Lost and Found (VIII)

Hello family! I apologize for missing out on last Monday’s post. I was trying to get my feet into the new year while retaining my balance at the same time. It took some effort and I lost track of time. I hope the year has been looking good for you? Now, let’s get to the post of the day. Don’t forget to leave your kind feedback.

Love always,

Me.

*

“Maybe it’s not about having a beautiful day, but about finding beautiful moments. Maybe a whole day is just too much to ask.”

-Anna White

Miss Solaye Ayodele, is it? He asks, his voice sounding as uninteresting as he looks.

Yes sir.

Good to meet you, have a seat please.

Thank you sir.

So tell me about yourself?

I am a graduate of accounting from…

I see that in your resume, tell me something that’s not in it.

Err… I weigh 57kg.

Is this a joke?

What, no? I actually weigh 57k…

The job, is it a joke?

No. Oh God, no.

Good. So come back when you are ready.

But—

Have a good day Miss.

That’s when you wake up to the sound of the morning crow. It is a dream; a bloody dream, yet you shiver. The initial plan before the dream, had been to go to Mr Tunji’s office after your CDS programme, but now, you are not sure if you will be doing that, or if you should. So for each step that you take from your bed post to the kitchenette to perform your morning water-drinking ritual, you chant “go”, “don’t go”, “go”, “don’t go”, “go”, “don’t go”…

By the time you reach the kitchenette, your right foot marks the end of your journey, and the Universe says “go”. You breathe a sigh of relief and set about preparing for the day.

*

When you bump into Tolu during CDS, just after all PET members assemble to sign the attendance sheet, your heart skips a beat. Since the date night, you had neither been able to see nor speak with him. A part of you wants to ignore him, and in fact, you almost do—until he smiles. He has the nerve to smile at you?!

“You owe me an explanation Tolu” you say to arrest his attention before your voice leaves you completely.

“H-hey Girl! Goodness, it’s been a while. Good to see you again.”

Really? Good to see you again?!

“I will not exhaust my energy playing it cool with you boy.” You start, again, more pumped with energy than before “It’s not good to see you again, and I know you wish you had not bumped into me today too, but well, life is a bitch! So! Here is what we will do… we will suck our detest for each other up, and converse like adults for some five minutes, and we will be fine. We will forget we ever met, or had that dinner date, or kissed goodbye and then fumbled at playing strangers. All I want to know is why you ghosted on me.”

“I—See—I am sorry, okay? I have just been busy.”

You smile, a smile so questioning it almost hurt. “Busy? I don’t have anything against you not picking my calls or returning them. Obviously, it was on purpose; and it’s fine, because you decide who you talk to and who you stay away from. I just want to know. Because after that night, there were days when I sat questioning myself; days when I wondered if there was something wrong with me, you know? You pursued me for so fucking long, disturbed half the town to get my number, and just when I decide to give in—when I decide to stop being afraid that you have been lying to me all the while, you bolt. What if I had had sex with you?”

“Grace, calm down okay? I am sorry you felt that way, sorry I made you feel that way. You are a wonderful person and I somehow realized that you deserve more than anything I can ever have to offer you. It’s not you, it’s me.”

The line, that cliché over-used-over-sized-shut-me-up line, steal words from your mouth.

You stand, regarding him in silence for a few seconds, unsure of what else to say; uncertain if there is even any need to say more. You conclude that all that has to be said has been said. So you leave. You don’t say goodbye. He doesn’t deserve it.

*

The interview, surprisingly, went exceptionally well—or so you think; at least, instead of the usual “we will get back to you shortly”, his final parting words had been “I have had an excellent time chatting with you lady. Make sure to call me as soon as you are done with service, just before you travel, is that okay?” What could be better?! Although a part of you feels your success had a lot more to do with Gbenga’s referral than your own wit and smart mouth; you are pleased with yourself nonetheless.

Once you reach home, you switch on your phone to call Gbenga and thank him again for the opportunity. The number of messages that stream in, in quick successions, almost overwhelm you. Most are from your sister. You had completely forgotten that you had both been talking about something before you switched off your phone two nights ago. So, you call her first. It rings through the first time, but she disconnects the call. You try a second time—

“It’s selfish of you to just go off like that whenever you feel like it”, she says in response to your “hello”.

“I am sorry”, you reply, knowing she has every right to be mad at you.

