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As I walked out of my car towards The Step Inn, a lot of things ran through my mind. Since the day he called and we spoke on phone, Dave has not picked up my call, neither called me for reasons best known to him. All he did this morning was reply the text I sent, a few days ago that we should meet here. I wondered how f*cked up my friend was. At least that was what he told me himself on phone some days ago.
I entered the pub, looked around, located him and walked towards the table to confirm if it was what I was thinking that we’ll be discussing. I just hope not.
“Howfar guy?… Why you no even call or return person missed calls. Na so normal person dey behave?… Na wa for you oh!” I was giving Dave a piece of my mind as I made for the seat opposite him.
He looked at me with the most expressionless face I’ve ever seen him wear, didn’t say anything, snatched his glass from the table and gulped the whole drink down.
I knew there was trouble.
“Hey bro” He said after a while of either thinking of how to start or allowing the drink to chill in his belly. He said them like they were his last word.
For a second I thought Dave was trying to gain “Drunkard’s Courage”. I smiled inside ‘cos I can’t outside.
“What’s happening?” I replied
Just then, another member of our clique, Mike A.K.A ‘Mickey’ pronounced ‘maikee’ came out from nowhere, and sat down.
“Whatta Guan Man. What’s cropping and popping” he said smiling like he just finished a mischievous act in the restroom.
I almost jumped out of my seat in shock except I realized he came out from the rest room and had been at the bar even before me. All my annoyance had not made me notice the wallet and the phone on the third seat of the four seats table.
“Hey… Mickey. What’s good bro?”
Mickey was the same age as Dave, he spent his early years in Jamaica with his Mum before they moved to Nigeria. His English had stints of patwah and he often used that as an additional bait for the ladies, then he was always the jovial one. His comedy skills blossomed, anytime we had a female in the ‘Circle’ (We called it circle. Means in our midst)
“What’s wrong with your brother here?… His grandpa just passed?” I asked
“Man, this nigga must tell you himself whatta guan. Me can’t guess. Anti’levo magical skills either”
I guessed Mickey meant he had no magical skills either, if by any means I’m right. So we sat and focused on Dave who had been so anonymous, I was starting to picture him spiraling down the soup pot.
“Will you put this on your forum? You know I am not scared of the spotlight. Gotta run now before madam gives me query letter” I could remember him saying the other day.
“Whatever happens next week, you’ll be the first to know”
Finally Dave found and his voice and started narrating what he promised I’ll be the first to know, while we sat attentively ‘cos like the comprehension secondary school lessons, we would be asked to talk based on the story we just heard.
—————— As Dave Narrated ——————–
Dave paid ‘my taxi’ service to pick June up at MMA and drop her at her hotel, where he promised to check on her later but due to scarcity of genuine excuse to ghost away from ‘Madam Titi’, he for some days was yet to meet up his end of the deal.
Guys will be guys anytime any day and an excuse came up. Dave completed the fifteen minutes’ drive in ten and after briefly looking here and there, gave himself the ‘all clear’ sign and made for room 221. That was around 7PM.
Dave knocked but his third knock only pushed open the almost unlocked door. He entered, looked around, heard water rush sounds in the bathroom and showed himself to a seat. He seemed fairly relaxed but his heart was beating like crazy.
“what exactly am I doing?… what if someone saw me on my way up here?…Or maybe on my out later on. I need to leave ’cos if Titi gets to know about this, I’m finished!… Oh Lord!… Don’t let the devil coarse me into using my own hand to scatter my happy, quiet and peaceful rela… WHAT THE….?”
Dave’s jaw loosed from its fitting as June stepped out of the shower in just her bra and panties, with a small towel wrapped around her head like an awkward looking head gear. June’s curves and physique were worth Dangote’s fortune and all those bare skin and the smile to embellish it broke out a plague of memories in Dave’s supposedly desolated memory lane.
