I just want to announce to you that I’ll be at the Grill and Read Lagos on Sunday to talk about The Fourth Finger. I’ll also do a reading from the book. If you are free and want to come over, you’re very welcome.
Details are in the poster below:
And now for today’s episode, which is two-in-one.
“Sir, I’d like to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage.”
Wura gives Kasiobi a jaded stare.
She is on the verge of her fourth episode of tears, having cried in different chapters on her way to the Ditorusins. Family lunch, they call it. But to her it is torture. Forcing herself to watch people laugh and chatter heartily, to pretend to be happy as them, to plaster a constant grin on her face, is worse than how she is already feeling. She desires to go home and soak her pillow with tears or have a bowl of chocolate ice-cream while watching a boring movie with no sound.
There’s loud laughter coming from the people around her. It’s not in response to Kasiobi’s request but to Dominic’s reply. He asks Kasiobi if Zoe is the daughter in question. Wura catches the joke but doesn’t find it funny. Same way the food is tasteless to her. The only thing that appeals to her on the lunch table is her glass of red wine which she consumes in little sips. The sweet-tangy flavor constantly reminds her she is in the midst of people, and helps keep the tears at bay.
“Kasiobi.” Dominic takes a serious pose when the laughter dies. Wura fixes eyes on Lexus who seems pleasantly-stunned by Kasiobi’s move. “This is huge,” Dominic goes on. “You are practically family to us. We have watched you grow to become a man. We’ve been there through your difficult times, just as you have been there for all of us. So, it is with much honor to tell you that we – my wife and I – are in support of your relationship with Woyintonbra. And I am very sure that her mother would have been down for it.”
“She was worried at some point that Kasiobi was not interested in Lexus,” Ralph, seated beside Wura, contributes.
“Seriously?” Lexus giggles. “Eva, though.”
“Yeah, it was a huge concern for her.”
“Same here,” Dominic adds. “But look at us today. Evangeline would be proud. So, Kasiobi, you have my blessings but really, Tonbra’s hand is not in mine. It has belonged to her this whole time. So, I think you should ask her.”
“Aww…dad, that’s so sweet. I always thought you’d be a hard ass…”
Lexus breaks and turns as the sound of Kasiobi’s chair scraping over the floor interrupts her. She abandons her speech to her dad entirely when Kasiobi surprises her by dropping down on a knee and materializing a grunge ring holding a dazzling black stone.
“Oh my God, Kas…” she drops her head over the table. Dominic rises from his chair and forces hers around to face Kasiobi, dragging her away from the table.
“This is not happening. Oh my God!” She stares at Genesis and Ralph who have had their phones on for a while, recording the scene. Wura also takes out hers and trains it on her.
“All of you knew?” Lexus laughs with eyes full of tears.
“Shh!” Genesis hushes her. “Face your man.”
“Lex?” Kasiobi calls.
“Yes?” she sniffles. “Oh God, I can’t fucking believe this. Is this happening for real, Kas?”
“Yeah. I’ve always wanted to do it but many things have stopped us from getting here.”
“I know, boo. And I’m so sorry. But what is wrong with you? We talked about this last night and you told me you weren’t ready. You made me cry myself to sleep.”
There’s some laughter.
“I’m finally taking the plunge, B. So, Woyintonbra Lexus Ditorusin, will you be my wife?”
“Yes, Kasbi! Yes! Yes! Yes…”
Her voice is weakened by tears as Kasiobi takes her hand and slips the ring over her middle finger. He rises up and pulls her for a kiss. Genesis reaches for a napkin with her free hand to dab at wet eyes. Wura, however, surprises herself by staying collected. When the kiss ends and all goes back to normal, congratulations are passed to the newly-engaged.
The mirth around Wura resumes. Once in a while she catches Ralph angling his head in her direction. Having already asked her if she was okay a couple of times, his conversation with her becomes sparse. She notices that his fourth finger is bereft of his wedding ring. She wonders if his divorce has been finalized. They haven’t spoken as friends in a while. Every discussion has been tied to their music career.
Somebody is laughing loudly. Wura looks up. It’s Lexus. Everyone else is amused. Wura has missed the joke but it doesn’t bug her. She reaches for her glass of wine and takes a mouthful, feeling the weight of her pain bear down on her. When she lets the glass back on the table, Genesis turns a worried eye on her.
“Woo, are you okay? You’re strangely quiet today.”
