“Samo see my babe, abi no be Queen be that ni?” I was all shades of confused, angry, pissed and what have you. I was pointing my index finger in her direction, as if to have a scalpel emerge from the finger from where I was to cut the foolish guy that she gave a full hug.
Sam was shaking his head, his facial features unreadable. “Nna na wa o, so Queen don comot for gear”. He shook his head, took my hand and dragged me towards The Clan.
“Where you dey drag me go? Are you crazy?” It was becoming a scene already as two scantily dressed girls I suspected to be undergrads in the city university trained their eyes on us. Maybe they thought I was drunk. I took it out on them first.
“Wetin? What the eff are you staring at? You have no respect at all abi? Instead of you two facing where you’re going, you are there ogling me, witches! Waka pass quick before I launch at you two”. Foolish girls got laughing and scurried away like squirrels under threat.
“Dotun, frigging calm the fuck down. Can’t you see everyone staring at us because of your sorry behaviour?”
“You think I care one bit? I’ve got to see that silly girl whose only benefit is her good looks. She is just too daring. She came here to dare me, and I gotta show her”. I was virtually spitting fire.
“You think that’s gon’ sort the issues on ground? I thought you’d have outgrown your foolish brutishness by now. Lemme kukuma recruit a whole battalion to fight on your behalf if it’ll make you feel good”.
I knew he said that to calm me down but it did not fly with me. I forcefully took the wrist by which he was holding me and made for where Queen and her co-standers were laughing like demon-possessed people. The Sam I know would call Farouk and come after me in case anything untoward was brewing. The knowledge of the support I would have in the event of any incident emboldened me as I approached where they were standing.
The rage in my body system was so much it could consume a whole village. It was like a dam that was just opened which threatened to overrun, like a locomotive that would crush anything on its way.
I removed my cuff links, loosed out my shirt and folded my sleeves as I covered grounds with every step. Looking back, I saw Sam and Farouk coming at a distance not so far from me.
“Tread easy young man”, my subconscious said. The idiot always came preaching when he should shut his trap. I was deaf by that time, the rage had blocked out every voice of reason. I just continued my walk and my friends were closing the gap between me and them. That was enough encouragement, the one people call ‘ginger’.
Then my Blackberry vibrated. I knew who it was. “Cynthia can wait. I won’t read any ping or answer any call till I settle this situation”, I said to no one, though my pleading subconscious in mind was the real recipient of the unnecessary talk.
Sam called out to me to wait and I did, waiting impatiently to hear what he had to say.
“Chill jor, mister fighter”
“What is it? If you’re not joining me in this, just steer clear. At least I’ll know I’m all alone”. I was trying to whip up sentiments in my favour. I went as far as accusing him of always taking the backseat when issues had to deal with me while I did the exact opposite for him.
“Not to worry Dot, we’ll be here watching, and I’ll report your fresh madness to your partner in crime”
That smelly mouthed Farouk had the temerity to talk to me like that. It was no fault of his. At that point in time, his dig at me was not of any importance. He was referring to me and Femi as partners in crime. He had no blame at all; Sam gave him the liver to hit out at me.
When I was close enough to them I composed myself and tried to talk as calmly as I could. The stance my friends adopted made me a bit more careful. I had to be as mature as my normally cool self would be. The anger driving suddenly reduced, it was replaced by the kind of bitterness and sense of betrayal I had never felt.
“Queen, so this is what your status update last night means ehn?” I started as I got into their midst, tapped her on the shoulder, faced her and won the attention of the rest. They all looked from her to me and at themselves. Sam and Farouk moved closer, prepared to get involved in case things went ugly.
“Excuse me?”, she said. There and then, I knew The Clan and my subconscious had won. She looked Queen, dressed Queen and walked Queen, but her voice was the exact opposite. Her complexion was a shade darker than Queen’s and she was not as endowed in the ‘front’. The ‘Queen’ I saw was not my Queen, she was the poor man’s Queen, a total stranger!!!
The lady and her friends looked at me like what senseless Farouk called me, someone who just ran amock. Shame washed over me like a fowl that had been beaten by a very torrential rainfall. There had to be a way to save face after my indiscretions despite efforts to calm me down by my friends and the ‘me’ that lives inside me.
“I’m sorry guys, lemme just explain what’s wrong here”. I was trying to find the right words to no avail. I needed to be bailed out at that point in time and thank God Farouk stepped up.
“Folks, I’m really sorry for my friend’s misdemeanor. He’s been emotionally unsettled in the last few weeks owing to some terribly disheartening situations that have brewed between him and his girlfriend, who coincidentally resembles this wonderfully sculpted young lady here”.
Farouk the idiot knew how to hog the limelight. He was having fun with his crazy command of the English language. Sam stood beside Farouk, shaking his head like a lizard while the mumu addressed us as if he was delivering a keynote address. He was reveling in his self-appointed role and he really played it well, calming those guys down. What annoyed me was that he laid my issues bare before total strangers.
