Read previous episodes here.
I could lie here forever; Dapo thought.
The rush of the waves sounded like Lagbaja’s saxophone, running soothing fingers along the nerve endings inside his head. Softly blending lights, stars blinking like diamonds laid in blue velvet – pink lips softening in a smile all lined his vision.
Which was strange, considering his eyes were closed.
Some of the diamonds in his imagination – cold and hard, began to trickle down his back and his eyes flew open. His clutching right hand closed on air as Yemisi danced away – and then he jumped up and began a dance of his own as wet sand she poured on his back entered his shorts.
“What is wrong with you!” he yelled, jumping up and down, shaking his shorts violently while other folk paused in their merrymaking and looked at the alien amongst them.
After dancing all variations of etighi, azonto and creating some new ones, he looked around, freezing when he finally found his girlfriend.
Those are boobs, my friend. BOOBS. When was the last time you really looked at those?
Dapo posed as if he was thinking deeply. “Whoa. That’s such a cheap below-the-belt blow,” he complained.
Think about it.
”I am thinking!” His shoulders drooped. “It has been a while.”
His heart pounded as he looked at his girlfriend of five weeks for the first time; really looked at her as a woman not as a friend or sister, as he liked to tell himself. What he saw was a woman; a very beautiful one at that.
Her skin…well, it wasn’t particularly blemish-free or stained, but he did not mind. She wore it well – she gleamed.
Her boobs were like oranges – small oranges; barely making bumps in the loose t-shirt she was wearing. He didn’t care. They were exquisite. Her legs –
He always knew how fabulous her legs were but looking at them now, laid bare by bum shorts, he thought they looked like well made barbeque turkey.
He liked barbeque turkey.
And her hips…
You better get over yourself and this ridiculous I-feel-like-I’m-dating-my-sister bullshit syndrome in your head and take what’s being offered. It won’t always be there, you know.
“And that IS the wahala.”
“Are you okay?” Yemisi crept closer, caution in her steps despite the concern in her voice. Dapo said nothing, allowing his whole demeanor speak defeat. Yemisi forgot herself and hurried towards him.
“What is…” Her sentence was punctuated by a shriek as Dapo burst into motion, charging towards her as she turned and ran as though her life depended on it. She was on automatic; Dapo marveled as she went from zero to one eighty in seconds.
“I’m going to catch you!” he yelled, laughing loudly as he accelerated. He felt good, tearing through the cold night air and beach-partying people in pursuit. Yemisi’s shrieking laughter sounded closer than before, and he ran even harder. He caught a glimpse of pink lips, white teeth as she looked over her shoulder – and then she dropped below his sight as she missed her footing. Dapo closed his eyes and executed a dive Sarsaparilla would have envied, catching her midriff and rolling over to end up on top.
Her laughter washed over him in waves of beautiful calm, and he opened his eyes, expecting to look into her shiny ones.
Imagine his surprise when it remained pitch black.
He nodded this way and that, checked by soft yet firm lumps of flesh on either side of his head. He stopped moving as he realized the only thing ‘soft yet firm lumps of flesh’ around where they were could be.
Yemisi’s loud laughter confirmed his thoughts and he looked up, his lips a few inches from hers.
How do you kiss your sister?
Idiot. Try ‘how do you kiss your girlfriend’ and whether you like it or not…
“Yeah. I get.” He mumbled and slid upwards till he was eye to eye with Yemisi. Her laughter faded out in time with the Mariah Carey playing in the background; in time with the clashing waves and incoming tide, in time with the dancing and laughing couples till all that remained were her eyes and lips; eyes glued nervously to Dapo’s hungry ones and lips that kept opening to allow a pink appendage dart out at intervals.
He focused on that and followed it through.
It’s so easy to forget what’s it’s like to be caught in a passionate embrace with someone you care about. Frighteningly easy to forget what a passionate kiss feels like.
