How did the wedding go?”
“Very interesting. I had madt fun”
“Hmmmmm. Tell me how so”
“Old friends, new ones, interesting time, enough to wine and dine on”
“Yes that and that, and new Best Girls ehn? Or iz it cofetti?”
“Haba Cynth!!! There can’t be 2 BGs. That u know”
“I hear u sir, no mean say I gree sha o. No dey scope me jor. The little I know of u, u def will have 1 or 2 babes u were eyeing on the train”
“I got eyes for the beautiful ones baby, and u know. None caught my attention”
“And when u don’t have eyes for dem, they have 4 u. Like u and Zainab”
“What!!! I’m jus stating d obvious Dotun”
“And she writes the name again”
“What name? Leave that side and let’s talk what I’m asking”
“Wch is u abandoning me all day cos of d babes on d bridal train”
“See Cynth, there is not 1 babe on that train that stirs what u stir in me. Not one of them has d kinda look I want in d babes. That thing that’s got me crushing on u”
“I’m serious. U already know given d right atmosphere, I’d own u by now”
“Hmmmm. He’s finally chyking”
“I’m not, I’m tellin u things av held on to”
“u r not talking abt dis cos I complained dat u abandoned me all day, r u?”
“I’m not babes. I’m tellin u stuff I’ve always wanted to”
“So y av u held bk since”
“I’m a sensitive person. I wanna know if u r in a serious relationship. I don’t wanna be d reason u n your partner will hav issues”
“Hmmmm. How nice of u Best boy”
“I can be nice, but don’t expect me to always be rational. I’m @ that stage of life where I can be selfish and if I can, I’ll take u over from whoever claims ownership of u”
“You’re very funny Dotun. See u talkin as if I’m a parcel of land”
“You can be d parcel of land on which I build my castle”
“Chai!!! See toasting o. My head yaf swell filish. It haf wantu goan burst o”
“U be bread ehn? Or what’s toasting?”
“All these your talk this evening ni. I won’t say it came as a surprise anyways”
“I don’t expect u to be surprised, I don’t expect u to stick your neck out too”. Whoever it is that has got you and has refused to let his brain work well enough to formalize his ownership of u is certainly not serious”
“Funny thing is I am madly in love with him still”
For the first time that evening, I came back to earth. It was not as if I did not expect her to tell me she was dating someone at a point in time, the way that revelation crept into our conversation dampened my spirit.
How in God’s name would I be telling her stuff like that and one man somewhere would just have a way into the serious discussion? Is that how these other babes feel when Queen finds a way into our times together?
I knew the best thing to do would be to not allow myself show that I was affected by her “madly in love” sentence but I was.
“Ol’boi eh! Just when you were thinking she could be the perfect replacement for Queen”
I ignored my loquaciously intrusive inner man and continued my chat with her, hopes of getting her be with me finally fading.
“I understand how love happens. We many times have better options but we choose to stick with what we’ve had over a period of time”
“Yeah Dotun. Mostly the fear of the unknown”
“Exactly. You might wanna get away from someone only to discover that d oda person myt b worse”
“You’re spot on Cynth. We can only try and like we say in our part of the world, leave the rest to God”
“That’s it o. U shld get some sleep Dotun”
I turned and pressed a button on the other phone. It was some minutes past two in the morning. The first question I asked myself was “how long have you and Queen done this?”
I wished Cynthia a good night and started trolling people on social media when sleep took a flight. One of the trolled was Cleo, a recurring decimal.
There have been distractions and I admit. I may not be perfect, yes it is my fault. I may be forgetful or too detailed sometimes, it only shows that I am being me.
How the situation with Queen degenerated to the extent that we hardly talked on phone, chatted on different platforms or made time to see beats me. The whole thing just started like child’s play and before one could ask what exactly was wrong, we drifted totally.
Analysis of the situation with different members of The Clan pointed in the same direction, a case of clashing egos with neither refusing to back down.
“Be the man and take the bull by the horns. Even if you guys are gonna end things, let there be closure on that front then you both can move on”, Femi said that hot evening.
I heard him right and I agreed with him absolutely. I however still had the urge to see her and spend some time with her before we eventually decide on what to do. Sam also gave his opinion, asking me to let her be till she was ready and if she eventually allows someone else to take her place, “na she sabi o”.
“I get you guys. I really appreciate your concern. Just so painful that me and Queen promised a lot only to deliver so little. I took it to mean my sufferings with women was finally over”.
