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I waited for him to say my name. Pastor Ishi waited. The whole congregation waited. But James just stood there and confirmed, to my horror, that he actually called Amaka’s name. I wanted to die! No, it wasn’t possible; it had to be a dream. Maybe people didn’t hear. Maybe James’ microphone had not really worked.
Then I heard people murmuring.
The microphone had worked. They heard and they were now talking about me, laughing at me, saying “shey she wants to marry?” They were already tweeting and updating their Facebook status. My social life was dead!
God! How could James do this to me? Why did they pin that stupid microphone to his suit? God, why did you even create that thing called Amaka?
Tears burned my eyes and I felt a fever coming. Before I could stop myself, I was hyperventilating and my hands were shaking my bouquet. I felt like throwing up.
Oh please biscuit and banana, stay down in my stomach. Please stay down. Don’t add to my shame.
“Uhm…” Pastor Ishi spoke up into his microphone, addressing the whole church as he adjusted his collar and prayer shawl. “Due to…” he sighed, adjusted his geek glasses. “Due to recent developments, the wedding’s been cancelled.”
A low murmuring of human voices spread around the church.
“Please, can I have absolute silence? Thank you. As I was saying, the reception is scheduled to hold at Four Points. If you’re up to it, you can still go there and enjoy the buffet. Having said that, on behalf of the Edafetanures and the Bakos, I sincerely apologize for any inconveniences. As you return to your various destinations, I pray the Lord grants you journey mercies in Jesus’ name. Thank you.”
God! So my wedding is over before it even started? Jesus, who swore for me?
My heart wanted to literally pop out of my chest with the way it was racing. All I kept saying in my head was “please, stay inside, banana and biscuit,” as I felt my breakfast coming to my mouth. Gratefully, my elder brother, Oyibo came to my rescue and whisked me out of the church through the nearest exit but before we got outside, I had puked all over my dazzling Kosibah gown.
“Gite!” I heard James call my name and I turned to see him coming behind me.
“You have the audacity to follow her?” Oyibo raged, advancing towards him. I stepped in-between them.
“Gite, I am sorry,” James said and I felt that involuntary movement rising from my pits again. “Can we go somewhere private and talk?”
Somewhere private? Is this guy insane?
“She is not going anywhere!” Oyibo tried to pull me away, but again it was too late. My mouth forced open and I puked on James.
It was supposed to feel good but it didn’t. A crowd had gathered to watch us but the church security, God bless them, quickly locked the doors. Oyibo took my hand and dragged me away from James to the parking lot.
As the car raced out of the church premises, Oyibo began shouting at me.
“I told you!” He hit the steering and honked at a commercial bike. “I told you but Onagite, God forbid that you should ever listen to me!”
Up to this moment, I had not shed a tear. All I wanted was James. I wanted to break down in his arms. I braced the long ride to Ikeja as Oyibo went on and on and on about how stupid I had been with James. He was right, he was harsh but I did not cry.
When we got to Oyibo’s house, he led me to the guest room. As he opened the windows to let in sunlight, I listened to the sounds of Lagos outside and was brought back to the reality of my situation. I wondered if James was thinking of me or facing the heat with Pastor Ishi. The latter had to be the case.
“He used to say all the beauties of the world put together paled in comparison to mine and that he wouldn’t give me up if all the riches on earth were given to him,” I said to Oyibo. “Do you think the whole time we were together, he was thinking of Amaka, just like he did in the church just now?”
“Of course!” Oyibo exclaimed.
“I know how easily guys can code stuff. Was Amaka a code name for me? Clearly, she’s a symbol of love to him, so it could mean that when he said her name, he was just trying to tell me how much he loved me.”
Oyibo could have bashed my head in with the way his eyes burned me but he simply headed towards the door. “I’m going back to get Susan and the boys from church.”
My phone rang, it was James. Oyibo turned and looked at me threateningly.
“Don’t you dare!” he growled.
I answered the call. “James?”
Then I broke down.
Facebook status update Tagged: James Haliru Bako
To set the record straight for all you bad belles running your mouths and poking your ugly noses in my relationship status, James did not call any Amaka’s name at the altar. He simply said ‘Max’ and Max does not in any way refer to Amaka. It’s a pet name for my massive onion tush. James and I are still together and hope to finish what we started. All you useless amebo old-timers, instead of using me to get more twitter followers, please get creative and use your spare time to find your own husbands.
I updated my status and flung my phone on the bed and waited for James. He pinged me about two minutes later.
—I tot u were done wit d internet wars
—Gite, so all d beggin I’ve bin doin 4 d past 5days is nt enuf
—u havnt yet scratchd d surface of ur knees dats y u stil hav mouth
—let me com n c u nau?
—k. wat els do u want?
I paused. Let me see…he apologized on Facebook and Twitter, apologized to the whole church, paid transport fares for my friends who came from outside Lagos, bought me a brand new car, a bigger and blingier engagement ring and finally made me signatory to one of his accounts. Hmmm…. What else do I want?
—court marriage ASAP!
—I tot we said we’d wait
—U stil luv d bitch! Fk u!
I flung my phone on my bed again and burst into tears. I had been crying like this for days, holed up in Oyibo’s guest room, not talking to anyone and appearing only for dinner. When my nephews and sister in-law, Susan, tried to make small talk with me, I just nodded or shook my head. I tried on a smile once but it came out grotesque and scared the boys. So I wore a long face throughout and listened to Cece Winans for comfort and Celine Dion for torture. Susan gave me a Kenneth Haggin book, How to Win Over Pain but I pushed it under my pillow and read romance stories off the web instead. At night I had nightmares of James trying to kill me. He would float into the room like a ghost and try to choke me to death. When his hands close in on my neck, I’d wake up screaming. Oyibo would run into the room and hold me while I cried myself senseless. Most times, he put me to sleep himself and slept beside me like we used to as kids.
On the sixth day, Susan brought a doctor friend who looked into my inability to keep any food down. I had lost 10kg and had all these spots on my face. The doctor ran some blood tests and promised to return the next day with results but she gave me vitamins which I flushed down the toilet. I didn’t want to get better unless James got back to me, but at the same time, I didn’t want him to see me the way I was and think he had power over me.
Growing up with my mother, she had all these rules about men but I remembered three in particular:
- Don’t ever shed a tear for any man.
- Don’t ever let a man control you.
- Don’t ever buy a car without a test drive.
When I asked her what the last one meant, her answer was simple: “stop asking me stupid questions!” Then she taught me all about ‘cars’ and how to change ‘gears’. I was only ten.
My mother single-handedly raised my brother and me. I would like to say that she worked really hard but all she ever did was either lie on her back or bend over. Oyibo hated her for what she did and I’m sure if he was in some foreign country, he would have become a serial killer whose obsession would be centered on prostitutes.