It wasn’t ‘shocking’ or ‘electrifying’ or anything like that, it just felt as though his tongue had a million nerve endings and someone had dumped a five-flavor ice cream on it. Various sensations and tastes scrambled for expression in his head; anymore and his brain would short-circuit.
Dapo winced involuntarily as Yemisi’s teeth tightened around his tongue in reaction to the cold tide that suddenly drenched them both, leaving them spluttering and gasping.
He wiped his forehead clean of water and sand, and then finally opened his eyes.
Opened them – and couldn’t close them anymore even if he wanted to.
And he did not want to.
For a second, Dapo doubted the girl in front of him was the same as his friend Yemisi. It wasn’t as though she morphed or anything.
She just did not look like Yemisi.
Her hands were in her hair attempting to wring it dry. Only somehow the pose made her look like Beyonce on stage in front of salivating men. The wet t-shirt she had on was wet and therefore molded itself to every available curve on the surface of her upper body. There was a lot of ‘curve’ and so Dapo’s throat began to bench press eagerly. Her bra –
Something was pulling his eyes, but it wasn’t till he looked down he realized what it was. Her bellybutton was a dimple that accentuated rather than flawed the smooth landscape the wet t-shirt had exposed. There was a bulge where her tummy was – but he really did not care.
A frilly blue something whose color matched something else higher up peeked over the edge of her shorts, subtly waving. He couldn’t seem to decide whether to keep leading with his eyes or to follow them with his hands. Something long-forgotten stirred to life and slowing fanned itself into a raging fire.
“Something you like, boyfie?”
He tried to speak but only a croak came out. He tried again.
“Words fail me, so I think I should revert to that age-old but evergreen and ever-true cliché – ‘action speaks louder than words’.
His eyes narrowed as Yemisi lay back on the wet sand with as much poise as she would lie on a divan. Keeping her eyes locked with his, she spoke;
“Why aren’t you eating?”
Dapo looked from his knees. Yemisi was seated at his elbow, chewing on KFC chicken as though her teeth had been replaced with glass. He smiled.
“I’m probably having too much fun looking at you,” he answered. His left hand rose in a lazy arc that ended on her head and got lost in her hair.
“Don’t do that o, you know what they say about a woman’s hair.”
Dapo’s hand stilled but remained where it was. “And what do they say about that?”
She shook his hand off and continued eating. “Are you a learner?”
The extended silence drew her attention from the chicken she was holding to her boyfriend. Dapo sat still, head cocked in the direction of dunes in the distance. She wanted to ask what he was thinking – but she did not want to interrupt what might be a profound moment for him.
She reached for the hand nearest her – his left hand and held it.
He squeezed back gently and then began to talk.
“You know my dad’s sick, right?”
Yemisi was silent, her heart lurching with fear as Dapo continued to speak. “You don’t have to answer that. How would you know? It’s not like you’re psychic or anything.”
She liked the warmth from his hand whenever he pressed hers like he was doing just then.
“He’s sick. Diabetes. And it looks like…” his shoulders slumped. “My mum has been asking me to come home but I really don’t care. I don’t want to see him.”
Yemisi returned the gentle pressure of his hands but remained silent. It wasn’t the time to start sermonizing.
“She misses me, you know. She called me yesterday and was crying. Mosun’s not back from Spain yet but Peju has been with mum since.” He paused for a moment. “You remember Peju, right?”
“Your elder sister? You guys are cool now, abi?”
He shrugged. “Makes no difference to me either way. We just happen to be born of the same mother – we don’t have to get along.”
Yemisi had to ask. “And Mosun?”
She felt her heart soften like Eclairs that had stayed too long in a conductor’s pocket as he smiled. It did something to his face, something that made him look like he was fifteen years old again.
“She’s great. I suspect she’s found herself a moustache twirling Zorro wannabe,” his fingers plucked at an imaginary moustache as he turned his nose in the air. He had to reach out to stop himself from falling as Yemisi punched his shoulder.