Sam sighed and uncorked his drink. Pouring the content into his glass cup, he gulped the cold drink faster than normal. After what seemed a satisfying intake of his rich foaming stout, he belched. The silly head never learnt to stop doing that indecorous act from when I knew him. Then he started looking inside the cup as if he was communing with the brown bubbles inside. All of a sudden, he spoke.
“After all the wars and battles you fought to have a woman of your own Dot, you got Queen when no one was expecting. I was happy for you, we all were. When I saw her the first time, I saw the admiration she had for you in her eyes. I saw something close to love and respect, I saw reverence and regard. My joy knew no bounds that you found her”
He paused and filled his glass again. We all listened with rapt attention.
“The biggest fear I had the day I saw Queen was one I told Femi. I made him understand that Queen loved you but I was not sure of what was going to happen in the next one year”. Sam sighed, then smiled wryly.
“Knowing what you had gone through, Femi said I should let things pan out the way they were meant to. He said he saw a glint in your eye, a new smile, a new liveliness but he had a word. Phamo, if you remember as you take talk that day abeg remix the words”. Sam turned to Femi and motioned for him to speak. My partner in crime smiled, cleared his voice and spoke.
“I said then that Queen has made you livelier, that you smile more nowadays and seem very happy and but that I hoped its not initial gizzgizz because if that’s the case, it will fade”
“Turns out Femi is the seer here. Its faded. All you guys do now is to fight and argue and disagree. One day of love, three weeks of strife. I’m sure that’s not what you want for yourself”, Sam started again and asked me the real question all his stories was about.
“You and Queen, how far?”
I smiled, but deep inside me it was not the kind of smile they saw. I really cannot say if one of the two saw through my eyes, I just went on to give an Obama-like speech about how Queen came into my life and changed everything that was upside down. I told them how her spirit and mine agreed a lot. I went ahead to sermonize on ‘the will of God in all things’ and all other philosophical talk. At the end, I gave the verdict.
“I appreciate your concern guys. I’ve been tryna make this work and so far it has just been one kind. I wanna give me and her a push, a nudge, one last time. If it does not work then, I shall do the needful”
My friends looked at one another and smiled, an understanding one. I knew they had this planned, and they got the response they thought they would get.
“I know you’re a fighter Dot. We’re with you all the way”.
I like Femi’s way of talking in times like this.
Every other thing was moving fine except the love and emotional side of it. That part of my life has been in total confusion. Barely twenty four months after I thought I had it all figured and had made a choice, the chosen one had started behaving very abnormally. Maybe it was as a result of me letting my guard down but I have no regrets.
I woke one morning and out of indolence decided to do a headcount of who and who I can date, no not date, marry. Marriage na long thing sef. Let us just say I started counting the daughters of Eve that I can errrm, errrm…errrr….date or be with or marry or whatever you choose to call it. Off my fingers I started with Queen. I counted Best Girl, everyone calls her Cynthia. Taiwo, Moji, Alaba, and of course I just met Lara even if I was yet to follow her up properly. Much more recently, it had been those from other tribes and religion. Of course Queen is from the South South, Zee is from Nassarawa and a Muslim, Cleo is Bini. There was Hadiza, the one I call my Auchi beauty. She strayed from the nest when she grew wings.
I already resigned to fate that I would likely end up with someone of another tribe and make mixed babies, I mean mixed Nigerians. Would that not be fun?
So Queen called just when I was thinking of a way to start cozying up to her again. Cynthia already declared in no uncertain terms that she was in love with someone else. That did not stop her from continually buzzing me and occasionally forming jealous. The unsaid, unwritten agreement was that we have unfinished business.
Back to Queen’s call. She sounded as formal as she had been for a while at the start but loosened up as the chit chat progressed. Free minded me just went on laughing and talking as if all was well in paradise. I finally threw the first punch.
“Baby, we gotta stop all these”
“What? As far as I’m concerned, nothing is wrong Dotun”
“That’s all you say Queen. Let’s communicate, let’s solve our issues, let’s stop sweeping matters under the carpet”
“We’re not sweeping anything. Abi I resemble APC ni? There’s no issue from my end baby boy. You’re the one seeing issues where there’s none”
“Toh. I see issues, I know them when I see them and this is not what we used to have. People saw love in us, people saw us as examples”
“What now happened?”
