Read previous episodes here.
Yemisi watched Dapo disappear and burst into a fresh wave of tears.
“Thank you, God bless you too. I’m so glad you’re happy,” she responded to Rita. “Em….he’s fine I’m sure.”
There were a few moments of nods – and then; “Yes, yes thank you. You too! Take care of him o!”
The phone clicked off and Yemisi held it to her chest, smiling skywards. It had been a huge success; more than she had expected.
The food had finished, even the reserved stash finished – and the business cards Dapo printed for her too were gone – all she had left were two copies she intended to keep as memoirs.
Her conscience poked at her with hot fingers, twisting in her chest and burning her heart. Maybe she had been too hasty – and maybe it was the shock of seeing Remi like that…
Still, it was hard for to accept the accolades being heaped on her without feeling some guilt; because she realized it wouldn’t have happened without him. Opening her purse, she picked up one of the cards, running the edge of a well manicured fingernail along the embossed logo.
Blue Flame Catering. It felt good underneath her fingers and in her mouth.
Looking at the design again, she knew it wasn’t something that had just been thrown together in a hurry. It showed a lot of care, a lot of attention to detail…it showed passion and faith – a belief in the work of one’s hands.
Dapo did not design the card himself; he’d said as much, but his passion for the design had shown in the detailing. This was someone who took her and her dreams seriously.
Why then…would he have done what she seemed so determined to believe he had?
Finding no answers, Yemisi opened her curtains and stared into the night.
Yemisi sat in her car and dialed his number again. Switched off.
She bit her nails nervously as she thought about what she knew of him. Maybe she had not done him much good; she surmised.
The sudden knock on her window made her jump – and she looked up to see Adura staring at her. Quickly she wound the glass down and smiled at the younger girl. “You scared me,” Yemisi said.
“You scared me too. Where have you been – and why are you still sitting here?”
Yemisi smiled wryly at the windshield. “It’s nothing o, I just have a lot on my mind.” She reached and pinched Adura’s cheeks.
“How are you doing?”
She smiled prettily. “I’m fine. I just went to get some breakfast.”
Yemisi switched off the car AC, stepped out and locked the door after winding her side window. “Let’s go,” she said.
Yemisi looked at her boss for the past five years and repeated words she’d said only five seconds earlier. “I’m resigning sir. I think it’s time I focused on other things.”
He stared at her, his face containing as much emotion as cooked noodles. She met him look for look, trying to figure what he was thinking. After a long while of neither of them yielding, Yemisi finally lowered her eyes.
“But Ms. Adeoba – I really do not understand. Is something wrong? We haven’t been treating you fairly enough? Your monthly package is not robust enough?”
Yemisi sighed. “It’s none of those things sir, as I’m sure you know.” She rubbed her hands together and looked at the clear nails.
“Never in my years of employment have I worked in a place where I had this much fun.” She paused.
“But I’m convinced it’s time for me to move onto other things – things that give me more fulfillment. I’m sure you understand that sir,” she looked directly at her boss.
He wrinkled his nose at her. “You’re trying to blackmail me with my common sense?”
Yemisi laughed, knowing in her heart it was alright. “No, I’m trying to blackmail you with your fair and kind heart.”
Her boss sighed. “How long do we have?”
“As long as you need, boss.”
The words on her computer screen blurred and she blotted her eyes with her handkerchief for the thousandth time that day. Time of the month; she thought.
Looking around helped her confirm no one was looking at her and she tried to focus on the costing she was working on. But she couldn’t concentrate. “Adura,” she called.
The girl came hustling over, giggling at something Fred said. “Yes, Yemisi?”
And then suddenly the girl blanched. “Are you okay? Why are your eyes so red?”
Yemisi smiled. “Had a fight with my boyfriend – and it was my fault. Now I can’t seem to reach him.”
Adura’s mouth hung open. “Oh no, Yemi. I’m so sorry. I mean…you guys were so…are so…I mean…”
The girl stumbled and halted, embarrassed flush covering her pretty face. Yemisi smiled bitterly and patted her elbow.
“I need you to help me finish this costing. I can’t concentrate…”
Adura interrupted. “Say no more.” She turned away, moving quickly to her system, dragged her chair over to Yemisi’s and shooed Yemisi aside. “This is the cereal campaign costing, right?
