Alewa drove listlessly through the streets of Lagos, not ready to go home to her empty apartment and far from ready to face her demons yet. She wanted some distractions, she wanted some peace of mind, she needed to not think or feel for some hours but just observe. She decided to drive down to the beach, there will be plenty to see and observe there to take her mind off her woes.
As she navigated through the Lagos traffic, she put on her car stereo and listened to some music all the while trying not to think of her life and what it could have been like if her mother had not died and if that man had not decided to make her his pseudo wife.
Now, she’s so closed off she can’t bear to have any relationship or even make friends. She’s so terrified of forming any lasting relationship with anyone, scared that if she dared, at some point she might be asked about her past, and she could not dare to reveal that.
She finally got to the beach, found a parking space, removed her high heeled sandals and took out the slip-on she always kept in her car for emergencies like this. She put them on, rummaged in her purse for a hair tie and used it to pull her hair into a ponytail when she found one. She put her phones in her jeans pocket, removed her jacket, leaving just her yellow chiffon top, rolled up her jeans, used some facial wipes to wipe her face free of all makeup and traces of tears. She then locked her car, and set off on foot towards the beckoning water.
She walked past tourist haggling over prices of adire, a particular tie and dye material specially made by the women selling them, she walked past couples strolling hand in hand too absorbed with themselves to notice anyone or anything around them, she walked past young boys with earphones glued to their ears and their head shaking as they enjoyed the music blasting in their ears, she walked past young ladies in bum shorts looking for a maga to treat them right that day, she walked past them all, oblivious to the man walking closely behind her observing all her moves.
She was focused on her goal, she walked steadily towards the water until she could feel the coldness on her feet, the cold reminded her that she was still human, it reminded her that at least for now, at this moment, she was alive. Alewa closed her eyes, and absorbed the feeling; she stood there and just let the water lap at her feet.
“It feels good, doesn’t it?” King said beside her
Alewa almost jumped out of her skin. She started and quickly turned to the spot where the voice came from. She was surprised to see the same guy at the parking lot standing right beside her. Is he stalking me? What is he doing here?
“What am I doing here?” he looked at her and smiled
She nodded vigorously, at a loss for words.
“Same as you, just enjoying the beautiful serene atmosphere out here.”
She looked at him incredulously. “Are you not the one I saw some hours ago at the hospital?”
“King Karo at your service ma’am. My friends call me K.K.” He bowed lavishly
“You’re a king?” she stared
“No.” he laughed. “My parents just had a thing for royalty. King is my first name.”
“Oh.” She didn’t even crack a smile.
“So, what’s your name?”
She looked at him and just moved away without replying. King watched her go, wondering what her problem was. Is it that she has a thing against men or is it just me? But I can’t give her what she wants, I can’t leave her alone. Lord, is this you or just my flesh? Why do I feel so drawn to her?
Alewa walked on without looking back. She wondered what the guy’s problem was. Has he been following her all this while? What does he want with her? It is just too bizarre to contemplate and she’d rather be left in peace anyway.
I don’t need the hassle of any overzealous guy presently; no matter how good he looks. She thought.
Alewa kept observing her surroundings. She got a soda drink from a nearby vendor and then found a bench a short walk from the water and sat down. She opened her drink, took a sip and kept looking at the water. She thought back to all the doctor had told her earlier and wondered what her life would be like now. Her life had never been interesting anyway due to the conspicuous absence of friends and family, now it promises to get even less exciting.
King watched her some distance away, close enough to see every expression that crossed her face and far enough so as not to be construed as a voyeur or stalker. He wondered what she was thinking of as he saw the myriad of expressions go through her face. He was stumped, watching her, wanting to be close but having to stay back.
He had never been unsure of himself around any woman in his lifetime. Ever since he was a baby (as told by his ever ready to exaggerate mother), women had fallen all over themselves to carry him, coo at him or just be near him. Since he became an adult, he had to practically fend women off with a stick (figuratively of course) and for the life of him he couldn’t understand the seeming aversion this lady has for him. Nevertheless, he was determined to see this through; there was something about her that keeps calling to him, which kept him from walking away.
He saw her stand up and dust the seat of her jeans; she then started walking towards the direction of her car. King unconsciously started following her. He knew what he was doing was wrong, it was the highest level of privacy violation, but he couldn’t help himself.
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