Secrets of a Virgin Girl (7).

See here for previous episode.

**

Hola fam! This is another long episode, but the last of the series, SOVG. Thank you again for all the feedback. You are amazing! I say we do this again, sometime soon. What say you?  😍😘😉😊

_____

Relapse

It is Sunday—the weekend after, and you toss lazily in bed, snippets of last night slipping into your head. You and Sogo had gone to have dinner at your parent’s as discussed last week. He had arrived at your house something around 4:00pm yesterday and you had both driven down to your parents Magodo apartment in time for dinner. Mama and Papa had received you both warmly. Papa had seemed thoroughly charmed, as he engaged Sogo in a variety of discussions of interest—his major preferences being Politics and the state of the Nigerian Economy. Sogo’s responses, you reckoned, had been well thought-out, bold and independent—of Social media retorts and comments; and in fact pleasing to Papa, as you noticed the glint of approval in his eyes. Mama, on the other hand, appeared a little undecided, maybe less so than when she first set eyes on him that evening; but undecided, nonetheless.

She had asked questions, which you considered too intimidating and embarrassing for a first meeting; and had time not been so short, she would have gone on indefinitely. “What do you want with our daughter?” “Do you feel intimidated by her success?” “Do you know she is a virgin?” The way Sogo had confidently answered her, though, did so much to put your mind at ease. By the end of the meeting, Papa’s warm handshake as he bid you both goodbye, assured you that Sogo had won Papa’s love. The impish smile on mama’s lips however, did not give away too much; but the way she had held your gaze assured you that you would hear from her soon. You had held her gaze with matching strength too, in a way that said you would be ready whenever she struck!

Her call comes in around 8:00am, steering you from your reminiscence. You were not expecting her call this early but you pick it nonetheless.

“Good morning ma” you address her, your voice thick with rebellion.

“Morning Lara. How are you today?”

“Fine ma” you respond impatiently. You wish she would just get to the point already and not try to soften you up.

“See, I know you are angry that I asked your friend so many questions yesterday, but that is what any good mother would do. I must know what my daughter is getting into, and assure myself that she has not let love blind her judgement of her man’s character, worth and capability. And I must say, he is one fine gentleman.”

Surprise steals over your face, as her kind words ebb at the remnants of rage that seat in the pit of your heart, effortlessly. You smile. “I know ma. Thank you ma.”

“In fact—“ she continues, “—your dad and I called Daddy-in-the-Lord yesterday night to inform him that his god daughter will be getting married. He was very excited, until he called this morning to tell us that he prayed about it and you cannot marry him.”

Your rage returns. Daddy-in-the-Lord is your godfather, a spiritual and very inspiring man whom you respect and revere so much. Your family has always consulted him every time there is a big decision to be made, and his suggestions and predictions have always proved right; although now that you think of it, no one has actually ever dared to prove him wrong.

“It is frightening enough that he is Muslim and from a Polygamous family—“ mama continues, undeterred by your silence, “—but if those were the only considerations we had to make, the decision would have been an easy one. Omolara, this is bigger than us. Daddy says you must cease all relations with him immediately, and that if you choose to proceed, the consequences are grave for your future as a family together.”

You are speechless now.

“See Lara, I know you love him. In fact, yesterday, it was so obvious that you both care for each other but there is too much at stake. All I want is your happiness, because automatically, it becomes my own happiness. And your father, and Daddy want the same for you too. We know you’ll be needing a lot of time to take this in, and get over him; but I want you to know that we care for you and we are here for you, and in God’s time, your miracle will come.”

You still do not say a word. Tears are brewing in your eyes now; and soon, they start to fall mercilessly. You let them. You do not believe in miracles anymore.

“Hello? Are you there?—Lara?—Lara?” You do not answer. “MTN sha! They have started again this morning! Lara?— ”

“Maybe you have exhausted your call time.” You hear papa’s suggesting voice underneath.

“Lara?” mama calls out to you one last time before cutting the call. Immediately, you switch your phone off and resume your tears in full gear. Why?! Why has love never worked out for you? It has either been that the ones you liked did not like you back, or you did not like the ones that liked you. Yet, the first time you eventually meet someone who cares for you as much as you care for him, you are told you cannot marry him. You wish now that you were in a movie, so that you could just put a daunting soundtrack like Simi’s Love don’t care or Chidima’s All I want is you to your life as you diss mama and tell her you will marry the love of your life whether she or anyone else likes it or not. But life, reality—is a little more complicated than all of that.

You love each other, but is love really worth sabotaging your future for? Would it not be selfish of love to ask you to pick short-term happiness over long-term sustenance and fulfillment? But then again, what is a fulfilling life without genuine love? You are confused and angry! Why? Why did God make you meet him? Why did He make you fall in love? Why did He put that sign in your way on that Sunday morning when you asked for His direction? More questions and no answer, and your rage intensifies. You force yourself to sleep now to douse your heart’s heat, hoping that maybe you will wake up to realize everything is a dream; no love, no heartbreak.

You wake up an hour and thirty minutes later to the reality of your woe, when the smell of something tangy fills your nostrils. You head out, puffy eyed to find Sogo in your kitchen, fixing breakfast.

“Good morning Sunshine!” he coos upon seeing you.

You break inside as it hits you that, perhaps, that is the last time you will hear that voice and see that smile. “Good morning–” you manage a smile “—I think we need to talk.” You continue, wasting no time.

You catch something that looks like fear pull his eyebrows together in a brilliant squeeze, but you do not let that deter you; as you recount the gist of the discussion you had with mama to him before you change your mind. Once you are done, for emphasis sake, you add, “We cannot continue seeing each other, Olorunsogo. And I am sure you understand that I am doing this for us.”