“I guess you guys get on so well because you’re the last two.”
“How does it feel to be the last?” Dapo asked Yemisi, shifting wet hair away from her face. “Lonely?”
“No o. Just overworked and over disciplined. Everyone was too concerned that I would end up spoilt so they paid too much attention to disciplining me. Sore buttocks and tear-drenched pillows describe most of my nights growing up – but it’s okay. I forgave them a while ago.”
Dapo’s face closed as though a shutter was lowered over it. “Well I’m happy for you.”
The shrill ring of his phone interrupted the conversation. Yemisi reached into her bag and handed him the guilty phone – the Samsung Galaxy.
“Hello?” he answered, the question in his response telling Yemisi he did not know the caller.
“It’s me jo, baby cousin.”
Dapo flared up. “This your baby cousin greeting is really annoying. I have a name, you know?”
“Easy now, no vex. How far Dapo?”
He felt his muscles loosen and he closed his eyes as Yemisi’s firm hands massaged his shoulders. He exhaled slowly.
“I dey, ‘Lekun. You don enter country?”
“Yes o! I don dey for almost three weeks now. I bin dey Lag, then I enter Ib go greet my people. I suppose show Lagos next week then enter your side.”
“No problem na. Just tell me when you wan come,” Dapo answered, smiling as Yemisi gasped from his quick kiss. “I dey always.”
His cousin’s soft chuckle drifted down the line. “You go text me address na,” he said.
“No wahala. If I no send am tonight just call me tomorrow.”
“Okay now.” There was some silence, and then a click as the line disconnected.
“Just send the text now,” Yemisi said.
Dapo dived on her. “After I kiss you some more,” he said.
Their laughter was loud and happy.
She shakes her head, soft smile caressing her lips. “You men. Babies..indeed. What would you have me do now – hold your hand, kiss away your fears and promise you forever?”
She undulates from the hip; a sight that never fails to get my pulse palpitating. All too soon I’m wrapped in her scent – something that smells seriously like pink.
I know that’s a color, I know colors don’t smell – but that’s the ONLY way I can describe it.
It smells like pink.
There’s a sharper tang; something that comes through the cloud of pink. Something…more like woman.
She looks me in the eyes and continues. “I appreciate that you’re vulnerable – you’re open to me. I like that.”
Placing a hand on my chest, she stands on tiptoes. “I can be strong for you, honey. I can be that support – that excuse or whatever you wanna call it. Be that person you want to call at after two in the am just to talk. I’ll listen. I can be that – that whatever you need. You just got to want me too.”
I close my eyes – close them firmly, because for a second, I swear I felt my knees buckle…
They always say – love is never enough in any relationship.
Heh. Who are ‘they’ and what do ‘they’ know?
We love each other. And that’s enough for today.
Maybe tomorrow, it’ll be your smile. Or maybe your call to say hi,
But we love each other. And that’s enough for today.
Maybe it’ll be my pen and the lives that I script
But we love each other. And that’s enough for today.
Pierce Brosnan said; “the world is not enough”
Who needs the world when I got your smile’
My all, the one who makes me breath
Who puts those ‘one-kind’ smiles on my face,
And makes me feel silly
The one who makes me so strong I’m weak
We love each other. And that’s enough for today.
Tomorrow never comes; time will keep going on,
I guess that means all we have is today, my all
Probably annoy you tomorrow with something I’ll say
We love each other. And that’s enough for today.
Installed utorrent on my system; to download a world of movies,
And then soon uninstalled it
Sure I love movies – but this is real
The kind of reality I’d rather watch – like a movie
The world is not enough; everybody wants more,
The whole world is there in your smile – and that’s enough
Sure I’ll be upset next week, and not eat your food
We do love each other. And that’s enough for today.
I lied to my wife last night,
Told her I’ll be with her for all time
Yet a few minutes before, I was in other arms
Yet I tell myself – what does it matter?
