The first boarding call had been made for my flight and I rushed to join the queue. It was my first time travelling by air and my aunt had warned me to listen attentively to the boarding calls so that I don’t miss my flight.

“Please have your boarding pass and ID card in your hands,” one of the airport staff announced to all of us on the queue.

I wondered what a boarding pass was and was too shy to ask anyone. When it got to my turn, I was asked to present my boarding pass and ID but I only presented my ID card.

“Can I have your boarding pass please?”

I stood there speechless and slightly embarrassed. The person at my back noticed that I didn’t know what a boarding pass was and showed me hers. I quickly checked my hand bag for mine and presented it to the already impatient staff standing in front of me.

My seat was 19F and the air hostess directed me to my seat. I put my hand luggage in the cabinet above and sat down. I sat close to the window and a man sat by my left. We were asked to put on our seatbelts in preparation for take-off. I struggled with my seat belt.

“Let me help you with that,” the man who sat by me said with a broad smile.

“No, thank you,” I said shyly

I struggled for another few minutes and then I heard him say,

“It’s obvious this is your first time on a plane. Watch me,” he said using his seat belt to show me how to put mine on.

I did what I saw him do and then thanked him. As the plane took off, I closed my eyes tightly and used my hands to cover my ears. When I eventually opened my eyes, I saw the man by my left staring at me. I looked away immediately and he said,

“Were you scared?”

“No. I don’t like the sound when the plane is taking off,” I lied.

“My name is Jeff. And you are?”

“Edidiong.”

“Nice name. Nice to meet you.”

I smiled not knowing what to say in response.

“You live in Uyo?”

“Yes. I came to visit my aunt in Lagos and I’m heading back home. What about you?”

“I’m going for my friend’s wedding in Abak. But I stay in Lagos.”

We continued to talk all through the flight and I could feel some chemistry between us. I haven’t felt such for a guy in a long while. Just before the plane landed at the Akwa Ibom International Airport, he asked for my phone number and promised to call immediately he got to the hotel.

RELATED: HE SAID HE WANTS TO MARRY ME

We parted after alighting from the plane. I couldn’t stop thinking about him all through the day. He finally called later in the evening and we talked for hours. We continued to talk at length almost every day for the next six months. My siblings soon noticed the frequency of his calls and especially the fact that I was always excited when talking to him over the phone.

“Someone is in love!!!” my brother taunted me.

“He’s just my friend. He hasn’t asked me out yet.”

“But you love him, right? And it seems he loves you too. I mean, see the way he calls you frequently and spends hours talking and laughing with you. Which guy would spend so much money on airtime to call a girl he doesn’t love?”

“Anyway, that’s your business. I’ve told you he’s just my friend.”

It was Jeff’s birthday about 7 months after we first met. Because of the long distance, I didn’t know what to buy for him as a gift. So I decided to make that day memorable for him by calling him and spending time with him over the phone. I first sang the “Happy birthday to you!” song and then asked him how his day went.

“My fiancée planned a surprise birthday party for me in her house. It wasn’t a big party though. But I was really excited at how much effort she put and how special she made me feel.”

“Your fiancée?”

“Yes. We are getting married next month. She’s such a lovely girl. Would you come for the wedding if I invite you? It’s going to be in Lagos. We’ve already done the traditional marriage.”

“So you’re married traditionally?”

“Ehm… Yes. But we still have the big event coming up. So will you come? Should I reserve an invite for you?”

“You’re engaged, in fact married and you never told me,”

“You never asked if I was married or in a relationship.”

“I thought you were single because of the way you have been acting towards me.”

“But I never told you I was single.”

“So why have you been calling me almost every day and talking for hours with me when you call? You have a fiancée and you have been spending so much time and money on me.”

“I love the intellectual conversations that we’ve been having since we met. And I regard you as a great friend, one friendship I want to maintain even after I get married.”

There was a prolonged silence.

“Hello! Hello! Edidiong! Can you hear me?”

He hung up and I broke down into tears. He called back but I ignored his call. I felt betrayed. How could he be engaged and not tell me? At what point do you think I should have asked him his relationship status? Wouldn’t I have sounded desperate if I asked?

End Note: This is a fiction story series. Read the next episode by clicking here.

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