Brother-Zone (The Women I Love)

It was in the third term of JSS3 that I finally summoned the courage to ask out Tinu. I did this the week before we started our Junior WAEC.
I think my subconscious had calculated that the era of free snacks was drawing to a close and the time for me to make my move without losing any privileges was perfect.
On the last Friday before our Junior School Leaving Examination was to start, everyone had just been gisting and hanging out as no teacher had come to take any class through the week.
I finally got my chance to be alone with Tinu after all her “Toasters” had left. She told me she needed to go buy something. I quickly offered to accompany her before someone would go and “tie her down” with gist somewhere.
As we walked to the bookstore within the school premises, I asked Tinu “So, who is your boyfriend?”
With a smile, she replied “no one”.
“Nice,” I thought to myself. I genuinely stand a chance then.
“But many guys do come looking for you. Some even believe you are in a relationship. Don’t disappoint them.” I continued.
“Someone can be in a relationship with me while I am not in a relationship with them” was her response.
I burst out laughing. This was indeed true. Tinu had perfected the craft of making any guy comfortably feel like he is in a relationship with her, while never ever confirming to him that she is or isn’t in a relationship with him. I hope I am the one to change this.
“Tinu, so you mean to tell me that none of these guys is good enough for you?”
“See, not that they are not good enough. Just that I have not seen the kind of guy I am actually looking for.”
What is this girl saying, I thought to myself. All of these guys must be below par that there is none that actually meet her standard. I am definitely different. She will definitely accept my proposition.
At this point, we had gotten to the bookstore. We went in and got the items she wanted. I had to drop the conversation so as not to prick the interest of the ladies at the shop. They tend to be rumor mongers and pick up on whatever you are discussing. Thereby making you a viral discussion topic very quickly.
As we walked away from the bookstore, I asked Tinu “So what kind of guy are you looking for?”
“Hmmnnn” she began.
“Thinking about it now, I just realized that I have never thought about it before”. She concluded.
“But you definitely would have your preference, else you would have accepted any of the guys.” I continued.
“That’s true though” she replied.
At this point, I motioned for her to sit at one of the benches behind a block of classes. I didn’t want to be interrupted by any of our classmates.
We sat down and continued.
“Honestly speaking, if I could describe the kind of guy I’ll want, I’ll say I want a guy like you.”
My head almost exploded when I heard this. Yes! I definitely stood a chance. I didn’t just stand a chance, this chance was created for me. This chance has been waiting for me.
“Wow,” I replied to her.
“And none of these guys have been like me?”
“No. You are more friendly and genuinely interested in me. They are more interested in what they can get from me.”
“Interesting. So since I am me and not just someone like me, will you date me?”.
Immediately those words left my mouth, I realized that was the cheesiest and most arrogant words I have ever said.
This time, it was Tinu’s turn to burst into laughter.
“Come on Carl.” She finally said after struggling to catch her breath for over a minute.
“What do you mean?” I asked her.
“You know that cannot happen, right?” She replied me.
“Why?” I asked, a knot forming at the pit of my stomach.
“Carl, you should know you are like a brother to me.”
My heart stopped for a second. Which kind of nonsense brother is she talking about? Doesn’t she know how many children her mother gave birth to? For goodness sake, no one has ever said we looked alike. A thousand thoughts were racing through my mind.
“Brother?” I asked her with the little strength I could muster.
“Come on. You should know you are more than a friend to me. You are even closer than a brother to me.”
“Yes, I want to be close and closer to you. But not as a Brother. More like a boyfriend.”
“Carl, I didn’t say you are a Brother, I said you are like a brother to me.”
“So you will date me then?” I asked her.
“You know that can damage our friendship.” She replied me.
“Come on! We are already close friends. We like each other and understand one another. What else can we ask for?”
“All of that is good, but if anything goes wrong, it will hurt to lose a friend who is like a brother to me. I can’t imagine losing someone like you in my life.”
I was so pained, I couldn’t form any words. It was like a dam was being released at the back of my eyes and tears were about to flood my face.
Bravely I said to her, “but you know I love you.”
“I love you too. Not just as a friend…
I had to cut her off.
“Please, don’t say brother again,” I begged her.
We were both exhausted at this point. We sat down speechless for over ten minutes. I knew if I tried to utter a word, I wouldn’t be able to hold back the tears. I was even scared to look at her. My gaze was just fixed on the floor.
Finally, I heard the tolling of the bell. School was out. I turned to Tinu and told her I needed to go pick my school bag. She told me she needed to do the same.
As we stood up from the bench, she opened her arms to give me a hug. “Robotically”, I walked forward to hug her.
Tinu gave me a side hug. Looking back now, it seems like that hug sealed my seat in the Brother-Zone. At least, it was better than the hug I got (or didn’t get) on the first day of the school year.
Or was it?

Wilson Joshua is a Video Editor, Content Creator and Creative Writer.
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