Yemisi nodded. “Rrright.”
“Okay. So where does this go…”
But for a few kids running back and forth, the neighborhood was quiet as she drove up to Dapo’s house.
Stopping the car, she thought for a bit about the reception she had received at his office when she had gone earlier – just to be sure he wasn’t there even though she knew he wouldn’t be. Grace had surprised her with a hug – the same Grace who had all but insulted her at Chidi’s wedding.
Seems things are conspiring to make Dapo such a good guy everywhere I turn; she thought, smiling wryly. I should just go and talk with him.
So thinking, she picked up her phone out of the bag and swung out of her seat. Removing the car keys from the ignition, she shut the
door, locked it and hurried into the compound.
“Sannu,” she greeted the grinning security guard who waved distractedly in her direction. He was talking to someone in his shack – so she just hurried past. Soon enough she was standing in front of Dapo’s door, a small knot making itself known to her. I’m just nervous, she surmised. I’m not sure he would want to talk with me – after the way I treated him.
She took a deep breath and knocked.
Almost immediately footsteps announced themselves on the other side of the door – and it began to open before she had a chance to get herself together. The door opened a bit wider as she bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling – and then a voice wiped away her fear before replacing it with something else.
“Yes?” the voice asked before sounded startled, “Yemisi!”
She smiled shyly. “Hi Remi.” She pushed hair out of her eyes as she watched him from under lowered lashes. “Is Dapo home?”
“No…no. He had to go to Ibadan – seems his father had a crisis or something over the weekend.” He stepped away from the door and looked her over. “You really look nice. Why don’t you come in?”
She hesitated. “That might not be such a good idea…”
“You’re going to keep running?”
Yemisi was indignant. “Running?! From who – your cousin or you?”
Remi leaned against the doorway and folded his arms across his chest. “Both of us. You know we should talk, so let’s. Please.”
Yemisi hated the way her body seemed to jump as she brushed past him and she hoped he wouldn’t notice. Which kain wahala be dis?
“You know Dapo has – or had nothing to do with our meeting. Why are you so mad at him?”
Yemisi sighed. “At least let me sit down first,” she said accusingly as her mind scurried around trying to find the answer to a question she had been asking herself. An image of her and Dapo playing Scrabble flashed across her mind as she stepped into the living room inspiring a sad smile. He really is an amazing guy.
She perched herself on the edge of the couch and eyed Remi as though she was a gazelle eying a grazing lion. He stood just beside the door, looking at her with half a smile hovering around his lips – lips that were made for just one purpose.
To drive her mad.
Oh Lord have mercy. Is this what I should be thinking?
“Why are you so angry, Yemisi?”
She felt something similar to anger rise within her chest and she chose not to push it down. “No part of this is my fault, you understand? I had nothing to do with this whole thing – so if you’re looking for someone to blame, take it somewhere else!”
Remi sighed. “I’m not trying to stress you, madam. Cool down.” He walked over and dumped himself on the other end of the sofa Yemisi was perched on and smiled as she stood up shakily.
“You know…I came to see Dapo…” Then she remembered what Remi said about his father. “Oh my God. Oh no! Do you know what happened – do you know how he’s doing?”
“Dapo or his dad?”
She smacked his shoulder playfully. “I was asking about Dapo jo!”
Remi laughed. “In that case, why haven’t you called him?”
“I have o, I have been calling him all day.” She sighed in frustration. “I don’t know why he would just turn off his phone like that.
Does he not know there are people who care and would be worrying about him?”
Remi shrugged. “All appearance to the contrary,” he said, looking stern all of a sudden.
Yemisi waved a hand in front of her face. “Whatever.”
Remi stood up. “Do you want a drink or something – anything?”
“No. I’m fine,” she answered, watching him walk towards the kitchen. She allowed her tight frame lean back on the sofa and thought about the triangle in which she found herself. What’s a girl to do?
She thought about her mother and tried to imagine what she would say. “How do you date a man, dump him and then decide the next best thing is to date his brother?”
“However did you and Dapo get together? From what he said, you were friends in the university and stayed in touch after that. How did it become a romance?”