I apologized to the lady and her acquaintances, and Sam got them to join our table. Femi and Dele joined in thereafter and the leaky mouth Farouk told them all that happened. Again, I was the centre of wicked jokes but no one dared to put me on the spot for too long because they knew how risky it was, especially on an evening like that.
Still pissed at myself for what happened at the Meeting Point after what turned out to be a very profitable day, I just poured myself a glass of wine and biscuits to go with it and I retired to the bed for an early night. My phone rang, a number I was unfamiliar with. I looked at it, made to answer the call but decided against it at. That way it rang off the hook, and the same thing happened three more times.
“Does this person not get it? I don’t feel like talking to anyone”
It rang again, and I answered trying very well to sound as irritated as I should. I know you think it was Best Girl but it was not. My heart skipped when I heard her sweet voice, she was hailing me and I was smiling, playfully rubbing the back of my neck the way she would if she were with me.
“Dot my Dot, my amazingly good looking, cool as cucumber husband”
“The Queen of the manor, my woman wey leave me run. Today just got a lot better with this call”
“When you won’t ever stop annoying somebody nko?”
“Honestly, I don’t ever do that intentionally. You sef know”
“Sha let it pass. How have you been my baby?”
“Not very good without you Mami”
“Don’t worry baby. Mama’s coming around soon. I’m a lot light headed and less busy at work now”
That was a welcome piece of information. That was the best phone conversation we had in ages. I felt giddy at that instant, like having her around immediately.
“So I should prepare to have you over this weekend huh?”
“Did I say that? I said soon.”
“The soon better be this weekend o. Here’s not been the same without you jor”
“You no bring you shawries come house make dem come make am the same ni. Shebi we’re all the same”
“Don’t start o. I’ll come pick you up at the close of work on Friday. Make I gist you wetin happen for Meeting Point today sef”
“Meeting gini? You’re frequenting that bar because I’ve not been coming abi?”
“No mummy. Chill make I nack you tori first biko”
I told her the issue of mistaken identity at the Meeting Point and she was in stitches, making jest of me like it was going out of fashion.
“Na only you fit dey jest me like that o”
“Before nko? Why am I the Queen of the manor, abi wetin you dey always call me sef?”
“Abi your serekodes don dey get mouth to yab you?”
“Madam na you sabi o. Park jor”
“Oooobi, I win am”.
We had a very interesting discussion; the conviviality was of two people who had missed one another. After the long call, she asked us to move to Blackberry Messenger. The first thing I remembered was the mix-up while chatting with her and Cynthia. I burst into laughter at that instant and she ended the call.
“So you chose to abandon me all day shey? How did your meeting with your client sha go?”
That message was waiting for me as I made to resume my conversation with Queen. Best Girl had sent me instant messages on my Blackberry and Whatsapp, she had sent text messages and Facebook message, she had sent me DMs and tweets that had gone unanswered. The only thing she did not do, had never done, was to call me. I picked up my phone to answer her straightaway.
“I’m sorry prettyhead. I’m just settling down since morning. I saw all your messages but I couldn’t carry on the convos then so I decided not to read”
“Hmmmm. Mister Busy. So how did the meeting go?”
“Your prayers worked Best Girl. I wonder why I did not meet you earlier”
“Hmmmm. There you go, you have a subtle way of toasting”
“What’s the relationship between a simple word of prayer, and the ‘why did I not meet you earlier thing’?”
“You don’t seem to know the power of a praying woman. I forgive you for that. So how did your day go”
“I was on the morning duty and now I’m back home, doing nothing”
“Chatting to the Best Boy isn’t anything too?”
“C’mon don’t be terrible Dot. That doesn’t qualify as an activity. Its something that makes the day interesting. Something that should be done”
“Hmmmm, like something as important as taking in oxygen. That’s what it is here?”
“You’re just crazily intelligent Dot. You gerrit! Who won’t wanna spend time rubbing minds with you”
“Hmmmm, lemme confess Cynth. You’re the only one whose chat makes me grin like an idiot”
“Confession time? You’re the only one whose chats I re-read when I’m less busy Dotun”
That message dropped, and I grinned again, like the idiot I told her she makes me feel like. Then there was the “PING!!!”. You already know who.
“I’ve been waiting now Dotun. Thought we agreed to continue our convo on here”
“Yeah Queenie, I went to use the toilet and take a bath. You know how it always is after a long day”
“Ok o. So where did we stop?”
I put on the alertness in my brain. My subconscious also gave me the sternest warning yet since we started conversing in my teens
“No cock-ups this time Dot. DON’T YOU MIX UP ANY CHAT TONIGHT”
I smiled and carried on both chats, looking with utmost care at both chat names before sending any message.
That was my best evening in weeks. I slept like ponmo that was soaked inside water, or better put, a mosquito that had had its fill of human blood which was resting on a carton. Even in my sleep, I was happy.