The shock written all over Giorgio’s face soon gave way; gradually metamorphosing into heavy grief electric with anger and indignation. Monica was the last person he expected to see at his door; she had never been to his house and he didn’t remember seeing her in the last two years after she thoroughly embarrassed him and warned him to stay away from her best friend.
Monica was Shade’s best friend while they were all in school, though Giorgio severally warned Shade to sever the friendship as Monica only cared about the next gig or the newest club in town, and everybody on campus knew her as a material girl; Shade did not listen, but she promised Giorgio never to be influenced by Monica’s attitude to material things, and that he was making his conclusion from what people were saying and not based on the real Monica who was the most loyal friend anyone could ever pray to have. She told Giorgio of how Monica had been standing by her and had bent backwards every time to ensure her happiness since they became friends from their 100 level days. Giorgio soon left them alone but he was never really into Monica and he tried to stay away from her throughout their days on campus.
Giorgio still could not say a word as waves of anger coursed through his body; turning from passive to aggressive, as her last words to him replayed in his brain.
Shade and Monica were posted to Ibadan for their national Youth Service and were living together in a tastefully furnished 2-bedroom apartment in Agodi GRA. Shade had refused to tell Giorgio how they were able to afford such an apartment within two months into their service year, and when he started showing concern about her lifestyle and her sudden flow of money, she started avoiding his calls; and whenever she picked, she would start a quarrel, snap at him or just let him do all the talking while she gave one-liner answers. That continued for about three months until her line stopped connecting, and a clearly worried Giorgio decided to visit on her birthday to beg her, try to save their already failing relationship and possibly celebrate her 25th year birthday with her. He met Monica at the door of their apartment….
“…. As you can see, Shade is not around; she has travelled to Dubai with her fiancé. And in case you haven’t noticed, she is no longer interested in a broke ass like you, she managed to stay with you in school because of your influence on campus while hoping your influence will affect your life positively after school, and now that you have been out of school for two years and you have refused to make money and step up, my girl has to move on; and I will advise you to move on too, maybe to some chewing gum secondary school girls, that is if you will find one, because an empty pocket really does not deserve an erection” Monica spat with contempt and disdain.
“But please, could you give me a number I can reach her on in Dubai, I just want to wish her a happy birthday” Giorgio managed to say through the shock and obvious disappointment.
“Guy, you are not listening to me, my friend is no more interested in you, and she’s not looking forward to any phone call from you, she actually changed her line thanks to your incessant disturbances. So, you can leave this place respectfully and never come back, or I scream at the top of my voice, accusing you of being a thief and a rapist; and trust me, you’d be mobbed in a twinkling of an eye”
He remembered his mood when he left Ibadan that day, how he contemplated flinging himself in the path of the next oncoming vehicle but he couldn’t just do it, how he wished something bad would accidentally happen to him like a stray bullet from some over-excited policeman hitting him, or some mad driver would run him over as he dragged himself to Challenge to board a bus back to Lagos, but none of that happened. Instead, after two years of pain and heartbreak, the person who he believed was solely responsible for his grief was standing at his door, looking like a lost puppy; at the point when he was about deciding to love someone else again.
“Sweetheart, is there any problem? Who is at the door?”
Giorgio seemed to regain his consciousness as Joan called out from the bedroom again. He took one final look at Monica, smiled wryly and said to her. “I don’t know why you are here, and seriously I do not care, I am about taking your advice of more than two years ago; I am moving on. But, not to some chewing gum secondary school girls as you suggested or expected, but to someone bigger and better – literally”
“Giorgio, please, listen to me I beg you, I can explain every….”
Giorgio slammed the door in her face before she could finish her sentence. He was visibly upset, shocked and confused at the same time, he loved Shade and probably still loved her, but he hated Monica, he was not a violent person but seeing Monica that morning almost made him do something regrettable. He was sure she was the cause of everything that went wrong in his love-life and nothing would ever make him forgive her. Ball of tears welled up in his eyes as he remembered all the good times he shared with Shade when they were lovebirds.
“Sweetheart, what is it? Who was at the door?” Joan asked as she walked out of the bedroom wearing one of Giorgio’s white t-shirt, with nothing underneath; the mounds on her chest bounced seductively as she moved towards him. Giorgio looked at her, images of Shade in his mind faded away; replaced by a prettier, sexier and more humane woman standing in front of him. He grabbed her as a lion would his prey, almost crushing her, kissing her hungrily with all his strength like it was his last kiss on earth and at the same time, whimpering like a baby.
Joan couldn’t keep up with the kiss, she tried to break free to catch her breath, but he wouldn’t let her go, she tried to scream but her voice was muffled by Giorgio’s tongue filling her mouth.
“You are hurting me” she managed to say as she used all her strength to push him away. Giorgio collapsed on the sofa, cupping his face in his hands; mumbling “I am sorry, I am so sorry. Please forgive me….”
She moved close to him and knelt between his legs “Sweetheart, there is nothing to be sorry about, I know the sudden surge in your emotion has everything to do with the person at the door, but since you are hiding the person’s identity from me; maybe I should just go and find out myself” she said as she made to stand up.
Giorgio dragged her back “No! Please, the person at the door has nothing to do with you, and I just want you stay here with me; be my woman and wipe away my tears. Would you …? Please” he said with teary eyes. Joan stared at him for a while
“I am not in doubt about what I feel for you, but seeing the mood you are in right now; I am not so sure if you really want to start a relationship with me or you just want to use me as a rebound from whatever it is you are going through or having with that woman at the door”
“I told you the woman at the door has nothing to do with you; she was just someone who knew the person I was dating back in school”
“So you are sure she is not your girlfriend, your ex or something like that?”
“I swear to you, she is not my girlfriend. I don’t know what she wants or what she wants to say but I am not interested” he said with much seriousness.
“Ok, so ….” the doorbell rang again cutting her short, Giorgio reacted first, getting up from his seat; strode over to the door, his face livid with rage as he turned the doorknob.
“Monica, I told you….” The sight of the slim, beautiful and tall woman at the door cut short his intended tirade, he could no longer gather his thoughts; instead he let out a short, soft moan
“I am so sorry Giorgio” she said as she went on her knees.