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.