What difference does it make?
How can she or you know love without feeling hate?
100-carat diamond on her finger, yet what put it there is fake;
Still, what does it matter?
Read previous episodes here.
“He does not kiss me,” Yemisi grumbled.
“Have you talked to him about it?” Her sister Toke asked.
“Talked to me about what?”
The sisters turned to see Dapo striding into the house, looking as comfortable as the landlord.
“How do you know this place?” Yemisi avoided his open arms. “I never brought you here.”
Dapo tapped her forehead. “You have me on the brain – which means you drag me along wherever you go.”
Yemisi looked confused. “No, I don’t have you on the brain o. I don’t. What kind of talk is that…” Dapo interrupted her as he spread himself over the sofa. “Your phone’s ringing,” he smirked.
She looked around. “I cannot see it. Where is it?” Yemisi asked, feeling defensive.
“You’re lying on it, silly!”
Yemisi indeed began to feel the phone’s vibrating against her tummy and she looked down, aghast.
Her eyes opened.
“Not that dream again,” she moaned as she took the ringing phone and was about to hurl it away when the name on the screen caught her eye. Dapo.
“Good morning babe. Slept well I trust?”
“Yeah…I did… How are you?”
“I’m fine.” There was a pause, and then “No church today abi?”
Yemisi scratched her head. “There is o. I’m just going to a later service – I overslept.”
“Okay. See, someone is going to call you sometime during the day. Yeah, I gave him your number.”
“What’s the call about?”
Dapo chuckled. “You’ll find out soon enough. One clue though – Blue Flame Catering is in effect.”
“Later, dear.” His bubbling laughter was the last thing she heard before the phone disconnected.
What was that all about? Blue Flame what?
Yemisi pushed her feet in white and blue slippers before standing up, adjusted the t-shirt that clearly wasn’t hers, and then walked to her wardrobe. She opened the doors and admired herself in the full-length mirror on the inside of the left door. Turning this way and that, she cocked her head to one side and eyed herself up and down critically. She liked what she was seeing; her skin looked flushed and healthy, there were lights dancing in her eyes and she wanted to dance.
“I should dance. I’m not single anymore,” she laughed at her own silliness and then pondered the truth of that. She did have a boyfriend. A boyfriend who had been with several women, yet thought her legs were the hottest he’d ever seen.
That counted for something. Dapo wasn’t known for bullshitting.
“Keep it coming; D honey and I may just ask you to marry me. Let’s see what you’ll do then!”
She rummaged through her wardrobe. She was going to do something she hadn’t done in a long while.
Wear a dress.
Yemisi was waiting for the traffic guy to pass her out of the parking lot so she could head on home when Celine Dion’s ‘We Don’t Say Goodbye’ started humming from her bag. “Okay, that’s just somehow,” she said aloud.
“Good afternoon,” she said as she silenced the phone’s ringing.
“Is this Blue Flame Catering?” A male baritone responded.
“Blue…what?” came automatically out of her mouth – and then she remembered Dapo’s call. “Yes, yes it is. So sorry.”
A chuckled wafted down the line. “Oh okay. I was afraid I got the wrong number. I got your contact from one Dapo – he says you handle cooking engagements.”
“I do…yes, I do,” Yemisi answered, wondering why she could feel her heartbeat in her fingertips. “What do you need?”
“Okay. I’m getting married in a month, and I want your quote for three hundred guests – feeding, serving, wines…the whole works.”
“That’s…that’s not a problem but I’m going to need more specific information. Why don’t I just talk with your wife?”
“She’s not here right now. I’ll give her your number and have her call you. How’s that sound?”
The sudden blare of a horn alerted Yemisi that she was holding traffic. She quickly put her car in gear and continued talking.
“Yes sure. That’s fine. Thank you.”
The man chuckled. “Thank you. I’m Chidi by the way.”
