London Style & Lagos Living – Where Do We Go From Here?

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Continued from here.

There’s an awkward pause when he comes in.  I ask him to sit and I quickly change the TV channel hoping that he won’t think me superficial for watching E!

I must desist from this train of thought, I tell myself. It’s silly because this isn’t some stranger. This is Nnanna. Someone I had shared something meaningful with. I refuse to call him an ex. The word seems so commonplace, so trivial. So dismissive. No, he’s not my ex. He’s… but I can’t find right words to describe it.

We make small talk. He asks how my day was and I compliment him on his beard growth. He casually dismisses my appreciative words about his looks and it occurs to me that he’s still as oblivious about his beauty as he was before. I try not to think about how good he smells. I believe it’s Guerlain L’Homme Ideal. Of course, the ideal man indeed.

L'Homme Ideal Cologne Guerlain for men

 

Luckily, there are sugar coated groundnuts in the fridge and I serve him that with a glass of fresh orange juice. I gingerly sit beside him by the sofa, a little apprehensive still. Afraid of the way I feel. Uncertain what the expression on his face showed and most of all, ignorant of the real reason behind this surprise visit.

Nnanna: ‘Did you lose a little weight or is it my imagination?’

Kubi: ‘I did lose weight. I was under the weather for a bit. Plus it’s been almost a year now but Lagos still takes its toll on me.’

Nnanna: ‘I can imagine. Are you better now though?’

He turns towards me as he speaks, concern written all over his face. I derive satisfaction from the look and I’m tempted to prolong it and feign some sort of epidemic and exaggerated pain.

‘I’m fine. Really quite well.’ I say finally.

Nnanna: ‘Where’s your mom? I remember how she was very opposed to my visits. I never could be sure whether it stemmed from her not liking me or her just generally opposed to visits from the opposite sex.’

Kubi: ‘Why would you think she didn’t like you? It’s just her being protective.  You would think that I having only my mother would make things easier for me to manipulate but trust me she does the work of a mother, a father and an older sibling to boot. And of course, a sometimes best friend.’

Nnanna: ‘I can understand the selective friendship. There are definitely some things we can’t ever tell our parents no matter how cool they are.’

Kubi: ‘You know this.’

We lapsed into a comfortable silence for a while. A cool silence, interrupted only by the sound of the television.

Words hang in the hair between us. Questions. Answers.

I ask myself if I know the right things to say. If I would be truthful and if I would want him to even ask. What does he think of me now? I wonder. I want to get into his head but I have to wait till he’s ready to let me know anything. If he’s even interested or willing.

Nnanna: ‘So how’s Chima? You both must be dating by now.’

The question breaks into my reverie. I feel so uncomfortable and I sit upright involuntary. I didn’t expect him to be so direct. I know I want us to talk but the fella sure knows how to go straight to the point.

Kubi: ‘He’s married.’

It’s his turn to be shocked. The look on his face changes from surprise, to incredulity to pity and then accusatory. I know at once what he must be thinking.

‘Nnanna, trust me that I didn’t  know. I would never have allowed anything to happen if I had.’

‘It’s just funny and unbelievable at the same time.’ He says with a small smile.

Kubi:  ‘I know right. I mean you wonder when he had the time to plan a wedding when he had his tongue down other girls’ throats and all.’

Nnanna: ‘No. I meant it’s just funny how you can begrudge him for being into you when he had someone he wanted to marry but you forget that you had a boyfriend when you let yourself go with him.’

Shoot me.

I feel like a roller coaster just climbed over my head. What the hell? I mean I can’t even come back from this one. I have absolutely nothing to say. He just spoke the damn truth.

I stand up and pick up the tray with the empty dish and glass. My hands are shaking and I know that if I don’t leave his presence, I’m going to burst into tears from the shame.

He leans back, his eyes never leaving me.

I walk into the kitchen as the first drop falls from my eyes. I finally admit to myself what I knew since the moment I laid my eyes on him again at the mall.  I still love him. And now I’ve lost him to little Miss Karachika.

Silent tears roll down my face as I wash up the bowl and glass and place them in the rack to dry.

My head is bent down and I absent mindedly allow water from the faucet run over my hands for a while.

Gather yourself together Kubi, I tell myself in a small voice I can barely recognise as mine. I wipe my face with my hands.

I check the time on my Omega Constellation watch. A gift from Kweku.  I remember him giving it to me, beautifully wrapped, while he was bent on one knee. For a moment then, I had thought it was a ring and I eagerly opened it and not at all disappointed when I revealed the sleek, stylish watch instead. I feel like a billion bucks anytime I have it on.

Omega Constellation Ladies Watch

 

It’s nearly half past 8. I wonder whether if I stay in the kitchen a little longer, he’ll get the message and let himself out. Won’t Karachika be somewhere waiting for him?

Damn. This hurts. This hurts bad. When you have that one person from the past who comes back, looking 100 times hotter and you wish you guys could still click but, alas, he is so over you.

I straighten up and force myself to walk back into the living room, resolved to not let him see how much he got to me with his words. He’s still seated. Not a dent in composure. I want to wrap myself in those arms but with my luck he’ll just be even more certain I’m a slut.

Nnanna: ‘I thought you weren’t going to come out of there. I just gave myself five more minutes  till I stopped resisting coming to fetch you out of hiding.’

Kubi: ‘Nnanna…’

He stops talking. Looks at me. Like really looks at me, like he could see into my soul.

Waiting for me.

‘I’m sorry.’ I finally bring myself to say.

I’m waiting for the tirade of words to fall on me. I’m waiting to hear the disbelief in his voice.

I almost didn’t hear him.

‘Come’ He says. ‘Let’s go somewhere.’

Huhn?

‘Where?’

‘Somewhere we have good memories of…’

I smile at him. He smiles back. I don’t care about the time. I’m so happy my mother isn’t at home to question this recklessness!

I rush into my room, brush out my weave, apply the bare minimum of  makeup and slip on my Diane Von Furstenberg  wrap dress and black Tory Burch sandals and rush out to meet him.

dvf wrap dress

 

Maybe there’s hope after all?

 

To be continued on Friday.

 

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