“Hi, my name is Tunde,” he said in an ever so sweet British accent as he walked up to me the next week, “Oh nice, that is my dad’s name” I responded, “what is your full name?” I asked. “Ayotunde” he responded, “Oh nice, my dad is Olatunde” as I walked away obviously still feeling salty after what happened the previous week. [Read part 1]
“Duumzy!!!” was, the first word out of my mouth as I ran towards an old friend from Uni, I had not seen in ages. He was a year ahead of me and left to go to another university outside the country. Remember I told you I didn’t talk so much with others, so imagine my joy when I saw him. We exchanged pleasantries and just as I was about to walk away I saw this same guy I said I would never talk to again. As I looked intently at him to understand why he was about to speak to me again, he smiled and said, “You know Duumzy?”. I am thinking, what do you mean I know Duumzy? I should be asking you, how do you know Duumzy. So I form a fake smile and say “yes I know him, how do you know him?”. He says, “Oh we are best friends, we went to the same Uni in Hungary”. I am still trying to wrap my head around what he just said and Duumzy laughs and turns away to talk to someone else. So I am now left with this best friend I said I would not talk to, seeing as we have a mutual friend in common, he decided to settle in for a conversation with me about how I know Duumzy.
Oh, this has to be a joke. Lord Jesus, I see what you are doing but this is not what we discussed. I am having these conversations with the Holy Spirit and this guy is standing in front of me waiting for a response to his question about how I know Duumzy. I started explaining how we knew each other and just as I finish my explanation and I am about to bolt away, he settled into his chair to tell me how close they are. Now I am trying not to be rude, so I stand in front of him waiting for him to finish his story. As he finishes that, he tells me he has Spanish and French classes afterward and asked what I was doing, I explained I had my Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) Certification classes afterward as well. At this point for the first time since we ever encountered each other, our eyes locked. We knew we had touched a sensitive spot.
Anyone who has spent a few minutes with me would know I love to learn, grow, and have productive conversations. So when someone tells me they are learning other languages, now I am interested in that conversation. We spent the next couple of minutes talking about what we were both trying to accomplish at the end of the Service year. I am now thinking, okay, okay, I might have been too hasty saying I would never talk to him. I want to talk to this guy again, he seems intelligent. The conversation ends on a high note and just as I am about to turn, he says, “Can I have your number?”. I gave him my number since I was 99% sure we were only going to end up as friends. Well…the joke was on me because I got to find out later he was 100% convinced we would end up together.
My HSE class is going well and I take a peep at my phone, it is a message from him telling me his class did not hold and asking how my class was. Folake, are you ready for this? this is what was going through my mind, the constant calls and texts; making a new friend but I was curious to know more so I responded. I must confess, there was no spark between us not even from him. Now, this is where it gets interesting….hold on to your seats. You are in for a ride.
What started as us whispering at the back every Friday during the CDS, graduated to us saving seats or slots for each other just so we got more time to catch up on our week. Everything we talked about achieving during the week, quickly became an accountability session for both of us. On one of the Fridays, I mentioned I needed a professional to do my CV and he told me his mum had a Consulting company that did that and promised me a discount. Your girl is starting her career, of course, she would love a discount…lol. He linked me with the Manager and the next day I was on my way there. I was wrong to think Lagos was similar to Abuja. As I brought out my phone to recheck the address, a guy on a bike came and stole my phone. Thankfully I had registered the address in my mind and was able to trace the building. When I got there, I used the Manager’s phone to inform him what happened and went ahead to do the CV. By the time I got home, I got a message on Facebook from him asking for my Brother’s number; which I obliged. Big mistake, he called my brother to talk to me so much, my brother had to ask who he was. After a very uninteresting explanation to my brother, I could tell my brother had an interest to know him a bit more; which I pretended not to notice.
As some of us stood together during our CDS, I was asked if I could date a Corper (someone doing their NYSC) and I said never because they would just be starting their life and I am already a step ahead and Ayotunde quickly jumped in and said some people just serve because they want to, not because they are just starting in life. He seemed displeased with my response and that sparked some kind of burning desire within him.
From then on, he began asking personal questions, trying to get to know me better. I was not asking mine because I was not interested. He remained a friend but this time he was like a dog with a bone. He would do the little gestures, come to my office and read & edit my articles for BellaNaija. We quickly became inseparable but I was adamant about not feeling anything for him. Then an older colleague met us at a restaurant around my office during my lunch break and she spoke to him for a few minutes, when I got back to the office she said, “Folake, I have finally seen the Ayotunde, and believe me this is it. I have been married for over 10 years and I have never regretted it. Do you want to be with someone that doesn’t value you? Pray about it but I am telling you he is the one.”
On July 12th, 2017, he asked to be in a relationship with me, and although I felt it was too soon, there was this unexplainable peace that came from God and I said yes after two days. Boy, was he happy or what? And the relationship was and still is beautiful. Then it began to dawn on me that he was going back to the UK after the service year and the next question was. How do we make a long-distance relationship work? because we had agreed we would get married in 2020.
Watch out for the last part [part 3] of this love story which will be released on his birthday as a tribute to him! Also, listen to our podcast on Anchor and Spotify: https://anchor.fm/mr-mrs-ayotunde-salami
Instagram Handle: @ayotam94