“So… so that’s it?” he questions, his voice spiralling higher and higher by the second “that’s—that’s it, right? After six months of love, courtship and friendship, you want to break up just like that, and you do not even care what I think or feel? You think I have not thought about our vast differences severally? You think I have not had people tell me to give us a rethink?  I have… but I have not been so quick to dismiss what we’ve come so long to build; something you obviously do not appreciate the gravity of!”

You are angry and surprised. Angry that he thinks it was an easy decision for you to make; surprised that he would speak to you in that manner, lashing words at you like a weapon. But you have not got time for words. You have not got the time or energy to explain to him how you wish he had never been a part of your life to start with, so you would not be in the dilemma of whether to rescue the moment or save a very uncertain future from some foretold danger. “Thank you for making breakfast. I would appreciate it if you leave as soon as possible. You do not have to tell me when you are going. I am sorry, and thank you.” You walk away from him now, but he pulls you back into a defeating kiss. You break down again, as you melt in his arms; renting apart in a fresh round of tears. He hugs you tightly, like he has never done before; like he will never do again.

“Omolara, you are a believer. Where is your faith at a time that we need it most? Why are you proposing a break up, rather than a prayer battle?”

Faith? Fighting? You wish he had not said a word so that maybe you could have stayed in his arms longer. You pull away now with resolute purpose, as you say your final words to him before leaving for your room “Goodbye Olorunsogo Martins. I hope you have a good life.” He does not try to stop you now. Even if he did, it would make no difference; because your mind is made up. In less than thirty minutes, you hear the loud bang of your front door, the sound of a vehicle being kicked into ignition, and the screeching sound of angry tyres or perhaps an angry driver.

And then, it dawns on you– he is going; he is gone. Your best friend, your first love. You remember the hope in his eyes, and how he had wished you would not end things so quickly. You remember the last kiss, and how you had wished it would go on for eternity. You soak up in tears. You miss him already. You feel like love has failed you; and maybe it has—or maybe it has not. Maybe you failed love. Maybe you should have fought.

“Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation”

– Khalil Gibran

**

© The Short Black Girl, 2016.

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The Apocalypse: Of Cues and Cliffhangers.

I have been trying, effectively to no avail, all day to put into succinct words what Sally did to me, what she gave, and what she took. A part of me thinks, ‘oh, what easy pizzy! She hurt you, she gave you hopes and robbed you of love!’. The other half, the more settled and analytical one, thinks ‘well, what she did? She met you halfway. It was mutual consent. You liked her, apparently; whether she liked you back or not, no one knows, and it doesn’t concern this process of thought. What she gave? Oh, lots of what you gave. Maybe even more? Love, Care, Phone calls, Check-ups, Company. It was a perfect mirror- match. She effectively, gave you you. What she took? She took just as much as you gave. Simple. What was the problem again?’

It’s a ruthless process. Tiring, exhausting, exasperating– sitting here, in my old leather couch- her favourite position in my crib- holding a bottle of Star Beer in one hand, the remote to the TV in the other, my eyes on the screen, almost un-moving, and my thoughts in over-drive hosting a warring party between my halves. Time and time again. Every damning second since she pulled that stunt and ceased to be a part of my life. It’s the only other way to function.

Where exactly did I go wrong? When did what change? Or was I just never looking?

We work in the same office. She in the Accounting Department, I in the IT Department. It’s a small company. Everyone talks to everyone. I drop her at her home after work hours, alongside some other colleagues, so it was quite natural when I asked for her number that Thursday Night and had her call it out to me without the slightest hesitation. I would call her every now and then, especially weekends at first, just to ‘check’. Soon, we exchanged BlackBerry Pins, and got chatting on occasions; especially during boring office hours. Sometimes, we would have lunch together at the office cafeteria and just pretty much goof around. Soon-er, I offered to pick her at hers because it was close to mine, and we started to drive off to work together. I wouldn’t have got this far without her seeming support. Sometimes, when I thought per chance I was becoming too familiar, and maybe invading into her private life, her chat would drop in like a shattering ice-breaker–

“Hey Hey!”

Two words. And I am done in. And we would continue to chat, like we never even stopped talking at some point. It was always seamless. There was always something to talk about. She talked about herself and family a lot, and I did about mine too. We would talk about work– Presentations, deadlines, projects… we had each others back, the most we could. Classic Partners in Crime.

I would say something like “Woman! Have you seen Janets new hairstyle? One in town! Hehe!”

She would reply “Fine abi? You better snap it! So that you can give Iyawo inspiration when she runs out of ways to impress you. *tongue out*”

And I would say “Shebi you are the Iyawo now? If you want me to snap it for you, I will. Anything for you baby. *kisses*”

She would say “*rotflmao* Yeye! Get back to work jare! Laters baby.”

I would say, tempted to jab her in the nerves, one last time “I am sure you didn’t just *rotflyao*, Typical liar-liar Nigerian! Laters darling.”

I thought it was obvious, my hints. And I thought it was obvious, her cues; her sheer act of not speaking or acting up against my idea of wanting her as “Iyawo”. Or did I miss something?

I fail to tell you that quickly, we had become the next big gist in the Office Arena. Everyone constantly teased and called us lovers. She never, for once, denied it. Instead, she met every one such situation with a charming smile, or even best, a full blown cheery laughter which saw her throw her head back in that way I have always admired. That. And many other small big things had been enough to fuel my desire to have her as more than a friend. More than a buddy. More than a partner in crime. Or a visiting girl-friend. I wanted her as a soulmate, a partner-in-being, a lover– and so, today, being Valentines; I organised a somewhat elaborate affair. Something in the guise of the typical romantic setting Nigerian girls now obsessively dream about– I had a heart-shaped cake delivered to her cubicle, alongside a lone rose flower and a small simple clear and short note–

“Be mine!”