Me, I didn’t follow her way. At least, not in the beginning. Her money was enough to put us through secondary school but the moment we got into uni, we were on our own. While Oyibo did odd jobs to make ends meet, I dated the richest boys on campus and didn’t care if they had girlfriends. In my fourth year, I had mastered my art and dug my claws into some maga in Port Harcourt who had a wife and two kids that lived in France. When the relationship ended and he finally moved back to France, he left me with a lot of money. At this point, any sensible girl would count her blessings and remain stable but not Onagite. I loved ‘gears’ more than my mother did; Michael Schumacher had nothing on me. By the time I turned twenty-five, if you went to a bar and saw five guys sitting around a table, chances were, I had slept with at least three of them. As long as they were packing heat in their pockets and in their boxers, I was good to go. My philosophy was if you wan chop frog, kuku ma chop the one wey get belle.
Before I turned thirty I was engaged and jilted twice. The first engagement ended when mandatory pre-wedding blood tests confirmed that I was five weeks pregnant. The problem was my fiancé at that time had not slept with me. I was carrying another man’s child and didn’t even know it. The second engagement ended a month before the wedding when I got a call from London from my supposed fiancé who secretly packed and left without telling. He told me that he was living with a British girl who was pregnant for him and wasn’t ever coming back to Nigeria.
I was devastated and decided it was time to pack up shop. Destination: Lagos. But fate had plans for me as it put me in the same plane with Pastor Ishi who preached to me for the whole fifty-five minutes. By the time we arrived Lagos, I was a changed person. I had no desire to go back to my old life. I started attending church judiciously and there I met James. I knew when he started dating Amaka, thanks to the tatafo sisters in the church who had no job than to set serious P on fine, loaded guys. When James and Amaka broke up and James was in the market again, he wasted no time in zooming in on me. It was obvious I was his rebound crush but it felt good to finally have the man I had been secretly dying for. Before long, we started dating. But I had another man in my life. His name was Derrick. He was broke, struggling with his music career, cooked mean Calabar soups, was my best friend, younger than me, made me feel alive and did not hide the fact that he was crazy about me. While James kept a sexless relationship with me, Derrick and I were constantly tempted to take it beyond friendship.
During my eight months with James, he mentioned Amaka once only after I bugged him. He honestly told me he still had feelings for her but she was history. Still he kept a phone he carried around like a lifeline, a shrine dedicated to her with her pictures, videos and text messages; and one afternoon while he napped at my place, he was calling her name in his sleep. Did I confront him again? No. See, at my mature age of thirty-two, you learn to accept the things you cannot change.
On my birthday he took me to see a movie and started asking me about my past, about guys I had dated and how many I had slept with. The wheels in my head started spinning. I was scared. We had never really talked about our pasts and coming to have to face mine and knowing it could cost me the love of my life, I lied like I had never lied before and even put up a you-don’t-trust-me act with tears and all. He laid the case to rest. When he dropped me off at home later, he popped the question with a stunning diamond ring and I accepted. Maybe it was the sugar in the popcorn or all the hugging and excitement but we ended up making love that night.
The next morning before he left, he said we had to get married instantly and that I shouldn’t use any morning-after pill. His requests were strange, so I called Oyibo and shared with him what had happened and he advised me not to listen to James and take the pill and added that James’ motives for rushing into marriage and wanting me pregnant were suspect. That same afternoon, I drove a long distance to see Derrick. We talked all night and drank and the next morning while leaving, I told him I was getting married. He walked me out of his house and later deleted me from his BBM contacts, and blocked me on Facebook and Twitter.
Now, I wanted him. The doctor Susan had brought for me the day before stopped by and confirmed in very cheery voice that I was pregnant. After staring at her blankly for what seemed like forever, I told her to leave me alone. It turned out that when I went to tell Derrick the good news about my engagement, we didn’t only talk but drank a lot and ended up crossing the line from friends to friends with benefits. It was after the shameful act that I decided to heed Oyibo’s warning and I took the contraceptive which boasted of seventy-two hours post-sex coverage. Unfortunately, the pill did not work. Now, the question was whose baby was I carrying?
With my eyes, too gritty and sore from crying, I rested on my back and stared at the ceiling, going through all that happened. It still felt so unreal. I had James back but with the recent turn of events, I wasn’t so sure anymore. My life depicted someone who was lost in a jungle with no one to rescue her. Once in a while a helicopter came by and though I called and shouted and threw flares to be noticed, and though the helicopter came down so low it almost touched me, it would soar up again and disappear, leaving me stranded. Three times! Wow! Something was wrong. Surely I was cursed. Even if I was a victim of my own doing, it had to be someone that swore for me.
Keeping the baby wasn’t a matter for debate. I almost died at the last D & C; the doctor said it would be a miracle if I got pregnant again. I wondered: was it God’s mercy or the doing of a skilled jazzman? Was it punishment for cheating or have my sins of eleven abortions finally caught up with me in a perverse manner?
 Amebo – Gossip(s)
 Rich guy who spends on a lady for sex in return or just because he’s stupid
 Tatafo – Gossip(s)
© Sally@moskedapages Cover Design by @IamAyomiDotun
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- Fish Brain Clan (moskedalounge.wordpress.com)
This one’s for my Nigerian sisters. There’s more to life that Telemondo, witches and wizards chasing you, Africamagic, shopping and looking good and generally being superstitious without being smart. If you’re reading this, it means you are probably not in the category I am going to talk about. If you are, well, na you sabi. If you’re not, you definitely know someone who is. Talk to her. There’s a larger world out there. Let’s help our female folk.
I was at the salon the day before yesterday to have a terrible hair redone. The woman was my regular hairdresser but she had not been around for almost a week and I had to do my hair at some place on Friday. It did not turn out well. I was looking like this:
Okay, so when I got to the salon, I asked my hairdresser where she had been and she explained to me that she lost her stepmother. After I offered my condolences, I ventured further to ask what had happened to the woman.
“Hmmm… my sister,” my hairdresser began, “she just go shop o! Before anybody go say go come na so she fall for ground. Before dem go carry her reach hospital, she don die.”
“Awww….so sorry. she dey sick abi na wetin?”
“Sick keh. My sister, no be sickness o. Na wicked people do am dat tin.”
And there my inner head rolled her eyes. Like, seriously? Someone slumps and dies and another person gets blamed for it?
“You sure say no be sickness?”
“No. You know the woman na. The last time you come, she dey play with your pikin. Dat fat woman like dat. Very fat. Full of energy. Wetin wan kill her like dat?”
I couldn’t recall the person she was talking about. That day there had been many fat women in the salon.
“Almost six months ago, dem give am stroke, she survive dat one. The tin no do dem. Dem come back come finish am with death. Chai! Human being wicked sha o. And I warn am. I warn am say dat place where she open shop no good. Evil people full there. And see, dem don kill am. That’s why me I no take my life joke. I carry my whole family for camp on Friday make we go pray. No be me dem go see. lailai! No be me.”
I was silent. Obviously, my views differed from hers. Obesity to her indicated healthy living. How was I to explain that the woman, having already had a stroke was clearly on the path to having another or even something worse? Where do I start to break it down to her that many of the misfortunes we suffer are results of our own mistakes and ignorance and not the work of some witch or wizard somewhere? This same woman inspired a story I wrote about a mother whose baby died in her arms. The circumstances leading to the child’s death all pointed to an illness—incessant crying, refusal to breastfeed, mood swings, insomnia—but the mother would have no other explanation. Someone in her village was behind her son’s death.
