NGOZI DECIDED to go and visit Toyin again. Since her last visit, which was over two weeks now, Toyin had turned worse. She never seemed to smile or laugh anymore. She was always on her own and seemed like she always cried a lot.
Ngozi felt sorry for her and decided to go and talk to her again. She went into the room without knocking. “Hello.” She greeted smiling.
“Ehh Ngozi, you be thief, abi?” Juliet said jokingly in pidgin English. “You no dey knock for door again?”
“Knock for which door? This una yeye door?” Ngozi spoke in pidgin too.
Juliet laughed. “No worry, next time I go throw you comot.”
“Hey Toyin, which one you dey sef?” Ngozi asked playfully, noticing that she had not joined in their jokes.
Toyin didn’t say anything but simply smiled.
“Errm, Juliet can you excuse us please? I want to speak to Toyin alone.” Ngozi asked smiling pleadingly at Juliet.
Juliet nodded her head. “Yes, of course, no problem.”
As soon as she left the room, Ngozi sat on the bed with Toyin. “Toyin,” she began quietly, “for some time now I’ve been watching you go from bad to worse. You are growing thinner everyday and you look sickly. Toyin, I know something is terribly wrong.” She sighed. “I know it’s none of my business but please tell me what is wrong.”
“I can’t tell you, Ngozi.” Toyin answered sadly.
“Why?” Ngozi questioned gently. “Of course you can tell me, we are friends, you know.”
Toyin thought about it for a minute. Then decided to speak. She was tired of bearing the burden alone anyway. “It’s Jerry.” She said.
“What about Jerry?” Ngozi asked.
“He has another girlfriend.” Toyin murmured trying hard not to start crying again.
“Oh, Ngo,” Toyin said tearfully, “It doesn’t matter who said it. I just know that it is true. Her name is Gloria.”
“Gloria?” Ngozi was astonished.
“Yes, Gloria Maduemene.”
“Gloria Maduemene?” Ngozi repeated. Then she started laughing.
She kept on laughing and this annoyed Toyin. She didn’t find anything funny in the matter. Or was Ngozi laughing at her for losing Jerry?”
“Oh, so you just came here to laugh at me, abi?” She asked Ngozi angrily.
Ngozi managed to stop laughing. “No Toyin, pardon me.” She pleaded. “It’s just that it’s so funny.”
“Eheh. Well, I’m happy you find my problems funny.” Toyin retorted sarcastically.
It was obvious that Ngozi was still amused for she asked. “Whoever gave you that idea, by the way?”
“What Idea?” Toyin asked frowning.
“That Gloria is Jerry’s girlfriend.”
“I just told you, I found out.” Toyin snapped.
“But that is ridiculous.” Ngozi laughed again.
“Oh, is it?” Toyin snapped again. “And why is that, if I may ask?”
“Because they are cousins.” Ngozi answered simply, smiling.
Toyin was shocked. “Cousins? What do you mean?”
“What do I not mean?” Ngozi countered. “I said they are cousins. Jerry’s mother is Gloria’s mother’s elder sister. Gloria herself told me.”
“But… they can’t be.” Toyin stammered.
“And why not?”
“Oh my God!” Toyin whispered but loud enough for Ngozi to hear her. “I saw Jerry leaving her room one morning…”
“So what?” Ngozi interrupted. “Look Toyin, I know someone must have told you some lies, so stop protecting this person and tell me who it is.”
So many things were going through Toyin’s mind. She felt like her head was pounding like a drum. “It’s Juliet.” She murmured.
So, she had quarrelled with Jerry and then Gloria for no just cause? She hadn’t even tried to investigate what Juliet had told her. She hadn’t even asked Jerry what he was doing in another girl’s hostel room. She hadn’t asked any questions, just started quarrelling with both of them. Oh, they must hate her now, she thought.
Ngozi noticed that she was about to cry, so she tried to console her. She wasn’t at all surprised that it was Juliet who had told her that lie. She knew that Juliet was the jealous kind of girl. Such a pity Toyin had listened to her.
“Don’t worry Toyin,” she said patting her back, “everything will be alright.”
“But how?” Toyin cried. “Jerry must hate me now. Even Gloria. She came here to talk to me and I walked her out of our room.”
“What nonsense.” Ngozi rebuked her. “Jerry loves you and you know that. And Gloria is a nice girl and would understand if you explain.”
Toyin shook her head. “That was before. Jerry doesn’t love me anymore.”
“Nonsense.” Ngozi said impatiently. “Of course, he still loves you. True love doesn’t just fade away like that.”
Toyin wanted to believe her but she had hurt Jerry so much. And even worse she had been rude to his cousin. “What am I going to do?” She wailed.
“Go and see him.” Ngozi told her firmly. “Go to him and explain everything.”
“He won’t understand.” Toyin was now crying openly.
“He will.” Ngozi promised. She drew Toyin into her arms and hugged her.
Sometime later, when Juliet came back, Toyin told her all that Ngozi had told her.
“They are cousins?” Juliet asked, a shocking look on her face. She couldn’t believe her ears.
“Oh, I bet you didn’t know that before?” Toyin answered looking at her with angry eyes.
“Toyin, please forgive me.” Juliet begged, falling on her knees. “Please forgive and forget. I was just a little envious, that’s all.”
“That’s all?” Toyin shouted, getting really angry. “So because of a little envy, you decided to ruin my relationship with Jerry, eh?”
Tears filled Juliet’s eyes, she felt so ashamed of herself. “Please forgive me, Toyin.” She continued to beg.
“Well, you may as well know this,” Toyin told her firmly, “I don’t trust you anymore. And if Jerry doesn’t forgive me, I will never forgive you.”