Yemisi smiled mentally. So Dapo had not told his cousin the circumstances surrounding their relationship!
For some reason she loved him more.
“Can I be honest with you?” she asked Remi who nodded slowly.
“I like Dapo. He’s sweet, kind and considerate – he’s the kind of guy most girls would love to marry. Sure he has his skeletons – but don’t we all?”
At Remi’s nod she continued; “But then, I find I’m very attracted to you – which makes no sort of sense to me! I barely know you, and the only reason I have to trust you; the fact that you’re Dapo’s cousin also makes it impossible for me to do anything about the attraction.” She paused and looked at him. “Does that make any sense to you?”
Remi looked away – and then turned to face her, staring in her eyes with an intensity she found…unsettling.
“Looks to me like you’ve made a choice,” he said dryly. “So what happens now?”
Checking to confirm she was still holding her phone and keys, Yemisi stood and, giving Remi a wide berth as possible moved towards the door. “I’ll just need some time to sort out my feelings…tell Dapo I’m really sorry I…reacted the way I did.”
At the door she turned – and froze to find Remi standing almost face to face with her. She shrunk away from his unsmiling visage and reached for the door handle. He did not look amused.
“At least let me walk you to your vehicle,” he said as he made to follow her.
“No…no. Thank you. I think I’ll be fine by myself.”
He shrugged. “Okay – take care. I think you should send Dapo a message however – text, Facebook, Whatsapp…” he turned and walked back into the house, closing the door firmly.
For some reason, the finality of that gesture stung Yemisi.
She likes to hold hands.
It does make me uncomfortable – but she likes it, so she can have it.
She likes to ask questions too. Questions I can answer – but I choose not to. Her questions make me uncomfortable.
They are deep and penetrating. Questions she really has no business asking me – or maybe she does.
At this point; I don’t know anymore.
I do know; however, that I like being with her. I like holding her hands, speaking with her, looking into her eyes and all those somehow things.
We’re here at Rapsody’s. It’s early in the afternoon.
She’s stirring a Strawberry Daiquiri. Me? Nothing so fancy. I’m sipping on Coke and Vodka on the rocks – my own blend.
We’re making small talk – and then out of the blue I ask her;
“Whatever made you come after me?”
She stops her movements and sits so still I’m afraid I said the wrong thing.
And then she looks up at me, the devil of a smile hanging around her lips and she says; “Slow down cutie. What do I look like – EFCC?”
I have been staring at my laptop screen for the past four hours.
Before you ask; the time is 5:18am this morning.
I’m supposed to be writing – I’m supposed to be updating my blog. There are some work-related assignments I should be working on. There are some other things I need to be doing. I could be praying. Reading. Watching Noah. Anything but what I’m actually doing – which would be staring at a blank screen and wondering exactly how I got myself to this point – how I walked into this quandary I find myself in.
A few minutes before the last four hours begun, I had deleted an email; the contents of which were/are responsible for my present mind state.
Before you ask; no, I’m not in trouble at work. I’m not under threats of death from somebody I’d inadvertently pissed off or something – and it’s not another hate mail.
Been getting a lot of that lately – but this is not one of those.
It’s actually a wedding invite – an e-invitation sent to people the couple cannot reach in person.
You would wonder why a wedding invitation would have me in such a mood. The ‘why’ shouldn’t be too hard to figure out, once you know who sent it; or who is getting married.
You see, the invitation is from my ex-wife; the mother of my daughter. She is getting remarried.
Such things should be illegal.
I look away from the screen, my glance skimming the surface of the table – a table much tidier than my life. Four flash drives. A wallet. Black Bic Biro. A half-crushed Ozone Cinemas pamphlet. Men roll-on deodorant. Vaseline Skin Jelly. Diazepam. AXE Africa Bodyspray. Crumbled two-hundred naira note. Zenith Wrist Watch. Empty drinking glass. Open Toshiba Laptop.
I hesitate here, staring at the laptop screen and trying to ignore the fact that my heart is thumping loudly in my ears. I feel sweat trickle down my face – and ignore it.
I’m simply afraid of what’s on the left hand side of my laptop.
