Nobody wants to die. Ask the monk who has shut himself away from the carnal world and capitulated himself to an eternal pilgrimage, bringing under control even his basic needs and wanting not the free pleasures of life, ask him to surrender to death and he will plead for another chance to fulfill his destiny here on earth. Many are the suicides that have not been because the miserable souls who had given up on life had, when eventually were faced with the reality of ending their own existence, chickened out and decided they were too gallant to go the coward’s way.
I didn’t want to die. I mean, I wanted to if death could have been the only savior for me that night, but I didn’t want to die. As I lay there, inebriated senselessly, molested by those brides of Satan, I was planning my revenge. I told you I usually liked it cold? No, I was going to serve Stella and her friends a steaming three course meal of my wrath. The only problem was time was passing by so fast and I could do nothing. I was still hospitalized and today was the fifth day.
I pulled out the IV line off my bulging vein callously and watched as blood gushed out of the spot. My uncle, Samuel, in whose hospital I was recuperating from my brutal assault would be mad but I couldn’t stand total strangers (sometimes called family) filing in to offer hypocritical sympathies only to go behind my back and do a bottle or two at my expense.
I struggled to keep steady when I got off the bed but my head was telling me the room was swaying dangerously and I needed to sit it out for a while.
A quick knock, a slight pause and Rudeboy walked in.
“You dey craze? You no go wait to hear ‘enter’ before you enter?” I asked with no real annoyance and he apologized. “How far?”
He produced a phone from his pocket and handed to me. I checked the time and it was twenty minutes past 7pm.
“Everything set?” I looked at him and it was obvious he was high on God knows what. He nodded and helped me out of bed. Minutes later, we were in his car headed to a place I had him rent out for me. It was a two-bedroom in a decaying upstairs apartment in Surulere that had rats and a toilet that smelled like fuel. I suspected the previous tenants were petrol black marketers. A pair of roaches ran past me as we walked in and split when a large gecko made its way towards them.
“Perfect!” I told Rudeboy, no pun intended and looked at the furniture he had put in the sitting room. The setting was entirely cozy but I asked him to help me move one of the couches to the balcony. The neighborhood was alive and noisy like a nite club. My next door neighbors were having a party and they sounded like university students.
“Perfect!” I said again and led Rudeboy out. He stood outside the door, facing me with a worried look on his face. A group of girls emerged from the party place and giggled their way downstairs and he was momentarily disturbed. I reached for his phone.
“Buy another one for yourself, abeg,”
“But I just give you one nah,” he complained but I also took his earpiece. He nodded a goodbye and walked downstairs. I shut the door, walked to my balcony couch and fell on it. The time was 8:30 pm and I went into my forty winks.
“Ada, baby, listen to me. I did not stand you up. I was robbed that night.”
“I don’t want to hear. You stood me up. Period!”
“Okay. I did. Does that make you feel better?”
“I did not stand you up.”
“Make up your mind, Leo! Did you or did you not… You know what? Forget it!”
“Where are you?”
“In town but unavailable.”
“Okay. When will you be available?”
I shut my eyes. This girl was becoming tedious
“When I am available, I will let you know.”
“Okay. Bye!” she rang off and I bent my head with a smile that vanished as soon as it showed up. There was a hesitant knock on the door. I craned my ear to be sure I didn’t imagine it but the knock came again and this time it was louder. I got off the couch and unlocked the door. A girl wearing a tight t-shirt with no bra and a pair of bum shorts, beamed at me invitingly.
“Hi! Where is Goke?”
“He uhm…travelled,” I answered. I knew no Goke.
“You must be his friend. My name is Yewande and I’m throwing a birthday party for my sister. She’s in Makurdi but I’m here, partying for her, so I’m inviting you. We have plenty beer and suya and girls stripping. What’s your name?”
“Leo! My name is Yewande,” she repeated. “What happened to you?” she asked reaching to touch my bruised lip and I pulled back. “Did Goke tell you where he kept my bra? It’s pink with gold ribbons… Can I come in and check?”
Another girl wearing a maxi T-shirt and clutching a pillow pushed Yewande rudely, walked in and flew over my couch without a word. I rubbed my eyes, yawned and looked at the girl. Which one was this now? First, Ada woke me from my much needed rest, then this Yewande and now, a total stranger was sharing my couch.
“She lives downstairs,” Yewande informed me. Her roommates must have moved some of my party to her place. I know how to throw successful parties. If you ever need to organize one, just let me know.” She leaned forward and whispered, “her name is Ivie. She is heartbroken; her boyfriend of four years just dumped her.”