I maintained my silence and we talked about other things. Not long after, a customer came in for her scheduled appointment and I had to sit aside and wait. Another lady walked in and one of the girls in the salon began to retouch her hair and the gist about evil people was reignited. You can imagine how I felt at that moment. All of them believed in the power of black magic and about people ‘doing’ people. They went on and on and on but I kept mute and stayed on Twitter. Just when I thought I was going insane, a woman after my own heart walked in and she changed the course of the gist.
Someone had brought up the story of some pastor’s wife in Benin who had ‘died’ and ‘gone to heaven’ and seen God and all that. She claimed weaves, wigs, nail polish, attachments and everything that made women looked good came from hell.
“Na lie!” the woman after my heart exclaimed and I smiled. But I remained mute. An argument broke out immediately and I could see they were drowning my woman and that was when I stepped in. You know that moment when you have been so silent when everyone has been talking, then you decide to speak and everyone believes you have a word of wisdom? Yes, that was my moment and they were all listening to me speak. I made my point and went back to my BB. The argument still went on and when they got tired, they ventured off to child marriage. Now, here’s the surprise. They knew nothing about the topic. It was my woman that was giving them the full gist about Yerima and the petition signing et al. When the gist was not favoring them, they switched to Telemondo. Of all things!
Pardon me to say this to y’all who watch that channel. I have no issues with Telemondo but when a woman sits down all day watching it and Africamagic and cannot stand five minutes of a movie like Burn After Reading, then there’s a serious issue with her intellect. Yep! I said it. Of course, different strokes for different folks. We all have what we like but hello! what on earth are Telemondo and redundant Nigerian movies teaching us? If anyone can come up with an answer apart from the obvious that we watch on Nollywood (which include juju, wicked stepmother, infertile woman, evil mother-in-law, friends stealing husbands) then give me that movie and I will watch it.
Back to the salon. I was done with my hair and was doing my nails by now when the husband of my hairdresser walked in.
Dude was hawt. Hawt in a chubby way and he was well put together, not as much as my hubby though. In his hand was a Samsung Galaxy Core or something like that and his shoes were designers. Before I forget, the other women in the salon were married to made men, so I’m not talking about village chicks hooked to local men. These were women who could afford to drive classy cars and carry expensive phones but had heads that were lost in a primitive era.
Now, they were still on the Telemondo gist and I was surprised to find out that my hairdresser’s husband knew more about Aurora, Precious Rose and the rest than I did. But he didn’t know much; he stopped halfway and like me stuck to his phone, browsing the net. Gratefully someone switched to a different topic and we the phone users joined in. We were back to the child marriage issue, then we jumped to the new law on sachet and bottled water, moved to Fashola and his governing style and finally ended with cartoons.
You can be sure it was just myself and the man talking at this point. His wife who was now giving me the bad eye and was leaving hints that she was tired and wanted to go home. At that moment a thought crossed my mind and I asked myself: what if I was single and looking for some already made man to become my maga? Won’t this woman’s husband be a perfect catch? He was smiling more at me than when he came in, he had totally ignored his wife’s presence and I could see his eyes light up each time I made a point and he was no doubt, enjoying himself. Don’t misread me. He was not lusting after me; he was just intrigued to be speaking to a female who could reason on the same level with him. This was a man who didn’t enjoy Telemondo but went out of his way to watch it because of his wife, yet the woman couldn’t bother to be interested in anything he was interested in. She came across as the perfect wife who does her own bit in the home front well. She cooks, she cleans, she has a business to support her and she is all most men would want in a wife but that is all there is to her. Permit me this disclaimer: I was just on the outside looking in. There’s no way I could tell for sure because I had just one glance into their marriage. But I saw enough to push me into writing this post.
And there, I just gave you the secret into how I pick my characters.
But I digress. And getting back to the point! I am making no excuse for men who keep late nights and spend time with their friends with the claims that their wives are troublesome or boring. All I am saying is that a lot of women are just basic, observing the normal definition of what the world thinks women ought to be. They make no attempt at challenging themselves to do and become more than their environments offer. They believe all a man wants is sex, food and babies. For them to even center their lives and existence around what men want and not what they ought to be in life is another problem entirely and I’ll keep it for another day’s gist.
Men’s interests do not always rotate around female body parts and sex. They have brains too and they use them more than we are made to believe. From my own experience, a man with a good head on his neck, would easily choose engaging conversation over sex and he gets pissed when you put him on the same level with guys that let their penises think for them. He would not deny that sex is always on his mind more than you but he is more turned on when brains come with beauty. For that woman who makes it her life’s calling to satisfy a man without finding ways to better herself so that the man and society at large can benefit from her, I have just this one thing to tell her: Please, satisfy him with all your head then. The heart and duty are just the first stop. When combined with brains, the mix is dangerous. No man has been known to resist such a female with that type of combo.
And lastly, to the mystical… There is that other world out there which we call the supernatural. There are custodians of that world and they live amongst us and believe in the power of their craft. We have been taught ways to stay away from them and how to deal with them through spiritual means but we have not been taught to be brainless and narrow-minded while going about it. If you did not see with your koko-koro eyes where a man turned into a goat, please do not believe it, even if the man came to you himself and told you he turned into a goat. It’s funny how all the people who have told me that they believe humans shape-shift have not witnessed it firsthand. If ever they saw what the human had changed into, they got there only after they changed and did not stay long enough to see the transformation back to human nature before they went to spread the strange tidings. I always ask such people what happened to the clothes the person was wearing after the change and they look at me like I have some brain issues. I find it weird that in this age where people film everything they see with their phones, they’re yet to catch one witch turning into a cockroach on camera.
Ladies, let us expand our horizons, study beyond our scope and be open-minded. Here’s something some of you don’t know about me. I hated romance stories once. Hated. I used to think it was cheesy and I told myself that I would never write about it. I had written a few love bits in different genres but not a full account. It was never my thing until someone asked why I didn’t have one short story on romance and I felt ashamed and became challenged. I wrote a very short piece which I never published and found out that I did not only love it, I was quite good. And since then, I have not rejected any genre in my writing. As long as I am inspired, I don’t say no to the muses, I just write. And it would be nice if ladies applied that principle in their lives.
As women, we should expand our scope and break free from the mentality that our type are bird-brained. Try watching a horror movie or a football match just for fun and don’t do it to please any man. Do it for yourself; do it with your girls. For those of us who are religious, lets use the head God has given us. From my Bible, I know Jesus spoke in parables and left so many things unanswered for the multitude that liked to follow him. But it was only those who asked him later that got the full gist. The secret is to seek and you will find. Knowledge does not come to those who wait for it and wisdom is not found in the hearts of the foolish. Read proverbs 31 and learn about the virtuous (and if I may add) smart woman. She was not your regular housewife. She went beyond her range of mother and wife and did more. It wasn’t mentioned that her only objective was just to please her man and the society. No, she was doing what she loved to do and doing it with all her heart and head. She didn’t wait for oga to care for her. He was not her maga. She was her own maga but even after she worked with her hands and became wealthy, her clothing was ‘strength and honor’. Her words were of wisdom and kindness.
