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“He who wants to mix love and segregation will only end up achieving nothing & losing both ways.”
“Hey whatsup dear” I said as I picked up the phone from my lying position. One good thing about people like me is the ability to ease seamlessly into other people’s life and by that I mean we make friends easily. Making friends is easy cheesy and Lizzy’s case was easier, considering the fact that she called me first and she was naturally a comely person. She even had already asked me to come see her at home even though we just got on thesame page.
“When did you say you are coming to see me?” Lizzy asked.
There was always something I loved about her voice. Her “requesting” voice. Her voice can make someone do something he or she doesn’t want to, out of pity or sympathy. A good example was going to see her which I had never had the plan of doing. Albeit for no genuine reason, I just didn’t feel like.
“Later in the day, and it’s not you I even want to check on. It’s Little Tammy”
“Hahaha… Why na?… I be old cargo?”
“Na you talk am oh”… “I no kuku call u old cargo. Silly you”
I was already in love with Lizz… No! Don’t think faster than you read. I was in love with Lizzy’s Daughter. Dorothy or Damilola. You just got to love her. 3 years and 10 months old. Very sharp & more intelligent than her age.
“My name is Tammy (Dammy)” she said with a smile when I spoke to her on phone and asked for her name. You know little kids and the exchange of “D” with “T”. Even some adults do it. I kind of love kids & this was one lovely kid.
I checked my bedside clock. “10:20AM”
It shouldn’t be more than thirty to thirty-five minutes’ drive from my place to Lizzy’s but Lagos’ traffic makes journeys timeless. Just yesterday, Titi had called, saying she wanted to see me and since then I’ve been hoping it’s not that someone had gone ahead to tell her the forbidden news since we all agreed it wasn’t yet time. And yes that reminded me of how the first stage of Dave’s confession saga in the Step Inn went.
After Dave had narrated his ordeal with June, I and Mickey couldn’t talk for like 2 minutes. “Oh boy eh!…” I said just at the same time when Mickey also found his voice.
“This is bad. Bad. I mean Real bad man!”
“I’m so ashamed of myself. I don’t even know what to do…”
“You should be. Aswear” Mickey cut in before Dave could finish & I knew at this rate, voices would be raised. Well, like I didn’t need my psychic thing for that cos in no time, Dave & Mickey were quietly shouting at each other & I was cutting into both’s statement, trying to put an abrupt end to their childlike behaviour.
“Like say na this guy holy pass”
“At least I don’t claim ‘Mr. One woman man’. Do I?… And you claim you’re about to be engaged or….”
“Guys!… Abeg na. Bouncer go come throw us comot oh” I said, trying to be the peacemaker and calm the adult uproar.
They just continued at each other like I had suddenly gone extinct.
“Just try to put yourself in someone’s shoes before you open your mouth and judge. Hanhan!”
I thought for a second to tell Dave to take back what he just said ‘cos dramatically, the very night of his mess up, Titi flirted me or we flirted with ourselves and I stood strong in the face of strong temptation. Had it not being for my self control, we could be exchanging pleasantries of confessions.
“Oh well!… I’m not about putting a ring on any lady’s hand. And I will never fall for such if I was about to, even in your shoes”
“That’s exactly how easy it is to say, until they fall the next victim. Abeg abeg”
“Wait till the news gets to your only ‘madam’ na”
“How will she know?… She’s not a witch na. Unless you hawk the news to her. In which case, you’re very immature”
“F you man!… Inma d’ame Boomboclat”
At this point, I knew I had to come in or else, we’re sure getting bounced.
“GUYS!… CUT THE CRAP!!!” I shouted, ignoring others in the bar who have been disturbed and made eye contact with the dark, thick and roughly built guy at the door. I clasped both hands together intending to portray an “I’m sorry” sign.
He replied with a slight nod.
That was how we were. Four friends who aren’t afraid of poking each other in the eyeball if need be & garnish it up with a corrective “sorry”. After managing to escape being bounced, I successfully calmed them down and the next series of conversation was what to next. The deed has been done and the next thing is to know the way forward. – Not beating ourselves backward.
“So what is the way forward” I asked the two men on my either side like the boss in a conference meeting.
“It’s his mess man. In’ma pack it” Mickey waved his hand like he just saw something disgusting.
After much “this and that” talk, we concluded that we’ll keep it between us. We won’t even tell Doctor FM – He was too outspoken and may slip. I was the quietest and most reserved in the group so if any news was going to break, it’s definitely going to be between Believe and Mickey. We decided and concluded. The imaginary oath of silence was taken.
“But for how long?” I thought to myself. “How am I even going to be able to look at Titi if she gets to know I knew something like this and kept it from her”. “What if Dave told her himself & she gets to know we concluded on silence. That would kindda tarnish my image. Or won’t it?” “What the hell is wrong with this June or whatever her name is?… Huhn?!”
