The office was tucked away in a very posh area of Alagomeji that most people didn’t know about. The building was five stories high and it was obviously an office complex. Omolola Medical Centre was on the first floor so I didn’t need to use the elevator.
The inside of clinic itself was a sharp contrast to exterior of the building. Where the building was framed with marble and a lot of shiny glass windows, the clinic was painted in four different colours. For some reason, the colours were soothing and it made the place feel less intimidating. The reception area had a very comfortable looking couch with too many throw pillows and magazines placed on a stool beside it. The place felt warm and even homey. I let out a breath I hadn’t even realized I was holding and went over to the receptionist who beckoned me with a smile.
“Good afternoon, my name is Temi Ade-Doherty, I have an 11am appointment.”
“Ah yes”, she cheerfully replied, “I have been expecting you. Please hold on a minute, let me inform Prof that you’re here.”
She spoke to him on the intercom, telling him I had arrived and he must have told her to send me in because she gestured for me to go in through a door on the right.
The doctor’s office was done in the same fashion as the reception; bookshelves filled with books lined two walls and the other two were covered with beautiful artwork. The doctor himself was a handsome elderly man with a very kind face and I knew instinctively that I could trust him.
He smiled warmly and gestured me into a seat opposite him. I sat down and gingerly folded my hands in my lap. In the movies, the patient would stare into space for a few minutes before he began to talk while the doctor took notes and made recordings. This was way harder; I had no idea what to do.
“I understand you’ve had trouble stepping out of your apartment”, his voice cut through my reverie and I looked up to meet his very warm and kind eyes. He looked like a kindly grandpa who gave sweets and told wonderful stories. I had to resist the urge to bawl my eyes out onto his shoulder.
So I cleared my throat and began from the beginning. I told him about my course mates didn’t really like me because they were intimidated by my father’s wealth. I told him of how I met Bayo and how he was basically my only friend on campus. I told him of our nightly ritual of sitting down and gisitng in New Hall while munching suya and finally, I told him about that horrible night and what Bayo had almost done to me.
I told him how I had beaten him till he passed out and how I had nightmares afterwards. When I finished, I was sobbing quietly and he wordlessly handed me a Kleenex. There was a box sitting on his table so I guess his patients cried in his office a lot.
“Do you want to press charges?” he asked. I was quick to reply no. I didn’t want all the negative publicity that would bring. I just wanted to put it all behind me and move on with my life like every other student.
He smiled kindly at me and said “Well, let’s get your life back then”. I gave him a tiny nervous smile in return, my first smile since that fateful night.
I stepped into my boyfriend’s house and burst into tears, wailing dramatically. “Razor I’m going to lose my job ooo” I wept loudly and burst into Igbo, lamenting my bad fortune. He tried to calm me down but I gave a theatrical performance for a full 10 minutes before I brought down the volume of my tears and started talking, punctuating each sentence with hiccups, tears and a very loud blowing of my nose.
I complained to Razor that some gun men had stormed into my club on the night that I had assured the club owner and manager would be the biggest party yet.
Now my job was on the line because I was the one who convinced the club manager to let the party hold at our club, I had also hyped the party in school, only for some hoodlums to show up and spoil all my hard work.
Razor kept telling me to relax but I only wailed some more. “You don’t understand”, I sobbed, “I hyped this party so much that some people even started saying that I am dating K Money, one of the party organizers. I didn’t even mind because it meant more people would attend the party. I organized 100 girls from school to attend the party and now some people went to shoot there. They will sack me, I know they will sack me”
I broke into a loud crying fit again and it took him five minutes to calm me down. He assured me that everything would be fine and that I shouldn’t bother. He got up to get me cold water from the fridge and I smiled to myself.
That went better than I thought and I commended myself for my acting skills, Omotola has nothing on me, to be honest.
After a few more minutes of sniffing and dabbing my eyes, Razor suggested that we go into the bedroom so he could make me feel better. I made a show of reluctantly following him but what he didn’t know is that he was the lamb being led to the slaughter.
My whole room was a mess. The contents of my cupboard and box were strewn all over the floor yet I could not decide on what to wear from the heap of clothes strewn all over my bed and the floor.
I did not have anything as fancy as what I had worn to the party and for reasons I didn’t understand, I wanted to look very good and very sophisticated for Yemi. I had less than 10 minutes before he showed up yet I wasn’t even dressed yet.
With a sigh of resignation , I finally decided on a maxi dress that was snug enough to flatter my figure, accentuating my not-so-pronounced curves. I slipped my feet into bejeweled thong sandals and packed my full and long natural hair into a bun.
I had no makeup and my face looked so plain. I wish I had foundation and all that stuff but I didn’t, so I dusted my palms with Ponds powder and rubbed on my face. My clear lip gloss would definitely not do so I stole my roommate’s ruby woo lipstick. Thankfully, I had quite a collection of perfumes so I sprayed three different ones and even I knew I smelt divine.
I was ready when he called me that he was in front of Moremi. I gingerly made my way to the car park, each step fraught with nervous energy.
“Wow”, he gasped when he saw me, his jaw threatening to hit the floor, “you look absolutely smashing! I thought we could hang out somewhere on or around campus but now I’ve changed my mind. Please let’s have dinner somewhere fancy.”
I couldn’t have said no to him even if I wanted to. The look of appreciation in his eyes made me forget that I was not wearing earrings or Peruvian hair. I forgot my self-consciousness and the fact that I was wearing minimal makeup. He looked like a kid that had been handed a bag full of toys, and that made my stomach flutter.
I laughed and said yes as I slid into the passenger’s seat beside him.
Dinner was at one of those intimidating hotels I had passed by on the island but never dreamed that I’d step into. I had to pinch myself not to scream delightedly as I marveled at the exquisite décor of the place.
We sat down and placed our orders; while I ordered coconut rice, Yemi opted for pounded yam and egusi soup. We had fresh fruit juice to go with it and we chatted as we ate, learning more about each other.
I took to eating my food slowly because I simply didn’t want the night to end. I had never, ever, had this much fun before. All my mother’s warnings about boys didn’t register as I laughed at the jokes of the handsome man sitting in front of me.