The day had finally come, and Daisy could not ignore the dread spreading all over the walls of her stomach. She felt like her intestines were being choked to death, stopping her from breathing. Did intestines have any ties with respiration? Not probably, but anxiety always made Daisy feel things that were yet unknown to man.
It had been over twenty minutes of staring at her lock screen, but Daisy could not tear her eyes away. 15:30, Monday, 14 February, the clock read in bold white print. She had been counting down and mentally preparing herself for this day, yet here she was, still as terrified as the day her best friend Wonu informed her that Emeka would still be coming for the hangout.
About six weeks ago, the mention of Emeka would have made a twenty-four-year-old Daisy bubbly and energetic like a toddler who had just consumed ice cream and an unhealthy amount of Skittles. But one thing constant in life is change, and things had most definitely changed between Daisy and Emeka. They went from being modern-day Romeo and Juliet—from having ‘God when?’ comments under their picture-perfect Instagram posts— to despising each other like Tom and Daisy Buchanan of The Great Gatsby, except Daisy did not want Emeka dead, and she could only hope that the feeling was mutual from Emeka’s end.
“Daisy, you need to get out of bed and start getting ready. You’re in the exact position I left you about an hour ago.” Wonu said, arms crossed and wrinkles forming on her forehead as she frowned in disapproval. She woke Daisy up an hour ago, before leaving to pick up the cake she promised to bring for the hangout with their friends later that evening. She knew Daisy might not be ready when she got back home, but meeting the young lady still in bed, comfortably cuddled in the sheets was the very last thing she saw coming. Over the last couple of weeks, Wonu had watched the light in Daisy’s eyes fade away. A few of their friends had told Daisy to get over it because it was a mere breakup, and there were other men out there. Wonu would be lying if she said she was not tired of having to deal with Daisy’s mopping around first-hand, but she understood Daisy’s pain and felt sorry for her. Emeka and Daisy had been friends since they were seven years old, and for the last six years, their relationship had been the most admirable she had ever seen. That was until New Year’s Eve, Wonu and her boyfriend witnessed the screaming match between Emeka and Daisy from beginning to end. They tried to intervene, “Maybe if they got some fresh air, they could continue this conversation more amicably,” Teddy, Wonu’s boyfriend suggested before they both attempted taking their friends to separate rooms. It ended with Teddy getting hit square in the face, which was their cue to just stand down. The screaming and hurling of insults got worse with every second only ending when Daisy spilled the content of her wineglass on Emeka. It was such an ugly scene to witness, there was indeed a thin line between love and hate.
Wonu was determined to ensure Daisy was present at the hangout. The hangout was her idea and she had put in a lot of work to make it happen, her breakup with Emeka should not stop her from witnessing what she had brought to life. Wonu took in a deep breath as she moved closer to the bed, the task at hand was not an easy one. She grabbed Daisy by her left foot and began pulling her out of the bed, as expected, Daisy started kicking and trying to wriggle her foot out of Wonu’s grasp. However, Wonu was unfazed, as she held unto the foot firmly and stared at her friend with an ‘I’m not letting go until you cave’ look.
Daisy knew Wonu would not back down any time soon, after all, this was the method Wonu used to get her out of bed for morning lectures in their university days, and judging from her perfect attendance all through university, Wonu always won the battle. Knowing how this would end, Daisy stopped wriggling and agreed to get out of bed. Lagos is a small place, no matter how much she tried avoiding Emeka, their paths would eventually cross. It was better to face whatever it was she feared now and get on with her life. Worst case scenario, she and Emeka will ignore each other all through the event, she could live with that.
Having barely an hour left before they had to meet up with their friends, Daisy dashed into the bathroom to freshen up. If she was going to face Emeka again, she might as well do so looking her best. Over her dead body will she give him the pleasure of watching the effect of their breakup on her. That was all she could think of as she scrubbed her body squeaky clean.