Maybe it was the “exclamation mark”, or the seeming “authoritativeness” of those driven yet innocuous words or the lack of a well scripted love letter, or a well versed poem… I don’t know what. Riddle me, because I am still terribly lost! All I know, and can fully conceive at this point of my thought process is that she marched into my office some smart ten minutes upon my wait for that defining moment (which my buddies and I had debated upon to be one of either a smashing kiss or a walloping hug and slight bite of my ear lobes as she whispered “why did it take you so long?”), returned the gifts and with the guise of a mother gently telling little Junior he couldn’t have candy for lunch, told me “I am sorry, but no.”

Apocalypse!

I cant describe how I felt, or even worse, how I feel now thinking about it on my third bottle of beer this night. Maybe I can sleep over it and wake up with a clear understanding of everything, or maybe a full-blown headache… because right now, I feel like another helping of beer. My phone beeps.

I head into the kitchen and back into my initial sitting position before checking who the intruder is. You guessed right. Sally! I am just as curious as you to know what she sent…

“Hey. About today…”

About Today? I am like What the bloody fuck about it!

**

Roftlmao- Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Ass Out

Rotflyao- Roll On The Floor Laughing Your Ass Out

Iyawo- Wife

____

© The Short Black Girl, 2016.

A beautiful place.

soulmates

Here’s a collaboration between myself and a friend. I saw those words “I am so riddled with injuries” on his pm and I made him do this poem with me. It’s his first try at poetry, and I think this is not at all a bad start. Thanks Endaud for the inspiration, and for working with me on this!

**

I am riddled with injuries
Blood. hurt. murk. funk.
A ragged heart, a punctured soul
Sore. raw. burnt. cut.
But I watch you want me
Prick me with your holy sin
Turn me inside out,
And bare me in your luscious mind
You take me in your cold arms
Cast me into fullness and ripe,
But nothing’s changed
Thrust. Pain. Pleasure. Pain.
Red.
Everything. Is. Coloured. In. Red.
Blood. hurt. murk. funk.
You are no different
From the ones that left.

___

I am riddled with injuries,
Clots, rot, and a haunting glow,
Scars, healing — winter, snow
Save a place for the one that knows.
Harrowed & hollow
Drowning in sorrow
But I come alive in your presence
Anew, in your shadow
For we been down the same haunted road
Coloured in misery, forges & bellows
Wrought in this rainbow darkness–
Beyond the blood,
Hurt, murk, and funk
I’ll show you a vision of solace and haunting tranquility
Kindred souls, you and me
To the bottom of this diamond sea we’ll float
To a beautiful place that is apathy.

**

© The Short Black Girl, 2015.

The Hurt and The Healer.

the hurt and the healer

It was well past 11:00pm that Saturday in March. I sat cross legged on the thin carpet that graced the floor of Omawumi’s room, fumbling with the keypads on my BlackBerry phone as I willed the red notification light to come on before I lost my cool. I had been in that position on the floor, curled up in fury with my knees to my chin at other times, for the past one hour since Bosun’s message came on unexpectedly earlier that evening. We had agreed that we would give ourselves space to heal, that we wouldn’t be in touch until forever, maybe. And I really had been trying. I had been trying so hard to put him out my mind, to bury my own grief and move on with life, and without the flimsiest of thoughts, he shattered the armour I had struggled to build all that time. I had taken a good one hour to reply, re- reading the message every one second with tear- filled eyes wondering why he thought to shatter my quiet at this time, and the most I could manage to send to him was a flimsy ‘WHY?’ which sadly, was the only word that could perfectly convey my deepest hurts to him at that moment.

Earlier that year, January to be precise, Bosun and I part ways. We had been having a lot of quarrels through the past years christmas and the only sane thing to do on the First of January was to go our separate ways and start the year on a new note. It was hard because we had become so used to each other, but I couldn’t stand a liar for any reason, and he couldn’t stand my volatile emotional outbursts any longer.

His exact words had been something like this, very fresh in my memory even now. ‘Stop being so fucking emotional all the time.’

Words hurt. They hurt even more when remembered.

I was surprised he could say that to me because tears overtook my composure while I was condemning his cheap lie of an excuse on why he missed my mum’s birthday, even though she had asked that we all be there. It was stupid and childish of him to have put our flimsy fight over my mum’s happiness. And that wasn’t his first time. That night, I had had enough. I walked out on him without looking back. The issues could remain unresolved for all I cared, because I was certain I would do my utmost to never cross paths with him ever again. And I was really trying, before the asshole sent in a text that night. Damn, he could have called, so that I would fight every nerve in my being to ignore it or ask Omawumi to lambaste him for me because she had been hoping to get a chance since that January, but he chose to send in a text. And not just a text, he had chosen those words perfectly and mashed my heart back to a pulp, somewhere below where I even picked up from that night on January First.

Omawumi walked in on my shattered state, and rushed to me, awestruck.

‘Kiloshe e?’

I sat still in silence, ignoring her company and staring hard at my phone, still waiting for the red light to come on. She grabbed the phone from me and started reading the message out loud.

Some writer Paulo Coehlo wrote in one of his books “if it happens twice, it will happen a third time” and so here I am thinking that might just be the ‘rightest’ thing I ever read.

It’s been a while. Days actually, that feel like forever. I guess this is one of those strange things that happen to and with people. You find someone you fit almost perfectly with but life finds some way of happening.

I miss you. I know I was stupid, wrong and insensitive to have made you feel that way that day and not apologise or try to make amends, and I am sorry. I swear that I am. I miss your friendship. It’s our birth month once again, and i’m careful not to overthink how to celebrate this year’s birthday alone, seeing as we celebrated together for the past four years. So I have decided to take this time out to rant, maybe truthfully for the very first time since that day.

I was wrong. I am sorry. Mum is more important than all of that shit that must have come between us, and I was such an asshole to have not realised that. I know I make mistakes, I know this is not the first time but I love you. Damn my heart, but I do. I can’t imagine living without you for longer than this. These past days been hell.

