“Dot, we’re at the stage of decision making. It used to be another set of people, now its a different set entirely”
“Even Farouk, the useless fat headed Farouk, is almost getting married. All we do is get a crush on someone, or have feelings for someone who’s taken, or love someone who is not ready”
I sighed again, and turned to my left side to pick my phone from the bed post.
“We should do and choose one of these babes. Now Cleo has brought you back in, Lara is staying in touch but Cynthia isn’t never gon’ be our own permanently”
“You’re crazy man. So she can hold a temporary slot abi? Okay nah, what about Queen o?”
“That’s the chief mumu of your harem mister. Has you at her fingertips yet she’s doing like an idiot. Na she allow people like Cleo and Lara a shot”
“Even Cynthia too”
“True. If she put your mind at rest you would not have had that crush you had on Cynthia”
“Imagine nah. At my age I dey crush on someone”
“Sha do, pressure will be on you this new year and you know it”
“Sharap dia o. You wan make the pressure from inside start ba?”
“At least with a woman around you there will be less fear of someone eavesdropping on us talking. You will not talk to an invisible being again”
I climbed out of my bed, shutting up the man in me. He got valid points about my relationship situation but I needed to get down to other things for the day. After the joint decision to give ‘us’ a re-trial, things have been looking good between me and Cleo. She was due to visit and spend some time with me before returning to base at the end of the January.
I mapped out great plans for her visit. For starters however, she would be meeting The Clan at the close of work. I was excited within me that someone that shows better potential than Queen will be meeting my friends. Before all of that however, there was the big business of getting work done, making some money to be able to live well and to make my visiting woman comfortable.
Cleaning out my apartment and setting out for our ever bustling Lagos took very little time. As I opened the door to step out, a number I did not save called. I looked at the screen, undecided to answer or not. It had been a while that someone called me with a number I did not have. I ignored it and dropped my stuff in the vehicle, along with the ‘crying’ phone. I had forgotten my Blackberry charger and wallet inside on the shelf so I ran back inside. By the time I returned, the same number had called three more times. Still unable to decipher who the caller might be, I just smiled, started my engine and drove out. Somewhere in my heart of hearts however, I silently wished it was Queen.
In all of the insanity that pervades the whole world, I have my sane moments. I can be very lively and interesting, especially with The Clan but I have the habit of taking stock at the end of each day. I was getting along well with Cleo but there were doubts hanging. There was no denying that we were enjoying the newness of our ‘arrangement’ but there were lingering doubts. One does not deceive himself nah.
Options were getting narrowed already. Queen did not bother to know if I existed or not. The truth is it hurts my being seeing things go the way they have gone. Another pain that I had was how Cynthia came like a flash, and is leaving in an almost like manner.
I came to the understanding that it was Cynthia that did not let me know how badly things had gone between me and Queen. It might seem quite easy for those who do not know the sacrifice I put into that alliance to judge me. I have never sought human approval in all I do and I am not about to start doing so. Once I feel justified within myself, everything is okay. Those who think I have not handled it well have their reasons for thinking that way, those that feel otherwise have their reasons.
I can remember vividly that Dele was very close to Queen. They would discuss for hours on end and chat like their lives depended on it. Still when she blanked me, she did not spare him. During one of our hang-outs, the long head pulled me aside from the rest of The Clan and drilled me, asking different questions about me and Queen. He was fond of her like that.
“Dotun, I just wish you guys end up together. It would make me very fulfilled”, he would always say. I smiled each time he said that because I desired that and a lot more too. Queen has the kind of look I would want to see in my unborn children. I always dreamt of having all my unborn kids. The snag was her temper and attitude. If I had my way, I would marry Queen without that foul temper that is a stain on her white garment.
“It would be amazing if she had a set of twins of both genders you know”, my talkative inner man chipped in on this thought-filled night.
“Will you just shut up? What has brought about you planning the future with Queen now?”
I tossed and rubbed my left chin. I felt my facial hair, reminding me of the need to shave in the next two days. The next thing that came to mind was a question whose answer I was so unsure of.
Cynthia came into my life and I forgot Queen was a bother. She was a breath of fresh air like one man campaigned in my country some years ago. She asked after and wanted to be involved in everything that had to do with me and never denied me the minutest details of her life. She would wake me up with her pings and calls. We clicked very fast due to the crazy attraction, a kind that was strange to me, that we had for one another. Sam however dropped a word in his tipsy state one day, and it was that word that kept crawling back into my memory.
“All the shakara wey you and BG dey do na just gizzgizz wey dey follow man and woman wey jus dey trip for one another. Small time, e go clear for una eyes”.
I remember looking at his drunken state, and reasoning a bit with what he was saying. My ever detailed self picked and saved every of his exact words in my big, fat head.
