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Archive for January, 2013

Drama V: Revelations

Clearly, I had been set up. By one of my oldest friends no less.

 

Banky’s Yes/No dripped melancholy from a sound system I couldn’t see from where I was sitting – completing the depressing ambience of the room. I half-reclined half-sat on the sofa, leaning on Igho’s shoulder and staring at the man who had just walked into the sitting room.

 

Obi. For some reason my legs felt weak.

 

“How…how do you guys know each other?” I asked Igho who did not want to stop grinning.

 

“He and my husband used to work together at some point,” she responded, propping me up and smiling in my eyes. “And then he suddenly got in touch with my husband again, asking about one of our Facebook friends.”

 

It occurred to me that I had not checked my account on there in a while – I was too busy promoting my store on Twitter. I sat there, leaning against Igho while trying to figure out what to do. It was as though my brain was numb. I couldn’t think.

 

Dele cleared his throat from the doorway. I looked up in time to see what looked like a signal pass between Igho and her husband, and my friend stood up gently. I tried to hold on to her hand but suddenly my bones turned to mush. I know it sounds like I’m exaggerating but it’s the truth. I almost could not move.

 

Ye gods; I remember thinking, which kain wahala be dis?! Which kain guy be dis?! Onto one kiss?!

 

My heart thudded heavily in my chest as I felt rather than saw Obi come and sit beside me. I did not look up.

 

He gently picked up my hand and called my name in that gentle baritone of his. I felt as though his tongue was softly massaging every syllable my name had – gently caressing the highs and lows of my name.

 

This must be a story. This cannot be real. Real life cannot be like this.

 

I was scared. A line from that Sauce Kid song; ‘E Don Dey Madt remix’ – I think it was Lynxxx that said it; ‘abi you see ashawo wey dey catch feelings?’

 

Yes o; I yelled mentally. This is one ashawo who’s got it bad.

 

The whole thing was just so funny I started laughing and crying at the same time. It was all just so ridiculous – so sad and so scary at once. What did Obi want with me after all this while?

 

He lifted my chin gently and I looked in his face – a face I had not seen in almost three years. Somewhere along the line he had grown a beard and looked more handsome than I had ever seen him – more handsome than I remembered. He wiped my cheeks with the back of his hands and I felt embarrassed; like some little girl with a runny nose. I giggled self-consciously.

 

“Why have you been – why did you run away?” he asked me.

 

“I don’t…I don’t know.” The words came out garbled and I struggled to untangle them. “What was I supposed to do? I didn’t know what to think – I mean running into you and Yewande like that…”

 

“Me and who…?” he asked, eyebrows drawn together. “Yewande…Yewande…”

 

Obi leaned back in his seat staring at me. “You were…you were in Tinapa?!”

 

Suddenly he leaned forward again. “You were in Tinapa and you did not…could not say hi?” He paused as though to gather his thoughts while I just looked at him from under tear-sodden lashes. “Of course you could not…”

 

He laughed and grabbed my hands. “What did you think, you this jealous runaway someborri? When you left Ekiti you just went and buried your head in the sand somewhere abi?”

 

He began to talk in his slow rambling monotone. Most of what he said I did not hear but the gist was Yewande had found a reason to stay in Ekiti. They had gone on a job to Calabar for his uncle. They were not an item.

 

That cleared some of the weight off my chest – but that did not make me feel any better. I still felt as though there was no future for him and me; him knowing what he did about me.

 

“What does it matter?” he asked me suddenly. “At least I know – and I don’t care.” He took my hands softly. “I know.”

 

“What do…what do you want?” I stammered, asking him the question without looking at his face. If I looked up at that moment I would start to cry all over again and I was afraid of that.

 

“You. Or have I not made it clear enough?”

 

I opened my mouth intending to ask him exactly what he meant. I guess he saw something else entirely because he just lowered his head and kissed me. Another breath stealing kiss.

 

I swear – this guy was using juju or something. The effects of his mouth on mine had all but lessened over the years. In fact – it was worse. I slumped in his arms as he planted soft kisses around my lips and face, arms around his neck hanging on for dear life. This guy…!

 

“What now?” I asked him when he finally allowed me come up for air.