It looks normal enough; the first thing you see would probably be a Nescafe coffee tin. Half-full bottle of Etana Water. Dusty Bible. POS Receipt. Prozac. Alabukun. ATM Receipt. Bracelet. Phenobarbitone. Matches. Candle stub. AC Remote –
And then we come to that thing that almost makes my heart explode.
A big dark-red bottle of Absolut Vodka – Raspberry flavor, calmly looking at me. It stands after the remote control and before the Onward Exercise Book on which rests my 1TB external disc – but it’s not even the bottle that is the issue.
Resting against the bottle, right beside the text that makes it look somewhat like a Molotov Cocktail is a picture. A picture of two girls – or rather; a woman and a girl.
A silent reminder of what drinking cost me.
It’s been what – eight years?
I haven’t opened that bottle in eight years.
Are you getting the idea? Do you read me now?
My ex is getting married again in a few months to a complete douchebag (I know that sounds like hating but he’s garbage), my daughter is mad at me – very mad; because as far as she concerned; the reason daddy isn’t back with mommy is because daddy does not care.
You see, while she knows what the word ‘complicated’ means; she does not exactly understand what it means. ‘It’s complicated’ is hogwash to her.
I blame her not. Half of the time; it is indeed hogwash.
Unfortunately for me, this is one of those few times it’s actually true.
So add all the above to the fact that my personal life is a drawer in an old desk; the kind of drawer loaded chock-full with bric-a-brac; the kind of drawer you look into every once in a while to ascertain its contents are still intact, and then lock away till the next time – and you’ll understand what I mean when I say I’m as lonely as the road to success. Which I’m on anyways.
The Absolut bottle looks good.
I wonder what eight-year-old Vodka tastes like.
I haven’t been sleeping well lately – and the cost of a few hours of something that passes for sleep is an alcohol-free hangover.
What are my options?
Quickly – refusing to think about anything that would make me change my mind, I create a mixture of Prozac, Phenobarbitone, Alabukun and Diazepam. And then, I open the Vodka and pour a huge helping into the glass.
And then, I take three huge gulps of breath, close my eyes and down the miniature bomb I just created.
Almost instantly, I begin to see in twos.
Okay. This is I did not expect.
One thing I’m grateful for is the fact that this is being typed directly into my WordPress post…because I doubt I would be able to copy and paste anything at this…this…
Alarm bells start to go off all over the house.
So I hit the publish button…but just barely
Like finding a sweet memory in old trousers,
That’s what I remember.
Her beauty; not the kind to start riots,
But definitely end them.
Her hands are so small, easily they fit into mine
When we talk, we rhyme
And in bed? At times all we do is mime,
Repeat practiced movements as old as time.
She is strength in my weak,
The strength in my week.
She toughens my limbs, makes the days better
Would have changed my life too; if I’d let her.
I did write a letter.
When she smiles, something in me jumps,
Got me wondering; ‘could this be love?’
Could this be – that mysterious feeling they sing about,
That thing that makes old men sing and shout?
She’s joy. She’s Joy. She’s my joy,
Something rare; exquisite
Something that breathes even when I squeeze it
A bright thing when other lights are dimming
But I’m sad.
I wonder why.
Read previous episodes here.
Remi couldn’t look more surprised if he’d opened his eyes one morning and found Beyonce lying next to him.
Or maybe he would have. Anyways…
Dapo frowned, looking at Yemisi – particularly at the pinkish stain that was rapidly spreading along her face. “Yemisi?”
Her mouth was opening and closing like a gaffed fish’s. She tried to speak – what came out was a weird croak.
She swallowed and tried again.
“Dapo…who is this?” she asked. Dapo’s face screwed up as though he’d just swallowed something bitter. “What do you mean? I told you – my cousin Remilekun, ‘Lekun for short.”
Turning to look at his cousin, Dapo poked him in the chest with an aggressive finger. “You better start talking, guy. Where do you know my girlfriend from?”
Heavy emphasis on girlfriend.
“I…I didn’t know she was your girlfriend! I just…” Remi stopped speaking as Yemisi pushed him aside roughly and moved quickly away.
“Yemisi –“ Dapo started, and then moved after her rapidly, thoughts racing randomly through his head. He did not understand what she was – in fact, he understood nothing about the past few minutes.