“Sorry. I’m –“
Chidi cut her off. “Yemisi. I know. Later. Thanks!” and hung up.
Thoughts chasing themselves in her head, Yemisi waited till she cleared the church compound and traffic before she stopped the car. Her heart was booming loudly – she was shaking in excitement.
“Oh Lord,” she said, “thank you for giving me a crazy boyfriend!”
And then she called Dapo.
“You didn’t die did you?” he said as soon as he picked. “I didn’t think you would either.”
“You could…you could have warned me! Blue Flame Catering? What is that?”
“You don’t approve?”
Yemisi’s insides went soft. He was only trying to help – and besides, she knew fully well it wouldn’t have happened any other way.
Blue Flame Catering. It sounded…professional.
“I like it actually,” she gushed. “I was just taken by…what inspired it anyway?”
“I sat down with Ayo – that my advertising friend and ran some thoughts by him. We came up with about twenty names – and then whittled down to three, the best of which is Blue. I would have just sent you everything but there wasn’t time, and Chidi has been pestering me.”
“I do like how it sounds.” She couldn’t help wondering what the other names were.
As though reading her thoughts he said, “I’ll send the other names to you shortly – via text.” And hung up.
Easing back into traffic, the thought that her mum was still at home brought a smile to her face. Some supervisory role would be great. Meanwhile, she had to wrap her head around whether she had hurt her boyfriend or not, and if she wasn’t even being overly sensitive.
Yeah. Mothers are so necessary.
“When was the last time you spoke to daddy?” She asked her mother, rolling eba back and forth playfully, molding it into a ball. She hefted it before dipping it in the vegetable stew – only then did she look at the older woman.
“He called just after you left for church.” Mrs. Adeoba sighed. “He says it’s really cold this time of year. I miss my baby jare.” She paused and looked at her daughter.
“This…friend of yours sounds like a gem. And you say you’ve been friends?”
Yemisi’s throat moved spasmodically as she swallowed the eba, rejoiced as cold water followed – and then she spoke.
“Yes, maami. We met in 300 level back in school and we’ve been friends ever since.”
“And how do you feel about him?”
“I…I like him na. I mean, I’m really fond of him and everything. He makes me smile – he’s so dependable and stuff.”
“So why aren’t you dating him yet? Abo de ni e?”
Yemisi nearly spilled her stew as she started, looking at her mum in amazement.
“Yes ke! If this boy is as good as you say he is – listening to you talk about him is embarrassing sef, why is he not your boyfriend?”
Yemisi grumbled, straightening her eba and taking a huge handful. “Be patient, mummy. I’ll bring a man home when it’s time!”
“Okay o! Iwo lomo.” Mrs. Adeoba’s bangles clinked as she threw the newspaper down. “Let’s talk about this wedding. What did the wife ask for concerning the menu?”
“She hasn’t called – “ The Celine Dion song cut through whatever she was about to say. “Excuse me ma,” she said to her mum who nodded. And then she picked the call.
“Hello, Blue Flame Catering Services. How may I help you?”
“This is Rita – I’m Chidi’s fiancé. “
“Oh! Hi Rita,” Yemisi began. “My name is –“
“Yemisi. I know,” Rita laughingly replied.
Yemisi sighed. “Okay! So you were supposed to talk me through your feeding requirements…”
“Three million, nine hundred and sixty-seven thousand naira and some kobo,” Yemisi breathed, putting down the calculator and looking at her mother with a mixture of fear and surprise. “I had no idea weddings cost this much o,” she finished.
“You haven’t done one yet have you?” her mother eyed her in disdain. “Don’t worry – it’s even good you have this business now. You would have saved enough money for your own!”
“Mother, I love you but sometimes…” Yemisi shook her head and rose as a knock came from the door. “Who’s there?”
The words were mumbled and indistinct but she had a feeling she knew who was standing there. Sure enough, she opened the door to find a grinning Dapo, arms loaded with several Shoprite bags.