Please forgive me, and let’s get back with the Magic that used to be us.”

‘Is this it eh? Is this the reason why you’re crying like a one year old? I thought you said it was over between you and that retard?!… answer me na ‘Mobola!’

I was too angry, sad, and confused to answer her.

‘I should even call the nonentity now and give him the piece of my mind I been saving all these days for your silly sake.’ She threw my phone at me and made to stand up. Before she could, I pulled her back to the ground.

‘What na? Let me tell that fool off. He dissed your family, not once, not twice and…’

‘Oma, I still love him.’

‘What?! After that Abuja incident and what happened last year?’

‘Damn my heart, but I do.’

‘Yes you had better damn that heart because I will not let you hurt over him a third time!’

Just as soon as she stood up to make that call, my phone rang. And before she could turn back to stall the call, I picked it.

‘Hello!…’ it was him.

_

Kiloshe e- what happened to you?

**

© The Short Black Girl, 2015.

Rebound (2)

The next days did little more to help my plight. I needed to bare my thoughts to someone, but who? Who would understand? The only person I ever felt so free to discuss things with was Mensah, and now that he was the center of this turmoil, he was the last person I wanted to talk to about it. And I felt even worse that Bello had been left out of the true picture from the very beginning. He never knew about Mensah or my feelings for him. I just thought being with him would erase what I felt for Mensah because they were almost unfounded. For the love of God, I thought there was the saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’.. And there’s the one that says ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ my head responded. I was crying now. I was confused. My phone had rung like a dozen times but I refused to pick it up because I was sure it was Bello and I wasn’t sure I wanted to speak with him just yet either. When the sound wouldn’t let me rest as the caller seemed irritatingly persistent, I grabbed the phone with all the anger in me and picked the call ready to unleash my anger on Bello for not giving me space to be but then his voice came through before I got the chance to speak.

‘Finally she answers my call’ it was Mensah. Words stuck in my throat. ‘Hey, are you there?’ He called out again. I burst into even more tears as I disconnected the call and switched my phone off. An hour later, there was a knock on my door. It stirred me from my sleep. I waited it out but it wouldn’t stop. I dragged my lazy self from the bed, carrying my heavy head in my hand as I made to the door. It was Mensah. The anger returned. I opened the door to unleash it on him since he insisted he wanted a piece of it. I couldn’t run away from my problems any longer, maybe it was time to face them.

‘He..’

I held my hand up to hush him. ‘What do you want from me? I won’t reply your chats, and won’t return your calls, should that not be enough clue that I don’t want to have anything to do with you anymore? I spent months falling for you thinking you felt same way about me, but you never made a move or hinted at your love for me.. And then I told you I had met someone and you went on dancing like a mad man whose body had been set on fire, still no clue.. Some days after, you then start on and on about how you think you love me and can’t get me out of your head, when I’ve decided to move on with my life. What kind of game is that? Now, you’re back from the UK and you are all over me again? Don’t you get it? I can’t breathe with you all over my face like this? And ‘m getting married to the love of my life soon, so you had better get on with your life too.’

Now I paused. His face was calm, too calm it made my face flush. He is just a cute bastard, I thought! I marched back into my house and slammed the door in his face. I went into my room and resumed my tears. These days will pass I told myself as I willed myself to just breathe.

In..

Out..

In..

Out..

The knock came again. After a while, I calmed myself and went to see who it was. It was still Mensah. And that was when I opened the door to let him in.

**

Finally, I summoned up some courage and pulled him into the house to have a seat. I went to the kitchen where I had about 10 glasses of water as if I meant to drown my thoughts in it before making out to the sitting room again to make the most difficult speech of my life. To worsen things, my head was blank. I had successfully drowned it in water, I guess. The stark quiet that welcomed me weakened my knees, I don’t know how it is that I made it to the remaining unoccupied seat in the room.

‘So?’ Bello finally broke the ice. ‘What’s going on Ayomide?’ He hadn’t called my name in full in a long time, it was obvious he was dying of curiousity. I looked from one man to the other, both of them stared at me keenly, and it broke my heart that someone would go home hurt tonight.

‘Mensah meet Tope Bello, Tope meet Peter Mensah’ I let out as a preamble, hoping they’d ease the look on their faces a little atleast, but nothing! What were you expecting anyway? My mind questioned. That they’d stand up to hug each other with a warm pat on the back?
‘Tope, I never mentioned Mensah to you but he’s the reason why it took me so long to accept to having a relationship with you. The only thing that stopped me from being with him was the fact that he wasn’t in Nigeria at the time..’ I dared to look at him but he had long shifted his gaze. His perfection was flawed by distinct anger mixed with another emotion I couldn’t place. ‘.. I took some time to think today and it was in the middle of that thought that Mensah came in thankfully. We had never really talked about our feelings or being in a relationship like we did today and I was glad we talked because it helped me realise some things. It helped me heal. It helped me decide. I think it took my seeing him again to realise that all that remains all the love I once harboured for him is irritation at the fact that he let my feelings stretch so much, and let them fall right back in place without as much as a flinch. Peter Mensah, I’m sorry but like I said earlier, it’s a little too late to come at me with these feelings. I am engaged to this grey eyed man here, and I am afraid he’s the one I want to spend the rest of my life with.’ I almost added the ‘let’s remain good friends’ line but I didn’t dare.

The night eventually did end, and I was glad to be finally rid of those feelings that tied me down all this time and free to love Bello without feeling like I was hiding the best part of my life from him. Later that night, he held me in his arms so tight afraid to let me go lest I changed my mind about wanting to be with him. I smiled into his brilliant face and pulled his head down to mine for a kiss. He kissed me slowly, as if meaning to discover me all over again for the first time. And then, he lifted me into his arms and carried me to the room where we lay side by side with my head on his chest, his heartbeat, my lullaby.