Maybe I should have stopped and questioned Remi…
No. In this situation, you chase the most desirable objective. In this case…
He caught up with her as she stepped out of the hall’s side door and reached out to hold her elbow. She snatched it from his grasps without pausing – and then she started to run.
“Yemisi…what are you doing?” he asked, feeling exasperated. It’s things like these…
That make you wonder why you’re not single?
“Oh shut it!” he muttered, wincing from the abrupt change in temperature as he left the cool of the hall. He saw Yemisi making her way between vehicles towards the gate and ran to stop her.
“What is it?” He said forcefully, biting his lips to refrain from yelling at her. She stood in front of him quietly, chest heaving with some emotion with her face averted – and then she looked directly at him.
The tears streaming down her face shocked him into silence.
“Am I that pathetic a girlfriend that after five days of being with me you would set me up with your cousin? Why did you not just say you were not interested – instead of being nice and so sweet and…and…”
Dapo grabbed her shoulders none-too-gently – and dropped his hands to his sides at her wince. “Yemisi…what are you saying?”
She tossed her hair. “Ask your cousin,” she said and walked away.
“Guy, e don do,” Dapo responded, impatiently brushing aside Remi’s explanations. He continued his staring at Yemisi, who was on the other side of the room studiously avoiding his gaze. He knew what she was thinking – he just couldn’t make sense of it.
“Why would you think that?” he muttered under his breath.
“Think what?” Kazeem asked from his left.
“I’m not talking to you,” Dapo snapped rudely. Kazeem looked at his plate and gently set it down as everybody else looked away – including Grace.
They knew the signs.
See? There’s just nothing you know how to do other than ruin things for the people you so supposedly care about.
Don’t even do that. This one – this one time it not my fault. In any way!
Look – maybe if she had been patient, maybe if she had waited some more days she would have met him, and she would have been single, and they would have gotten themselves out of my hair.
And then, you would have continued your drinking and porn-watching and…
You’ve made your point.
“I’m stll crazy though,” he said out loud. “Still having arguments with myself!”
A sharp pain in his side brought him out of himself and he realized the whole hall was staring at him. He stared back at them with aggression – as his hand moved down to his side to find it was an elbow digging in there. Some further probing revealed it was his cousin on the other end of it.
“What is it?” he almost yelled.
Remi looked apologetic. “You’ve been called to give the toast,” he said.
Dapo was stunned. He turned in his seat to find Chidi and his wife smiling in his direction. He shook his head gently – and stopped as Chidi pointed to his new wife and shrugged.
He stepped away from his seat, scooping the half-full wine cup and walked to the stage amidst scattered applause. Taking the mic from the MC, he turned to face the crowd, heart thumping crazily.
You should have had a drink.
He found himself looking in a pair of eyes, eyes wet with tears, eyes that met his unflinchingly – and holding the gaze Dapo began to speak.
“I don’t like banks. Honestly, I’m that guy who likes to look at his money and know it is not going anywhere. Maybe it is not growing – but it is NOT going anywhere.”
There was some laughter – except in the eyes he was looking at. He continued.
“I’d rather keep my money under the pillow and if the house burns, I know my money burnt with the house. What am I going to do when some bank suddenly tells me they failed? What is that? Did they do a test with my money?”
The eyes he was looking into struggled – and then gave into the urge to laugh.
And he, in that moment believed everything was going to be just fine.
“But I have been at a bank twenty times in the past few months. Why?”
He paused dramatically, watching the audience as it seemed it held its breath collectively, waiting for him to let them down.
“Well, because Chidi met his special one at GT bank! Why not me?”
The audience erupted with loud laughter.
But he wasn’t done. He waited for the initial wave of laughs to die down – and then he delivered his coup de grace;
“At least they got that one right!”
The reception went bonkers. Someone yelled from the crowd; “You gave the wrong guy the emcee job!”
Soon enough, they calmed down and he became serious. “I know I speak for so many people here when I say marriage has lost its enchantment and allure – even relationships have become mundane somewhat. We all walk around with a lot of baggage – mad at each other as though it is all our faults that baggage is there.”
He paused and cleared his throat.
“But in the midst of all that, something like this comes along to remind us that it is not all futile. I wonder what made Chidi speak to Rita – I wonder what made her respond. Chidi’s not that fine na.”
