Like Rihanna and Calvin Harris sang, we really did find love in a hopeless place. This hopeless place is the Nigerian Law School in Abuja. I had just returned to Nigeria on successful completion of my Law undergrad in the UK and I was back in Nigeria to attend law school. As a returnee, you first have to go through the Bar one course over the summer holiday before you begin Bar two in October. Dapo was in Bar two and about to begin his final exams when we met. Dapo was very popular on the campus for his play boy behavior and he was that guy that freshers were warned about. Every time he left campus, he was accompanied by a driver in a private car and an escort car.
On one fateful Saturday, he decided to snick off the campus with some of his friends to go to a party in a hotel. He and his friends got really drunk and while his friends decided to go on to another club, he decided to pass the night at the hotel. Coincidentally, this was the same hotel I had breakfast every Saturday morning with mum’s friend whom she told to keep an eye on me. After breakfast, she told her driver to drop me off at the campus outside town. As we drove, I saw Dapo walking along the road with no shoes, I recognised him and asked the driver to stop. I asked if he was a law school student and I knew it was him, so I offered him a lift and we dropped him at law school. Later, I would find out that someone stole his card holder and the cash he had on him was not enough, so he put his shoes and watch down so that he gets back when he eventually paid his debt.
On Monday, I was walking towards the hostel from the classroom when I saw Dapo striding towards me. “hello, I just want to say thank you for the other day and also thank you for not telling anyone about it” he said. “you’re welcome” I said. “I did not ask for your name the other day. I am so sorry, I was just so embarrased”he said. “it’s ok. My name is Adewonuola”I said. “My name is Adedapo Doherty. You’re Wonuola what?.”
“Can I call you dewonu?”
“why not Wonu, thats what everyone calls me”
“well, I guess I want to be different dewonu” at this point we have reached the front of my hostel, So I tell him and he says “I guess I will see you around then Dewonu” we said our goodbyes and he walked off.
After this time, I did not see or speak to Dapo until his call to bar party. My mum had informed me that she was coming to Abuja to attend her friends son’s call to bar and she will like to see me. Turns out this friend was Dapo’s mum and Dapo was the Son. But I did not know this until the call to bar party at Intercontinental hotel, Abuja. Being one of the only young females at the event, it was not hard for Dapo to miss me. Just as he was coming over to say hello his mum was coming over to say hello to my mum. My mum introduced me to his mum first and then his mum introduced him to my mum and I. Dapo interrupted he and said that we had already met.
“That’s good then. I guess I can leave you two to catch up whilst I talk to your mum.” Dapo’s mum said to me and then she walked off with my mum.
“I am sorry I did not try to contact you again after that time. It’s not like I am ungrateful, just that I did not get your number that day and then finalsstarted to happen” he said.
“its ok” I said” and then we launched a conversation that was so interesting that when it was time to settle for dinner he chose to sit with me rather than his parents and his friends. We did not exchange contact that day but two weeks later whilst I was on a break in Lagos, I got a phone call from him. He told me he got my number from his mum who got it from my mum. Mothers!, how did she know I wanted Dapo to have my number.From that point on we became friends.
We started dating on the 20th of January 2015. I remember this date because the following weekend was going to be my 25th birthday and he took me to dinner because he was going to be away on business on my birthday. I had not dated anyone since I was 17 and he teasing me about it, trying to find out why over dinner. I was laughing and then suddenly he said “if you would not date any of those guys out there would you at least date me”. I was so surprise so I told him it was so unexpected and he told me that I should think about it over the weekend. We exchanged texts over the weekend, although it was nothing to do with what he had said over dinner. I had reached a block in drafting a document and I told him about it and we were discussing it whilst we worked on Sunday Night. At 12:01am that read;
“You have had the whole weekend to think about it and I cannot wait another second to know what your answer is. I’ll ask again to remind you what question I am talking about; will you be mine exclusively?”
I was so surprised and because I had not really thought about it, I did not reply his message. On Tuesday evening, my door bell rang and it was Dapo outside my door with Ice cream from my favourite place, Hans & Rene. I thought I would get away with not replying him because he was away on business but I guess I was wrong. He walks in and acts like nothing happened. Once we sit, he give me my agbalumo sorbet and we talk about both our business. At some point he stops and says “you know you hurt me?, if you don’t want to date me, you don’t have to stop being my friend. I think you not replying my message hurt me more than if you had said no”
“Dapo, it not like I don’t want to date you. I…..” “Thank God. Then what is it”he cut me off before I could finish. I look him in the face and tell him my real fear “I just don’t want us to ruin our friendship that has worked well for us for the past 3 years.” He sighs and says “Ok then lets agree no matter what happens with our dating our friendship would always be more important. Friends first?” “Ok then friends first” I say. “Wait, I am confused, did you just agree to date me?” I start to clear up the table and am about to start walking to the kitchen. On my way I answer”yes”. He comes to meet me in the kitchen and says “thank you and I promise I will not hurt you”.
Returnee – Someone who has returned to their home country after living in another country for a long time
Oladapo (Dapo) – A Nigerian Name that means- a mix of wealth
Adewonuola (Wonu/Dewonu)- A Nigerian name that means – The crown entered into wealth
Tunji (Babatunji) – A Nigerian name that means – Father has returned
Adeyele – A Nigerian Name that means – This house deserves the crown
Agbalumo – African Cherry
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