Three weeks had passed since my inglorious union with Mrs Leigh. Three depressingly agonizing weeks; I kept expecting to turn into a frog, croak and die, or dry up within seconds as I watched as life was snuffed out of me. Nothing happened. That Saturday, and the following Sunday were the hardest, call me paranoid, but I am a true Yoruba dude and all those Fadeyi Oloro flicks I saw growing up didn’t help my blood pressure.
So, I called up Dare and Tolu, two of my hombres and advised them about what happened Friday night / Saturday morning. The mistake I made, I recounted the events to them in person. Tolu stood there too dazed to speak at first, whilst Dare was beside himself with laughter. There I was, possibly dying, my fear legitimate and my friends could find no other expression than mock me. I felt I may have chosen to walk in the wrong pack all my life.
When he finally spoke, Dare’s sarcasm was unmistakable. ‘So you had a glorious night that dudes only imagine, you lived it, and survived and now, you’re talking of some nonsensical ‘magun’. Dude, are you a learner’?
I rolled my eyes and looked to Tolu who had remained silent. ‘Tell this mufu that my fear is valid man’?
Tolu sat there and continued staring at me in an uncanny way. I couldn’t guess what was going on in his perverted mind; I sat still waiting for him to talk.
‘Ode ni bobo yi sha! Dude you were supposed to get her number and even bring her here for the weekend, instead you acted like a girl and ran away.’ Dare was obviously riled about something I guessed. Eventually I found what it was that got his mouth frothing, that is a story for another day.
Tolu finally smiled, stood up and asked; ‘if I go to this address and ask for the lady, I’ll see her’? He meant the address that I’d given them in case anything untoward befell me in the coming days. Don’t ask me how I got the address; I’m a Jason Bourne fan.
‘I guess’, I shrugged.
‘Good, then I guess I should go see if this woman is not Ayamatanga herself. By the way, let me also do my research and give you my findings.’ Tolu started out of the room.
On cue, Dare and I caught him and for the first time that day, Dare had my back. We fought, argued and then agreed, no one would go see Mrs Leigh, she was a ghost of the past – figuratively. The next day, Monday, I threw myself into work, by noon I had forgotten her. That Friday on my way to happy hour, I remembered and instead of going to my favourite bar, I sat in traffic for two hours cursing and driving, on my way home.
But like I said initially, it had been three weeks. I hadn’t tasted alcohol since that day, I didn’t fool myself I had given up the habit, I knew in my mind that I was waiting for a chance, an excuse to get close to the bottle. And like all heart-felt prayers, I got my wish. Tunde was organizing a sepe night for the boys. He had celebrated his birthday during the week and wanted us to be part of the party hence our little gathering.
I need to say here that whenever the boys gathered, all sorts of unpredictable things were bound to happen and that night was no different. It began with Wale singing yarn songs after two glasses of wine. Yeah, when I said sepe, I meant Tunde had a desire to ply us full with alcohol that night. Hennessy, Moet and other assorted wines were on our table, there were also beer and my trustee Star Lager.
Twelve of us sat round the table drinking alcohol, each nursing his alcohol with his preferred pepper soup. I was nursing my half full glass of wine whilst enjoying my Nkwobi when Wale got his wave and started off with ‘gbe salary baba e wa, ka fi m’emu o…’ needless to say, the others joined in the circus and before you could say ‘Goodluck Jonathan’, boys were standing, their glasses in their hands as they danced and sang. Thank God it was an open place a la O’Jez at the National Stadium.
So they started dancing; dudes in suits, ties drawn down and they were making a fool of themselves with reckless abandon, I sat still dignified eating my nkwobi in peace when it happened again.
The girl sitting behind me tapped me on the back and said as I turned round ‘You’re too cool to sing and dance with your friends’?
It was a soft rebuke; I looked around and saw that the place was abuzz others had joined in the fun. I made a face, ‘maybe I’m really hungry.’ I went back to my pepper soup hoping to be left alone, she didn’t. Matter of fact, she brazenly left her seat and came to our table, sitting in Charles’ chair beside me.
‘My name is Tina’, she introduced herself. She helped herself to Charles’ isi-ewu which I found amusing for the strangest of reasons. Till today, I can’t for the life of me explain why I was laughing.
‘Akin’, I never offer my name in full, I mean Akinola is a cool name right?
We gisted under the din and by the time Charles came for a bite of his meat, I had a wonderful laugh as I introduced him to Tina. She smiled at him and he looked like I had just stolen his trophy. He refilled his glass and went away.
We talked for some time and by the time my already drunk friends decided to finally sing the birthday song for Tunde, Tina was at our table, her glass raised as she sang and toasted with us. Tolu and Dare eyed me, but I couldn’t care less; I was having fun and I had yet to finish the wine in my glass, so I was in control. The party ended after the song and the toast.
At first I was at a loss what to do with Tina, I had found out she was a sales personnel at an insurance company, she had tried hustling me there and had given me her card. I kept mum about my job, any mention of my company’s name would only make her hustle more vehemently.
So there I stood hugging my hombres and watching them leave, I nudge Tina and we follow them out. Tolu came to me, ‘can I talk to you for a minute’?
We moved away from Tina.
‘You sure she’s not married’? He mocked me.
I roll my eyes, ‘dude, I’m not drunk. It’s like I didn’t take alcohol oo.’
‘All I am trying to say is, be careful, get a steady girl if you ready need to do that.’
I stared at Tolu in amazement as he walked away from me. I understood his concern; what annoyed me was he witnessed my meltdown when I got my ass dumped by Imole, my ex. A wave of anger mixed with depression overcame me, I went back to Tina, we made it to the park and there I asked probably the most stupid line ever. ‘Can I give you a ride to my place’?
She sniffed my breath to determine I wasn’t drunk then smiled at me. I’m going home, call me’.
She left me standing there in the car park feeling lonely. I stood there for almost five minutes then got in my car and drove out the gate only to be ambushed by Tina. I smiled as I unlocked the car; it didn’t occur to me that she may have called her accomplices to get ready to jack my car on the way. Guess when you are thinking on the lower dimension…
As I drove her home, I knew what I was getting into. With eyes wide opened, I had made a call that was wrong in all ramifications. I had been out for almost a year and half, time to get back in the mix and rustle things up a little. As I drew closer to home, KSA came to mind ‘ale oni a yato, ti daji oni se ko…’