Getting out of the bathroom, she found two outfits splayed on the bed, Wonu’s way of giving her an extra push for the hangout. Daisy moved closer and assessed both pieces of clothing, twenty minutes ago, any of them would have been perfect, matter of fact, Daisy was okay going in her pajamas, but the hot water from the shower seems to have woken her up, she no longer felt sorry for herself, she was not just any girl, she was Daisy Okafor, a confident and successful lady, and a breakup should not turn her into a sob story. Tossing both pieces of clothing back on the bed, Daisy opened her closet, she knew exactly what she was going to wear.
In thirty minutes, Daisy had gone from sad to out for blood, Emeka’s blood. She wanted him to see her and realize what he is missing. She wanted his mouth to water as his heart shatters because just like a toddler seeing all the sugary goodness placed on the highest shelf, he could see but not touch what he wanted so dearly. Emeka’s favorite color was red and seeing Daisy in red always got Emeka’s mind spiraling in all the wrong directions, Daisy was aware of this information and planned to use it to her advantage. She smiled victoriously as she pulled out a red knee-length strapless dress, a good thing she did not donate it during their Christmas charity outreach. Without wasting time, Daisy put the dress on and walked to the mirror. It fit perfectly and accentuated all her curves especially her hip-dips, luck must be on her side, Emeka had once told her it was a part of her body he loved.
Wonu walked into the room ready to scream Daisy’s name and tell her to hurry up, however, she was taken aback by Daisy’s appearance. Hearing Wonu’s shocked gasp, Daisy turned around and once their eyes met, they both began laughing. It was not an innocent light-hearted laugh. With the way Daisy was dressed, Emeka was in serious trouble, they both knew it and that was sufficient cause for laughter.
The drive to the venue was not a long one and by the time they arrived, Daisy’s emotions were all over the place. Yes, she felt confident of her dressing and overall appearance, but she had not set eyes on Emeka after their argument on New Year’s Eve hence, she feared what her reaction to seeing him will be. What if he comes with another woman? What if she breaks down and grovels at his feet for him to take her back? What if they get into another argument? Daisy’s mind opened its arms wide to anxiety and so many ‘what ifs’ began popping up. Daisy was so lost in her thoughts she did not realize her right hand was shaking until Wonu held her. She turned to Wonu who gave her a reassuring smile and mouthed, “Everything will be fine,” before squeezing her hand in reassurance.
Taking in deep breaths, Daisy reminded herself of how far she had come in the last hour. Her mind was made up, she will prove to all her friends that she was unaffected by her breakup with Emeka. Drawing her internal monologue to a close, Daisy walked into the garden wearing a wide smile on her face.
Teddy watched Daisy and Wonu jump and scream for joy as they were announced winners of the game of charades by the game master. He was happy to see Daisy smiling again, not just because they were friends but, Daisy being happy meant fewer ranting sessions by Wonu about how worried she was for Daisy. Now he just had to keep his fingers crossed that things do not go south, especially since Emeka called about five minutes asking him to help save a seat because he was running late. Teddy was still thinking about the diverse ways the night could go when the girls walked up to him, waving the cinema coupons they had just won in the air. He shook his head and chuckled lightly at the girls’ antics. Wonu moved closer to him and began rubbing the coupon in his face. How a gentle soul like him ended up with an energy bubble-like Wonu, only God could answer.
Wonu and Daisy took their seats beside Teddy and began discussing movie plans for their cinema coupons. However, Daisy could not help but wonder why she was yet to see Emeka. The hangout officially kicked off two hours ago and everyone else was here except him. Since the event began, Daisy caught herself searching through the crowd for Emeka more than ten times, she was ashamed, but she could not help it. Even as she and Wonu discussed movie night, her eyes wandered around searching for him.
“Can I get everyone’s attention please?” the game master said, a few people turned to face him. He repeated his announcement catching the attention of more people. It better not be an announcement for someone to go out and repark.
“Daisy.” Someone spoke into the microphone. The entire place went dead silent.
Daisy’s head shot up, and there he was holding the microphone in one hand and a bouquet of white roses in the other. Wonu tapped Daisy and both girls shared a confused look. If Daisy did not know Emeka better, she would have said he was pulling whatever stunt this was under substance influence.