“I wouldn’t know Queen. I just know you changed”
“So its about Queen ehn? What did you do to make me change?”
“Forget blame games darling. Let’s see and talk all these over”
“See? Where? When? How? Why?”
“You want me to answer one by one?”
“Dotun, my credit has finished. We talk later”
“I’ll call immediately”
I ended the call and heaved; my emotions, a bag of contradictions. I was planning to buzz Sam and seek his opinion when Queen’s message dropped.
“Don’t bother calling me, let jus chat”
“Since that’s what u want my lady”
“What’s with all these patronizing u’ve been doing? It doesn’t move me Dotun”
“I understand things have gone the opposite way Queen. I know my words have no meaning to u again, I know there’s a drift in your feelings”
“What I did to make dat happen is lost on me. I agree we’ve not bn findin it easy understanding one another but dats no reason to jus giv up on evrytin we hav”
” Ehen? So we hav smth yet u go actin lyk nothin matters when we have issues”
“Let’s jus c to sort all these out”
“See u? Me see u Dotun? I don’t wanna but I will. That won’t change nada tho, I’ve had enough of all these”
“Enough of us? Then you shld say it to my face, not by chat”
“What difference does it make? Say on phone, say on chat, say face to face”
“The difference is we should see”
“When do u wanna? I’m not coming over sha o”
“Saturday, I’ll be at your house”
“Ok then. Gdnyt Dotun”
The sad smile that had been forming came playing on my lips. That was a time when I could do with company from my friends but at that time of the day, everyone was either sleeping or minding their business.
I left the couch in the living room and walked slowly into the room, throwing myself on the mattress as I waited for sleep to take me away from the worries of the world
The emotional turmoil I had been in for days made me forget to follow up Lara and Cleo. Even Cynthia noticed something was not right. She complained about our chats being “bland, uninteresting and non encouraging enough nowadays”.
I did not hide anything from her. I made her realize I was trying to get closure with Queen and sort out my emotional issues.
“Wetin be her own? Shebi she’s in love with someone else”
I just smiled. Times when I converse with my subconscious are very tricky, especially when I am not alone. I have always resisted the temptation to voice out in response lest anyone around thinks I am running amock slowly.
Finally getting a grip, I dialled Lara’s to familiarize. It was an interesting one after the first meeting. Major reason for the call was to put my mind on someone apart from Queen. That worked to a reasonable extent but I still felt I forgot something. Relaxing totally, I tried to remember and I nailed it, I needed to reach Cleo.
“Hey preeeety. How ya doon?”
“Oh! You’d recognize my voice without saving my number huh? Quite good”
“Don’t mind me Cleo, I’ve been very busy after Tokunbo’s wedding. Money must be made if I intend to marry you nah”
“I’m not kidding. So you think I didn’t show you I wanted that?”
“We meet when? Saturday? I have an engagement in the morning but I’ll be in Ib later that day”
“No worries bae, with me around there would be no boredom again”
I blessed whoever or whatever reminded me to call Cleo that day. Interacting with her sort of lifted a load off my back. The call was not a very long one but it was enough to set the tone for a meet up, one that could be the launch pad to see if she could be the one to replace Queen. I felt a pull towards Lara but Cleo represents a fantastic long term option, one I intend taking if all things went my way. Before that however, there is the big business of me and Queen getting things settled. The way that goes would determine whether I would just trace my steps back to Cleo or create the path that leads to Lara.
I was already toying with the idea of ending up with someone absolutely fresh. No strings from the past, no old allegiances, no blast from the past, just something fresh, something totally new. Only one person is that, Lara it is.
Call me confused or whatever you want to, it is not my fault absolutely. I have tried my best with those I have been with but fate and destiny have said no to any alliance with them. With this multiple options however, I intend to make a choice, and a very good one at that.
Initially it was between Queen and BG, now the race has been thrown open again. Cleo is making a rapid incursion into my head and mind, Lara represents one of the things I have been considering, Cynthia has refused to go away despite her “I’m-madly-in love-with-him” admission and of course there is the Queen of the manor, the one I love but don’t understand.
If you have made the choice of someone to marry, I hail you plenty. No be small thing at all at all.
However this ends, I know I am making a choice that would make me happy at the end of it all.
“Sure, and very well so man. No worry ehn”
She was not expecting to see me waiting at the gate. I sighted her from afar as she swayed towards me. Her attractive features: angelically pretty face, well sculpted body, very infectious smile and her out of the world gait. I imagined how fulfilling it would be to own her to myself forever.
