He didn’t go back to his aunt’s place until a few days after his finals. He told himself he was just stopping by to tell his mom he was going spend the holidays with one of his friends. They were going to be teaching brain-dead SS students who were planning to take their WAEC and JAMB exams in a couple of months. It was good money and more importantly he would have a place to sleep. He didn’t think he wanted to bother his aunt any further. The woman and her husband might not complain, but he felt he shouldn’t be an added burden on them.
He’d just paid the Okada which brought him to the house and was walking towards the gates, when a Honda Civic pulled out before the gates. He watched like one transfixed as his goddess got down from the car and slammed the door. She’d barely begun to strut towards the gates when the Honda Civil sped away. He didn’t need a sixth sense to tell him all wasn’t well in paradise.
‘Welcome, Aunty,’ the guard called cheerily to her.
‘Thank you, Monday,’ she responded quietly as she continued on her way.
He hurried after her. It wasn’t an easy fate since he was carrying his traveling bag that seemed to weigh a ton. He caught up with her as she was about to ascend the stairs. He realized in a split second that she was actually standing there lost in thought. He surmised that she was thinking about the fight she’d just had with her boyfriend.
‘Hi,’ he said quietly as he walked by her and began to ascend the stairs.
His steps faltered as she answered. He wasn’t expecting her to answer. He felt like an incapable fool as he realized that he hadn’t thought of what to say to her. His back was still turned to her as he struggled to come up with something—-anything—-to say. ‘I’m here to see my mom,’ he said and wished he didn’t once the words came out of his mouth.
He turned to look at her surprised. Maybe it was the laughter in her voice as she said Dede…
‘I’ve met your mom. She’s always talking about you.’
‘Oh!’ He felt mortified as he looked up the stairs wondering what his mom had been telling her.
‘Only good things,’ she assured him with a tingling laughter.
He looked at her as her laughter warmed his heart. She was indeed an incredible-looking girl. Even more beautiful close-up. ‘My name is actually not Dede…..’
‘I know. She just loves to call you that. She thinks the world of you.’
I think the world of you. ‘She’s a great mom.’
‘We like her; my sisters and my mom. She comes to our place regularly now and we just sit around and talk.’
‘She is really nice.’ Stop, you’re sounding like a broken record.
‘You’re just coming from school?’ she asked eyeing his bag.
He nodded quietly.
‘I can still remember those days,’ she was with a reminiscing smile. ‘I could hardly wait to get out of school once I’ve written my final exams.’
‘I feel the same way.’ He wondered when she left college. He felt it was definitely not that long ago.
She was about to speak when a phone blared. He knew it wasn’t his phone which he’d not used in a while because he couldn’t afford to buy minutes into it. He watched as she retrieved her phone from her purse and looked at the caller-id. As she rolled her eyes in apparent annoyance, he wondered who it was.
‘Yes?’ she said coolly when she took the call. ‘What? Of course you should apologize. You acted like a pompous ass and I mean it. So what if a guy makes a move on your girl? What do you take me for? You think I can’t tell a guy off especially one that is so annoying? Or maybe you think I will swoon at his feet because he said hello, baby?’ She sighed loudly as she listened. ‘You were almost spitting fire because I said hello. I wonder what you would do if I stayed and talked to the idiot. You would probably crack open his head and embarrass me at my friend’s party. Honestly, you need to stop acting like you need to keep an eye on me. You want to apologize? And the next time a guy tries to pick me up?’ She shook her head. ‘You are where? Outside? Ok, I’m coming. I just want to listen to you apologize in person and I’m going back inside.’
She was already walking away before she turned to acknowledge the guy standing on the stairs watching her. ‘See you, Dede,’ she said with a smile as she hurried outside.
He followed her outside, his emotions churning. He felt like he’d been shown a glimpse of heaven and it was taken from him before he could savor the feeling. He stopped at the door of the building since he could see her from there. The Honda Civic was parked by the gates and the guy leaning against her was trying to pull her into his arms. Like a lamb led to the slaughter, he stood there as he began to accept his fate. He watched like one hypnotized as the guy continued to plead with her and finally she stopped resisting and let the guy enfold her in his arms. As their happy laughter echoed in his ears, he wished he knew what to do to get her. He was still standing there when she got into the Honda Civic and the car drove off. He could almost understand the guy’s jealousy. He would definitely spit fire if she was with him and some idiot tried to pick her up. But she wasn’t with him and she might never be with him.
As he returned into the building, he remembered the lyrics to one of his favorite songs of all times: John Blunt’s You’re Beautiful.
My life is brilliant.
My love is pure.
I saw an angel. Of that I’m sure.
She smiled at me on the subway.
She was with another man.
But I won’t lose no sleep on that, ‘Cause I’ve got a plan.
You’re beautiful, it’s true.
I saw your face in a crowded place,
And I don’t know what to do,
‘Cause I’ll never be with you
You’re beautiful, it’s true.
There must be an angel with a smile on her face,
When she thought up that I should be with you.
But it’s time to face the truth, I will never be with you.