I think we can all take a cue from her.
And on a totally unrelated note, CLICK HERE
Finally, we come to the end of To Tame a Virgin. For all of you who started this and are here now, thank you. Your comments and retweets and facebook updates made me feel appreciated.
Special thanks to Oye and the 360nobs team.
This is dedicated to my husband…my muse. I almost threw away this story but he fell in love with the character, Dami, and introduced me to her.
HUGE DISCLAIMER: No character in this story is real. All my imagination. If they remind you of someone you know, I categorically state that I know no such person.
There was an SMS going round. Which simply read:
Click on the link to go to totameavirgin.com @rhodiumvee has a new post waiting for you.
Uyi got the SMS at exactly 7am; same time with Dike and every other subscriber to the totameavirgin website. Dike was still asleep when the alert came in. Kachi handed his phone to him as she got off the bed and went about her day. With sleepy eyes, he clicked on the link and was directed to the site. He could hardly recognize it as everything had Dami written all over it. There was a Youtube video. Dike clicked on it…
Uyi put his breakfast of noodles and eggs on his bed and set his laptop to click on the video link. With his other hand, he put a bottle of coke to his lips and waited with held breath.
Peter had watched the video a million times. It was he who edited it and others and got paid handsomely for it even though he clearly told Dami that he didn’t need the money. Nonetheless, the money had come in handy. With it he paid for two nights in a squalid hotel in the neighborhood. He was buying time before he went home to tell his folks about his HIV status. Strangely, he couldn’t stop thinking about Temi. He clicked on the link.
Temi was just two doors away from Peter in the same squalid hotel. Having accomplished what her mind set to do with the guy she met at the bar the night before, she saw no need to leave the hotel. Her eyes were grainy from crying all night. She had hit her lowest and was at the point where her life hung in an uncertain place; it was either going to make or break her. A can of beer found its way to her mouth and she clicked on Dami’s video.
Kachi peeped down the corridor to be sure Dike was not coming in the direction of the kitchen. She got the alert the same time he got his. He had no idea she was subscribed to the site. She did so when he first told her about it, just a day before it was put down. They hadn’t spoken about Damaris since then. It was a relief to hear from Ene that Damaris dropped the lawsuit against Dike. She had called Uyi to thank him for speaking on her behalf to her; but she was not too pleased with Dike’s tell-all on 360nobs about his affair with her even though he didn’t reveal his identity and marital status. Turning on the electric kettle, she waited for her browser to direct her to Youtube.
Thousands of other people online were watching Dami’s video at that moment. It was a two-minute montage of her sitting on her bed in crossed legs wearing nothing but a t-shirt over a pair of black pantyhose. With no makeup on and an early morning look to her hair, she began.
“So, it’s not news that a video of me going half-naked was spread by some mean girls that I called my friends. They succeeded in destroying my career, getting my dad to stop speaking to me and my boyfriend to break up with me. Nice one, girls. Secondly, I know you’ve all read the confessions of some guy who went on 360nobs to talk about my relationship with him and how it ended badly and how he got back at me by opening the totameavirgin site. Well, we’re friends now and he was kind enough to let me have the site and I intend to use it to rant, not giving a damn about those of you who are going to be coming here and leaving your player-hating comments. Sha, you’re all welcome. But know that this is not about you and your perceptions of me. Somehow you guys think by seeing my breasts you now know me. You don’t. I am not my breasts. I am Damaris Alechenu, a recovering drug addict, a model, a dancer, an ex-virgin and I don’t give a shit what you think.
“And now to the business of the day…”
Dami fished around the bed for something and came up with a card. “So ever since my boyfriend dumped me, I’ve been in a mess; crying, starving, playing Avril Lavigne, eating and adding weight, watching romance movies, drinking like a fish and doing a whole lot of other pathetic things. I don’t intend to share them with you but I’m using this medium to beg him nicely, since he won’t pick his calls, to allow me tell him how much he means to me. I was in rehab for twenty-eight days. Not your normal rehab but the Rihanna type. I was trying to do away with the addiction of loving you, Mr. Smith but I couldn’t. Instead I found twenty-eight more reasons why I love you and I am going to tell you today. But not here.”
She moved forward to the camera and placed the card in her hand before the lens. It was a wedding invitation with gold and blue writings. The bottom part that held the address was crossed out by a marker.
“My cousin’s wife’s younger sister is getting married and Mr. Smith, I am inviting you for it. You know the venue; it’s the place where we first kissed. When you come, look for the girl in the blue dress and she’ll tell you the twenty-eight reasons why I love you.”
Dami withdrew the card from the screen.
“And for the rest of you who are not invited, I have a brand new BB Q10 to give out.”
She went back to the bed and flashed Blackberry phone with its pack.
“If anyone can guess correctly, just three out of the twenty-eight reasons why I love my boo, they can claim the phone. But remember to follow me, then use the hashtag #Dami’s28 as you tweet. Be creative.”
She walked back to the camera and switched it off.
Word spread. Tweets and retweets flew across Twitter. People were talking. #Dami’s28 was trending in no time.
Temi got home sometime after nine in the morning. Ovie was not back from his sister’s where he had spent the night. Temi didn’t like the silence. The power was out. With a long hiss, she walked to where the fuse box was located to have a look at it. Something was wrong with some of the switches and she had complained severally to Ovie and Peter to find an electrician to fix it but they always did it themselves. She stood staring at the fuse box, lost. She didn’t hear when Edet walked in until he put a gentle hand on her arm. She jumped and turned to him.
“Edet! You scared me.”
“Thank God you’re here sha. Abeg, help me do this thing. I don’t know what they touch there.”
“Get me a stool or chair to climb.”
Temi walked into her bedroom and came out with a plastic chair. Edet got on it.
“So, you and Peter have broken up?” he asked. Temi was surprised at his question but she replied him even so.
“And he left?”
“Doesn’t he know that HIV is not automatic death? There are so many people living with it in Nigeria.”
“I pray he comes back. He has a good job and he’s intelligent. He can still live a full life.”
Temi was somewhat surprised at the way Edet spoke. To her, he had always been that jobless neighbor that sat around while everyone went to work and smoked himself silly.
“Edet, what do you do?”
“Your work? Where do you work?”
“Online. I’m a third party merchant. I help people buy and sell stuff in naira on the web.”
“And it pays?”
“Yeah.” He shut the fuse box and pulled at the main switch, bringing power back into the house.
“Yay!” Temi beamed. Edet got down but missed his landing and tumbled into her. He had his face in her breasts and she backed away immediately as he straightened up.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
“It’s okay. It’s not as if you planned to fall on me.”
She had no idea.
“See, I have soup in the fridge. I’ll warm it and make eba for us.”