**

© The Short Black Girl, 2014.

For the love of loving you.

Once,
Now a very long time,
I used to think of you,
As the biggest part of my life,

Upon
My heart, your thoughts I laid,
Your happiness, my gain,
Your worries, my pain..

I was faithful to the letter,
loyal as a fool,
I was certain I had found love,
Guess I was young and confused..

They said it was madness,
That which I was feeling,
But then I would smile with a smirk
Could I have been any more stupid?

And
Sisters yelled and yelped
‘I was once like you’,
But even those words did little to help,

So I went headlong into it,
Lost all sense of reason,
Paid no mind to nothing else,
So that only you consumed my being..

And it took your leaving,
All of my goodwill,
Innocence and youth,
To realise how drenched and exhausted loving you had made me..

You didn’t deserve it,
Not my hello or goodbye,
But I gave it to you anyway,
And somehow, that makes me feel fine..

Once,
Now a very long time,
I used to think of you,
As the biggest part of my life..

And though you turned out a brute,
For me, nothing has changed,
I loved you then,
And even tomorrow, I’ll love you again..

**

© The Short Black Girl, 2014.

The other side of Cool (2).

I gave my youth away to Martins. An OAP at Galaxy FM. I was an ardent radio listener and participant at the time. I still am, only I have grown and I have learnt. I had called in severally on his program and Gosh! He had a lovely voice. All of them do, anyway. Almost all, my mind corrects stoically. After one of such programs, he calls me on his private line, my face flushes with youthful pride. We start chatting often, and calling each other and soon he starts to visit at school. Only at night, awkwardly so. He would claim the day always caught him up in a whirl of events and nights were the only time he had to chill out before his program. I was glad he at least made time for me. And from fond feathery touches on my face and lips, to caressing Cara every minute he could, to forehead kisses, and cheek kisses, and eventually mouthful-tongueful kisses. I let him have me, brand new as I was. And I was good, damn, I was. Unknown to me, there was that other side of me that needed only a nudge to bloom.

We went on for months. We’d make love almost every night before his program and I would blush each time his voice came through on the radio at the thought that I knew that big sweet voice more than other listeners and its many other shades that came through only when we were making love. I was sure we were happy and that whatever it was we shared would last long. It wasn’t a proper relationship where one person expected certain things from the other. It was random yet so well put together. He never said he loved me, but I adored him, and on one of those nights when through his husky voice he told me I had etched an unforgettable mark in his life, I knew somehow he felt something for me too. But it was all so sudden when he disappeared. Yes, disappeared. No trace was left of him. It was sad. Mind-breaking-soul-ripping-ego-smashing kind of sad. And it took a year or so to get over him. So that now when I meet the likes of him that want to get too close to Melody, Martha or Cara, I make them fall hard and then pull away. No strings attached, no commitments. And I almost always succeed.

The next day, he is talking Love at first sights on Souls. I smile to myself. He is surely good at what he does. Giving nothing away with his voice that filters through the radio. Thinking about it now, maybe everything he discusses on the show has some bearing to his everyday life. Just maybe.

Two days later, I receive a call from him. He wants to hook up. He surely got my number from Zara, how dare she? He wants a see-you-like-right-now date, and although I am craving some good company like his, who does he think he is to just barge in on my privacy like that? ‘I am a little busy with a couple of things at the moment. Weekend would be great. I can always make a minute.’ I respond coolly. Ah! Did I just hear his heart break so loud? His voice dropped. He says I really did inspire his week and he is needing more inspiration so he thought he could drop by at mine since it isn’t so far a distance. What? He knows my house too? Ah! Damn Zara! Really damn Zara! ‘You’ll be fine.’ I promise like a fairy princess. After fixing a date for the weekend, I call Zara to warn her to never try that again in her life. I really do not appreciate unexpected calls on a Wednesday evening from some gorgeous man who’s a constant reminder of a past I’ll love so much to put to rest.

The weekend date is a mini road trip, characteristically delightful. He picks me at mine and we drive through Dominos and Coldstone to get a 10 inch pepperoni Pizza, and two big cups of German chocolaté- chocolate ice cream, pecans, coconut, brownie and caramel- yum yum! He is on the steering so I have to feed him. Eew! My subconscious smirks. I forgive her audacity.

We make a few stops every now and then. Somehow at some point he dares to kiss me. The taste of chocolate and caramel melting on his tongue is exquisite. My breath stops. The ambience is delightful and his eyes warm with feelings. My stone cold heart seems to be failing. Melody is working up on me. She is the gentle, calm one, remember? Where is Martha when I need her now?! But I can handle this, Melody protests. Damn right you can! She doubts the sound of that even. It’s easier to deal with the other kinds- the ones that are fine, but not particularly gorgeous, and the ones that are gorgeous but are too nice-guy to feel comfortable in their own skin- but his type? Lawd! He affects your whole being- mind, body and soul- a typical Christian Grey? Or Bill Fraser? I muse a little as I try to place him between E L James’ and Sidney Sheldons’ characters. Gorgeous men, those ones!

I dare to spend more time with him, and indulge myself as much as he indulges himself. It’s fun. Watching someone you’ve crushed on for so long unravel before you with each passing day, melting in the glory of what you do to him, ah! Fun is an understatement even. It’s two months running, this friendship thing, and it’s almost tempting to just let it play out as time wills it to. I never ask him about his relationship life, he never asks about mine and we are fine with it. If he is not getting into my body, I really am fine with it too.