“I’m fine. Just a little under the weather,” she croaks and clears her throat.
“Have you taken something for it?”
“I have. Thanks.”
“You may need to go home and rest after this lunch. I’ll tell Prince to take you home.”
Lunch continues with small banter which tapers off as the sun begins to set. Wura stays back to help clear the dishes. Ralph has withdrawn to the living room to have a word with Dominic while Lexus and Kasiobi have also made themselves scarce. Wura is left with Genesis in the kitchen.
“You can talk to me now, Woo,” Genesis says, emptying unconsumed food into a bowl for the dogs’ dinner.
“I’m fine,” Wura replies. Her back is to Genesis. She is hunched over the sink, stacking dirty dishes.
“Has it got to do with Mahmud?”
Wura stops her present activity and the sob she has held back finally comes. Genesis pulls a chair for her. When they both sit, Wura narrates her heartbreak story.
“Aww, Woo…” Genesis reaches over and hugs her. “I can’t imagine your pain right now.”
“I screwed up. I screwed up badly.”
Genesis gives her a moment to cry but she takes longer, stopping only when Iya Idaya pops in to pick something from the fridge.
After the woman leaves, Wura resumes speaking. “I want Mahmud back. I’ll do anything.”
“You’ll get him back, Woo, but you have to set your priorities right. Your music career is the most important thing to you right now and no one in their right senses would advise you to let go of it for a man and marriage. But here’s the thing: you can make sacrifices. You can live your dreams and have the man of your dreams too.”
“How do I do it?”
“First of all, don’t sell yourself cheap to the record company or they’ll always lord it over you. You should let them know that you’re engaged and your wedding is around the corner. They can wait. Pastor Ralph can wait. Get married, go on your honeymoon, and then kick off your tour.”
“I’m scared to tell them. They might replace me.”
“They won’t. Trust me on this. They will not replace you. Just give them a time frame and keep to it.”
“Don’t be, darling. You’ll get through this.”
“But how do I get Mahmud back? He’s this kind of person that lets nothing affect him. He overlooks so much but the day he snaps, he doesn’t go back on his decision. I think I’ve lost him forever.”
“Forever is such a strong word, Wura. Please, don’t speak like that.”
“He’s angry at me.”
“He has every right to be. But I’ll advise that you give him some space. He’s been through so much. With the death of his mom and then his dad…”
Wura’s brows squeeze. Her face shows incomprehension. “His dad?”
Genesis questions her with a glare. “Please, don’t tell me you didn’t know.”
“His dad died?”
“Wuraola,” Genesis chided in a gentle tone. “Why nau? He made a post about it on Facebook. That’s how I knew. Nick and I called to give our condolences. How could you have not known?”
Wura covers her face. “What type of a person am I? I logged out of all my social media accounts and I didn’t… Oh Lord, what have I done?”
She goes into another affair of tears. Genesis observes in silence.
“Now, I know I’ve lost him forever.”
“Didn’t I tell you not to use that word?”
Wura rubs her palm over her eyes furiously and stands. “I have to go.”
“Give Mahmud time, talk to your record label and Ralph, reschedule your time and then go back to him.”
Wura nods. “Okay. Thank you, ma.”
Genesis rubs her arm and gives her another hug. “Go home and rest.”
Prince chauffeurs Wura to Mahmud’s. She remembers that he is busy in the hospital but she has no squabbles sitting outside and waiting for him all night. However, her cousin calls and informs her that he has to dash off to see a sick relative and as such, wouldn’t be able to watch Bilal for the night. Broken, exhausted and still mad at herself, Wura makes her way home where she snuggles in bed with Bilal, indulging in chocolate ice-cream and watching cartoons.
∞∞∞∞ ∞∞∞∞ ∞∞∞∞
The beer, the laughter, the presence of friends and some good nkwobi serve as temporary healing to my broken heart. The football match played by my team has been a distraction too. Jide and Shady are the only ones who participate. The rest of us sit with the wives and enjoy the game as spectators. Our team loses and the single guys have a good time teasing us over our pot bellies and bones they say are now weakened by breast milk. It is their usual taunt, even though the only persons on our team who are pot-bellied are Bobby and some other guy who drinks more beer than he takes in oxygen. Usually, I would have an answer for them but this evening I am satisfied with just smiling at their jokes. No one else has the energy for retorts and this leaves them remarking that we are sore losers.