 

He rubbed the back of my hand. “I don’t want you running off again so we’ll just have to take it one day at a time. We’ll take it slow.”

 

He rubbed my wrist with his thumb, eliciting a tingle in the small of my back just above my beads. I shivered in part fright part anticipation. I wondered what it would be like…

 

Obi stood up and pulled me up after him. I got up – or maybe I should say I tried to get up but I only made it halfway before I almost fell back on the sofa. Obi grabbed my waist and steadied me. As though on cue, Igho and her husband reappeared, her rushing over to hug me.

 

“Hope you don’t terribly mind,” she whispered in my ear after softly pulling me away from Obi. “It was so strange when he sent my husband a message asking how he knew you. After explaining that we were friends from Nnsuka, Dele then asked the obvious. Obi told us everything. You know I’m a sucker for romance,” Igho ended chuckling.

 

Noticing my silence she became serious. “Maybe we shouldn’t have interfered…” she broke off as I hugged her and whispered ‘thank you,” in her ear. We broke off the hug and she nodded, her eyes wet with tears.

 

She turned on Obi. “Take care of her o,” she admonished him. “She’s a wonderful woman and my best friend. If you…” she broke of and stared at him straight-faced. Obi nodded. “I know,” he said before folding Igho in an embrace. “I’ll take care of her.”

 

“You better,” Dele said, standing with his arm around his wife. Obi nodded and carried me through the door and away into happily ever after.

 

I’m married to him now, and we have two children. He says he wants more. I tell him to subscribe to a child-breeding factory. We laugh about it, but if he insists I don’t have a choice.

 

I know what you’re thinking. This is not the ending I had in mind. That bitch does not deserve her happiness. I think that’s left for God to decide abi? But if you’re really that close-minded it’s best you know this: it’s no good or bad. It’s just life. It happens.

 

Ta ta.

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We have now come to the end of Drama: The Series. We hope you enjoyed reading as much as we did writing it!

Stay tuned for a fresh series premièring on this station same time tomorrow!

14 Days.

One girl. Three men. And all the in-betweens.

A lot can happen in a day.

Imagine the possibilities in 14.

You don’t wanna miss that!

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Drama IV: Numbers

DRAMA IV: NUMBERS

 

In the next months that followed, I tried not to think of Obi at all. What I did was to open a superstore somewhere in the suburbs of Surulere – and bury myself into the business of running it. It was not instantly successful; as supermarket business was not as easy as I imagined it would be. After three months of no headway, I decided to take a break and travelled out of the country, visiting Dubai and Paris on a spy mission. I took notes of some of the buying cultures I observed and came back home to Lagos with a comprehensive plan of action.

After looking over my inventory carefully, I realized where the leaks were coming from. Everything – from the colors of the walls to the arrangement of the display was off. It wasn’t working. Somehow, I had contrived to create a store that looked like a gaudy cabaret palace. Another huge lesson was that it was better to stock quality than quantity; buy tastefully stylish and expensive stuff as opposed to colorful cheap ones. In other words, start small but elaborate.

 I started all over again, patiently, like a mother weaning a baby, and after two months and three days my shop was ready again.

I decided to hold a small opening party and formally re-open the place. It paid off. The first day out I sold all the bags and scarves and shoes and almost all the dresses, collecting cash on almost all the sales. Within a week I had my account sheets balanced out and I was ready for another trip out of the country. I was totally devoted to the success of the store – and I did not have time for distractions. Ekiti, Obi and the girls became nothing more than a distant memory…something that only came up once in a while. I was good. Or so I told myself.

After a hugely successful and busy year, I had to take some time off. I had been running myself ragged; I greatly needed some away time. I had two girls in the store and I trusted them. Several times I had left the store for them to tend, and I had even sent one; Nonso, to Dubai once before. The store would be fine. So one weekend I took off to Calabar to see Tinapa for the first time.

It was everything I’d heard and more. Though it was expensive to be there, it was worth every dime and for the next two weeks I forgot everything about stores and shopping – I forgot everything that had ‘worry’ attached to it. As much time as I spent at the gym, I put on some weight particularly around the hip area. It was good for my ego, because I noticed some hottie hunks staring at my butt several times. I hadn’t had time for romance in a long while, but I was still a fully functional female. I needed a man.

