Dilemma is a short story about a young lady who battles with the choice of a romantic partner- her new found love who proves his honesty and feelings and her childhood best friend who knows every thing about her.

Boris and I have been friends since forever. 

As everyone who has ever had a best friend of the opposite sex knows, it’s hard to focus on being platonic, especially if your friend knows everything about you and if you're both single. And, of course, many people keep pushing you two to be together. 

Society often makes the mistake that both of you are hiding your true feelings under the disguise of friendship, and there is this incredible love story between you guys. 

They often say, “You should just get married and stop fooling us.” “I know they have something.” “You cannot be that close with a boy and not have feelings for him.” “Now that you’re in your 20’s, better secure a good partner like him.”

Like, shut up! For real. 

Boris and I have been friends since age 9, and it has always been platonic. We had different views in life and also had different personalities. Boris was a nerdy gamer/ tech-bro who took solace in being in his room, working, or playing games. He was like a hermit crab who never came out of hiding. On the other hand, I loved to socialize- I was the bubbly one who often tried to push him to step out of his comfort zone. 

It never worked. Boris remained antisocial. Frankly, he would only leave his house if the motivation was money.

But I still love him. After all, it’s Natasha and Boris against the world. 

I pride myself in being THAT GIRL, and of course, many boys want me. Some have verbally shown interest; some have physically shown interest by ogling, winking, or just grinning so hard at me. Some fools were creative and thought sending uncensored pictures of their private parts would excite me. God! The generation I live in

Where is the romance? The roses? The intentional love letters? 

I’m not just willing to spend my life with just anyone- despite looks, there are other things I look for, and fortunately, Bad- boy Dara Adebayo has it all. 

I have always been the one to advocate against falling for Yoruba boys because they have a notable reputation for using girls’ hearts to play “tinko-tinko.” 

Oh well, you know that I’m not wrong. 

Dara screamed the usual Bad boy, and I was attracted to boys who grew their hair out…. Whether they plaited it or did dreads. It was a turn-on. 

I was an emotional mess whenever Dara was around, but I never made it obvious that I liked him. I would try as hard as possible to avoid him.

But fate happened. Dara approached me, starting up a conversation about my Nike sneakers. We had a date to the cinema to watch a horror movie which I hated, but it was just a strategy to act all scared so that he could hold me with those warm, comforting arms. 

We had a few other dates. A visit to Dara's house marked our 5th date. 

Never go to a guy’s house with the intention that you would not do anything with him. I told my sister, Naomi,” Nothing will happen.” 

That’s what I thought. Every single thing that Dara did turned me on. Him slicing on tomatoes for the stew we were both cooking, him speaking Yoruba to his mother on the phone… Him walking…

I was finished. 

Long story short. 

His lips worked magic; my toes curled, his back got a few scratches, and I got a few hickeys… 

We couldn’t keep our hands off each other. We also spent most of our time together. I became that friend that would disregard other friends because I was in a relationship. I didn’t mean to. Dara was just someone that I wanted to spend so much time with. 

I realized I hadn’t heard from Boris in a long while- his silence was proof of his anger. Boris was terrible at showing his emotions. His trick was to hoard everything in for an extended time and explode like a maniac when slightly pushed. 

So, I went to his house on a Friday night, ready to right my wrongs. I intended to have a lovely evening watching movies with my friend, but we had a heated argument. 

It started when he gave me an attitude and then became silent throughout the movie. Boris never stays silent during movie nights. He always commented on everything, including how thedirector and script supervisors failed to do their jobs.

He was a different vibe and I didn’t like it. I am confrontational, so I took the bull by the horn and brought up the issue at hand. 

Apparently, Boris had a problem with my romantic relationship and focused on the fact that I had been intimate with Dara. Boris had his share of shameless moments, so why he would indirectly call me a “Hoe” didn’t click.

This Dara guy doesn’t take people seriously. What makes you think he actually really likes you and isn’t using you for sex?”

 I’m sure he didn’t mean for it to come out as an insult, but it did. It sounded like Boris didn’t think anyone could like me for ME. 

He went on to say that I disregarded him and ignored him, especially when he was having a rough time at work, which I didn’t know of. Mind you!

Boris had thought that our friendship would always come before any romantic partner we had. I knew I would have to balance being someone’s girlfriend and another person’s best friend, but Boris didn’t think so. He spoke about breaking up with Aminat, his ex because she claimed he was getting too close to me.

“I never asked you to do that,” I told him.

“What do friends do, Natasha? Because I’m confused.”

“Confused as in how? What’s making you upset?”

“I sacrificed my relationship for yours!” His outburst terrified me, but I still kept that scowl on my face. It was the first time in a long time I saw Boris upset. He never actually shouted whenever he was angry. He was the kill-in-silence type. 

His eyes read anger, and I was beginning to think whether I should abort the mission to be confrontational and just listen calmly to him. 

He boomed,“ And you couldn’t even try to pretend like I mattered, guy! You don’t even care!”

“That’s a lie.”

“Okay.” He picked up his phone,” Show me where your messages are. Show me your responses to my messages.”

“So texting is now proof that I care about you? I’m not understanding.” Sass dripped my tone. 

“Natasha.” His voice went dangerously low. He pressed his folded fist to his lips and took a deep breath. He looked at me and shook his head,” I think it’s best that you keep quiet.”

