it. To make matters even more cliche, Tunde liked Eno and always asked Flo for ways to win Eno’s heart. Eno who found out about Flo’s crush (it was not so easy to hide) made attempts to get them ‘together’ but it didn’t work. Right until Tunde graduated and left the school, he never knew about Flo’s feelings or probably, he pretended not to know.
Flo got over the crush even though her friend often used her singleness to tease her. She never told Eno but she let Eno tease her because Flo felt that ‘being attractive’ was the only thing that worked for Eno. She was not exactly smart or talented. Flo knew it was a mean way to think about her friend but to defend herself, she was sure Eno thought terrible things about her too. Things like ‘Miss Flo, the eternally single girl.’ She knew that actually dating Tunde or anyone would complicate her life more. She usually preferred the imaginary Armando because she wouldn’t have to worry if he would leave her one day. In Flo’s perspective, her singleness was not really an issue but her friend thought differently.
Flo sat on the last pew in the enormous church building frowning. A lady with an unrealistically large head-piece which obstructed Flo’s view sat in front of her muttering in Yoruba. Eno sat beside her in a short and tight dress that Flo thought was not appropriate to wear in church (but what did she know) taking a selfie. Flo groaned. When her friend called her on that Saturday morning asking her to come to ‘a wedding’ with her, she thought it would be fun. Eno had refused to reveal the identity of who was getting married. She didn’t think it was someone so important but looking now at the wedding programme in her hands, she saw Sweet-Tune and some woman in a nuptial embrace. “Tunde and Elisabeth” was written under the smiling faces. Eno tried to take a picture of Flo with her phone but Flo shoved her. “We are in church.” The head-piece woman in front of them turned around and shushed Flo.
After the joining, Flo and Eno went for the reception. It was in a fancy but crowded hotel. The reception had not yet started and most guests loitered outside. Flo and Eno watched as ‘big’ men clad in agbada greeted each other and women in buba laid down at the feet of dignitaries in greeting. Flo and Eno stood and watched but later, they shifted their gaze to the couple’s car which was parked afar. “Eno, why did you ask me to come for this wedding?” Flo asked angrily already knowing the answer.
“It’s Tunde’s wedding, your sweet-heart, our Sweet-Tune. You were in love with him nah.” She said excitedly.
“No, it was a crush. And it was five years ago.”
“Ah-ahn, why are you sounding like that. Okay, he was our friend. At least let’s say hi.”
“I don’t want to.”
Eno still persuaded. “You sound as if you still like him and you are angry that he is married. Is it because he broke your heart?”
“That is ridiculous. Technically, the heart can’t even be broken. It’s not brittle. It’s more likely to be crushed than broken” Flo replied. ”
Eno had no idea what she just said. “Ok, let’s congratulate him before the reception starts. Then you can go home, forget about the rest of the wedding.”
Flo accepted. She knew that this was another way for Eno to tease her eternally-single friend. As they approached the car, Eno confirmed this by whispering in Flo’s ear. “This would have been you. She is not even fine like you sef.” Flo smiled at the fact that she was right.
“But it’s not me.” She replied as she bent towards the car window and knocked. The window slid down and Tunde peered through.
“Hi!” Eno said.
“Congratulations on your married life.” It sounded rehearsed.
Tunde smiled and Flo’s heart melted. The feelings were not totally gone after all.
“My Flower.” He said to Flo. “Eno. You came!”
“Yeah. We just thought we’d show our support being old friends and all.” Eno said.
“How are you Flo. You look great.” Tunde said as his eyes lit up the moment it focused on Flo.
“I am great.” Flo said.
Eno typically had drifted away. Flo wondered what Eno intended to achieve from this meeting.
“You really have changed. You are much more beautiful, like a bud opening up to be a flower. I wonder why I didn’t see it all this time… It’s incredible. I didnt know i missed you so much until this moment.” He flirted obviously.
Flo glanced into the car searching for his wife.
“She-she went to touch up on her make-up.” He said noticing why she was staring.
“Oh that’s nice. I just thought I’d say hi you know. Tunde, I wish you the best in your marriage.” All the feelings had faded. She stared at the face of the potential cheater cynically. She just wanted to get away from him. She was mature enough to know that if she tried liking him again, Tunde would give her the attention she had wanted all this time but that would make her a homewrecker. She didn’t know if Tunde really was happy with his new wife of not, but she wanted no part in it.
“Flo. I know what you are thinking. If I had seen you yesterday, I would have called off this wedding. The way I feel right now looking at your face- Flo.” he exhaled. “At least let me have your number. Let’s just catch up on the lost years. C’mon Flo. I ignored you all these years but- Flo…”
Flo laughed as if she had heard the funniest joke ever told.
Tunde just blinked at her.
“Tunde, goodbye. You can try your little trick on Eno though, her standards have dropped since we were in school.” Flo turned around and walked away. She ignored Tunde as he called to her. She saw Eno from afar flirting with an unattractively bleached man. Flo waved at her friend and pointed to the gate indicating that she was going home.