That was the beginning of several visits Kamsi made to the hospital to see Philly’s mom and she enjoyed every moment she spent with her. Mrs. George told her lots of stories and they laughed a lot. She was really a nice person and she was very kind to her.
Kamsi wondered why God would allow a woman with such a good heart to have a terminal disease at the prime of her life. She was just 51and still very agile.
Thankfully, she was doing well on her chemotherapy treatment, she tolerated the drugs well and only complained of weakness on most days. Kamsi desperately prayed for her perfect healing and did her best to be there for her.
Everytime Kamsi imagined having Mrs. George as her mother-in-law; she smiled to herself, especially when she called her “My daughter”. Everyone in Philly’s family was nice to her. She couldn’t help but wonder what Philly had told them about her and why he hadn’t said the same things to her. She wanted to ask him but she didn’t want to bring it up. Besides Philly hadn’t said much to her. They talked about every other thing but spending life together.
She remembered the incident that happened just before Philly left and blamed herself. What did Philly want to tell her that day before she stormed out? Was he about to propose to her? She didn’t mean to leave the way she did. She blamed herself everyday since then but she knew it was too late. Philly was out of the country and there was no guarantee they would ever have another date.
She consoled herself with the thought that she wasn’t ready yet and Philly was not even serious. She had thought he would chase her for a few months and she would play her usual “hard-to-get” for a while, she didn’t want to fall like a pack of cards.
That day, she had hoped Philly would come after her. But Philly just sat there and didn’t move an inch. She felt bad that she embarrassed him but her pride didn’t let her show it and she felt too guilty to discuss about it.
Philly was a great guy no doubt and his family was awesome but Kamsi wanted him to pursue her. She wanted to be chased and Philly was not doing that. She felt she had given him enough green light as she should. Hanging out with him, checking up on him, and now going to visit his mother in the hospital every week, she even prayed for him secretly. What more did he want?
Philly and Kamsi still had a great friendship, they could talk about just anything. And this was what made it more difficult for Philly. He could tell her anything except how much he loved and missed her.
Kamsi was the first person he talked to anytime he felt sad or had any challenge. He shared his day with her and talked to her a lot about his studies, research work and life in the UK.
He always told her how he practically didn’t have a social life and spent most of his time reading some papers in the library or online or attending some conference in another city that he travelled to by train.
Kamsi nick-named him “Phillybooky” and teased him that he had better not come back if he didn’t make a distinction. She also told him everything that was going on in her life too; her business, her new found love for swimming and how she was already considering taking up French classes on weekends.
One time, she was tempted to ask him where their friendship was headed but she decided against it. If he was a man, then it was time to grow up and really be a man. “A real man knows what he wants and goes for it.” Kamsi remembered a quote from one of her many motivational books. Clearly, Philly was not a real man.
Philly missed Nigeria. He missed his family especially his mother. But there was one other person he missed the most- Kamsiyochukwu. He didn’t know how much she meant to him until he was miles away from her.
He thought about her every day, he imagined what life would be with her in a few years time. He had seen many women, different shapes and sizes, different colours and contours but he had never seen any like Kamsi. He knew they had a connection that was deep and uncommon and he was sure he wanted her and he didn’t want to ever imagine a life without her.
The last time he spoke to his mother, she urged him to talk to her, bare his heart and hear what she would say. But somehow, Philly found it difficult. The guilt and shame of what happened the last time he brought it up had taken it’s toll on him.
It was already six months and they had never talked about it. He never got to find out why Kamsi walked out on him. Did she not love or at least like him? Was she already in a relationship? Or was she unprepared to be in any? He couldn’t wrap his head around any reason. He concluded that he probably wasn’t good enough for her.
Philly was depressed. His mother was ill; He loved a girl that didn’t love him back. He didn’t know what to do. He was gradually losing interest in his studies and desperately wanted to go back to Nigeria. His friend Lee noticed he was always sulky and pestered him to talk to him.
One day, Philly told Lee everything that had happenned.
“You can’t go on like this, Philly. You need to do something about it. Love always finds a way.” Lee told Philly.
That was the most sensible thing he had ever heard Lee say. Lee was a freelancer and never took life seriously. He was from a very wealthy family and had little or nothing to worry about.
Lee’s parents were divorced since he was a kid and have been unable to get back together. He grew up with his mother but last year, she was involved in a fatal autocrash and later died leaving all she had in his name.
Lee was a rich kid and one of the very few whites who liked Nigeria and always wanted to pay a visit. When he found out Philly was from Nigeria, they became friends instantly. Lee had heard a lot about Nigeria and all he heard amused him.
He always talked about how he wanted to visit Nigeria and see all the funny celebrities he followed on instagram especially the very dramatic politicians and celebrities that cracked his ribs.
Lee was a traveller, He wanted to experience life and didn’t mind going to any length to have his fill.
“Love always finds a way?” Philly asked still surprised this was coming from Lee.
“Which other way?” He continued. “I tried to the other time, but she ran away. I mean, she left me sitting there like I committed a crime.” Philly cried out.
“Com’on Philly, maybe she couldn’t handle it at that time. Maybe it was too awkward and weird. I mean, you guys were good friends until things changed and they changed so fast.” Lee explained.
“What if that wasn’t the issue? What if she loves someone else? What if I am just one of the many options?” Philly retorted.
This was Philly’s greatest fear. Sometime ago, Kamsi uploaded the picture of a guy named Collins on her whatsapp story. It was his birthday and Kamsi wrote and epistle for him on facebook too and ended with “I love you, Col.” He didn’t want to ask who he was to her, he felt he would be intruding. He had never seen them together but from everything Kamsi wrote, he meant a lot to her.
Philly resorted to scanning through the comments for clues. He looked up the guys profile on face book, instagram and twitter. He couldn’t find any information about him that suggested any link with Kamsi. They were just mutual friends. He followed him on all social media platforms and surfed for details like a researcher, but nothing he saw was useful.
“You are just here making assumptions, what will it cost you to ask Kamsi out? The worst that can happen is that she will say “No” and life continues, at least you tried. On the other hand, she might just say “Yes”, she may just have been waiting for you to man up and come after her. You can’t sit down here and know all these.” Lee replied.
He spoke with so much wisdom that Philly marvelled. He couldn’t believe those words were coming from Lee, he knew they were inspired. “I really don’t know what to do.” Philly cried.
Lee laughed. “Philly, we are going to Nigeria next month.”
Philly was stunned.
“We! Meaning you and I.” Lee answered.
“That’s a joke right?”
“I am dead serious. Let’s take two weeks vacation to Nigeria, we can apply for it and it will be granted. That way, you will not only see her, you will see your mother too. They wouldn’t refuse you on that ground, it’s a good reason.” Lee explained.
“And what would be your own reason?” Philly asked.
“I am not on scholarship, I can travel to anywhere I want. So get ready, we will get our papers ready in about a month time and we will be in Nigeria before you go crazy.”
Lee stood to pat him on the back “…And I am taking the bills.”
Philly was speechless. He knew Lee could afford it. He was an only child whose rich mother and grandmother left a fortune as inheritance. But to go that far for him? He couldn’t believe it.
“Oh yeah, and by the way, I heard Nigerian girls are hot.” Lee winked at him.
“Seriously?! You have to be kidding me. Is that why you want to come to Nigeria?”
“Well, I might just find my own Kemso that will take my breath away and leave my brain in nuts.” Lee laughed.
“It is Kamsi not Kemso. Kamsiyochukwu.” Philly smiled, remembering how Kamsi had corrected him the first day they met. She always liked her name to be called in full. That name brought back precious memories he would rather not live without.