Later on, as we sit outside at Shady’s backyard, sipping on beer and relishing in spicy Nkwobi prepared by Mary, the mood lightens. Jide, who has just joined us after a shower, goes for an unopened bottle of beer, uncorks it and downs it generously.
Conversation is tight until alcohol begins to loosen tongues. Sometime into the banter, Shady announces that he is expecting his second child. We congratulate him and Jide jokingly asks Ekene when his turn will be.
Ekene laughs. I don’t know the guy much, except that he stands out with his complexion and impeccable style. He always looks like he is out of a page from a GQ magazine. I would never have imagined in my life that Mary would end up with him; but having watched them, I sense the strong chemistry between them. I have also seen the look in his eyes whenever he gazes at her. It has to be love or something as deep.
“I’m not ready,” he responds to Jide’s question. Every eye is on him. I have heard that he doesn’t talk much. Even a few minutes earlier, he was on his phone while we all chatted. He doesn’t seem like the social type. I find a bit of myself in him.
“But Tomiwa is,” he continues. “She’s doing everything to get pregnant. I’m doing everything not to.”
“But guy,” Bobby speaks, “all her friends are mothers. How do you think she feels being with them and not experiencing what they’re experiencing?”
“I just wanted a little more time to get to know her better before kids start coming in. A baby spoils everything. Sex becomes scarce, the vagina gets wider, breast milk and baby products smell all over the house, she starts to dress like an old woman…”
“It doesn’t have to be that way,” Jide tells him. “You’ve seen Honey nau. Our baby is just four months and Honey is back in shape.”
“Honey is an exception,” Bobby mentions. The other guys agree with nods.
“She is not. Yes, her body bounced back quickly but her mind took some time to adjust. And we’re still adjusting. We are parents together. Not just her. Look, pregnancy and childbirth are not easy,” Jide explains. “But they don’t have to kill what you have. Two of you can re-adjust and make things better. You can also get a midwife who will help her transition back to normalcy after childbirth.”
“There are people who do that?” Bobby asks.
“Yeah. In our hospital we offer such services because we realize how hard it is for some women to bounce back.”
“And you no tell me since?” Bobby scolds. “My wife needs it badly. She no wan recover at all! My sex life is dead!”
We all feel his pain but the manner in which it is expressed brings mirth to the table.
“Come on, it can’t be that bad,” Shady mutters.
Bobby hisses. “I have not had sex in more than a month.”
“Marital sex, you mean?” Jide specifies.
“Wetin that one come mean?”
“Bobby, we know abeg,” I tell him. “No dey pretend.”
“Na una sabi. Me I just dey tell una say I never sleep with my wife since. She’s always tired. It’s always the baby this, the baby that. She sees sex as a privilege offered to me. Even that her virginity sef, I’m still paying for it.”
Jide places both of his forefingers beneath his eyes and sticks out his tongue. “Ntooo. No be you wan marry virgin?”
“I tire, my brother.”
“Do you help her with the baby and housework?” Shady asks. Bobby hisses again.
“No be only housework. What is her job as a wife? I should be busting my ass with work and business and she should be doing what?”
Jide shakes his head, laughing. We all know Bobby is the friend that is still stuck in the stone age when it comes to this marriage thing. He married his wife for the simple reason of having her fulfill wifely roles. He is not apologetic for it.
“Do you know that sex is not a wifely duty?” Shady presents. Bobby’s face has gone into a full frown.
“I am not understanding.”
“Sex, whether in marriage or out of, is not a gift to anyone. It’s an expression. And that’s why many virgins feel hurt after – quote and unquote – giving their virginities to their men. When the men hurt or disappoint them in some way, they start going, ‘even after I gave him my virginity’. This may just be the reason why your wife doesn’t feel like having sex with you. You probably hurt her with your chauvinistic attitude and she’s withdrawing her body from you, rather than tacking the problem.”
“Exactly!” Bobby exclaims. “She’s being childish. She can talk to me about it…”
“You both can talk about it, Bobby. You are equally to blame. To you, it was all about being where no man has been before, taking what you thought was the most precious thing she had to offer. But sex, as you have discovered, is a lot more than that. She has given, you have taken, what next?”
“So you’re saying she should stop giving and I should stop taking? Marriage don end be dat nau!”
The others laugh. I don’t. I feel a mood coming on.
“See, life has balanced these things,” Bobby goes on. “She gives me her body, I take it. On the other hand, I give her money and gifts, she takes them. Dazall!”
