On stepping out of the cab that took me all the way from Victoria Island to Shomolu I stood out like a sore thumb in my extravagant outfit. I couldn’t find time to change my clothes before coming over. All that was in my head was Jide. He was my peace, and I needed to find my peace.
I crossed the narrow gutter that stood between his house, and the streets, and ignored the small crowd that stared at me from a safe distance.I greeted the neighbours who sat outside, enjoying a non existent ambience, because there was no light.
“Evening aunty o, welcome” a plump woman with a baby suckling on her breast answered, while waving off mosquitoes with what appeared to be her blouse.
” Abeg, Jide dey house?” I asked her, and was answered by someone else all the way from the long narrow communal corridor.
“Ah aunty Simi, na you? Welcome o!” he hailed, walking towards me. Godfrey was one of the neighbours who quickly became my friend, over the couple of years I had been a regular visitor in their face to face compound.
“Godfrey, good evening o” I said, walking into the dark corridor, and towards Godfrey.
” Aunty long time o. Wetin my guy do you now? We no even see your break light.” he asked, swinging his arms.
” No problem o, na work cause am” was all I could say.
” Aunty na where you dey from come na? You are looking taken away o. Choi! Jiddddeeee! Na you o!” He said, as I walked past him, and went to knock on Jide’s door.
Two knocks on the door turned to five, till I found myself standing for five minutes before all the shuffling noises in the room silenced, and Jide came to the door.
Jide had his body in between the door, so I wouldn’t come in. He was five feet five, and very lanky. Those were some of the things my mum and friends usually complained about him. His height and his stature was just not good enough for them. But I didn’t mind. I wasn’t looking for Mr Prefect, but Mr Right.
Being three good inches taller than him, and also, with the additional help of my heels, his position was pointless. I had a clear view of his room already.
“Can I come in?” I asked.
“Yes, yes,” he said, widening the door, and moving out of the way.
I walked into his little apartment, so picollo, it was just a little bit larger than my shoe closet. I never really put it to mind. I only cared about my Jide.
The bed was un made, and I wondered why. He cleared a part of it for me to sit, while making a phone call.
” Hello, how far?” he said after the person he called answered seemingly on the first ring.
” Okay, please just wait there. Wait for me. I’ll be with you shortly”
He ended the call, and placed the phone on his study table. He looked flustered. Jide was never flustered, and what’s with the messy apartment?
“Simi, I can explain” He started. Obviously referring to his deserting me the moment we got to Nigeria.
” How?” I asked, trying hard not to cry.
” I called you. I left you messages. I lost my dad. Everything is falling apart! Where were you? Where were you when I needed you?” I was shaking uncontrollably.
I don’t know how I managed to survive without him. But seeing him, and revisiting all that was happening, was difficult to handle.
“I’m sorry Simi. I’m sorry about your dad.” he said, drawing me closer, as he sat beside me.
“Jide, what happened? What is going on with you?” I asked, finalling letting go of my emotions, as the welled up tears flowed freely.
” I can explain, I promise you” He said again, wiping off my tears.
We sat there for minutes until the door flung open, and he suddenly let go of me. I looked up to see a fair skinned lady with a towel wrapped around her bosom.
“Jide what is the meaning of all this!” she yelled
” S- sarah… I- ” Jide stammered
” How can you keep me waiting like that in the bathroom. You know it’s a public bathroom. You were supposed to join me, and you just let those neighbours of your’s to be shouting at me. I don’t like it” she was truly upset with him. She noticed me after she was done with all she had to say.
“And who’s our guest?” she asked smiling.
” Please, pardon my manners, I didn’t really see you there. Hope he’s entertained you?” She smiled from ear to ear, revealing her beautiful well of dimples. I was shocked out of my mind. Too shocked to say anything, as I shook her hands.
” The name is Sarah- ”
Jide cut her short. ” Um s- Sarah, S- Simi, er, ”
He was perspiring so much, the room was getting stuffy.
” You can explain right? That’s what you want to say? I asked, and he nodded, while I rose up from the bed. I took off my shoes, and folded them under my arms.
I walked out of Jide’s apartment, and out of Jide’s life. I never knew my night could get any worse, after leaving the party.
But as I walked barefoot, on the muddy streets, allowing my beautiful dress get soiled, I began to wonder, who opened Pandora’s box, why was it all falling on me, and when would all the misery end…?