“That sounds nice. Eba in the morning.”
“Okay, I’ll make semo. It’s lighter.”
“Eba is fine,” Edet said and pulled out something from beside her lips. He showed her.
“Tissue paper. Wonder where I got that.”
“And there’s one more here.” He picked out another tiny piece of tissue beside her right eye.
“You’re welcome. Fine girls should not be crying.”
Temi smiled. She needed the compliment and the relief it brought. Edet was going to be nice company if he didn’t fall into her breasts again. She didn’t want to be alone. There were condemnatory thoughts waiting for her in her mind, a flood she kept at bay that was pulsing at the seams of her emotions. The littlest moment alone with herself would send her crumbling.
When Edet left the house, she went into loud music mode, playing a collection of party songs as she waited for the water she put over the cooker to come to a boil. She sang out loud too; she didn’t want to hear her inner voice.
Finally, the water began to bubble out and pour on the cooker. She took down the pot, poured the water into a bowl and got out the Ijebu garri she had set aside earlier. She kept her feet busy in a light dance as she set garri to the steaming water. But tears came to her eyes. They was no stopping them. She sang really loud now, louder than the thoughts condemning her, still they forced her into a choking sob. She stopped for a second and sniffed to pull herself together. Afterwards, the loud singing continued as she danced more.
Then out of nowhere, she felt it. The hot breath on the nape of her neck, the hands on her sides and the unmistakable feel of a boner on her bum.
Temi swiveled round in instant anger and landed the wooden stirrer in her hand on the head of her assaulter. Edet backed away with his hand on the spot he had been hit and hot water splashed into his face. It scalded him at first but cooled immediately.
“Are you mad?!” Temi screamed. The stirrer in her hand went up in the air again and was aiming at him when Edet stopped her hand and gave her a slap.
“Look at this useless human being! You poured me hot water!”
Temi recovered from the slap and lunged at him but he held her hands and pushed her towards the counter. She aimed a knee at his groin. He ducked with a lascivious laugh and pressed his body into hers. Temi squirmed helplessly. The more she moved, the more he forced himself on her.
“Stay one place and stop fighting me! I don’t want to hurt you.”
“Leave me alone, Edet!” Temi was livid but it came with no power. She was afraid; Edet’s firm grip gave her no means of escape. She screamed out and he stopped her mouth with a hand. She shivered. Instant fever tremors shook her as his other hand grabbed her breast. For the first time in her life, she wished she had long nails. Her fingers on his face were not giving her the result she wanted. Therefore, she used the only weapon she knew. She dug her teeth into his upper arm and bit down as hard as she could but he raised his hand and rammed his elbow into her face. She went weak, her knees buckled. The floor seemed to shake underneath her as gravity forced her down.
Is this how you’re going to be all your life?
The voice from within her was loud. It came to her ears above the sound of Kcee’s Limpopo coming from the sitting room.
They pull you down, you fall. They abuse you, you hide in a hole. They hit you, you’re down to the floor.
Edet had her in his arms again, not letting her fall.
“Edet, please let me go,” Temi stopped fighting and lowered her tone.
Don’t let him get away.
“Please, stop,” Temi begged. Edet wasn’t sure at first.
“Please. I promise I won’t tell anyone. Just let me go.”
“I didn’t want to hurt you.” He was breathing hard. “I just wanted to… I thought you and I could, you know… Your body, it does things to me.”
“Maybe we can but not now. Anyone can walk in.”
Edet nodded and moved away from her. Temi let out a relieving breath.
But Temi’s anger had been refueled by her inner person and she surged at him with renewed energy, picking the stirrer from the floor. This time she had him right on his forehead with three vicious blows. Next, she went for his nose, breaking it in one hit. She drew back with a heaving chest and watched him struggling with the stunning pain as blood flooded his face. She saw his eyes coming to rest on her in anger and she dashed out of the kitchen through the backdoor and ran all the way to the front gate.
“Aunty Temi, wetin dey happen?” the gateman asked but Temi stood, the stirrer still in her hand which was shaking non-stop.
The pedestrian gate opened and Ovie walked in. He stopped and gave Temi a once-over.
Temi, amidst her tears, narrated her encounter with Edet to Ovie who listened with a face that got incensed by the second.
“Is that all? Apart from slapping and touching you improperly, did he go any further?”
Ovie turned to the gateman. “Mallam, lock the gate. No allow Edet commot.”
The gatemen obeyed the instructions with no questions as Ovie drew Temi to sit on a bench by the fence. He got out his phone and dialed a number.
“Peter, show… Just come house abeg… Just come.”
He dialed the next.
“Uyi, abeg try come crib… Now… Ehn, me sef dey go for the wedding… Just come.”
He dialed the third.
“Murphy, abeg person need that your Buran Tashi… Carry am come for me now-now-now… Guy chill, I go pay you… Just carry am come.”
“OV, what are you doing?” Temi asked when he was through with the calls. “Why did you call all of them?”
Ovie handed his phone to her and walked towards the front door as soon as he saw Edet emerging from it. Edet spotted him, took a step backwards and dashed back inside. Ovie set his own feet into a spring and went for him. Seconds after, Edet appeared from the backyard and ran straight to the gate but he was met with a huge padlock. Knowing there was no way out for him, he turned around with his apartment in mind but Ovie caught up with him and threw him flat on his back through a punch. A second fist in his face thumped him out cold.
Temi watched from the window of her bedroom. Peter, Uyi and Murphy had arrived and they listened as Ovie recounted what she had told him. She didn’t really see why they were having a conference over the issue. It wasn’t after she listened in that she understood what was really going on.
Apparently, Edet had slept with Uyi’s ex. But that wasn’t all. Odun, Doctor Ahmed’s younger sister once reported that Edet had tried to sexually molest her at the backyard where they hung clothes. Edet got a slap on the wrist but the girl was sent back to her hometown. Finally, Ovie added that a few weeks before, a girl who had slept over after one of their Friday parties told him how Edet had been inappropriate with her at the party. Edet denied and said the girl was drunk and came on to him. There was nothing Ovie could do about the incidence.
While he was still recounting the story to them, Peter left where he stood and went to Edet who was now awake and was seated on the bench occupied by Temi earlier.
“You know say na my babe you touch?”
Edet gave him a demeaning stare.
“Forget everything wey happen for these past few weeks, forget say we be neighbors and you know my shit and I sabi your own, forget all the gbana wey we dey smoke steady. Forget everything. Guy,” he tapped Edet’s chest and had his hand pushed away, “Temi na my babe. Me, I no be Uyi. You no fit touch my babe go free.” Edet got off the bench and faced Temi’s window.
“Temi, you said I touched you inappropriately? How? I just tapped you and you turned around and poured hot water on me and broke my nose!”
Temi pulled the curtain shut. She looked around the mess that was her room. She needed to pack her things quickly. With what had happened to her, she didn’t need anyone to tell her that her time in that house was over.
“Temi, come out and tell the truth! Did I touch you?!”