“Aren’t you the one who say there is no forever? You keep contradicting yourself big head”
“Yeah man, the only forever is till death do us part”
I smiled, a dual purpose smile. The way my subconscious termed me contradictory made me smile, then I left it on my emotionally tired face hoping she would see me from afar as she approached the car park, chatting away with her colleagues.
A few metres away from me and our eyes met. My heart skipped a beat, the way it had been doing for a while now. Each time I saw her change her Display Picture on her BBM, my heart skipped.
One thing about Queen is the ease with which she hides our regular issues. She would never let people around her know when we have issues. On sighting me she beamed into one of her most original smiles. I was used to her doing that.
“Hello baby boo boo”, she threw herself at me in a very full embrace. I played along straightway.
“Heyyyyy, here’s the one who rules the manor. I’m good darl”
Her colleagues looked at one another, then they started giggling and making faces; women and their yeye aproko. She did not allow them too much time.
“Won’t you ladies join in and let’s take you halfway?”
As if remote-controlled, the duo entered, settled at the back of the car and started their female chatter. I hardly heard them really, the only thing on my mind was the make or mar with Queen. Her expression gave nothing away, she just sat half-turned to her friends and was engrossed in their Kim Kardashian nonsense talk.
How that one take add join the coins wey dey my account? If Kim K likes, she should stop wearing clothes altogether and if she is ashamed of nudity, a pant would suffice for her.
Thankfully there was no traffic so we moved pretty fast and in no time we reached their stop. The hour of reckoning had come, we had to talk the talk.
Queen was the next to look as if someone was pressing a button to control her movement. Once her colleagues alighted, her smile disappeared.
“Brace up man, this might get dirty”
“Where are we headed?”, I asked, praying she would prefer her house. She replied as if she had read my mind.
“I thought we agreed to see on Saturday”
“Yeah we did”
“So why are you here today? What’s behind your Mr. Nice?”
“Nothing Queen. I don’t think its inappropriate to come pick you”
“When did that start?”
“When did what start? Why is it always easy for you to pick quarrels and misunderstand me?”
In no time we were there and I could not be thankful enough that another potential argument was put to the death. Refusing to waste time on irrelevances, I went straight to our discourse.
“What’s happened to us Queen?”
“There you go babes, you won’t gimme a reasonable answer apart from this hmmm thingy”
“What do you want me to say nah?”
“There’s the place of communication in relationships. Communication is key and that’s one place we never found”
“Were you willing?”
“I was, but you have not allowed us to sort things out”
“Dotun I’m tired. We haven’t found a common ground of recent. Its tiring for me Dotun”
“It is for me too Queen. I’ve been trying to put on a brave face dear. You came into my life as an answered prayer”
“When I was rock bottom Queen, I was at my lowest and you came to lift me”
“I thought the search was over. You swore to be forever near me Queen but like the setting sun you’re here deserting me, fading”
“I no dey fade o, God won’t let me fade in Jesus name”
“I asked God for you and he gave me you. Who and what is taking you away? I have fond memories of our times and I believe we can still make this work”
“I’ll tell you the truth boyfriend, I don’t feel what I used to feel for you. No fond memories at all”
“What have I done?”
“Nothing Dotun. I’m just tired of this”
“Whatever that means to you”
My heart started beating faster. A part of me did not take her serious but another part knew that was her verdict.
“I get you Queen. Whatever happens, don’t let’s burn the bridge we built. It may be the route that would lead back to one another”
“Hmmmm. I need to eat Dotun, I wanna buy something at the neighbourhood market”
“Meaning I should start leaving ehn?”
“You may wait. Just help lock the door the way you always do”
She walked out. I could not help but look as she exited her living room.
“Is this really happening?”
“I’ll pour cold water on you so you can know. Babe’s gone man. Don’t suffer yourself o”
“Just like that abi?”
“Na hin Dot. Calm down sha, every go make sense”
I got up immediately and followed after her. “Wait babe. Secure your crib, I’m leaving”, I said smiling.
I found my way out of her compound and straight into my car which still smelt of her sweet perfume. The car seat was willing to accept my weak body and mind. It hugged me tightly from my butt as I sank into it, resting my head. I picked my phone and typed in furiously.
“TGIF.We see over the weekend as agreed. I’ll hit Ib later tonight. Keep tomorrow free for me”