So I toyed idly with the idea of picking up a random stranger and shagging him for the night. What did I have to lose?

So thinking, I headed to my room to soak in a Hollywood movie-esq bath, complete with bathing salts and all kinds of lotions. I soaked myself in the bath for minutes, just relaxing and anticipating. When I finished I took my time to get dressed, wearing some sexy underwear and a loose dress. The idea was to look casual, classy…I wanted to look good and I did.

I headed to the bar to scope out my options, and was barely settling in when I noticed a couple seated to the far right. They had their heads together, laughing quietly and I looked away feeling as though I was intruding. But something dragged my stare back to them – and then I couldn’t look away again. I don’t know which one I found most upsetting – the fact that the guy was Obi; my Obi or the fact that the girl he was laughing with was Yewande.

I jejely stood up and made my way back to my room, hoping I wasn’t spotted. That evening – in fact that entire trip was ruined for me. I took the first available flight to Lagos out of the Margaret Ekpo airport the following morning, heart heavy as cold eba. Would I ever get over this guy? And then; he and Yewande?!

It played in a loop; over and over again in my head.

That was barely three months ago. This morning I got a call from Igho, a friend from school I had stayed in touch with asking me to come save her from her abusive husband. When I got there…

Obi was waiting.

 

 


Drama III: Exodus

 

DRAMA III: EXODUS

 

He was a cousin to one of the dignitaries we partied with regularly. Obi wasn’t particularly handsome, but he had a nice body and an insane sense of humour  I liked him the moment I met him – but it wasn’t with any strings.

He had just come back from the States – to come and take up a job with his uncle. He was very comfortable, earning a fat salary on the government’s bill doing nothing.

Well, nothing I could see sha.

But like me, Obi was smart. He knew that things like that were not meant to last. He knew his uncle would not always be a government official – and even if he was he; Obi was not even the uncle’s child. Manna did not last till the second day. Not usually.

He made sure he salted away a huge percentage of his earnings plus the freebies that came in somewhat regularly. He lived in his uncle’s house, had a car to himself and so, hardly needed any maintenance money. So Obi also got to party with us – but there was an unwritten law; he brought his own girls. Which was fine by him; but I had caught him staring at Yewande, at her small waist and ‘Agege bread’ hips several times. She however considered him ‘Geisha’ at a feast of sardines and treated him as such. For somebody who looked so sweet and innocent, ‘Wande had a core of steel.

More on that later.

We always talked sha, that is Obi and me. I would tell him about school and my parents, he would tell me about his side of life in the US and how disillusioned he was with the Nigerian government. I thought that was hypocritical of him, but of course I did not say so. It got to the point where he would take me along with him on errands – we would just hang out, chilling…talking like two friends. The other girls started to look at me funny but I would assure them it was nothing between us. And for a while, I bought my own bullshit too.

Then came the day he kissed me.

It was one of those days he came to pick me. He had to go to Akure which wasn’t too far away from Ekiti, and he could use some company. I was too willing to oblige because it was one of those slow periods. We had not gone anywhere in a while, and even I was feeling a bit listless. So I jumped at the chance. We went to Akure, and delivered whatever it was he was supposed to deliver – and then we were on our way back. We ran into some traffic on the outskirts of Ado-Ekiti and we sat there, talking about stuff while the deck played that song; I never knew the title but it still plays in my head every now and then. One of the lines in song says ‘every time I take two steps forward you take two steps back/every time I go right you go left/’ and so on. We were talking – and the next moment we were kissing. It wasn’t like they say in those books; everything slows down and becomes quiet and we look into each other’s…no. It was nothing like that.

But it was the sweetest kiss I had ever had – or maybe the second sweetest…I don’t even know anymore. I don kiss plenty na.

But I remembered Obi’s kiss long after. And so, that evening when he took me back home, I kissed him again. I remember feeling as though he soaked his lips in honey or some other sticky-sweet substance every morning. I remember walking back into the house with a ridiculous smile on my face.

I guess the morning came with some sort of reality check. What was I doing?

What exactly did this boy want with me? And more importantly, what did I want with him?