“Yewande!” a female voice from her apartmentcalled above the loud music.
“Somebody is calling me,” and with that she ran off. I shut the door and tried the lock but found it broken. “Hey,” I turned to the heartbroken chick. “Who the hell are you?”
She turned around and looked at me. “Oh, you’re not Goke. Thank God. He always smells like fuel. You must be the friend he kept disturbing us about. You’re from London, right?”
I wanted to say no but I thought about it and shrugged. “Yes…I’m from London. My name’s Leo” I said in a British accent, “and you are lying on my couch. Can you move for me to sit?”
She ignored me and went straight to sleep. I don’t know how I do it. It’s just a me thing. I run to the ends of the world to hide away but the girls always find me.
I walked in and went into one of the bedrooms where my clothes were deposited, stretched out on the bed, took out Rudeboy’s phone, attached the earpiece and turned on the radio. In two minutes, I would be listening to ‘In Pursuit of Love’ a late night show that ran for an hour hosted by my future wife and no, it was not Ada. This was Kyenpia’s show. Oh, I must have omitted that she was a radio personality.
Now, the twist to this whole radio thing was, not long before my run-in with Stella and her friends, I had contacted the station’s manager who by the way was a great friend and offered her a mouth-watering business opportunity she couldn’t pass up. All I needed was a chance to be part of the show as a relationship expert offering professional advice to listeners on love and blah-blah-blah…you get the drift. My aim of being on that show was pure and simple. I was there for Kyenpia. I didn’t give a damn about the world’s broken hearts like the girl on my couch outside.
I put the phone on speaker and listened to a call from a guy who wanted to know if it was okay to be in love with three girls at a time.
I snorted. Did Kyenpia really believe some of the people that were calling her show? It was obvious the guy was fabricating a story just to be on air. Hmmm…time to spice things up. I waited for a commercial break and dialed the station. The call was answered after three rings.
“Hello? Sunshine FM! Who am I speaking with?”
For the first time in a very long time, I ran out of words. I tried to move my lips but my voice got stuck somewhere behind my tongue and I ended the call. I took a deep, long breath, released it and dialed again.
“Sunshine FM! Are you in pursuit of love?”
Yes. I am, Kyenpia.
I was silent again and I realized it wasn’t just nerves that had weakened me, I was star struck and love struck at the same time. All my fantasizing about this girl had suddenly turned to reality. I had dreamt this moment a million times when it would just be me and her, listening to each other, sharing with each other and now that I had come to it, I realized I wasn’t fully prepared to face what was before me. I have a problem. I get easily addicted to things and that is why I always embark into new ventures with careful planning and calculation. If I didn’t have an ‘esc’ or ‘del’ button somewhere on the blueprint, I ain’t trying it out. I hate being stuck.
“You still there?”
You have the most beautiful voice.
“Hello? Looks like the lines are acting up…”
“Hello?” I finally answered.
“Hi, there! Sunshine FM. Are you in pursuit of love?”
I smiled at her famous line. If it was the longest sentence I had ever heard and it contained two hundred characters, I would have known them all by heart.
“I’m calling to answer your last caller.”
“Okay, go ahead.”
“First off, I think that was a bogus story he shared with us.”
“Why? Why do you think so?”
“Oh please, three gorgeous, sexy girls in his life and he’s not having sex with them, they’re just his friends and two are actually in love with him like we’re in what, a dreamlover’s heaven? Give me a break.”
I heard a smile in her voice as she said, “okay, supposing he’s not lying, what would be your advice for him?”
“I’d advise him to sleep with all three because he’s not in love with any. He just wants to get laid really bad.”
She laughed, “you think so?”
“Trust me. I know so.”
“Okay. What’s your name?”
I paused before I answered with a silly grin on my face. “Call me the Love Doctor.”
She also held a pause before replying. “Okay, Love Doctor. Thank you for sharing. Please do call again.”
And the line went dead. I waited two seconds before I started counting down 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4…
The phone rang. I answered after it rang for a while. It was Kyenpia.
“Is this Daniel Afamdi?”
“Yes,” I replied.
“Hi,” she said, “this is Kyenpia. You just called in to my show.”
“My boss says I should be expecting your call anytime soon. I didn’t know you were calling in today.”
“Sorry, I should have informed you.”
“No problem. So, the show is open to you and we will take your calls towards the last fifteen minutes. Is that okay with you?”
“Okay. I look forward to working with you.”
“Same here, and Kyenpia?”
She ended the call and I fell back to the bed and smiled.
Leo, you lucky bastard. You got it bad.
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