“Are you? Really? That’s what you say every time Grace but sorry doesn’t always fix things. In fact, it doesn’t fix shit. I am sure that’s what you told Gbenga the other day—”

“You know what Temi? I will talk to you when you get over whatever it is that’s eating you out. I honestly can’t do this now. Call me when you are fine.” That’s what you want to say, but what you say instead is “I am sorry sister Temi” because you are a Yoruba girl, because you are an African, because where you come from you are allowed to be mad but not allowed to show it—even when you are not the only one who has done something wrong, especially when the other person who has inflicted hurt on you, or at least attempted to do so, is older than you. She honestly had no right to bring Gbenga into this.

“Mummy wants to talk to you.” She says.

That comes to you as a surprise. You had not expected your mother to have visited your sister on a Wednesday afternoon. Or your sister to have visited your mother out of the blues. Plus you are terrified. Does your mother know already? But you say “okay”, followed by “good afternoon mummy” as soon as you perceive the exchange of the mobile phone from one hand to the other.

“What is good about the afternoon?” comes her response; sharp, injurious to your eardrums, African. You imagine that if you had been in her presence, that question would have been conferred with a smack across your face. You are thankful for barriers.

“Ma? Sorry I haven’t been in touch ma. I have been busy, and not feeling quite well too—“

“Why will you not “have been busy and not feeling quite well too”? When all you now spend your time on is boys.”

Wait, what?! Boys? You know it’s your land-lady who has called your mother but you say “I don’t understand ma.”

“You cannot understand and you will not understand. Asiri e ti tu si mi lowo bayii. Today it’s a black boy that visits, tomorrow, it’s a fair one, shebi? Sha don’t bring any nonsense disease into this house o, and don’t bring shameless pregnancy like your sister here, if you don’t want me to disown you. God will help you, and your husband will not bring gifts to the house after the first night together because he did not meet you a virgin, wa so pe oo mo mi ri. I cannot have you children behaving unruly as though you do not have upright parents to emulate! What the hell is wrong with you?”

You are red with rage, and thick sick.

You want to say “—but it’s only two men that have ever visited.” You want to say “—and I have never had sex with any of them, even though I almost did, once.” You want to say “what’s the point anyway? What’s the point of being a good girl, playing it safe, and keeping the hymen safe until you meet Mr Right? How has it helped you, if after all of your good-girlness, your husband doesn’t respect you enough to keep his shit together? If your husband can stoop so low to do it with the maid.” You want to ask “how did you end up so unlucky after doing all the right things” but you say nothing.

“I hear your POP is on the 28th.” She continues after a brief pause, “I have booked a ticket for your return on the 29th. See you then. Odabo.

You hand feels like rubber, limp, as you attempt to put the phone down. It must have been all that energy radiating from mama’s voice that got you exhausted. Now, you just want to lie in bed and close your eyes until sleep finds you.

But what finds you is worse—or maybe it is you that found it.

Because staying still in bed proved more hectic and unachievable than you imagined as snippets of that once you almost had sex with Gbenga flooded your mind and left you thirsty with want, you picked up your phone to call Gbenga. You wanted to call Sam. You wanted to think about Sam touching your body and lighting your nerves on fire, but it was Gbenga that came to mind, because Sam has never attempted to kiss you, much less touch you such that his hands linger and leave an etch, a memory—and for someone who can live with a Friends With Benefit relationship, you wondered why it had never crossed his mind.

So, you called Gbenga. But his phone rang endlessly, and as the rings stretched on, so did your wanting and worry and uncertainty and anger. Restless, you logged back into FaceBook, after so long, and attempted to stalk him. You had blocked him before, two years ago, after the break-up because you didn’t want to remember him or be remembered by him. But there was hardly a need for that anymore. You wanted to know how he felt about what transpired between you both the last time you saw, maybe he would have ranted about it (although it is very unlikely that he would), maybe he would have left a hint. His page, however, left nothing recent to commit to memory, or anything to massage your emotional turbulence, as his last post was dated two months ago and it was a tag to a football game; but just before you closed the webpage, you saw something that stayed with you. His relationship status showed that he is married, and his engagement day cover photo, and the gorgeous child on his profile picture bore witness to the new revelation that now sting the back of your eyelids.

As you sit back in bed, deciding which emotion to feel, you wonder when he was going to tell you about it, if he was going to tell you about it.

*

© The Short Black Girl, 2018.

 

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2 thoughts on “Lost and Found (VIII)

  1. You don’t say!!! Why is Gbenga like this and why does Grace have to crush herself this much to understand what she truly wants?
    This sincerely has left a bitter taste in my mouth.
    Thank you for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

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