He is surprised at my kind however, he lets out one day, he is surprised that I am different from every other girl he has come across. He is surprised that I am not floored by his personality –oh, he’s got a lot of that and ‘m floored, I just won’t feed his manly ego-, he is amazed that he is more affected by me than I am by him. He finally reveals how badly he wants me. I smile and I don’t know when I start to spill ‘Of course you want me, everyone does. Everyone wants a perfect size 8, with enough bust and butt to grab on to and hold, and then they penetrate your being and tell you you’re pure amazing and make you feel things only naïve people feel and then they balk out of your life like an eclipse! But ‘m done being wanted like that. Whoever wants the body, wants the heart with it too…’ His face is white with a where is all that coming from stare. Good, point well served! He apologises to have made me feel that way and just as quickly, he spares me a disarming smile, and I forget what I am mad about. Let me remind you again, he’s fifty shades of gorgeous.

Some days after, we have a Sunday lunch date at mine. I make Poundo Yam and Efo riro. I love to cook, especially for people… More like special someone’s my subconsious teases. I am wearing a long sleeveless top on a leggings. Nothing too curvy and showy. He is wearing a pair of jean, shirt and black jacket. He is sexy in anything. I feel my face heat up suddenly. Is it him, or it’s the kitchen? I welcome him with a hug and a smile. He takes in my apartment as I would take in the sight of a freshly baked chocolate cookie. I blush. It’s a small apartment but the touch of Melody and Martha gives it all so much appeal. After meal, we pack up together to the kitchen where I set to wash the plates. That’s when he comes to me from behind. He kisses my neck. I quiver under his warmth. He wants me.

‘Am I crazy to want you like this?’ He murmurs, his breath raspy. I want him too. I turn to face him. We kiss, long fierce passionate kisses. His hand rummages through my body. I stroke him through his jean, slow and steady. He whimpers. He pulls me up on the pantry and pushes into me. Cloth after cloth we peel off. In another thirty minutes, we had made love on the kitchen floor. Plates long forgotten in the sink, unwashed… In my mind’s mind of course. What happened to the Steven Harvy’s ninety day rule? Melody asks jabbing me back to reality. If he breathes on me one more time, I won’t be able to help it. Melody steps in for me.

‘I think it is time to go Sola’. I didn’t have to muster anything up. Courage and good cover is me right now. If it is not the way my body is quaking under his glowering stare, my voice will never give out a clue. He lets out a sharp exasperated breath.

‘Why are you torturing me like this Folorunsho?’ He stares at me, truly pained.

‘I am too old to play games Sola. If you want us to stay friends, we’ll stay friends. If you want us to kiss, we’ll kiss, hell friends do that all the time. But this side of me, you’ll have with some commitment.’

He is flushed. I salute Melody quickly in my head. I never knew she could stand up for me like that! He leaves after about a minute of thorough soul searching to no avail. I am not sure if he’ll come back but then it’s safer when they go leaving you as they met you, or better.. But not worse, with the best part of your life in their hands. Steven Harvy must be so proud of us right now, I reckon in my head! I am truly too old to play the I don’t know what we have game. It is either friendship, or a relationship. No in-betweens. Some Sunday night this one is as I find it pretty hard to sleep. My body needs him but I am sure we’ll get over it.

The next day, he is talking I love you just because… On Souls. And when one of his listeners after making her contribution asks what he’d say to complete that sentence to a loved one, he muses and responds ‘I love you just because. No more. No less.’ And then he plays Michael Buble’s you are always on my mind for her. How sweet, I muse. I am smiling unconsciously. And a part of me is wishing, hoping dearly that I am her. His loving feels good. And it is not just the untamed electricfying current that charges between us when we are a breath apart, it’s much more. Maybe you are her, Melody acquiesces. And maybe you’re not, Martha steps in. Ha! This bitchy one is back, I retort offensively. And just then, his call comes through. My heart stops. Should I pick it?

‘Hey’ my hand acts before my thought forms completely. Damn my nerves!

‘Oh hi. Is this the call operator to tell me my credit is exhausted? But I recharged for 3k earlier today and…’ God! He is such a peacock. He won’t let me breathe because I picked the call at the first ring.

‘Just shut up already.’ I blush.

He does his confident-in-my-skin laugh. ‘I am sorry about yesterday. I wasn’t thinking.’

My hearts stops again. ‘It’s okay.’ I respond. But it isn’t. Why is he sorry? Why wouldn’t he just take a step further and act like a man rather than a teenage boy who understandably cannot handle commitments and responsibilities.

‘Friends?’

Omg. Did he really just imply we stick to the ‘friends forever zone’? Now my heart just broke. Would he never take it past that? What is he scared of? ‘Sure’ I respond almost coolly.

‘But I really do like you Gosh!’

I smile. ‘I am sure you can deal with it.’

He wheezes.

‘Do you have a girlfriend?’ I dare to ask, against every nerve of my being. There is a lull or is it just in my head?

‘Errm. I thought you’ll never ask.’ He pauses for effect.

‘I have now. So?’

‘Kinda…’

Omg again.

‘…See, it’s not what you think okay? It’s… It’s… I don’t know! I was here, with my girl on this side of the world and all, and then you came along at the store that day. It wasn’t your body I fell for. Damn, you’re fine and yes it attracted me to you, but then I got to hang out with you and the things you’d say and do damn right swooned me. I never, never thought it would get to this, and I never meant to let it come to this… And, and then again, you seemed fine with whatever we had, and it just made me feel comfortable… I…’

What’s all this about? Martha and Melody ask in unison, both looking thoroughly pissed.

‘It’s a yes or a no question mhan.’ I am sure my voice is rather harsh but I don’t care. He’ll be damned if it is what I think it is. A wife.

‘Engaged.’ He finally responds with a sigh.

Bubbles! And he had the guts to go down on me like that yesterday and tell me that bullshit story of how I swept him off his balls? For the first time in a long while, my face is wet. Omg, I am crying. And it feels like 2007 again in the four walls of my hostel room in Moremi hall where I am mourning the loss of Martins and all the beautiful things I thought I had.