Amidst the audience’s laughter, Chidi stood up in his seat and looked for something to throw at Dapo. Failing to find anything, he bit down on his forefinger – and then snapped it in Dapo’s direction. Dapo shrugged, smiling as Rita laughing dragged her husband down to his seat.
“But she did – and here we are, celebrating with them and wishing them well, at least we hope you all wish them well. And if you don’t, na you know o. Nothing can shake this couple.
“Personally, this for me is a revelation, learning, a knowing that sometimes, life throws things our way. Things happen – but in the midst of all that, love remains real.”
He lifted his glass up. “Here’s to Chidi and Rita, and a promise of love.”
Bowing, he lifted the glass to his lips and drank.
“That was amazing!” Grace gushed as soon as he returned to his seat. “And that wasn’t rehearsed?”
Dapo smiled at her. “I wish it was.”
Kazeem said half-drunkenly. “Omo, if na so you dey sound without rehearsal, you dey try o! You supposed be pastor. Your mouth sweet!”
Remi couldn’t wait to speak. “Man, I never thought I’d say this but – I’m proud of you man! Nicely done!” He patted Dapo’s shoulder. “You definitely are giving the toast at my wedding!”
Dapo sounded bitter. “To who?”
Remi was going to give a flippant answer, but then he saw the look on Dapo’s face and his own countenance fell. “Em…”
As one, as though by mutual consent, they turned and looked at Yemisi.
She was oblivious to their attention as she played the perfect host, laughing brightly and handing out one of her greeting cards to a young couple.
Dapo smiled sadly.
“I just want to talk to you,” he yelled to make himself heard over the pouring rain.
“We have nothing to talk about,” came the answer. “Just go away.”
Dapo shook his head and angrily looked at his wrist watch. Seven minutes after nine on a rainy Sunday evening. This is why I stay out of relationships!
“What do you mean we have nothing to talk about? You’re just going to jump to conclusions – I don’t even get to tell my side of the story?”
“If I am jumping to conclusions they are the logical ones! You don’t believe in coincidence Dapo, so can you please explain to me how your cousin happened to be eating in a Tantalizers just three blocks away from my office?!”
“I will – right after you explain to me how I knew you were going to eat there that afternoon!”
There was a moment of silence – and then; “Oh, stop it Dapo! Everyone knows how smart you are! It’s a simple matter of just asking him to go there and watch for me –“
Dapo was shocked. “You cannot possibly be serious. And why would I bother with such elaborate Game-Of-Thrones plotting – when I could very well have shut you down the moment you asked?”
Yemisi sounded tired. “Look Dapo, I don’t know how genius thinking works. Just go away please.”
That familiar madness welled up inside Dapo, and he found himself speaking angrily before he could stop himself.
“I don’t have time for this nonsense. I don’t know what happened to you to make you so freaking paranoid – but it sure did a number on you. I didn’t ask for this – you came to me and I did my best to make it work when I could have easily told you no. So whatever it is you’re telling yourself – don’t forget that.”
He turned away and walked to his car.
There goes another one.
Don’t even start. This one has nothing to do with me.
Did I say it did? I’m just pointing out the fact that we’re alone again.
And better for it, trust me.
He raised his hand to push the bell again – and then Remi opened the door. “Hey Dapo! Sorry o, this rain – “
Brushing past Remi rudely, he took off everything he had on, leaving a puddle of wet clothes in front of his door, along with a staring Remi. And then, without a stitch of clothing, he went into his bedroom – particularly the wall closet.
He opened a small cupboard and lifted a half-full bottle of McDowell’s. He dumped it on the table, shivering slightly as he ran to turn off the room’s air-conditioning – and then sat on the bed and stared at the gold liquid in the bottle.
He closed his eyes and pictured the tears as they streamed down her full cheeks. Yemisi, who was only trying to help.
You were too hard on her.
And she wasn’t on me? I mean, she knew who I was before she decided to give it a shot. She should at least have given me the benefit of doubt! It was as though she had been looking for an excuse to get mad at me!
It’s not about you.
Oh really? And who is it about? Who are we saving again?! It IS about me!
Oh, shut up.
I am going mad.