Edet’s voice caused her to cringe. It now had a creepy effect on her. She commenced on packing her clothes and shoving them into her biggest box which was sprawled open on her bed. She shut her ears to the sound of blows coming from outside. Schooling in one of the roughest universities in the country gave her a firsthand experience of what the male specie could do to their kind when it came to thrashing. She packed hurriedly but was compelled to stop when she heard Edet screaming and begging in a terrified tone.
Temi turned to the window and pulled the curtain aside to peep. Edet was on his kness, his head sandwich between Peter’s long legs as Ovie poured the first drops of a liquid in a brown bottle down his throat. He struggled but Uyi held his head firmly as the liquid went down. They let him go afterwards and he got to his feet. He staggered a little in bloodstained clothes and eventually sat on the bench. Murphy poured a bucket of water over him and they gave him a short time to put himself together.
“Oya!” Peter tapped him and pulled him to his feet. “Commot your clothes.”
“Ah-ahn,” Temi butt in. “It’s enough na. Please, stop.”
“Commot you shirt and short knicker! You think say I dey play?!”
“Peter, please na. Forgive him.”
“Temi, close that curtain!” Uyi ordered.
“Uyi, please. Please, you guys stop.”
“Temi, close the curtain.”
“Okay Uyi, come. Please, come.”
Uyi frowned at her but she pleaded with her eyes. He left his friends and went to meet her in the house.
“See, let nothing happen to him because of me. Buran Tashi can kill him. Please, Uyi… Please, stop.”
“He’ll be fine. We didn’t give him much. Just two capfuls or so. He needs to learn a lesson. We want to teach him what it really means not to control a hard-on.”
“So you people will just leave him like that?”
“After we tie him to his bed.”
“Forget him. Are you okay?”
“Yes.” She listened to the sound of Edet being carried away and didn’t hear Uyi’s question.
She came back to him. “Ehn?”
“Where are you going? You’re packing.”
“I want to go and stay with my friend, Hafsa, until I can come up with enough money to help me get a new place. But I can’t stay here again, not with Edet in this same compound.”
Uyi remained by the door, staring at her. She wasn’t the same girl he had known. She was no longer the Temi he still couldn’t stop worrying about. It looked like someone had come and sapped the beauty and life out of her in one night. Her skin was lacking its fresh glow and rashes had broken out on her face. The hunch of her shoulder was back.
“You’re looking at me and you’re still judging me,” Temi said.
“I am not.”
“I slept with someone last night,” she confessed. Her hands squeezed a t-shirt in her hand. “A stranger. A married man. I don’t even remember his name. After everything, he paid me like I was some prostitute.”
She sat down and proceeded to pick invisible things from the smothered t-shirt in her hands.
“As a teenager, I could give anything for attention. Anything to have somebody have my time. There was a time I used to steal dollars and jewelry from my aunt’s room to give my friends in school just so that they’d accept me into their click. Other times, I took them foodstuff because I was a day student and they were boarders. When boys came into my life, I realized I didn’t need girls anymore; male company was more fun and free. The only problem was all the boys wanted me and I didn’t know how to handle it. Eventually I ended up dating the headboy and almost every afternoon after school before I went home, I had sex with him in the storeroom of our class. Sometimes he took me back to his room in the hostel. Sex gave me the love and attention I didn’t get from my family. My aunt was always away, so I really had no one in my life. In the university it was worse. I had a boyfriend who made me have threesomes with his friend and so many times I wanted to break out of the relationship but he was the only one who had my time. When I eventually left him, my life became worse…
“Uyi, I don’t want to be like this. I am not a ho. Please, believe me.” Temi’s body shuddered in tears. “I wish you could look inside me and see my heart. I am not what people think I am.”
“I don’t want you to go away again. Please, Uyi. I promise I won’t kiss you; I won’t be a threat to your relationship and I won’t see you if you don’t want to see me but please, tell me you’ll still be in my life. You’re the only one who never took advantage of me.”
“Temi, stop crying, abeg,” Uyi muttered but it seemed he opened a dam. Temi cried for a long time and he watched from the door. He longed to comfort her but he needed her to understand her anguish and source of her sorrow.
“Would you like to go for a wedding?” he asked. “Just to get your mind off your pain?”
Temi shook her head.
“I promised I was always going to be around for you. You’re my friend and there’s still good in you. That’s what I want to believe…”
Uyi paused as he heard Edet screaming somewhere in the compound.
“You need tough love. A different kind of love. You need to see yourself differently and I think I can help you. I’m not intimidated by your body and gone are the days I wanted to sleep with you. I’m in love with my girlfriend and I’m committed to sticking with her. But I will not let you go, Temi. My conscience will kill me if I do. So, will you follow me for the wedding and quit this mad nonsense about you going to disturb your friend in her matrimonial home?”
Temi looked at him.
“Edet is the one packing out tomorrow. This is your house; you’re not going anywhere. You can’t keep running. Now, get up, have a shower, fix yourself up and look good and confident like the Temi I know. Then you can choose who will be your plus one at the wedding. We’re all going.”
“I thought you alone got the invitation.”
“Ovie and Murphy want to win that Q10 but I can help you get it.”
Temi smiled and Uyi saw a hint of life in her cheeks.
Uyi peeped out. “Your boyfriend is coming.” His tone flattened to almost a whisper. “He’s going through hell. He’s about to leave to his village to spend the rest of his life there. Please stop him. HIV is not a death sentence. Talk to him.”
To be Continued…
The conclusion comes tomorrow. Don’t miss it!
Read previous episodes HERE
They say when two hearts are in love they beat as one. Or as the modern day writer would put it, ‘no one knew where his heartbeat stopped and hers began.’
That should be the case for Dami and Uyi – two lovers with their hearts pulsing for each other… but why should a lie be forged on these pages? How can one force upon the two lovers a physical bond that did not click in their souls? But sadly, there was one heart beating for the other the morning after. While Uyi went to sleep after feral and passionate lovemaking, Dami stayed awake, her eyes to the ceiling with a dreamy look in them. It seemed she had fallen in love on speedial. Uyi had to be the one. At first she had feared that he would get mad at her for lying about her virginity but he had laughed hilariously at himself for being too dumb not to have noticed he was entering uncharted territory. He called himself a fool and drew her into his arms. Then he made love to her again, asking permission to be gentler this time. Dami had said yes and couldn’t stop saying it as she experienced her first ever orgasm. In fact, had Uyi asked for her hand in marriage during the occasion, she would have replied with a resounding ‘yes!’ How could she say no to him when she had given him everything? After all the years of waiting, it seemed only fitting to love the first man that made her feel like a woman. To her, Uyi was king in her world and she absolutely belonged to him.
Therefore she lay in bed and thought of him without end, listening to soulful songs from her iPhone; and when she had fantasized enough, prompted by a long yawn, she visited the camera application on her phone. Using Uyi’s hand to cover her small, perky breasts, she posed beside him with a plain face but with eyes sparkling in love, and took a photo. In her euphoria, she uploaded the photo on Twitter with the caption: “finally THE ONE!” Her head hit Uyi’s chest not long after and succumbed to sleep but even before she would have her first wink, the Twitter world would begin to buzz about the latest development.