I had stopped burying my nose in Mills & Boons since I could handle Danielle Steele and I had lost my virginity quite early. My point? I was not some wide-eyed little girl who just had her first kiss. Sure I liked kissing Obi, but there was a place for such kisses and then there was a place for reality. Reality was he was the cousin of a high-ranking government official. And no matter how I tried to color it, I was a prostitute. It couldn’t be any clearer than that.

So I began to avoid Obi. And I think that was the end of Ekiti for me.

The partying started to annoy me. The pot-bellied men, their clammy groping hands and saliva-slobbering thick lips looked like the maws of a pig. Everything started to disgust me. I kept thinking about ending my service and getting out of there. For me, November couldn’t come too soon.

I think Obi noticed and tried to reach me a couple of times, but I was so rude to him he backed off in a hurry. Oh baby, I remember thinking the last time I saw him, its better this way.

Bleeding heart hookers are a cliché. I know. But isn’t the whole of life a cliché?

And so it was, we left Ekiti after a ‘successful’ service year, the other girls feeling on top of the world, me feeling at the bottom of it.


Drama II: Genesis

 

To read the first part of Drama, please click here!

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I met Obi during my service year.

I served in Ekiti State, and thanks to Dupe, one of my friends who had an understanding with the governor’s PA I got a job in the governor’s office. What was our job there?

 

They called us the PA’s aides. Till this day I wonder why someone who was someone else’s aide would need his own aides. But I didn’t care. Asides from the fact that it paid exceptionally well for a corper, there were also other fringe benefits – like the almost-weekly weekend parties, the opportunities to play escort to some of the country’s most powerful men…the out-of-the-country trips.

 

But we were careful. I was the eldest of us four, so I was indirectly responsible for the others. They always came to me for advice and I supported them in any way I could. I remember going to church one Sunday after one of our trips out of the country and Yewande, the youngest and easily the most beautiful asked me; “Does God hear the prayers of people like us?”

 

I smiled at her and answered, “Darling, we’re no different from anybody else. If there really is a hell, and we’re headed there, we’ll definitely have lots and lots of company.”

 

Maybe not the best thing to say.

 

I also was very firm with the girls. They were young and making lots of money, and in that situation it was easy to get carried away. I was there to make sure they were not.

 

Remember Jenifa?

 

Of course, it was just a movie. Of course Funke Akindele is a fantastic actress. That did not make the story any less true-to-life. In the hustle we got ourselves into we heard stories like that daily. I was determined neither me nor any of my wards would go down like that.

 

Therefore, no excessive shopping except on the tab of one of our men. And even then, no excessive shopping. We did not go around wearing expensive dresses and jewelry. We were not loud and about town. No cars. No wild partying, except we were handling business. That was mostly why we were easily the governor’s favorites.

 

Another advice I gave my girls was no relationships – at least not for the one year we were here for.  Boyfriends had a way of messing up a girl’s mojo, and that was bad for business. So we kept it professional – or at least I insisted we did. And for the most part of our time there, we were successful with that part of our lives.

 

I hope you don’t start to think I was pimping those girls or something. No. Though I was usually the one the offers came through, I never took any money off their earnings. I never made them do something they were not interested in, and I never took them to a party they did not want to go to. We were friends, and we always looked out for each other. If one of us was not feeling a parole, all of us were not feeling it. Somehow, that kept us safe through the most of it.

 

I looked over the whole thing one night; we weren’t the worse for wear after a year of partying and…other less-innocent things. We…or at least I was looking forward to taking some time off once I finished service and just resting – no sex, no parties whatever. Just chilling.

 

But fate has a way of messing people and their plans up. For me, this ‘mess up’ came in form of a man.

 

Obi.


‘A’ For Witch

Good morning!

Remember the ‘A-Less Story’ I posted a week ago (if you missed it please click here)?

It was inspired by a Facebook status – I read it and considered that it could be a story. The author agreed – and so we both decided to write.

You read mine a week ago.

Read the status’ author’s.

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Imagine Not Being Able To Write 'A'

The ‘A’ Story

A is for Witch

Dear Lord, there’s like a million words with the letter A in them! It took losing the A key on that useless phone to realize that.  Why won’t these village witches find someone else to harass? I mean, I have a large enough family.  Oh, you don’t believe witches exist?  Walk with me.