“That babe is tripping for you but based on the little I know of you and her, its just one thing. She is seeing someone she is not sure about yet and she can’t leave for you. She wants to run that package with you Dot. BG and my dear Dot can run that package if you take the step you should. Don’t get your emotions up my boy; she won’t stay around you for long”
Everyone went quiet on the table that evening, listening to ‘the wise one’. In his slightly drunken state, Sam would always talk like a seer. Most of the things he said we always spot on and he always put things the way he saw it without caring what anyone felt afterwards. He struck his “wise one” pose and continued.
“BG likes you…” – It was his habit to always call her BG, he would never call her by her name – “…but she loves someone else. If the coast is clear, she’ll have you for a fling and then return to her man. Na you go come decide whether you go follow play along or become Mister loverman. I rest my case”.
Now I had not discussed the present situation of things between me and Cynthia with Sam but he was right on the spot, as if he was there when I read that BBM message that got me drifting from her.
He got up, downed his remaining drink in five heavy gulps and belched. He knew how annoying that was but he still did it. I could not protest his indecorous behaviour.
“See you guys later”, he said as he fist bumped with the other guys. When he got to me, he looked me straight in the eye and smiled. “Dot, your Dor-Dor dey wait her hubby for house”. He then leaned closer and whispered “if the chance presents itself, don’t dull mate”.
Of course, my reminiscences ended with that and the next thing I knew was that I woke up to ease myself.
I want to believe I am not jinxed. You must be wondering why that thought crossed my heart in the first place. The games my friends play without any side effect always end up complex for me at different times.
Why Lara chose to be in Lagos the same time Cleo was due to meet The Clan beats me. I knew if I did not handle the situation well, I would have a very long ‘story for the gods’ to tell. Lara’s call to inform me that she was in Lagos for a few days was what started my day.
“I called you some days ago. You did not answer. Na wa for you o”
“No be so babe. I was in the toilet and the phone was not with me”
“And you chose to not call back?”
“I didn’t know that number and I was in no cheesy mood on that day. All those ones are excuses sha. I am sorry”
“You better be. Of course there’s a price to pay”
“Oh! And that price would be?”
“Punish yourself Dotun”
“Okay, we spend some time together?”
“Not a bad one. I wanna go see one of these new movies before so it could be a perfect one if we do our time spending there”
“In the cinema? We would not even have time for one another now”
“We will, don’t worry”
“OK then. 24 hour notice sha o”
She ended the call and I could swear she was feeling very happy within herself. Seeing as I had already narrowed my options to Cleo and Lara, I needed to start making time for the latter because the former was going to be back to her base.
The little time I had with Cleo before we got back made me know she was an attention freak. She demanded a hundred percent and was sure to raise hell if she did not have it. I dashed to see her at her cousins’ where she had to wait for me on her arrival from Ibadan. Giving her reasons to stay there till I was done with the day’s work, I ran back into town to meet the clients scheduled for the afternoon.
Just in case you are wondering what made her stay back, the heat and the ever terrible Lagos traffic did the magic. By the time I reeled different routes and how congested they were sure to be, she decided without any need for conviction that she would stay back.
“You won’t even have my time. This one that you’re going for one of your yeye meetings”
“I won’t take the whole day darl. Just get set to meet The Clan in the evening”
I did not look back.
Call it fate, call it destiny, call it whatever you can. One of my meetings was moved to another location, somewhere not so far from Lara’s present location.
I alerted Sam of the change in venue, and added to it that Cleo was in town already.
“Yeah, and Lara’s around as well”
He sounded uninterested when we spoke. I knew what was in it for me when he came around and he did not disappoint me before we started the meeting.
“Dude, you gotta be careful with these games. Fact that you and Queen are having issues doesn’t mean you should become crazy. See Dele’s life o”
Dele was expecting a baby after one of his many romps ended in a pregnancy that has refused to be terminated. Worse still, it was one of his many ‘sarewagbas’ that he put in the family way.
“Samo, no be like that nah. These babes are necessary distractions. And of course you know I’ve whittled down the options down to just Cleo and Lara. Queen can like to eff off.”
“You can like to shut your trap mister fine boy. This one wey una dey whittle down and spittle up, let’s strategize before this bald man calls us”
With that we left the talk and faced business, harmonizing what we would say and how to present the points. Everything went smoothly and we were done in less than an hour. We went into the restaurant to have a meal as the now big bellied married friend of mine kept complaining that he was famished.
While we waited to be served, he continued from where he left off.
“I understand how the way things went with Queen has affected you. You deserve a better relationship life than most of us in The Clan but I seem to not know what is wrong. You’re not as terrible as most of us are with women. I can say of you and Farouk, you guys are good men. It however seems most women don’t like good guys like you again”
I looked at him with rapt attention because he was in his most serious mood ever. He was like that only when he had to discuss business or something that was seriously bothering his mind.