When Uyi woke up, the clouds were heavy and grey and his first thought was making it home before the rain started. Dami did not cross his mind. Not even as he slipped into his clothes and felt the stings of her fingernail scratchings on his back. His second thought was on whether he could find a bus to Wuse market from Area One that early. Dami only caught his attention when he turned to leave. She was smiling in her sleep and he thought she looked absolutely gorgeous in the nude. He wanted to kiss her goodbye but he remembered the night before and how she had been too insatiable for his liking. If he had not seen the blood on the sheets, nothing would have convinced him that she was a virgin before he went in. She was crazy and passionate and wild all at once and it was something he always wanted in a woman—one who could stir up the quiet waters in him—but something was not just clicking with her. During the time they were making love, when his body was one with hers, he had sought for what was missing, had searched her eyes to see if they reflected what he hoped to see, but he had found nothing. Yet he had not missed the look of absolute adoration and affection she had for him but he told himself it was just for the night. Such emotions were only ardent when a woman’s g-spot was under his spell. He had seen it too many times to take it too seriously. To him, Dami was just a statistic and like her kind usually did, she was going to forget about him soon. He saw himself playing the role of a dildo again like he had done so many times in the past. Dami would soon fall into the category of girls that just wanted sexual satisfaction from him but would stick to the more appropriate boyfriend—the one with the fine car, with the loaded pocket, the one who was husband material waiting on his knees with a diamond ring.
Uyi was yet to get there. In time…he told himself as he slipped into his clothes. So far he had closed his heart to any form of affection that was bound to come knocking at his door. It was that same resolution that had kept him from falling in love for a long time. No one was going to take away his freedom of using his heart wisely. Not even Dami who could give Agbani a run for her money.
He scribbled down a note to leave by Dami’s bedside but changed his mind; a phone call was more appropriate. He left the house very quietly and luckily found an early bus to take him home.
Doctor Mola had had a long night and it was telling on his shoulders. They both hurt like he had been carrying heavy stones on them. He yawned and prayed silently for his eyes to keep him awake till he got to his journey’s end in Kubwa. He hated the trips to Keffi and back but he needed the extra pay. Weddings these days were a do or die affair where the man did and died while the woman danced and smiled her way into his home. So far, Mola’s introduction and traditional wedding had eaten deep into his resources. Now he dreaded the almighty white wedding which was coming for him in two weeks. His fiancée, on the other hand, did not care. She wanted her wedding more glamorous and more expensive than her elder sister’s and had even suggested to Mola to start an abortion clinic in his house to meet up with the wedding requirements. He blatantly refused and threatened to dump her if she came up with the idea again. He prided in being a man of honor, of moral standing and of compassion. He loved God and believed all life, even in form of blood, came from heaven. It was therefore not his place to end anyone’s existence just because he could.
The atmosphere was now a tad cool with gloomy clouds covering the sky. Mola turned off his air conditioner and let down the car windows. Then he proceeded to turn up the volume of his Jim Reeves CD which was playing, and began to bop his head to it. He hadn’t gone quite a distance when he noticed he had passed something strange on the curb. He looked into the rearview mirror and sure enough, he had just driven past something on the untarred side of the road. Upon closer inspection as his car slowed, he noticed that the something was a someone. A female.
His eyes popped out widely and he stepped on his brakes. He looked around him. Had there been a car crash? If there was, where were the other people and vehicles that were involved in the crash? Why was she all alone? Why hadn’t anyone helped her?
Mola reversed his vehicle and stopped right beside the hapless creature lying on the curb and alighted quickly. The sight that met him was not a pleasant one. The girl was bruised in so many places and covered in her own blood. She seemed dead but without even checking Mola could see a vein pulsing beneath the skin of her neck. Nonetheless, he checked and confirmed that she was alive. He lifted her up gently, careful not to cause anymore harm to her, and laid her down in the backseat of his car. His shirt was already stained in her blood as he sat in the driver’s seat and drove away from the scene.
It had just begun to rain when Dike parked his car outside his gate. From the look of things, it was going to be a heavy downpour. Clutching the gift bag he had in his right hand, Dike ran in and up the stairs of his building. He dusted the soles of his trainers outside the door and on second thought completely removed the shoes when he pictured the frown he was going to see on Kachi’s face if he dared walk in with them. He tried the door handle but the door was locked. Knowing Kachi might not open from within if he rang the bell, he unlocked the door with his own key and walked into the house silently. He stood and took a deep breath. Having considered all that had transpired between both of them the night before, he felt he owed her an apology and maybe a bottle of her choice perfume. She couldn’t have been serious about a divorce. It was ironic how for a while he mused about being a bachelor again and having his freedom but having slept a whole night in a cold hotel room without the familiar warmth and smell of Kachi’s presence, he saw a bitter and lonely future awaiting him.
So he woke up early and considered his life and recent screw-ups. He had hurt the two women in his life and he desperately needed them to forgive him. If Temi wanted to keep the baby, he was going to be there for them both. If Kachi was okay with the arrangement and still wanted the marriage to work, he would contact a marriage counselor to work things out with her. But if she was not okay with the arrangement and still wanted out, she was free to go but either way, he would get her to an agreement table first. And what better access to her sense of reasoning than a simple apology and a timely gift.
He clutched the gift bag in his hand and walked with solemn steps towards the bedroom. He was surprised to find the house still in the state in which he last left it. Even the guestroom door was still thrown wide open the way he had left it after storming out of it and heading to the nearest hotel. The dining area was littered with Travis’ dinner which consisted of food catapulted from his spoon to different parts of the table and surrounding walls. The house was extremely quiet but that was Kachi’s way sometimes. She lived like a ghost when alone but the moment she had company, she became the life of the party. Dike pushed open the bedroom door and walked in slowly.
“Kach?” he called gently, his voice reading out practiced remorse. “Baby?” He moved towards the bathroom and nudged the door slightly, only to find it empty. It wasn’t after he was about to turn away that he noticed certain items missing. Her shower cap, her sponge, her towels which usually occupied every hook on the towel-hanger, her Bugs Bunny bathroom slippers—all were gone. Dike turned back to the bedroom and found the closet door wide open and Kachi’s side of it utterly empty. The dressing table was deserted as well. There was no single trace of her presence. Dike marched out to Travis room and found the same bareness and that was when it finally hit him that Kachi had made good her threat of leaving him. He began to boil in anger as he dialed her number. Her phone rang off the hook and he tried again but got the same response. He sent a quick SMS:
If you love yourself, come back to this house and bring my son along. Stop this madness. No one is divorcing anyone. This is for better and for worse!