 

It’s 9.30 am and so far I’ve woken up late, sworn at my flatmate and set off the fire alarm all because that useless phone froze and didn’t let the alarm and timer go off.  Yes, yes, I didn’t think it strange at the time that I’d woken up four times at 5.30am ‘sharp’ or that the 8 minutes required to boil an egg hadn’t elapsed even after I’d showered, made up and found a clean pair of shoes.

 

Anyway, I’ve stuffed what I think is my black scarf in my handbag and dashed out. I’m going shopping.  Just as I’m exiting the gate and entering the world, I pull out the ‘scarf’ to wrap up.  Only problem is I’m not wrapping up in the scarf, I’m wrapping up in my old black bra!

 

Not even the new wonder bra I bought to entice that cute usher at church (he must see that vision this year), but the old, tired, stretched out one I bought at a bargain store in a moment of dire desperation three years ago (story for another day.  And yes, I’m still wearing it, do your worst!).  But here I am, emerging from the gate, clutching a tired old black bra in both hands like a weapon of war.  I swear I can almost feel everything slow down.  Luckily, there’s only one elderly couple around to stare at me in utter contempt. I scurry back in to get an actual scarf.

 

Of course, by the time I get back out I’ve missed my bus so I hang my head in shame for an everlasting ten minutes till the next bus comes and I get in. Right next to me is that same old mean couple. Mrs. Old Couple sits opposite me and just stares and stares.  What’s her problem?  Is that the 1st bra she has seen?  I’m tempted to take off the one I’m wearing now and smack her in the face with it. I pick up the phone and start chatting instead.  My sis is online and there’s so much gossip, I soon forget the couple – and indeed myself, because the next time I lift up my head I’m two bus stops past my intended destination. Damn it. 

 

I get off and cross the road and, well; since I’m already here I might as well continue chatting while I wait for another bus.  So I chat. And I chat.  And I suddenly realise that my sis is giving me one word answers now.  I know I’ve overstayed my welcome so I look up from the phone and it’s just then I see the big yellow sign that’s been hanging there all the while:  “Last bus 12 noon”. 

 

Of course the useless phone won’t freeze this time. It gleefully tells me it’s 12.34pm. 

 

No problem. I refuse to let the useless phone get the better of me; those village witches won’t win this one.  I begin the trek back to the supermarket since I don’t have a dime on me and can’t take a cab.  I arrive the store all sweaty and sore, but that’s ok, I just need to get some money from the ATM and I can shop and take a cab back home.  Only problem this time is the ATM beeps 3 times and rejects my card.

 

I try again and the same thing happens.  I try a third time even though the lady behind me is giving me the evil eye (she’s skinny and short, I can beat her if need be), this time the machine warns me that if I try one more time it will basically eat my card.  At that point it occurs to me to look at the card and I realize I’ve taken the wrong one out.  This one isn’t even activated yet.  But that’s ok, my flatmate is visiting friends close by, I can always call and ask her to bring some money along and meet me.  She’s stingy but I’ll sweeten it with the promise of a bottle of vodka.  I like to lie. 

 

Anyway, I get the phone out to call her only to see its frozen. Again.  Now, fiddling with it for four to five minutes usually does the trick and get it unstuck, but today I wasn’t taking any more nonsense from it or the witches. So like Moses did the rock, I struck it three times and it came unstuck.  So did the letter A key.

 

I think I vividly remember a village witch whispering in my ear the day I made my phone password ‘AMALGAMATED’.

 

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 Elizabeth Ike is a friend, Chemical Engineer and a self-confessed spoilt brat who writes only when she has something on her mind or when she’s alone – which is like once in two years. I need you to please hound her for me; she needs to crank out great stuff like this more regularly.

 

Or what do you guys think?

 

You can follow her on twitter here: @zeenike

 

Thank you! Have an amazing week!


The ‘First Letter’ -Less Story

The – Less Story

 

My phone’s keys miss the first letter. I need to send texts.

Options?

