Where did your confidence go? – Let’s find it “Become so confident in who you
Author – Dupe Bobadoye
“I love you and I know the feeling is mutual, but………” These words kept ringing in her head.
Grace was a beautiful young lady in her early 20s. She was tall, slim, beautiful, funny and intelligent. Most of all, she had a very good disposition towards people that came in contact with her. She was in her sophomore year when she met Greg, a final year student.
They were both students at the University of Ibadan. Greg had just returned from his six-month industrial training in Lagos. They attended the same fellowship on campus and belonged to the same group.
Greg was the new leader of the choir. He was a very intelligent young man with a unique voice. He was an orator per excellence; decent, calm and from a very humble background. He was also the toast of many ladies in the fellowship, as many of them looked forward to seeing him on stage. His best friend, Kola, who doubled as his roommate attended a different fellowship and was also friends with Grace. They all lived off the university campus with many other students with whom they had a very cordial relationship.
Back at the fellowship, Grace and Greg looked like the perfect couple to everyone. They understood each other, spoke one another’s native language and helped each other to succeed in their assignments at the campus fellowship. Never was there a day that ended without both of them spending time together. Although he was Grace’s confidant, he was also greatly admired and crushed upon by a lot of ladies in the fellowship, but the thought of hurting Grace calm the ladies down.
Often times, he enjoyed using Grace as an emotional shield to defend himself from the overtures of the numerous ladies disguised as his loyal fan. On campus, a lot of guys also had great admiration for Grace, but only a few had the boldness to make their intentions known to her.
During the first semester, John; an alumnus and friend of the house, visited the fellowship and was introduced to everyone. He had just got a job with one of the banks on the university campus. He was welcomed with hearty cheers as he worshipped with them.
After the service, John met with a few of the final year students who had known him while he was a student at the university. Grace walked up to them and was soon introduced to John. Kola did the introductions.
“Meet our dear sister, Grace. She is in her sophomore year and she has been overseeing our welfare at the fellowship, even though she could be very naughty”, he added cheekily. “Don’t mind him sir, he’s just clowning”, Grace responded as she extended her hand for a handshake.
“My name is Grace and it’s a pleasure to meet you”, she said.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you too. I hope you are taking good care of them?” He added as everyone laughed it off.
They all had a lengthy chit-chat, then one by one, they retired to their different rooms.
One day, Grace was on her way home from the market, when someone whispered into her ears. “Hello Grace”, the voice said. Grace turned around to see John right behind her. “Good afternoon sir”, she greeted with a smile.
“What are you doing here?” she asked.
“I just came to get some fruits”, he replied.
“Oh, that’s good, I also came to pick a few things too. It’s my 21st birthday next week and I wanted to buy some things I’ll be needing for my party”
“Wow, what date is it?” he asked.
“13th of this month”, she responded.
“Well, I hope I get invited?” he asked as they both laughed about it and said their good byes.
When it was the 13th of the month, Grace and her friends were busy putting things together in preparation for her birthday party. As Grace made her way to dispose the trash in the dumpster outside her compound, the gate opened and behold, it was John.
She was indeed surprised to see him.
“Hello sir”, she said.
“Happy birthday Grace”, he responded with a very broad smile.
“Oh, thank you sir. I never thought you’d come”, she replied.
“Well, I am here. I just thought to surprise you. May I come in?” he asked.
“Please come in, give me a moment to throw these garbage away”, she replied.
She then rushed out to dispose the trash and ushered him into her room. “Meet my friend, John and John, these are my friends”, she introduced.
“Pleased to meet you all”, he said, as he was offered a seat.
“This is for you. Happy birthday once again. Here’s wishing you many more years of happiness.” he said as he extended a bag full of gifts to her.
“Thank you sir”, she replied gratefully. “Please, excuse me, let me check what is being done outside”, she added as she served him a bottle of Coke and some snacks.
Still in shock, she hurried to where her friends were preparing the special meal of the day. “Who is that?” they asked.
“Oh, he’s just a friend from the fellowship. I wasn’t even expecting him”, she said.
As soon as she was done with her friends, she rushed to her room to check on John. “I beg to take my leave my dear sister. I just thought I’d pop in to wish you a happy birthday”, he said.
“That was very thoughtful of you sir, thanks for coming and thank you for the gifts”, she said as she walked him out towards the gate.
The birthday party was well attended, with many of Grace’s friends joining in to felicitate with her. Greg was given a special seat beside Grace. He sang beautifully for her, took pictures and they danced. It was indeed a fun filled day.
The bond between Greg and Grace grew stronger as the months went by. By the time Greg was writing his dissertation, Grace was available to help him with editing. During that period, the school went on a short break and most of the students had gone home.
One day, while Grace was watching T.V, she heard a knock on the door. “Who’s there?” she asked as she moved towards the door.
“It is me”, the voice said. As soon as she opened the door, standing right in front of her was John. To say she was shocked was an understatement.
“I never imagined you’ll come. I thought you asked for my address for the fun of it”, she said as she stood before him and stared in amazement.
“Hello Grace, how are you doing?” He asked. “Please come in”, she said, as she ushered him into the living room. She offered him a bottle of soda and sat a little distance from him. This time, she was a little uncomfortable but hid her concerns behind her smile.
“Hope you are enjoying your holiday?” he asked. “Yes, I am. It is a much needed rest”. She replied.
They had some rather odd conversations about school, the country and other meaningless things, just to keep the conversation going. After a while, he asked to take his leave. Grace stood up to see him off and while at the door, she thanked him for visiting.