“Hey there girlfriend,” he said.
Yemisi arrested her forward movement that was supposed to end in a kiss; remembering her mother was somewhere behind her, and turned it into a hug. Then she leaned back, hands on hips to regard her boyfriend quizzically.
“Why didn’t you call first?!” She whispered harshly. “MTN and GLO are quite fine today sef o, and my mum…”
Dapo laughed heartily. “Are you going to help me with these things or…?”
Yemisi stuck her tongue out at him as they entered the house, Dapo shutting the door with his elbow below following his gliding girlfriend into the kitchen.
“Yemisi, who is that o?”
“It’s…it’s…” Yemisi looked at Dapo who shrugged. “It’s the boy I was just telling you about – Dapo…”
The words were barely out of her mouth before Mrs. Adeoba appeared at the door like some apparition. “So why is he in the kitchen?” She asked, glowering. “You could at least have brought him to the sitting room first.”
“Good afternoon ma,” Dapo greeted, back creaking loudly as he prostrated, something he had not done in a while. “E ka san.” He finished, repeating the greeting in Yoruba.
“Thank you jare, omo dada. Pele! How are your parents?” She smiled at Dapo and took his arm, literally dragging him after her as she went back the way she came. Yemisi mouthed ‘cross-examination’ at Dapo when he looked over his shoulder at her, and she smiled as he winced and shook his head.
“Tell me about yourself. Where are your parents from…”
Yemisi’s smile grew wider as her mother’s voice faded into the background.
There’s an lump in my throat – and no matter how much I swallow, it won’t leave.
I nearly knock over the glass as I hastily reach for the pack of Ceres – and ignoring her amused look, hold the pack to my mouth and drink from it.
I feel better. There’s also that painful realization that I just really embarrassed myself – but it does not matter anymore. Not at this point.
“I’m not trying to put walls between us. I’m just not…” I pause and consider my words carefully.
What do I hope to achieve with what I’m about to say?
I look at her; this woman who is basically throwing herself at my mercy. She stands like she does when closing a presentation; head thrown
back, eyes narrow as though she’s squinting, lips slightly open. Slim fingers of one hand tap on her left thigh while the other is wrapped around
a glass of something or the other.
There’s a set to her jaw – a warning if I’ve ever seen one. She looks relaxed but ready.
“I’m not trying to throw up walls – ” I break off as I realize I’ve said that before. “I’m just…I’m not quite where I need to be concerning…concerning
a commitment. I feel like…” I stop again, realizing I’m just spewing a well-rehearsed self-serving speech. I look at her smile and wince.
How did I get myself into this?
I’m just scared. Of everything that could go wrong.
But how am I supposed to tell her that?
Some things get old.
Matter what we do, they grow old and die. Sometimes, that’s the intent.
But in this case – no matter how many times we hear it, it remains true.
The best writers are yet to write books. Somewhere in a bank somewhere, some cashier looks up at the screen everytime an Asa video comes up and says ‘that was me in the university’.
Well. What happened?
Life happened, abi? I understand – and that’s why you’re in a bank somewhere doing your daily thing. And that’s cool.
What is confusing is why do you complain about the life you chose? Did someone hold a gun to your head? Even if they did – complaining about it won’t change it.
Life; the whole of living is a risk. Fear grounds us. People dare to do daily – and that’s why we have Facebook. Twitter. Whatsapp. WordPress. Mr. Biggs. Chicken Republic. Ice Cream. Smartphones. Jeans. And millions of tiny things that come together to make life fun.
We’re more powerful than we realize. It’s too easy to get sidetracked in today’s world!
But if you have a plan. If there’s something you see so much of it keeps you awake nights, stop being so scared.
Do it. ‘No time to check time’. 2014 is as good as gone.
You may not agree – but come and read this again in a few months!
Stop dulling. Start believing.
Do it. Do it. Do it.