“Queen does not deserve you Dot. Keep that in the deepest recess of your heart. You deserve far more than that spoilt girl has to offer. I will stand by these words if need be”, he managed a smile and then continued.
“BG would have been perfect but I feel something isn’t quite right with her. Now to your Cleo and Lara, I will laugh and crack jokes with them like they are my sisters but you really must decide what you wanna do bro. Even if you would play games, get into a realistic relationship that promises marriage. You aren’t getting younger Dotun”
I looked up to see the pretty lady that took our orders just returning with our meals. I welcomed her smiling, as she did when she came to take the orders. As she sashayed away from us, Sam caught me staring at her backside and tapped the table.
“Oga make we settle the ones wey dey the door of your harem first. Nor add the waitress to the growing list”
“You don mad. Na since looking turn part of offences?”
“You heard me. Settle for a reasonable babe that will plan with you. One with whom you can take on the world”
His words hit me where it left marks. It got me into a thinking fit. Even while I was driving to pick Cleo in readiness for the meet with The Clan, all of Sam’s words kept tugging at my heart strings.
At The Meeting Point, Cleo was welcomed with open arms. Banters like we always threw, jokes and all. It was fun for her but my mind was far away. While everyone chatted away, discussing everything from politics to religion, finance to sports; I was thinking deeply about the conversation with Sam.
“Does he think I am happy with my present situation? Everything go kuku align soon, I am very very sure”
I bonded well with Cleo in the few days for which she was with me in Lagos. It was a new experience, the kind I was eager to have. A few days away from the hustle while finding a good fit would not do me any harm, I thought.
Waking up and staying in bed talking and expressing our feelings verbally, coming clean on our fears and assuring one another that things would be fine. I was feeling what I had not felt in years in days. My rational mind would however have me cautious. Inner man actually referred to it as “optimism laced with the right dose of caution”.
Five days of all the lovey-dovey I had not had in many years and Cleo had to go back to my hometown of Ibadan to start preparing to leave in a week. The times spent seeing movies I was not so crazy about, the lunch dates, the home made meals, the intimate times, the surprise re-arrangement of my crib on one of the days, the goodness of love that evaded me for years. I cannot tell you all. To summarize it all, I started feeling like a love struck sixteen year old again. I was beginning to let go of my fears and she was so relaxed around me.
Those five days were the best blend of the right balance of love and friendship, the way I loved my relationships. Yes, I was feeling loved, my focus and commitment was well over a hundred percent till Cynthia sneaked into Lagos. That was when I knew whatever it is she used on me when we first met was first grade.
She just dropped a message on my Blackberry messenger and I almost cancelled every other thing on my to-do list for the day just to be with her. At last, common sense prevailed and I took things a little calm.
“What brings u to my city BG?”
“I didn’t wanna raise your hope cos I wasn’t sure if I was gon’ come. Its our National Conference this week”
“So after we have drifted, I get to sit with my best gehl again for the whole week. I’m d luckiest best man ever”
“Abi now. I didn’t drift anyways. ’twas u that ran from me”
“u think say e easy. U told me point blank that u love someone else”
“so how should that chase u best boy? He is who is his, u r who u r. 1 of u does not affect d other”
“so what does that mean Cynth”
“U r free to give it any meaning sir. I just know me I’m not drifting anywhere from u”
“☺ issokay o. I’m gon’ reach u at the close of work. Dinner, on me”
Our chats, ever interesting just more or less continued from where we left off. She added her flirty line again, and I played along
“And u think I’ll hav dinner on u when there’s a table huh?”
“God bless your dirty mind Cynth. Either on me or on d table, dinner’s dinner sweets ;)”
“Conference nah in I cum do for Gidi abeg”
“Hey pretty, cum is diff from come, and u of all people know that”
“Dotun!!! X-rated talks aren’t allowed. I am just a kid”
“The kinda kid that uses a diaper every month huh?”
“Gerraway boo. You chat dirty too much”
“U started it babes”
“I did? Really? And you’re here doing d same thing huh?”
“I’m choiceless mami. I’ll just be glad to play along”
“G2g best boy, break over”
“Gimme the address of the venue so I can come pick u and drop u where u r staying”
“Maybe u shoulda asked directly. Am lodged in the same hotel where the prog is holding. Lerrus finish first. I’ll reach u”
“Okay then. Welcome again beautiful one”
“Thanks runaway boyfy. I’m glad I would get to sit with u again”
I smiled, then started packing my bags deciding to go home and recharge before going to meet Cynthia. This was going to be an interesting few days. Three women to keep up with, and like Cynthia said of me and her boyfriend, one must not affect the other.