‘Goodnight Sola Williams. I have to get to work in good time.’

‘Fo–‘ he is calling my name but I disconnect the call before he says something stupid that’ll really tear down my walls.

And it seems like everytime I fall in love with someone and it looks like they are loving me too, something rears its head and they’d rather pick it over me. Is it me? Or just my body? Or is it the way love is? That feeling hurts. It feels like the other side of cool, and I don’t ever want to feel it again! I plug in my earpiece to the timely rendition of Jennifer Hudson’s ‘I ain’t going nowhere’ and as more tears slip out my eyes, I am wishing I have her tenacity to fight against all odds when it comes to the things I love.

**

© The Short Black Girl, 2014.

The other side of Cool (1).

**

My alarm shrills. It is 6:00am and it’s a Saturday. Time for my early morning work- out. I make my naked self out of the bed to the mirror standing graciously beside my wardrobe. ‘Good morning Cara’, I say focusing more on the full mounds that graciously adorn my chest than on anything else. Yes, that has got to be the most beautiful part of my body, the one I love most and I have a name for her too. Not even my face that holds the biggest pair of sleepy light brown eyes, small pointed nose and full grown lips can beat it. In one swift distracting movement, I change into my sweatpant and a spaghetti top, grab my phones and debit cards and tuck my earpiece in both ears to the gentle assault of ‘Indie Arie’s Brown skin’ and a couple of my other favourites.

In another hour or so, I am at the Major Store to pick out a couple of weekend needs. I am oblivious to the people staring down at me like sex starved maniacs. Attendants, male, standing on their toes to be at my service. Ah! I just smile them away. I pick out 3 packets of Pringles, 1 American Chocolate Cookies, a box of Eclairs with honey chocolate centre, wine, tampons, and errrm… Yes, one more packet of chocolate cookies. Bimpe, my younger sister promised she’d be visiting and I won’t have her zap my fridge to nothingness.

Satisfied, although very certain there’s one more thing I’m missing out, I bound off to the cashiers’. There are two people before me on the queue. One woman with a kid, and a man whose fragile frame promises he’s no less than 80. I busy myself with my Blackberry phone as I set my basket of purchase down. It seems they will take a minute or two. There’s Bimpe’s chat yapping on about how delighted she is to finally come check my new house. I smile and reply her with a ‘don’t get any ideas to ransack my very existence’ smiley. The closest I could get to it was the ‘eyelashes’. She loves to shop off my belongings, a very annoying yet lovable thing. She replies with a laugh and we chat on about other things. There’s a couple more chats but I scroll to Zaras’, a colleague and ‘well-um-friend’. She says there’s a small birthday party at hers’ on Sunday. I am surprised. Is it her birthday tomorrow? Oh my! What kind of friend doesn’t remember a friends’ birthday- a ‘well-um-type’ my subconscious replies with a smirk on her face. Whatever mhan! I turn to make out of the queue to get her a birthday gift when I distractedly bump into this long standing being, my most prized asset, Cara, assuaging his belly.

Yes. He’s long alright, I think to myself again. I tilt my head to smile an apology into his face. He is gorgeous and his face is shmuck stuck in my breasts. He probably won’t get over that bump in another two days. My smile widens. I appraise him in a nanosecond. I am sure girls would whimper at his manly sight, talk less of his boring stare that it stirs him when I say ‘I am sorry’ totally unruffled by his charm. Without awaiting his reply, I bound off to the perfume section where I pick out ‘Flower by Kenzo’ for the hopeless romantic and hopes she likes it.

It is Sunday evening and I am dressed in a Baroque beaded mini with bateau neckline by Shail K which I shopped off the online store a month ago. I fish for a black regal teardrop ear-ring from my jewelry box, fit into a pair of black stilettos and grab my futuristic clutch purse by Nina Larsen before heading out to Baby. That’s what I call my Nissan Funky Crossover.

We share a warm girly hug when she comes to the entrance of her Lekki apartment to receive me. Zara had invited about 10 of her friends over, 5 males and 5 females, I quickly acknowledge. Her closest friends, maybe? Truthfully, I am humbled to be one- and more importantly, the only one from the office where we work in. I say a perfunctory hello to the other guests and offer a warm smile as Zara leads me to a seat and clinks her glass afterwards to get everyone’s attention. ‘Good evening sweethearts. It’s a great delight to have you all here at my 25th birthday.’ There is a short whistle call followed by random applauses. She giggles and continues ‘Now that the guest list is complete..’ Oh! She had a guest list? I had no idea. ‘..this is Folorunsho Davies’ she is saying, introducing me to the others. ‘..my friend, colleague and oga at the top’. The sitting room warms with gracious laughter. I laugh too. She just had to make me the centre of attention, didn’t she?

In another five minutes, Zara is in and out of her kitchen serving this and serving that- wine, beer, juice, sweets, salad, cheese, mainly light stuff. Name it. I am enjoying myself and glad I didn’t pass this up for a family dinner which Bimpe had informed me about earlier that morning before leaving my apartment with a bagful of some of my most-prized possessions. Ah, that girl! Bless her greedy soul. I muse warmly. I can imagine Mum, Dad, Bimpe, my two elder sisters, their husbands and sons at the big family dinning table which would no doubt cause my parents to question time and time again when I was bringing ‘him’ home. They are certain I am just hiding him from them, or taking my time with him, whichever the case is- because they are sure I can’t be without a ‘him’ at 26 with a younger sister old enough to bring a man home herself. Ah. Tales of an old soul, my subconscious taunts.

‘Fine evening eh?’ Some man walks up to me from the far end of the room. I was lost in the swirling movement of the wine in my glass cup that I didn’t see him coming. Some man? Definitely not ‘some’, more like ‘the’. He looks surprisingly familiar.