“It was really nice chatting with you”, he said as they left for the road. While strolling quietly along the road, he cleared his throat.
“I have this conviction that you will be my wife”, he said quietly.
Grace was flabbergasted. “Really?” She asked.
“Yeah, I just feel that way”, he replied. She stopped a taxi for him as they said their good byes and the taxi zoomed off. She was shocked and angry at the same time.
“What sort of nonsense is this?” She said to herself. “Conviction my foot!” She continued, as she mumbled some inaudible words to herself.
The holiday was over and school resumed. As soon as Grace arrived her apartment, she dropped her bags and headed out to look for Greg. As soon as Greg saw her, they both excitedly greeted each other with a big hug.
“How was your holiday and how are your folks?”, he asked excitedly.
“Everyone is fine and I enjoyed every bit of it”. She answered with so much joy.
“Something interesting happened though.” She said.
“What happened?” Greg enquired.
“Do you remember John? The alumnus?” She asked.
“Yes, what about him?” he asked curiously.
“Can you imagine the effrontery?” She blurted out. “He came to my house to spew nonsense, telling me he is interested in me! What is even wrong with men that when you just give them an inch, they want to go a mile?” She continued. “If not because I did not want to insult him, I would have walked him out of my house. Good for nothing man!” She ranted.
“Hey, calm down”, said Greg. “The guy has done nothing wrong. He was just being a man”, he said as they both laughed it off, especially Grace’s ranting.
Because John’s office was on campus, he usually bumped into Grace during normal work hours. And anytime Grace came in contact with him, she would greet him politely and take another route where possible. She avoided him as much as she could muster.
The semester ran its course and Greg concluded his degree program in flying colours. While Greg and his best friend, Kola were packing their stuffs, Grace knocked their door and entered. She was almost a roommate to the duo.
As soon as she entered the room, they both greeted her warmly.
“Congratulations on your graduation”, she said to them.
“We’ll definitely miss you”, said Kola as he made to leave the room.
Greg left what he was doing and looked at Grace, held her hands and said,
“You have been a wonderful friend and sister. Thank you for every moment we shared and for making me a better person. I appreciate you and I love you and I know the feeling is mutual.” Grace responded with a sad smile.
“If the Lord is leading me to you, I’ll definitely come back for you”, he said with tears in his eyes.
Grace looked at him with tears in her eyes too and nodded. “Kola and I will be leaving tomorrow and we’ll make sure we keep in touch.” He said quietly.
They both hugged tightly with tears flowing uncontrollably. Grace quickly wiped off her tears.
“Make sure you write me”, she said as she left his room.
As soon as she entered her room, she shut the door, she leaned on the wall as the tears kept flowing. Greg’s words kept re-echoing in her head. “I will come back for you?”
What does that even mean?” She thought to herself. She made sure they never saw eye to eye till Greg left.
Few months later, Greg came to pick his call up letter to go for the mandatory National Youth Service. He was posted to Taraba state. Greg fulfilled his promise by writing and sending pictures to her as soon as he got to camp and after the camp ended. Grace received his letters with so much joy and love in her heart.
She was in her room studying one day when she a knock on her door startled her.
“Come in”, she said.
The door opened and lo and behold, it was her beloved Greg. Oh the joy of seeing a loved one once again. They screamed and gave each another a bear hug. She tried so hard to hide the tears from her eyes. There was so much to talk about. He even came bearing gifts for her.
He told her that he had to see some people within the city and they decided to visit them together. They talked about anything and everything.
Later in the evening, while Greg was unpacking in his former room, now occupied by another mutual friend, he said,
“There is something I need to show you”.
“What is it?” Grace asked excitedly. He brought out a picture of a beautiful young woman in NYSC uniform and gave it to her. “
She’s beautiful”, she said.
She took a closer look and said, “I don’t seem to know this face.”
“We were both posted to Taraba. Her name is Mary. I met her in camp and we just got on quite well. I already told her so much about you and she can’t wait to meet you. I PROPOSED TO HER!”
Every other thing he said didn’t matter again as his last sentence pierced her heart.
“He has chosen another over me!” She thought to herself. She didn’t even hear when Greg called her name until he tapped her on the shoulder.
“She is a very lovely person and I know you’ll love her when you meet her”, he said.
“I am happy for you”, she responded as she changed the topic.
Grace eventually left for her room heartbroken. Greg was the only person that understood her. He was the only guy she had come to truly love. Every other person that showed interest in her had received negative responses and in some cases, shooed off by her and now, her love had chosen another over her.
A neighbour of hers coincidentally was playing a sound track by an artist named “Nelly” in his room. “No matter what I do, all I think about is you” and it all but broke the dam of water as she cried her eyes out. The words of the song kept reverberating in her head all through the night as she cried herself to sleep longing for Greg to come back to say it was a joke. But it never happened. And every night, she cried herself to sleep.
By the time she was in her final year, John suddenly resurfaced out of the blues. She had avoided him for over two years but John had made his findings and discovered she was still single and unattached. He waited two years for her. This time, he wasn’t going to allow himself beat around the bush. He came back and asked her to be his wife. And this time, she couldn’t say No, she decided to give him a chance.
Greg got married to Mary when Grace was in her final year. And Grace made sure she attended the wedding while she got married to John – the ‘good for nothing man’, three years later.
Greg and his family were also in attendance at her big society wedding.
But she had learnt a big lesson in Life- Sometimes, what you are looking for is right in front of you but you can’t see it because you are looking elsewhere.
Both Greg and Grace’s family have continued to maintain a cordial relationship, one of friendship and mutual respect to this day.
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