My life hinges on missives I need to send in the next few moments. It is of the highest import; those texts must get to the receivers within the next few hours. Else, I will be the most recent corpse in town. So I sit down, bending my impressive intellect to the issue obstructing me.

It is useless trying to phone. I do not possess credit – I hope to utilize the free texts on the HTC device in my possession put there by the network I subscribe to. Motherfucking MTN.

So there I sit looking off into the horizon beyond, processing thoughts joined with concepts. Stuck in trouble I need to get out of. Options. Options. Do I possess those?

Do I go jogging to my enemies, delivering the missives myself one by one? Do I rest here; holing up for my obviously predestined end? Is there something else?

Something to write-off the judgment coming for me?

Oh. Forgive me. I see your interest in this…this trouble I keep going on concerning.

It interests you; no?

I represent the interests of one drug peddler on these streets – representing his interests in the role of delivery boy. I get the bundle, run with it from Ikoyi to the suburbs of Surulere plus environs, get the money. Run with it to the boss on Opebi, then move with cuts off the money for the boss’ soldiers on the lower level of the food string. Sounds simple, no?

Well here is the problem.

My deliveries work with time. If I do not show up by so-so time, the premise of something out of design occurring is to be concluded upon; therefore one extreme step previously settled on by both groups is to be moved on. By every sign, I do not possess the power I need to get to the first closest delivery point owning to the collection of vehicles between my present position connecting to where I need to be. The congestion is overwhelming to the point I get out of the vehicle to sit on the curb, viewing the beyond horizon.

The sunset is stunning.

It looks to me like it’s the sun of my life setting. ‘Then the condemned being consumed his concluding dish’ were the words on my mind.

But the spirit which keeps men trying in the eye of overwhelming odds stirred to life in me. I will not go down like this; I think to myself. I refuse to.

How much more convenient it is; telling over doing. I smile to myself, but rise from my sitting position. If I must go, then let it be on my feet. Not otherwise.

I get to the vehicle, step inside. Gun the engine once more. Suddenly my phone rings.

It is the boss. Ignoring protocol.

“Problems, boy?” he utters the moment I pick.

I become overwhelmed with relief. It is completely unexpected.

Therefore I do not get wind of the kill shot. The shot which ends my life.

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If you’re reading this line right now I need a favor – you probably did not notice that the story did not contain the letter ‘a’, either by itself or in a word. I need you to please help confirm that this assertion is true – that one sneaky ‘a’ did not slip past me; in the body of the story that is.

Thank you and have a splendid week!


There Are Rats In Shoprite

13333912-rat-and-the-shopping-cart-a-rat-with-a-basket

THERE ARE RATS IN SHOPRITE

 

Kemi was sort of unusual.

 

That is, in a place where it was as though every girl had baggage and so on, she was a breath of fresh air. When asked, she would smile and say; “I like guys. Sure they lie. Sure they cheat. And we women don’t?”

 

That is not to say it was easy to be with her. Far from it, in fact.

 

But she had a friendly way of letting guys down easily – and so even after getting nowhere with her, there were a lot of guys who would do nearly anything for her.

 

And so it was that Kemi sailed through the first three years of her university education and it looked to a lot of concerned citizens that she would graduate without at least one boyfriend. And then she was in her final year and it looked like a done deal.

 

That was; until Chika.

 

Now it is important that you understand; it was not as though Chika was particularly handsome, it was not as though he had something in particular that none of Kemi’s previous suitors had. But there was some measure of sincerity in his declarations – and I honestly think that was what Kemi saw that made her give him a chance.

 

Of course, she did not tell me anything.

 

So there they were, two people who suddenly found a reason to spend time together; Chika, happy to be the guy who got to take Kemi out on occasion; Kemi, hiding a lot of what she was feeling behind her Oral B smile. She turned down his gifts, never loaded the credit he bought her, so it was not as though he was her ‘maga’ or ‘mugun’ or whatever term properly described ‘sucker’. She liked him, so she kept him around.

 

Then came the day school closed for the session and they were graduates. Everybody planned to travel – to forget about school and school related stuff, at least for the next two months or so. Chika desperately wanted a commitment from Kemi, because at this point his feelings had become serious. He needed to know.

 

So they agreed to meet in their home state, at the newly-opened Ikeja City Mall.