He reached for the McDowell’s and slowly began to unscrew the cap.
You’re going to drink? That’s the solution – drink? All this time and this is what it comes down to?
Would everything have been for nothing?
He stopped and thought about that.
But I hurt!
I know. I hurt too; in case you forget. But this is what has to be. We work through the pain, and come out of this a better person. That’s why we agreed in the first place – because we were also tired of all the sadness.
But I tried…
Try harder. Do better, Dapo.
You can be better. You are better.
Will have to work her way through whatever it is she’s feeling – just like we are.
Dapo took a deep breath and hurled the McDowell’s bottle against the wall – averting his face as it smashed into several hundred fragments and bathed him with flammable liquid.
Okay – so that’s not what I meant.
There was hurried banging at the door. “Dapo! Dapo what are you doing?! Open this door!” Came Remi’s frenzied yelling.
Dapo laughed. “Calm down jo. There’s nothing happening – go and sleep.”
Smiling to himself, he listened as Remi’s footsteps dwindled away.
Okay – you were not supposed to throw that bottle like that, but it works. Tell me you don’t feel better.
He watched the golden liquid trickle down the wall and nodded.
I feel better.
He lay on his bed and stared at the ceiling till it was morning.
Have an amazing week!
Previously published on Fabolosity Reads.
Ike always recommended that his friends put their conscience in one pocket and their privates in another entirely different one. Morals and pleasures don’t mix in his opinion – best case scenario, a guy ends up with blue balls and a bad case of should have. He believed in living now; nothing was permanent to him.
Therefore, it was funny to see Ike in a moral quandary. It was amusing to watch this guy who did not have scruples where the fairer sex was concerned, struggle with trying to do what was right for the first time in his life.
It was pathetic. It was almost like listening to DMX talk about killing, raping and looting on one track and then praying to God on the next one. It was the groaning of a man who had been pushed within an inch of his endurance. His tolerance. In fact, there was a point where Ike began sweating, perspiring from his mental exertions.
A clearer picture might be necessary.
Ike was standing beside a window looking outside. He looked like a prisoner who was trying to get a glimpse of something beyond the prison walls. Something – anything to give him an indication of hope, a sign that there is life outside. But of course he cannot see far; he cannot see past the high walls of the prison; his home for God knows how long. The same could be said of Ike; except that his prison walls were made of water and something intangible. Water because the rain outside was pounding slate roofs and the wind was tearing at the trees and other movable objects. A few minutes ago he had watched a roof sail past so slowly on the river outside, and so indistinctly it was surreal.
He might as well face it. He was trapped.
But that; in itself would not have been a bad idea. But there was a lot more.
Take the sofa behind him for instance.
I wonder here exactly what image the mention of sofa put in your head…but that’s just a by-the-way. The sofa; typically a three-sitter was in the far corner of the room, partly shrouded in the PHCN/weather- induced darkness. It was a dark-green, army-regulation type green. It had brown napkins on both arms and back.
Just as you are wondering what significance the sofa has to this story…
“Ike, I’m cold.”
The speaker was a woman.
Her name was Isioma and she was seated on one side of the sofa.
It was hard to see what Isioma looked like, seated in the darkness like she was and wrapped in a blanket from neck down – like she was. But if her voice was anything to go by, she was muscular, tall and bearded.
She talked like a man.
Now why would Ike be having a crisis of conscience? After all, they were both grownups and the fact that she knew his name indicated some measure of familiarity, right?
Yes, they were not strangers. They knew each other well; had known each other for a while. But Ike had not counted on being alone with her. In fact, several minutes before this story began; the house looked like the host to a mini party. There were four other occupants and Ike had not had any worries like the ones he was having now. But slowly and yet suddenly, six had become five and then three – before the last guy; Dayo their host suddenly remembered he had to go pick up something for his fiancé on the mainland. He had driven off in Ike’s car; a full thirteen minutes before the rain started.
Now, Ike considered seriously the option of running into the rain. He looking again through the rain-streaked window; particularly at the river where the road used to be. He watched in disbelief as a goat; loud bleating drowned in the louder pounding of the rain, was swept away.
Walking into that was suicide. He was trapped by a wall of rain.