‘Remember me?’ He questions as he makes himself comfortable on the edge of my chair.

‘Err, no. Should I?’ I respond unapologetically. A price for your good looks, I muse wickedly.

He flinches, seemingly hurt, and then his gaze deftly moves over Cara. Only then does it register- the long being from Major Store. Ha ha, I do the wicked laugh in my head as he shifts his gaze to rest squarely on mine with the ‘I can never forget this pair of boobs’ look. ‘My bad, we met yesterday right? Forgive me, I am not too good with faces.’

‘I see.’ He responds dryly. ‘I am Sola Williams’ he offers, his long awkwardly straight hands stretched forth for a shake. I take it with a smile ‘Folorunsho Davies’.

‘You stay on MainStreet or the supermarket thing was just mere coincidence?’ I ask.

‘I happen to stay there on some days when ‘m not staying somewhere else. So yes.’ He responds.

Hmm. I rummage on that for half of a second. Why not just a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’?

‘So how do you know Zara?’ I ask because I am surprised Zara knows some hunk of a man as this ‘or is she your girlfriend?’ I add quickly, more out of curiosity than anything else. Zara is the innocent, good girl kind that you would swear can never have bad-looking-cute-boys for friends.

He laughs. ‘Wouldn’t you know? Seeing as she says you are her friend. Well, we have been friends for what? Forever? She’s a family friend.’

‘Oh.’ I nod my head in silent thought. Family friend. Cool. ‘So what do you do?’

‘Errm.. I talk’.

Hahah. Is that some joke? I laugh quietly. ‘Seriously dude.. Really, what do you do?’ He is charmingly sweet to talk to, and if that’s what he really does for a living, ‘talk’, then he’s awesome at it!

‘Really..’ He shrugs. ‘I talk people to sleep. Mostly girls. Sometimes guys too’. My already big eyes increase even ten times more as I sit beside him, horrified. He laughs again. A confident-in-my-skin kind of laugh. ‘I am an OAP. I do the Souls TMB program on Galaxy Fm.’

Omg! Did he just say Souls, my best radio program? Did he really just say he hosts that show, and he is the Sola Williams? My body tickles enticingly. Little wonder he’s so in- his- skin. He’s used to this kind of thing. The reaction the gorgeous+sexy+OAP combination commands. I shame him, and maybe break his heart a little bit as I gather my wits around me in two seconds.

‘Whoa. You don’t say. That’s interesting’ I flash him my ‘charming-est’ kind of smile. He is surely amazed. If I were in another persons skin, I would have jumped all over him with a squeal that would likely raise the roofs to the doors of heaven because Gosh, I have loved him since forever. Who doesn’t love him anyway?

He gets over this quickly as he springs back with his usual sassy vigour. ‘So what do you do?’

‘I work as a Legal consultant with Doroville.’ I must have sounded a little too self- accomplished there. But who wouldn’t? Working with the biggest legal firm in town is no beans mhan. I laugh in my head.

‘Oh? The DoroVille? That’s impressive. You must be an A-class Harvard grad or something then.’ I blush but thankfully I am black, he can’t see it.

I shrug. ‘You don’t have to be to work there, really. Just work your way through the ladder tenaciously, have something unique to offer, and you’re good.’

‘I see.’

At that moment, Zara calls us together to cut her birthday cake. It’s a yummy sight. Damn, how I love chocolate cakes, just the perfect for dessert! After an almost-too-perfect rendition of the popular happy birthday song from the lot of us, she dips the knife through the cake and Hurray! The birthday is properly marked! Afterwards, there is music. Ah! I love to dance, you know? Both my personalities love to dance- Melody, gentle, calm, good girl, she does the slow bad- girl- I- want- to- seduce- you dance; and Martha, the one I am tonight and on days when I meet the likes of Sola Williams and Martins.. Oh Martins! He birthed Martha, the vengeful wicked teaser, with the crazy-who-cares dance steps. Now I remember the Anastasia-line– never trust a man who can dance- from 50 shades of Grey. And I smile to myself as I move towards Sola in the centre of the sitting room with a silent warning- never trust a woman who dances crazy like this. I am all over the dance floor to Baby Hello by Wande Coal and Dance for Me by Wizkid and Aye by Davido and through Yemi Alades Johnny and many others… My butt wriggles to perfection as I do the etigi dance. Then I komole and kosoke and it’s so much more fun because the steps just flow through without premeditation and the way Solas body responds to my every movement is just pure magic. Ah! Chocolate and caramel, you may say. I, the chocolate. He, the caramel. A perfect mix on the floor.

We hardly notice we are the centre of attention until the light goes off. Ah! Nepa!! Then comes the applause and whistle calls. ‘Gosh, you guys should hook up’ someone was saying. I hear the chit- chat in the background and his breathy laughter a few steps away from me as he holds my hand while Zara makes to put on her generator. We just stand there, unable to make out the facial expression of the other in the stark darkness. He pulls me upclose. My head rest on his chest, Cara on his belly again and oh, I can feel him beneath too.

Immediately power is restored, I pull away from him and inform Zara of my intention to get going. She let out a fake cry. She says she wished I could stay longer. I smile politely, thanking her for the wonderful evening! It is the best decision I have made in a long time, I note. I hand her my present, we hug and after a quick smile at Sola, I head out. He tags along. His eyes a smoky delightful sight under the evening bulb.

‘I had a wonderful time Folorunsho Davies.’ Ah, of course you did. Thank Martha.

‘Me also. I need to get going. Tomorrow is work day.’ I state the obvious as I make to my car.

‘Nice ride.’ I smile my thanks and hop into my ride before he says whatever it is he obviously has on his mind. He waves and watches me leave. Far out onto the street, I breathe easy. Damn, he is so Martins and that is so not a good thing…

**

© The Short Black Girl, 2014.