“You dey shame me, Bobby,” Jide tells him. “Walahi.”
“You no lie,” Ibro answers. I look at him. He hasn’t spoken much.
“Actually, I don’t really like babies,” Ekene reveals, drawing us back to the former discussion. It’s as if he slipped into some hole and popped out of another end to join us.
There’s a general response of surprise to his statement, expressed by silence.
“And Tomiwa doesn’t know this,” he adds.
“Wow,” Jide mutters.
“I’m not saying I won’t have kids. I will, but I have to be super prepared for when they come. I don’t want to be drawn in too early.”
“Your baby boy life dey worry me,” Bobby tells him. Both of them snicker.
“Time is not on Mary’s side,” Jide explains. In his eyes I can see that sense of protectiveness he’s always had for Mary. I doubt that he’ll ever feel less about her. “She is pressured…”
“I’m pressured too. My younger ones all have kids. I’m my dad’s first son and I don’t have a child. It used to bother me but since I married Tomiwa, I have not bothered. She completes me. I wish she feels the same about me.”
“Well, you’ve found your completeness. Give her time to find hers. Marriage means more than two of you to her. It means kids too. Give her kids, make her happy. Sacrifice. It shouldn’t be that hard, should it?”
Ekene shakes his head in response. No one speaks for some time. I feel it’s a good opportunity to talk about Yazmin. I need to be told to hold on to her. I love her too much to see her sad. And to know I’m the reason for that sadness is an unpleasant feeling. I’m willing to let her go but I want someone to tell me to fight to keep her.
“Guys, Mex has a problem,” Jide lets out just as I am about to speak. He then tells them about Yazmin’s decision to leave. He doesn’t talk about the abortion.
“Has she found someone new?” Ibro asks.
“You’re sure she’s not cheating on you?”
“Because women these days…”
“I don’t even know how you came off as polygamous,” Shady comments. I shrug.
“Me I suggest that you don’t let her go, my brother.” Bobby releases his weight on his chair. I fear that the chair will break. “Na you carry her come Naija. She wan come leave you, go date younger guys.”
“Because you think a woman’s life revolves around men?” Jide attacks. “She said the marriage is stopping her from being happy and achieving her dreams.”
“Dreams of dating younger guys her age, abi? Mex, face it. You’re being played.”
“But Mex already has a wife,” Ekene states. “Yazmin was just there playing second fiddle.”
“And what’s wrong with that?” Ibro asks.
“There’s everything wrong with it. A man cannot love two women equally.”
“What is inside this love that you people are talking about sef?” Bobby throws his weight forward again. “Is it not to give her money, gifts, tell her nice things, respect her and so on?”
“And how’s that working for you?” Jide jibes.
“Abeg gerrout. Who’s talking to you?” Bobby gives me his attention. “What is so hard in loving both wives that you have to make one of them feel unloved? Na you fuck up, Mex. You get fine wife like that, you come dey do anyhow.”
I listen to their words of advice, endure the harsh ones, throw out the trash and take in what’s good. By the time I say my goodbye to them, I am certain that I know what I want. Yet when I sit in my car to ponder on it, the emotions dig deep. Yazmin, like Tola, is part of my life. I know everyone believes that I love Tola more. It’s true. But it doesn’t mean that what I feel for Yazmin isn’t strong. I know her smell, the taste of her tongue, the contours of her body, the feel of her skin, everything that makes her who she is. I don’t want to let that all go away. I just want her to give me another opening to let me love her the way she ought to be loved.
I toy with the wedding band on the fourth finger of my right hand. It’s already comfy there just as the other one on the left is.
I shut my eyes and pray. It’s a jumble of senseless prayer which I’m sure cracks God up. But somehow I know he picks up one or two things and he’ll answer.
I call my mom and let her know my decision. She is silent on the phone and I know she’s crying.
“Don’t do this,” she tells me in Igbo. “What about my grandson? You want him to grow up in a broken home?”
“This is for the best, Nne.”
“Please don’t do this.”
I tell her that what I need from her is prayers because, as much as I sound calm, I’m falling apart. Half of my life is about to be erased. Just like that. There’s no way I can be strong about it.
“Obi’m biko…” she sobs. “Chukuwemeka oooo! Biko!”
I put the phone away from my ear. I can’t stand to hear her cry. I know her pain is not based solely on the fact that Yazmin and I are separating. She feels she has done something wrong in her life to make this happen.