——————- 2 Hours later ———————-
“I’m determined to make your date with your wife a smooth and eventful one” Lizzy said, grinning widely as we strolled round “The Palms Mall” she was wheeling the cart around like some playful child and her ever smiling face was even more radiant. My psychic thing made me realize it’s been a really long time she went out with a guy. A lot of troubles lie on the path of single mums. It is so not easy. She was wearing a long Versace black and white gown with a black scarf dropping from the sides of her head and wrapped around her neck. She looked a bit arabian and she finished it off with a simple dull grey sandals.
I didn’t know and never really cared much about fashion. So I just wore my jean & burberry white round neck top & a short sleeved burberry shirt on it with loose buttons. I did not know… More of I did not care if I looked good or not.
“Thanks. Hope it’s for real and not just some bad belle talk” I replied as I changed the hand with which I held Tammy. She also looked cute in a yellow polo shirt and a blue jean trousers to match. She had a yellow and black hi-top to kill it off. Cute!
We bought a few more things then took Tammy to the games arcade. She ran off joyfully to join up with like five more kids playing “blind slide” or something, about her age group and totally forgot how she got there.
At first, everything was cool at first and we watched the children from one corner to the other. It was like the room was problem proof. They evidently had nothing to worry about and they were really having the time of their lives in there. “If there was just a room like this for adults where all problems will just vanish… Oh ok!… We have the bars and beer parlours”. I thought for a while.
Like 5 minutes after Tammy was gone, I was starting to feel like a guy who has to be left in the company of a stranger by her friend, trying to set up a match of them both. One way or the other, uneasiness and nervousness started creeping in. My left thumb caressed the screen of my S4 and from the corner of my eyes, I could see Lizzy toying with her fingers.
“Kids” she said like she was thinking aloud, her line of sight focused on the kids playing, oblivious of the two nervous adults, implementing their business as the perfect alibi.
“They ain’t gat no worries” I replied in the same manner, my thumb continuing its subconscious job.
“Look at her. Isn’t she beautiful?”
“She is. Beautiful and full of life”
“I love her so much. If only she didn’t look so much like her dad. Any time she reflects or behave like her dad, I snap and sometimes lose it. I’ve even gone as far as hitting her once. I cried afterwards cos she’s just innocent and It’s like I’m just blaming her for my stupidity…”
“Where’s her dad?” I cut in, since I might not get the right opportunity to ask after this conversation.
“The idiot is in Wales. He used me, duped me, and dumped me. I was a fool for love but that’s once upon a time. My heart is blocked now. I’ll forever despise the day I met him. Men are just a bunch of assholes”
I felt slapped.
“Not all men though” I said beneath my breath.
“Yea. You’re right. Pardon my generalization”
Silence prevailed for around three minutes as Kanye West’s “Heartless” played from somewhere.
“I hate coincidences like this” I thought to myself.
Lizzy reached for the goodie bag and took two bars of Snickers. Handed one to me and continued watching. I held the chocolate and looked sideways at her. Observed, stared, gazed, and whatever was there to qualify gaping at someone.
“One-twenty! that makes it two minutes of you staring at the old cargo”
I was completely taken aback cos I was 90 percent sure I was out of her peripheral range of vision.
“You owl!” I screamed.
We laughed, did some other petty talking and I was very much relieved that the lighter mood was back. She made a “time” sign to the playroom coordinator and he immediately went to fetch Dorothy.
All the kids hugged her one after the other and Lizzy and I were like “WHAT?!”. Then something strange happened. The last kid a cute boy of about five hugged her longer and gave her a peck on either cheek. With mouths wide opened, I and Lizzy stared at each other before she bursted in laughter, wrapping her arms around her stomach.
“What?!” I asked sarcastically
“How many minutes? Oh my days!… That should be in the Guinness book of records as the shortest relationship ever”
“Leave my wife alone. I’m not complaining. Am I?”
Tammy ran into my hands as I carried her up against my chest. She waved to the group and they waved back… Everyone except the little kid. He just stared and I took it as he was too emotional to wave back.
“Kids” I whispered.
I drove Lizzy and Dorothy back home and the ride was just a jolly one. I was the comedian. And they both made an inspiring audience.
“Thanks for today. I’ve not gone out like this in a long long time” Lizzy said as she saw me off to my car.
“Anything to please my Mother-In-Law”
“You’re not serious”
“I am oh. Impression is one of the most important things in this life. And I’ve just got to leave a positive one.”
“Do you have a girlfriend?”
Something pinched my spinal line.
“What?!… Of course not!”
“Do you have prospectives or a crush?”
“Do you love your ex?”
Mature Minds Talk.