 

That day, Chika was determined more than ever to get a ‘yes’ from Kemi. He was well-dressed, the fact that he was no longer an undergraduate reflecting clearly in his carefully-chosen attire. Honestly, he looked very well put together – like a hundred naira note. He looked good.

 

Kemi had always been a looker anyways, and that day was no exception. But there was a different radiance about her smile, a radiance even Chika recognized and acknowledged as a positive sign. His usually jumpy-self had no choice but to calm down.

 

And so it was, they spent the better part of the day walking up and down the corridors of the shopping mall, enjoying each other’s company. At first, whenever Kemi wandered into a store and picked up a dress or shoes, Chika felt his heart rate increase and he mentally checked his account balance. But after a while and it became clear she was just window-shopping, he relaxed and began to enjoy the moment.

 

Moments later, they stopped at the ice-cream shop at the second entrance and Kemi ordered three scoops of three different varieties. Chika gallantly attempted to pay for it but Kemi refused so adamantly – you would think there was more to it than just ice-cream. The girl behind the counter who collected the one thousand naira note from Kemi winked at her, and Kemi smiled back…a mischievous smile.

 

They left the store, Chika somewhat quiet. Kemi offered him a serving from her ice-cream, and as he opened his mouth she shoved the spoon against his nose, smearing his nose with cold cream. She burst out laughing as he scrubbed his nose and snorted loudly, startling several other people. He saw Kemi laughing and he chased after her suddenly.

 

It was a short chase. He caught up with her just round the corner opposite the Swatch shop and pinned her against the wall right beside the jewelry shop. She almost spilled her ice-cream, laughing hard as he crushed her in his arms. The next thing that happened came right out of a Hollywood movie.

 

For some reason Chika could not explain, he kissed her. Probably it was her nearness, or maybe the fun he had been having, or maybe the fact that he was yet to have done it, and ‘no time like the present’ as the saying goes. Whatever. He sha kissed her sha, and while Kemi did not resist, she did not exactly respond either. After a few seconds of such an obviously one-sided kiss, Chika backed away feeling as though he had just made out with the back of his hand.

 

Some indiscreet giggling from a couple of girls watching from across the aisle did nothing to make him feel better. And so he walked away, head hanging while Kemi straightened her dress and followed, still eating her ice cream.

 

Chika was done. In fact, he was about to tell Kemi he was leaving when she laid a hand on his sleeve, looked into his eyes with that beguiling way of hers and told him she needed to buy some stuff for the house. He followed her into Shoprite.

 

As they headed into the superstore – specifically towards the baskets, Kemi’s phone rang. She quickly dumped the half-eaten ice cream into a wastebasket and picked the call, indicating to Chika to help get a basket. He got to the basket stand, and as he tried to pull a basket free while carefully watching Kemi out of the corner of his eyes – he heard a small squeak near his hand.

 

He looked down and behold, there was this fat rat looking at him out of large beady brown eyes.

 

Now as I had said earlier, there was nothing particularly special about Chika. In fact, for emphasis’ sake he was one of those guys who could not kill a chicken. The sight of blood scared him.

 

So imagine his reaction, finding a rat staring at him calmly in a place where there weren’t supposed to be rats. He froze with shock, opened his mouth and yelled;

 

“RATS! THERE ARE RATS…IN SHOPRITE!!!!”

 

Kemi, who had been speaking with her mother on the phone calmly hurried over, took the basket from Chika’s hands, and in the midst of the stunned silence handed the basket to one of the attendants. And then she turned to her shamefaced escort and…you guessed it; kissed him.

 

The poor shoppers looked as stunned as I felt; having shock after shock handed to them. In fact, the silence within was so complete that a few people who were passing looked in just to be sure there was nothing wrong. And then, slowly, people started to move again.

 

They got married not too long after; don’t ask me why or how. I am only the writer of the story after all, and not the chronicler of their lives. I was at the naming ceremony of their first child, and even though Kemi refused to tell me anything, I am almost sure she agreed to marry him the moment he screamed, ‘there are rats in Shoprite!”

 

Women. Who can understand them?

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Happy New Year people! Welcome to the best year of all our lives.