I let her cry until she tells me she can’t stay on the line again. After she rings off, I start the car and head to Yazmin’s.
When I arrive, I find Yazmin trying hard to hush a wailing Tobe who recently picked up this habit of going to bed only when I’m there. Tola had had to endure him being in our bed on a few occasions. One would have thought that him being away from me for ten days would have killed the habit but it didn’t. It resumed two days ago when I popped back into their lives.
Yazmin is pissed. She wants to adopt the style that has worked for her, of putting him in his bed and letting him cry it out until he sleeps but I don’t let her. I carry him and place him on my chest as I lie on her bed. I pat his back to sleep in a matter of minutes. When I’m sure he won’t stir, I take him to his bedroom.
I return to find Yazmin in the shower. In her manner, she doesn’t shut the bathroom door. I take in as much of her stunning body as I can.
She steps out, wraps her hair in a towel and goes about looking for something to wear.
She comes towards me, hands holding out something cottony.
“Sit. We need to talk.”
She lets her towel drop and slips into a panty and tank top. She sits beside me.
“So, I’ve given everything you said a serious thought, about us annulling our marriage and going our separate ways, and you keeping this house and staying here in Nigeria.”
“And…I’m alright with it.”
She turns her head to peer into my face. “You’re alright with it?”
“You’re sure, Mex?”
I want to tell her more, about how heartbroken I am and how badly I want us to be together. The words are on my lips but I can’t find my voice.
She shifts into the bed so that I can’t see her face without angling my head backwards.
“I thought you’d make it harder,” she whispers. Her tone is tight, like she is holding her breath.
“Make it harder?” I ask. “Isn’t it what you want?”
“It is. But…I thought you’d insist that we shouldn’t separate, that we should work things out, that you’ll love me like you love her…”
“But you wanted this…”
“I wanted you to fight to keep me!” she yells.
I turn around and look at her with my mouth open.
“You’re just easily giving up on us and going to her! That’s what you always wanted!”
I can’t exercise self-control anymore. I unleash my anger.
“You’re so selfish Yazmin Ramirez! You have never put yourself in Tola’s shoes for once! All you think about is you! Well, guess what! I never wanted us to be here at all! I never wanted us to be married! But your dad put a freaking gun to my head and made me sign those fucking papers! So, yes, leaving you is what I always wanted to do!” I stand up. “Let that sink into your head!”
Tobe screams from his bedroom. I notice that the two-way baby monitor we use for him, which allows Yazmin talk back from her bedroom to soothe him, is on. Clearly, I woke him up with all that shouting.
I seize the opportunity to leave the room. I hurry out to his. I find him standing in his crib saying something to me that I can’t decipher. I lift him out and rub the silky curls of his dusty-brown hair to soothe him. He soon falls back to sleep and I place him in the bed. But I don’t leave the room. From where I stand watching him, I can hear Yazmin crying. I feel awful. Although the things I said to her were true at some point in our lives as husband and wife, I had not felt that way in a long time.
I hope that someday she understands this and forgives me. I hope she sees that on this night, as I take the hardest decision, one that everything inside of me tells me not to take, I am doing it for her good. I don’t know how or when we’ll heal from this but I know we will.
I stroll back to her bedroom and hold her as she cries.
“I didn’t mean it when I said I wanted to leave, papi,” she moans.
“I didn’t mean to take out the baby too.”
“I’m so sorry, papi.”
She cries until my neck becomes one with her tears. I tuck her in bed. She begs me to stay. I tell her I can’t. She is quiet for a while. No more tears.
“Can you kiss me?” She looks up at me. I look back at miserable eyes. I kiss her forehead and lower my lips over hers. It’s cold at first, and then warm, and then deep, before it gets intense.
I have the commonsense to pull away, but she wouldn’t let me. Her lips go for mine again. We kiss for a long time, my hand kneading her petite bum.
“One last time,” she begs.
She lifts herself off the bed and climbs over me. There’s more kissing, more sobbing and some talking. She, telling me how much she adores and would miss me.
We make love slowly. It is emotional and neither of us gets a happy ending. She snuggles up to my chest afterwards.
“I’ll check up on you and Tobi in the morning,” I tell her as I extract myself from the bed a while later.
She nods, watching me put on my clothes.
“Close your eyes,” I say in Spanish.
She obeys. I watch her until she sleeps.
I drive home to Tola. When I get in, she is fluffing pillows in a nightly ritual to create a cocoon for her pregnant body. She sees me, stops and points at the bed in an unspoken request. I alone know what makes her comfortable.