Exactly then was when he remembered how he used to propose modeling to June and even almost compelled her but she always insisted it just wasn’t her thing and more discouraging is the way the modeling system and agency is being run in the country, where sponsors and agents sometimes demand sex from clients for their promotion and publicity and in return see the used innocent girls ‘move up the food chain’
“How did you get in? Mr. James Bond”
At that point was when Dave realized the door had been intentionally left to open but to seem closed ‘cos no one was going to knock in that time frame, except two people. One- room service (if he/she was called upon) Two- Him, the only expected visitor.
“Now I see!” he thought to himself at the realization of the cool planning June had set up… Almost like in some novels you read or in the movies.
“You’re thinking of a lie to tell right?… Save it. I left the door open. Just like back then. Gotcha!” she said as she swayed to the giant dressing table crouching like it was caving in from the weight of the magnificent mirror placed on it, switched on the light bulbs around the mirror and continued her normal after shower things like she was oblivious of the fact that there was someone else in the room.
“Or have you forgotten?” She asked, still looking at the mirror like she was talking to her reflection.
Forgotten?… How can he forget?… He couldn’t dare forget how June left the door of her and her roommates’ room open for him on three different occasions. Those days were ‘drunk days’ he always said whenever discussions gave way for a throwback.
He had sneaked in, made out with June and sneaked out. They both gave themselves the coded name “The Sne……”
“The Sneaky Humpers” June cut in like she had been the audience to his thoughts all along.
Dave laughed like a fool and June joined too, rotating her neck to a hundred degrees to capture the funny moment.
“What the hell was that?… Sneaky Humpers. That name was your brain child June. And you know that”
“Liar!… Stop it Dave, I don’t like it. It was your idea”
“I only said, let’s get a code name… I never came up with any… Remember?”
“Ok. Ok… It was my idea and it was just a flash thought. You were the one that stamped it as our code name. Now if you lie, a dog will appear from nowhere and lick your balls, right this minute”
They laughed like kids until all of a sudden, June stopped and made a straight face. At this time, she was already sitting with her back to the mirror.
“What is it June?”
June stood up from the rotating backless chair she was sitting on and sat on the edge of the king size bed, just a few feet away from where Dave was sitting.
Dave felt ‘that’ stupid nudge in his pants.
“I miss you Dee” She said, looking straight into his eyes.
She only called him Dee when they are in private and most times in a cuddling position. Although she had attempted calling him that in public, it sounded publicly unacceptable in the modern world and he had made her promise never to call his name as “Dee” in public. Sometimes, friends laughed at him and the embarrassment was topping up daily. Some friends had even started calling him “Dee” (with a different pronunciation though)
“I miss you too” Dave replied with the most sober tone he could put up
“I can’t believe I’m sitting here with you around, making me laugh like old times. Still like a dream”
“But it’s not”
“I wanna ask you a question…” and without pausing for any reply whatsoever, she continued “…If you really did love me back then, why couldn’t you wait for me like I did for you?”
Dave was stunned like he had just been hit on the head with a rock. No answer would go through and get a green light. Nothing could be said as a tangible explanation and the only bliss he could find refuge in was the vocal restrain he had when he tried saying something he didn’t even know exactly what it was.
“So it was all my fault!… I gave up on her while she hoped and waited for me. Arggh!… Damn! Too bad!… Just too bad”
Dave felt so bad and guilty not just because he thought he gave up on June but because he felt he sucked at the timing for reconnection. Guilt was written all over his face and the goose bumps all over his skin gave it some additional decoration.
“I really don’t know what to say J. I’m so sorry”
“No apologies needed… You’re a guy and I understand. Most times in a relationship, females are always putting too much into it than is necessarily needed.
“I don’t think that’s true. Really”
“Don’t form modesty on me Dee, I won’t buy it and you know that. I don’t even feel like I’ve wasted all these years, shoving and chasing away suitors just because I know one day, we would reconnect and…”
Her voice was starting to choke up.
Dave didn’t know what to say or do. He was like a stranger stuck in the world of sarcasm where everything probably meant the direct opposite or something else.
“Do you still have the tiniest flinch of feeling for me Dee?”
Before Dave’s nodding exercise could be completed, June had unhooked her bra and it slid down her body like a stripper on a pole.
“Then come show me”.
Mature Minds Talk.
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