He dumped the gift bag somewhere and went for the first bottle of alcohol he found in the house—an unopened bottle of McDowell’s Reserve Whiskey. He put it to his lips and took a long gulp before the ringing in his head stopped. He sat before the TV and put his legs on the table that stood in the center of the sitting room. He looked at his blinking phone, more messages were coming into his email box, notifications from totameavirgin.com. He hadn’t visited the site since the night before and he still didn’t feel like. Dami and whoever she decided to open her legs for were the least of his problems. In short, he contemplated turning the site over to one of those corper boys. So far he had succeeded in using a proxy server and no one had traced the site to him. But he was bored with the whole thing now. The novelty of wanting to ridicule Dami had worn off. Such was always the case with him. He got tired of things easily. Maybe too easily… Maybe he really was at fault in this whole Kachi and Temi business. Maybe someday he would fully admit that he could be held culpable for any pain he caused both women.
But until then, he had his pride to protect and a sexy beard to grow. He heard it was the rave these days. He scratched his chin and his unnecessary dimple appeared as he looked at Kachi smiling at him from a framed photo on the wall.
“You’ll come back, baby,” he said and drank his whiskey. “I know you will.”
The whole office had heard. Uyi was fired. Felix Enenche had not yelled in Idoma or a strange language when he commanded him to leave. It was no small matter the way he stood over Uyi’s desk and unleashed his anger. He vibrated so hard that his glasses fell off his face to the floor. But who could blame him? The news of Dami’s disvirgining had spread around the internet like wild fire, thanks to Dami’s uploaded photo on Twitter. She had put it up as early as 3am but before the sun came up, it was big news, with Felix getting wind of it through a reliable source. Fueled by instant anger, he drove to Dami’s place, praying to burst upon Uyi but he was met with Dami’s insolence at the front door. She didn’t deny the trending gossip but she didn’t say anything to affirm it either. Felix left the same way he came – with deep intent to put Uyi where he felt he really belonged and that was as far away from his young cousin as possible.
“It would be best for you if you just found your way back to Edo State because as far as I am concerned, you will never serve in Abuja again! And if I can help it, never again in Nigeria!”
Those were Felix’s final words to Uyi that morning. After that, he marched back to his office, carrying his storm with him. There was absolute silence following the drama Uyi’s colleagues just witnessed between both men. Uyi had not uttered more than five words but somehow his silence had spoken volumes to Felix. He had offered no apologies nor shown any sign of remorse in his stare back into the older man’s eyes. And something transpired in that crowded office that only both of them were aware of. Felix knew he was fighting a lost battle but he stood his ground firmly, even though it gave him no pleasure to see Uyi without a job. One way or another, he thought, the boy would bounce back; but that had to be when he was a million miles away from Damaris.
“I’m sorry about what happened, Uyi.”
“Yeah, sorry. It’s so unfair.”
“Your personal relationship has nothing to do with your work relationship na. What is Mr. Enenche’s own?”
Uyi smiled absentmindedly at the kind words coming from the beautiful girls of the customer relations department where Dami was manager. They had been the first at his desk, even before the nerds that shared the same office with him.
“But you’re a corper nau, government pikin. You can still serve anywhere.”
“Must you serve sef? It’s not like it guarantees a job at the end of the day. Just gaan start business.”
“Abi oh. Ya too smart to be doing all this office madness. If it was me…”
The voices speaking to Uyi faded away as he stared at Temi’s desk. She still hadn’t shown up at work and her phone was still switched off. He worried that something was wrong with her.
“Uyi?” a gentle stroking of his upper arm jarred him back into the office.
“Yeah?” he blinked at the girl whose hand was on his.
“Take it easy sha. If you need a job, call me. I have connections.” She winked and began to walk away, deliberately shaking her backside at him. The other girls also left but with less flair and he sat down on his chair and began to pack what little he possessed. Some of his colleagues had a few sympathetic words to say but the rest clung to their computer screens like they always did. Uyi often imagined what they would do in the face of a coming hurricane. Would they be glued to their desks, typing away at their keyboards while the flood carried them?
He shoved his belongings into his laptop bag and stood from his chair. As he exited the office, he dialed Dami; she answered and begged him over to her place.
Dami’s house was as loud as a party. The music coming from it drowned the sound of the torrential rain that Uyi was escaping from outside. As he neared the front door which he saw thrown wide open, he imagined the sitting room full of Dami’s jobless friends. But he walked in and found Dami alone, dancing to Neyo’s Let Me Love You with a body that was created to move to any beat. She grinned when she saw him but she didn’t stop. She invited him over. He hesitated but she walked to him and drew him in. He wanted to be a spectator and he told her as much, shouting above the loud speakers to be heard. She shook her head and asked him to dance along, teaching him a few moves. Uyi laughed, saying he had two left feet but she shoved her hand down his jeans and her tongue through his lips. Immediately being fueled by her and because he had the brain of a genius, he tried the steps she showed him and got them correctly. And though he didn’t bust the moves like she did, he eased into a rhythm with her effortlessly.
As they danced away, Uyi forgot that he was out of work, Dami forgot the reason why she had called him over and without helping the strong chemistry between them both, they ended up making love on one of the couches with Neyo’s song on repeat. It wasn’t until after Dami had stopped screaming out Uyi’s name in pure orgasmic pleasure that they heard a car stop at her driveway. Uyi sprang up first and peered through the open door to see a man get out from behind the wheels of a luxury car. He looked casual and cheaply dressed and a little too old to be running round the car the way he did with an umbrella. But he got to the passenger back door and pulled it open for someone else and Uyi strained his neck to see who it was.
“Oh, yeah, I forgot. My dad just got in from the States and insisted on coming here,” Dami said casually.
Uyi shot wide, terrified eyes at her. “And you invited me over and we…?”
“I thought he wouldn’t come because of the rain…”
“And you invited me?!”
“Just wear your clothes.” Dami threw Uyi’s boxers, t-shirt and jeans to him as he was already bolting out of the sitting room. She languidly walked to the CD player and turned down the volume considerably before picking her dress off the floor. A shadow was cast in at her front door and she turned to look at it. Her sixty-two year old father stood there, a walking stick in his hand and a void look on his face.
“You just had to come even when I said no,” Dami said coldly, wearing her dress.
“Hold your horses, angel. I’m not here for you. Is he here?” Chief Justice Anyebe Alechenu walked in with a slight limp as his eyes scanned the sitting room observantly.
“Who are you talking about?” Dami asked.
“Where is the foolish dog that thought it smart to play with the cub while the lion was away?”
Dami rolled her eyes. The man was always full of needless proverbs.
“I don’t have a dog.”
“Oh yes, you do. And you’re sleeping with it. That’s your underwear there as proof.” He pointed his walking stick at Dami’s g-string lying on the floor beside her. “And don’t forget the condom wrap too,” he added and Dami frowned sourly, bringing her wide lips to a full pout.
The old man made sure he sat on a single chair near the door, away from the lovemaking zone. “Angel, go get me a nice glass of that lovely iced tea you always make, will you? And also come along with him. I’d like to say a few words before I ruin him.”
Dami’s eyes clouded in tears rapidly as she fixed her father a loathsome stare.
“Why won’t you leave me alone?” she mumbled beneath her breath but he smiled, his old eyes twinkling like hers. “I so hate you!” she added.
He laughed lightly. “Well, not as much as he’s going to hate me, angel.”