Dropping his head resignedly, he headed to the sofa and stood looking at Isi from his height. His hands were shaking – but what they were shaking from I leave to your imagination. He stood there feeling his stomach clench and unclench in nervousness.
“Isn’t that blanket warm enough for you?” he asked through a throat was clogged with nervousness, already knowing her answer.
She did not reply. Instead she threw open the blanket and shifted slightly, indicating silently that he join her. Ike had a last moment argument with his head. But blood was rapidly filling into another part of his anatomy, leaving his oxygen-starved brain with two options – continue the argument and die, or find another alternative.
The choice was obvious.
Anyways he sat beside her, inhaling her heady perfume and reclining in the crook of her embrace. She drew her open arm closed, effectively wrapping him in two layers of warmth. She placed her head on his chest and closed her eyes. The momentary storm within Ike began calming…
Suddenly and unfortunately, PHCN restored power, startling the two stars of this story awake and throwing everything into sharp relief.
Let me tell you what I saw in that moment.
Isioma’s voice was actually NOTHING to go by. The girl looked exactly like Moet; that ONTV presenter with the frustrating behind. Frustrating in that it’s on display for the entire world to see, but only a few will ever actually see it; and only an even fewer few will ever get to touch it properly like it ought to be touched.
Sorry. I was talking about Isi.
She looked like Toolz looked in that gown that started tongues and fingers wagging in offices and on twitter respectively. She looked like a nylon bag would look if filled with raw pap and then carefully molded. To say she was well-built would be an understatement.
Her lips looked like they were trying to get free of their anchor – like a pair of ripe agbalumos; local cherries if you will, begging to be plucked. Her skin had this light but obvious coat of hair on it, and while I found that to be a slight disadvantage, it absolutely worked for Ike.
They suddenly found themselves face to face in close proximity and at this time Ike had lost the battle with his head. He kissed her.
Isi responded eagerly, finally about to find out if everything she had heard about this guy was true. Their lips danced; expertly anticipating each other. For a moment I felt as though I was watching a P-Square show and the twins were just the ones on stage doing their thing. These were two people who knew how to give and take pleasure.
Ike’s hands eagerly fumbled at the gates of Isi’s blouse; gates that kept him away from confirming how much of her protuberances were real and how much of it was the work of a bra. He tried to keep kissing her and trying to open the blouse at the same time, but unless you have eyes around your chest area, opening a blouse like Isi’s while you were kissing said Isi is a herculean task.
Isi pushed him away and took off her blouse hurriedly yet carefully. She would be hard put to explain a torn blouse. But the next moment she was kissing Ike again, pushing the now-unfettered twin loaves of Shoprite Bread against his chest. Ike died and went someplace totally…
He nuzzled her neck, gently nipping the skin as he kissed his way to her neck and collarbone, Isi’s gasping sighs and loud moans silent pats on his back. Slowly he nosed his way down her chest, smiling as he felt her breath hitching in her chest, licking the tops of the loaves as his thumbs found engagement with some other parts of said loaves that felt as hard as local cherry seeds. He suddenly dipped his head and grazed the right one with his teeth, and then rapidly licking over it with his tongue…
In other words, they had sex.
And Ike, lying on his back some twenty-something minutes later, inhaled and exhaled loudly while wondering which of his over-a-hundred similar conquest felt like what he’d just experienced. He came up blank.
Whoa, he thought, imagine Dayo having this for the rest of his life.
And just like that, all thoughts of sex and related topics were driven from his mind with the force of a really terrible BRT accident, replacing it with realization, shame and self-loathing.
Still don’t get it? Allow me break it down for you.
Ike just had sex with his best friend Dayo’s fiancé Isioma, exactly five days to their wedding.
That was the sound;
If only it wasn’t so loud
If only it had landed on bare ground,
And there had been nobody around
If only we as a people did our jobs well and proud
Did the right thing; not afraid of the crowd
If only we still had our consciences intact
Hadn’t sold it cheap to the real ratpack
Torn eardrums and battered corpes
The result? Abuja needs beefed up security!
Why now? Why not wait and see what happens next?
A simple case of medicine after death
But who cares? Life goes on! After a while, we’ll be quiet
Until the next one
and the next one
and the next
And the tears will never. Stop.
Until we start.