I walk to the bed and in seconds, her haven is made.
“Thank you,” she says to me. She is wearing her white garment prayer hat which I always make fun of. Her pregnancy has made her spiritual. On the mornings I am with her, I wake up to the sound of her praying. Same thing before we go to sleep.
I take off the hat and kiss her.
“You taste of Yazmin,” she complains. “Go and shower.”
I head to the bathroom and return shortly to see that she is set for bed, dressed in my t-shirt. If she knows Yazmin bought it for me, she would not touch it.
The sight of the t-shirt on her leaves me feeling melancholic. I sit on the bed. Tola climbs in and kneels behind my back.
Her palms rub my shoulders.
“I ended things with Yazmin.”
She stops, pushes her head forward and looks at me. “Please, explain, dear husband.”
“Yaz and I are done.”
“You can’t be pulling my legs, Chukwuemeka. Tell me it’s a lie.”
I shake my head. “We’re done, doc. Just me and you.” My lips plant a kiss on her hand. “Lawyers will annul the wedding in Mexico. She and I don’t have to be there.”
“Are you playing with me?”
“The Deep V Diver is now mine alone?”
“No more Yazmin Onuora?”
The question brings pain to my chest. “No more Yazmin Onuora,” I whisper back. Tola wraps her arms around me and starts crying. They are tears of joy, and in them, I hear her thanking God in Yoruba. My gaze on the floor in front of me becomes hazy. I heave. My resolve cracks, letting out a torrent of wretchedness.
∞∞∞∞ ∞∞∞∞ ∞∞∞∞
10pm. Another Saturday night. All the freaks are out, or getting ready to paint the night red. I should be out there with them but I’m here, wondering why I listened to Jide and shut down my account on that virginity auction site.
Sex is crap. That’s the part nobody tells you. Everyone talks about it like they find goldmines in each other’s genitals. Nobody tells you how scarily painful it is.
What in my mother’s name pushed me into it?
“Didi, are you still crying, baby?”
That’s my boyfriend. The one that just popped my cherry and left this pool of blood on the bed. The one who refused to listen to me when I told him to stop. Now, he wants to know if I’m still crying. This is what I get for not auctioning my virginity. By now, I would have been consoled with the thought of some good thousands of dollars waiting somewhere in my bank account.
“I’m so sorry, baby.”
I feel said boyfriend’s breath on my neck and I want to kill him. Before this, he had been the best thing since Coke and Fanta. Cute, tall and lean, he came as a replacement to DJ Kasbi whom I still crush over. We had met in one of the numerous parties Oba took me to. We hit it off at first encounter. We exchanged numbers and soon began to chat on Whatsapp and speak over the phone. He could keep me awake all night, talking over random stuff. He had the sweetest mouth and he used it well to paint this awesome picture about himself that eventually made me feel like I would be losing something if I didn’t date him.
I said yes to him the day after the family meeting in which daddy confirmed what Oba told me about my paternity. I was broken; I needed someone to confide in. Kevin was there for me. His chest and lips felt right that day. When he touched me and gave me an orgasm with his fingers alone, I told myself I wanted more of that. And so I responded to his boyfriend request and we began dating.
Kevin was awesome. We had so much fun, except for the moments when he pressured me to have sex with him. However, I eventually succumbed less than an hour ago because I had thought it was going to be magical like the movies and books say it is.
Now, that I’ve done it, I feel like the biggest fool on earth. The pain is not even the main issue. I feel used and abused. I so want to get out of here.
I clutch the duvet covering my chest and drag it and myself out of the bed. I hurry to the bathroom. Great thing the water has been preheated. I fill the tub and slip into it. Immediate relief comes to my violated vagina. Kevin doesn’t even come to the door. I can hear him playing some music.
Is he rejoicing after taking my virginity? Imagine what he will go and tell his friends.
I try not to cry. This is a phase all women must go through and I have just passed mine. Sex is no longer on my list of favorite things. Neither is Kevin.
I soak in the tub until I can feel no more pain. When I step out, I find Kevin pruning his beard before the dressing mirror. The sheets on the bed have been changed to fresh ones. I slip into my pair of jeans and a top, set to leave.
“Come here for a selfie, Didi.”
I groan. I am tired of all the selfies. I’m sure they’re up to a thousand by now. Since Kevin officially declared that I was his girlfriend on his social media accounts, my Instagram and Facebook have not rested. He is slowly killing my social life.