“Keep quiet?” I chuckled humorlessly.

“Yes, like shut up.” He didn’t understand my angry tone.

I should shut up? Oh no.  

I should have kept quiet but didn’t. I let Boris know of my own thoughts. It turned into a screaming match. 

I let him know,” A good friend should be happy that I found someone; a good friend should care that I am being taken care of. You’re not acting as a good friend.” 

He only chuckled and leaned on his table. I wanted him to defend himself, but he looked at me instead. Silence emerged between us. I was fuming, waiting for him to say something provoking. Let me just turn into Mad-man Thanos here now.

He crossed his arms and muttered,” This is a problem.”

“What is?” I snapped.

He didn’t say anything for a while, just kept looking at me. I scoffed,” Boris, talk.”

“I think the problem is that I have been seeing you more than a friend for years. That’s the problem.”

More than a friend?

Those words confused me. I was still in the defense position, waiting for the proper retort, but it didn’t come to my mind. 

“And you see me as a friend.” He added. My heart instantly started to beat hard.

He said as though he was trying to convince himself, “This cannot possibly work. It can’t.”

I stayed quiet because the right words hadn’t come to my head yet. Boris liked me? My annoying sister was right? Did he like me for long? Or did it just start?

In my head, everything that Boris had done for me and said to me juggled up. I always thought his good intentions came as a friend, but it was… 

Something else.

I came out of my reverie when he stepped closer to me. We held eye contact before he spoke up. 

“I keep my feelings in, and that’s why we are in this mess, so I’ll fix it.” He said with a nod. 

Fix it how?

I wish I could say something, but I was stunned by everything. Words failed me.

“I’m going to say it once and would never repeat it. I think you’re gorgeous, and you are… the epitome of perfection, Natasha.”

I had heard those words before, but Boris saying them? It sounded weird. His eyes read genuine honesty. All the anger and intense emotion had stirred away. Somehow I could see the pain in his eyes too. 

He continued,” One particular night, you slept over….it was after a scary movie; you didn’t want to sleep alone. You made me stay with you, not that I wouldn’t have wanted to, but it’s how cute you were that night…. Asking me to play with your hair, to tell you a bedtime story…”

I remembered that night. I acted like a baby and didn’t let him sleep throughout. I wanted him to wait till I fell asleep before he slept. 

“I didn’t watch you sleep throughout the night, but while staring at you that night, I was reminded how lucky I was. Natasha, you look out for me even when it’s annoying; you care deeply for people even when you shouldn’t… You’re amazing.”

He is saying soft words, and you’re not saying anything, Natasha!

“Somewhere in my head, I thought we would find our way to each other like those stupid movies you like watching. Seeing you with Dara, I see it’s not possible…” He had a wry smile on his face,” it can never be possible,”

I blinked multiple times, trying hard to fight tears. Why exactly was I emotional?

“For the sake of this friendship, if you still want it….” He took a deep breath,” I’ll figure out my feelings. We don’t have to change. This doesn’t have to be weird.”

I’m sure he waited for me to say something, but no words came to my mind. I was blank. 

He apologized,” I’m sorry.”

I hated him for confessing his feelings for me. I hated myself for not saying anything. I was not too fond of this situation. All I could think about was how it changes everything. 

That night, it wasn’t the same. After his confession, he left for the kitchen to prepare food. I couldn’t even tease him on things I could tease him with. I was cautious in my choice of words and actions. I didn’t even want to sleep over, but I thought it would be weird for him if I didn’t.

His words rang in my head for days. I didn’t bring up the topic of his interest anymore. I wanted it to die. 

Then I thought about him differently. Could he kiss me like Dara? Hold me as Dara did?

One time we hugged, I knew he wanted to do it. His lips had brushed mine. There, I waited for him to make the first move. That’s when I thought,” Why do you want him to kiss you?”

I started secretly loathing that he was meeting other people. I wondered why it bothered me that he went on a date with Jennifer or had a make-out session with Sharon in his car.

That’s when I realized. I liked Boris too.

My feelings for Dara hadn’t gone; in fact, they intensified. Dara was showing me that he was not the usual Yoruba boy and won’t play with my heart, or joke with my feelings. 

I had feelings for the two of them- I’ve seen movies where the protagonist tries to choose between her two love interests. Most times, it’s easy. She usually has this bad boy who could hurt her and this delightful human being with whom she would be happy. The choice is clear. 

Not in this case; Boris and Dara had almost the same traits. - they were handsome, funny, charming, caring, and intent on me and my growth.

I could not compare Boris to Dara regarding kisses or matters of physical satisfaction. I had not even kissed him before. But God, I wanted to. 

My close friends had divided themselves into teams- team Boris and Team Dara. I was on the fence. They screamed at me, saying that the choice was clear. 

I only saw two boys who liked me; I didn’t see who was better. If I went with Boris, things might not work out. We could break up, and it would ruin our friendship, then I would lose him forever. If I went with Dara, I would lose Boris to another person, and as selfish as I am, I don’t want that.

I’m in an emotional dilemma, sitting on the fence wondering which part I fall on- the left, which has the amazing boy I’ve been waiting for, or the best friend who knows everything about me.

It’s a… romantic dilemma, and what hurts is that I would lose with any choice I make.

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