“I know this is not the time and place, but I can’t do it anymore,” Emeka said coming down from the podium. With each step he took, people moved away for him to get a clearer path to Daisy, it felt like Moses parting the red sea.
Daisy was too stunned, she could not make sense of what was going on. As if the scene he had caused was not dramatic enough, when Emeka got to where Daisy was seated, he dropped the white roses at her feet and went down on one knee. This prompted shocked gasps from their friends. Daisy had pictured different scenarios of how today will turn out, but this whole show Emeka had going was not even close to anything she anticipated.
“Daisy, I have loved you since that day in Basic 5, when you mistakenly spilled Ribena on my white canvas. And from that day till now, my love for you has only gotten deeper,” Emeka’s speech was temporarily interrupted by a shriek, it was Wonu.
Daisy stared at her friend in disbelieve, Wonu better not have switched to team Emeka.
Just as quickly as Emeka was interrupted did he return to his speech.
“Over the years our relationship has gotten deeper and deeper, and I got scared. I was afraid that if I took this relationship to the next level and by some stupid mistake ruined it, I will not just lose a lover, I will also be losing my best friend. I didn’t want to risk it, that was why I acted a fool.” Emeka was now teary-eyed as he spoke.
Daisy had watched one too many proposals, she knew what speeches like this led to. Nevertheless, she was lost for words when Emeka pulled out a wedding ring from his suit pocket. People began clapping and cheering.
“Daisy Okafor, will you marry?” This caused the clapping and cheering to increase. Daisy just sat there staring at Emeka in shock. She didn’t expect a proposal on Valentine’s day but here she was, looking into the eyes of the man she has loved her whole life, his right hand stretched with a ring lodged in-between his index and middle fingers.
As expected, some cooed while others began chanting, ‘Say yes’.
Daisy wanted this for the longest time, a matter of fact, this was the cause of her argument with Emeka on New Year’s Eve.
The chants only got louder and Emeka’s eyes had a hopeful glint to them. Daisy felt a heavyweight in her stomach, she loved Emeka, but this did not feel right.
“Daisy.” Daisy heard Wonu call but her voice sounded distant.
“Daisy.” She heard Wonu call again.
“Daisy, you need to get out of bed and start getting ready. You’re in the exact position I left you about an hour ago.” Daisy opened her eyes and turned to the door where Wonu’s voice came from. Her friend stood by the door, arms folded and wrinkles forming on her forehead from frowning.
This was the same thing Wonu said to her when she woke her up for the hangout. Daisy immediately reached for her phone to check her lock screen, 15:30, Monday, 14 February was written in bold white print. Daisy’s hands began shaking, this made no sense, this exact scene had already played out. She stayed put where she was trying to put the pieces together, but Wonu took it as Daisy being stubborn because before Daisy knew it, Wonu was pulling her by her left foot just like in her dream.
“Wonu stop. I heard you, I’ll get out of bed now.” Daisy said causing Wonu to let go.
Daisy rushed to the bathroom, hoping a hot shower will give her clarity. She scrubbed herself squeaky clean and came out of the shower feeling better, but this did not last long. Splayed on the bed were two pieces of clothing, the exact ones she had seen in her ‘dream.’
“Wonu, I had a really strange dream,” Daisy shouted to her friend who was nowhere in sight.
“Not a good enough excuse for you not to come,” Wonu said dismissively.
But Wonu was wrong, it was a good enough excuse. Daisy began to wonder if it was a premonition and not just a mere dream. She did not want to break Emeka’s heart, but she was not ready to agree to a proposal when she was still healing from the damage their argument had caused her. Standing in the middle of her room, Daisy was faced with the conflict of going for the hangout or heeding to the warning signs from this magical dream and staying home.
About the Writer
Bamikole Rhoda is a Nigerian poet, essayist and writer of fiction, currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Engineering. Her essay ‘I am Because You Are’ was long listed for the Wole Soyinka Essay competition, 2020 edition. She has collaborated with Stary Writing to produce two fictional works, and has in the past worked as an intern for the Wattpad Outreach team.