But can I say he’s cute? Beard, hot lips, hard-abs…very yummy sumtin. He is sweet too – when he’s not shoving his shlong into my V.
“Why is your face so sad, Didi?” he asks as he lifts his phone up in the air. “Smile.”
I don’t smile. He takes a selfie.
“Why so sad? Mmm?” he asks in distraction as he goes online to load the selfie. Soon my phone will beep with notification to inform me that I’ve been tagged in a photo. What type of nonsense life is this?
He puts the phone away and kisses me. I stare up at his face and wonder why I’m not in love with him. I also fear that I may never fall in love with anyone that has a penis.
“I’m going home,” I tell him.
“Didi, I’m sorry. You were so tight and so warm that I got so carried away.”
“I know. But this is not about what happened. I have to go to church tomorrow.”
“You can go from here nau. Please, just stay. Stay and dance for me. You know dancing does magic to your mood.”
“I really have to go.”
He pleads with me but I don’t give in. I ask him to take me home.
On our ride to Jide’s place, I break up with him. He puts up a tantrum, stopping the car in the middle of the road to beg and shout on me in intervals. I shout back and call him all sorts of names. When the drama becomes too much to handle, I step down. Luckily, a cab is zooming by. I flag it down and dash into it, leaving him stunned.
I cry all the way home. I don’t think I’ll recover in the next couple of days. I feel like filth.
The front door opens from within when I knock. I don’t have my key with me or I would have used the backdoor. Aunty Honey’s car is parked outside, so I’m guessing she is home.
“Hey, Chubby D.”
I stop when I hear Oba’s voice. He peeks out from behind the door. We do a brief staring contest.
“Mosquitoes are entering,” he tells me. I move away from the entrance and he shuts the door.
“You’ve been crying,” he states.
“What are you doing here?” I ask harshly.
“It’s my brother’s house.”
“Oh, right. I forgot. You’re the brother who likes to hop from one family member’s house to the other just to be a pest.”
“Actually, I came to see you.”
His boyish face gives me his cutest look.
“I don’t want to see you, Nasty. Go home.”
I start towards my bedroom. He follows me.
“I just want to apologize for the things I said about you and your boyfriend.”
I turn around and find the same puppy look on his face. Weirdly, I have missed him these past ten days. But I hate him too. He doesn’t deserve my attention after he told me to go and screw myself when I let him know I was dating Kevin.
“Who the heck is that one sef?! Who knows his fucking name?!” he had shouted. To him, Kevin was not up to his status.
Putting it harshly, Oba is the most spoilt of his brothers. The modesty the Onuoras have is lost on him. All he wants is a good time and to flaunt his family’s wealth. Good thing daddy is making him work for the money.
“Kevin and I broke up,” I reveal.
“Yes!” Oba pumps his fist in the air. I eye him. “I mean, aww… what happened?”
“You’re just useless.” I open my bedroom door and walk in. He tags along.
“Di, talk to me nau. What happened?”
I ignore him.
“Ndidi?” He takes my hand and I lose it. I grip the strap of my handbag and start swinging it at him. I’m telling him how much I hate him and hate all men and how I’ll kill the next one that touches me.
When he has received enough whacks from the handbag, he stops me, holding my hands firmly.
“Calm down, Di. Calm down, please.”
My eyes go wet. I don’t want to break down in front of him but I can’t help it.
“Jeez! You want to cry? What happened? What did he do to you?”
I can’t bring myself to open my mouth and let the truth out. So I just release the tears and somehow from my silence, Oba reads my unspoken words.
I see disappointment on his face and it makes me more miserable. I push away from him and sit on my bed. He doesn’t come to me immediately. He goes into this moment of standing with his hands in his pockets and staring at my bathroom door.
I want him to go away. I need to be alone. Or with someone who won’t judge me. Aunty Honey, I need you now.
But Oba comes to me and sits. “Should we talk about it?”
His gentleness melts me. I nod.
“I’m listening, Di.”
I tell him the story of my disvirgining. He holds my hand when I talk, and sometimes wipes my tears. He lets me finish and then hugs me.
“I told you he was an ass.”
“Nasty, this is not a time for I-told-yous.”
“I just can’t help saying that.” He looks into my eyes. “How are you, though?”
“Do you want me to go and beat him senseless? Just say the word.”
“No, I’m fine. It’s not like he forced himself on me.”
“He didn’t stop when you told him to.”
“Isn’t that what normally happens? The girl says no, the guy keeps doing it?”
“No, Chubby Di. We are all not like that.”
“All men are scum.”
“Please, don’t be a cliché. And seriously, I should have been your first.”
“Thanks. That helps. You think I want to even mistakenly come across anything that remotely resembles a dick?”
“You can’t go back to being a virgin, Di.”
“You’ll stop having sex now?”
“Well…I can wait till when you’re ready again. Partying and dancing with you is a lot more fun than sex.”
“Can you stop that? I’m your sister.”
“You’re not my sister, Ndidiamaka! Aaah!” he exclaims in frustration, falling back on the bed. “What part of my father is not your father don’t you understand?!”
His words hit a sore point.
“But I want him to be my father.”
I start to cry again. Oba sits up.
“Come on, Di. Are we going to do this all night?”
“I wish I didn’t have sex with Kevin. Why didn’t I say no?”
Oba doesn’t hold me while I cry. I don’t even want him to. I cover my face and have a good one. When I open my eyes, I see him holding out one of my party dresses.
“There’s a house party somewhere not far from here.”
I shake my head. I’m not in the mood for anything.
“Let’s just get you out of here.”
“Please? I hate seeing you like this.”
I think of spending the night alone, hugging my teddy, listening to Taylor Swift, trying not to recall what Kevin did to me, trying not to listen to Aunty Honey moan to whatever her husband is doing to her…. I foresee a miserable night.
So, I take the dress and saunter into the bathroom. Oba waits outside, passing my makeup items to me one by one, as needed, and telling me about his day at the shop.
When I step out, he stops talking and starts looking at me the way grooms look at their brides when they walk up the aisle to meet them.
“Should I say it?” he asks.
I shake my head. I don’t want to hear how beautiful I am. I just want to get out of the house.
As we leave, we catch the lovebirds that own the house sitting out in Jide’s car, kissing while Jiney sleeps in her car seat behind. I stop to stare, wondering if I’ll ever find love so deep.
“Di, let’s go.”
Oba’s hand in mine is warm as he tugs me away. We journey to the party venue which is just three streets away from ours. Loud music welcomes us from outside the gate. A bouncer recognizes Oba and lets us into the compound. Oba has to stop every now and then as he runs into a friend. The party, which takes place outside the main house, is already in full swing. There’s a huge space that has been turned to a dance floor and around it, people are doing the basics of dancing, drinking and socializing.
I am not interested in the buzz of activity or the thirsty eyes of guys on me. I am here to mourn my lost hymen.
I leave Oba briefly to get a cocktail. From the bar area, I see toddle over to the DJ Booth where DJ Kasbi is stationed. I am not surprised to see that they are cool with each other. If one attends the number of parties Oba attends, one would be that popular too.
Lexus is also there with them, locking her man’s waist from behind like she’s scared that someone will snatch him away. The scene breaks my heart a little, but screw all men abeg. I’m so done with them.
Oba strolls towards the bar to meet me. He tells me DJ Kasbi is saying hi. I look up and wave. He and Lexus wave back. I wonder what the whole friendliness is about.
“You want to dance?” Oba asks.
I down my cocktail halfway and our way to the dance floor, the music dies. The partying crowd groans in loud complaint, questioning eyes directed at DJ Kasbi. There is a discreet smile on his face as he lowers over the microphone.
“For Didi,” he says. “Not all men are scum.”
I look up at Oba. “What’s doing you?”
The opening beats of Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody suddenly hit the air and I cover my eyes in shy excitement. Oba is so not doing this to me. This is my favorite song in the world, right after all the songs Taylor Swift has ever sung. Throw this at me when I’m in any mood and I’ll jump to my feet, even in the midst of prayer.
But I want to be sad right now. I want to brood over losing my virginity and cry some more.
“Don’t you wanna dance?” Oba asks me.
He doesn’t need an answer from my lips as my legs swing into action first, dragging the rest of my body along. He grabs and pulls me close and we both follow the rhythm. The familiarity of his cologne leaves me recalling memories of nights when the world was still good to me. I had my virginity intact and was basking in the bubble of being an Onuora.
Oh well, somebody once said that dance is a way to lose and find oneself at the same time. I have lost so much of myself in such a short time. I hope I find me soon.
But please, Lord, not in Oba’s arms. I don’t want to make another stupid mistake.