September 8th, 2012.
Its really difficult being a good boy. The agents of temptation have obviously put in more work to entice me back to my old ways. What makes it worse is the fact that I still haven’t been able to shake off the nagging sense of impending doom between the trio of me, Christy and Kemi. I had to put my sim card on hibernation. She was almost blowing out my cell phone with incessant calls and manic text messages. Oddly, whenever I came to pick up Christy (my car took a whole lot longer than I thought to fix so Christy gave me her car and insisted I pick her up from work everyday), she always put up her best behaviour. Figuring out what her game was has been quite exhausting.
I’ve been trying real hard to live carefully for the past three weeks or so in a bid to appease Karma to leave me alone. However, Karma seemed to be having a good laugh as greater temptations were constantly tossed my way. I’ve had two smoking hot girls make passes at me in the last three days and with utmost reserves of restraint that I never knew I had, I’ve been able to hold firm to my new found puritanical discipline.
Yesterday, I ran into an ex…or rather, “The Ex”. The first and only girl that ever broke my heart. Yeah, I used to be a softie; a dreamy and faithful lover. No matter how hard a guy I act, I must admit that I assumed this facade of machismo because a girl broke my heart. I know it sounds petty but I call it my defense mechanism. Her name is Juliet; “my Julie” as I fondly used to call her. I would have changed my name to Romeo if it would have made our destinies intertwine as the legendary ill-fated couple of Shakespearan myth. Well, she dashed my heart to pieces as a young man who had fallen in love for the first time. An experience that made me scarred and turned me to the player I am today.
It was 2005. I was in my finals at the University of Benin. We had been dating for over two years and were quite a notorious couple on campus. I was a bit of a geek who loved to have a good time. I had good social skills and many friends. I was quite a popular dude and was a member of the Shotokan Karate Club. Julie was a CSU member, adorable, fervent and faithful; or so I thought. I can’t even begin to explain how in love I was with her; she was my air. I had already laid out plans on how we were going to be married immediately after Youth Service when I got that plum job. It wasn’t to be anyway. For a girl who made me live a chaste life for two years under the illusion that there would be no sex till after marriage, it was a great insult to my sensibilities to find her stark naked with a hostel neighbour whom she had once told me was a close family friend holding her hair and ramming her from behind while unbelievable obscenities flew out from her ‘holy’ lips! I was deeply traumatized for months.
I ran into Julie yesterday at the mechanic workshop. It was my pickup day. My car had finally been fixed after poking a big hole in my pocket but I didn’t mind. It would be just great to have it back. I was at the counter signing off that my car was in satisfactory condition when I heard someone call my name. The name I answered way before Mickey Jay was born.
“Michael?” I turned around and behold, a ghost from my silly, silly past!
“Julie?” I said in disbelief. She wore a blue skirt suit and looked really, really hot. Her body was a lot fuller now as she had added some weight in the right places. Her Brazilian hair was long, she had on light make-up, her eyes twinkled, her lips were fuller, her breasts rippled through the tight white blouse she wore under the jacket and her skirt was just above her knee. God, she looked so hot now! She had this high heels that made her seem nearly as tall as I was. She gave me a tight hug and as I perceived the familiar whiff of her perfume, I was filled with nostalgia.
“My goodness! Its so good to see you!” She said after holding onto me longer than necessary. “God, you’re still so cute!” She said and giggled.
“And you’ve grown into a very sexy woman.” I replied, smiling with candor. She blushed. She loved compliments.
“Have you been in Lagos all this while?” I asked.
“For a year now. I was with Pfizer in Calabar before I got transferred here.” She said.
“Wow. That’s nice.” I said. I didn’t feel like being too chatty. I was suddenly having mixed feelings seeing her again.
“I just came to pick up my car.” I said, clamming up. I decided to be a little secretive. I noted with satisfaction that her left middle finger was still bare.
“Wow! Its so nice seeing you again after all these years.” She said, the initial excitement wearing thin.
“Same here.” I said.
“Here’s your receipt sir.” The pretty receptionist said. She had a very cute smile. I took the receipt and thanked her while I flashed my most charming smile. A thought suddenly crossed my head.
“My name is Michael but you can call me Mickey. So what does…Omo do on weekends?” I asked, reading her name off her name tag.
She blushed. I think she felt rather flattered that I was hitting on her despite the conversation I just had with this hot lady standing idly and confused by my side.
“Oh nothing much.” She replied shyly.
“Is there anyway you could fit me into your schedule?” I said, leaning on the counter, totally ignoring Julie who looked rather stunned.
“I don’t know. My supervisor is watching us.” Omo whispered. I glanced to her left to see a middle aged woman three counters away, dressed in native watching us keenly. I quickly changed the topic and said to her in a loud voice.
“Please, this number is not clear. You know I have to submit this to requisitions.” I said, putting the receipt in front of her and pointing to a clear space. “Just put down your number.” I mumbled, my lips barely moving, just audible enough for her ears alone.
She held back a laugh and scribbled her number down. I thanked her and feigned realizing that I’d totally forgotten Julie was there. The expression on her face was solemn. It was priceless! She seemed saddened.
“You came to fix your car?” I asked. She nodded.
“Well, I gotta run. It was nice seeing you again.” I said, touching her hand lightly before walking away.
I was outside waiting for my car from the garage when I heard the clack of her heels on the tiled floor. I turned around and smiled as she stood next to me. We were both silent for a while before she spoke.
“I was wondering if you’d like to hang out sometime and catch up…for old times sake.”
“That would be great.” I said, smiling genuinely. “I’d love that. When?” I asked.
“Tonight. If its convenient for you.” She said.
“Sure.” I said, shrugging. “What’s wrong with your car?”
“Oh…its the ignition, I think. Its embarrassed me a couple of times so I thought I’d just get it done once and for all.”
My car pulled up, looking brand new without a trace of the accident I had weeks back. It was dirty though. The mechanical officer handed me my keys. I climbed in and a thought flashed through my mind. She stood watching me with this expression on her face.
“How long is it going to take to fix your car?”
“About three to four hours.”
“And you’re going to wait here for three to four hours?” I asked.
“I don’t have a choice.” She said, shrugging and smiling weakly.
“I’m heading to the car wash right now. Its not far from here. They’ve got a well-stocked bar. You wanna grab a drink? I’m free now and I could always bring you back here if you want.” I asked.
She smiled expansively. I was such a sucker for that smile.
“Ok.” She said, looking excited. She got in and I drove to a popular car wash close to the beach. It was just 2: 30pm on a typical Lagos friday. The place was already buzzing with activity. I parked my car and made arrangements for it to be washed before we went inside. The bar was cozy and fully air conditioned providing respite from the scorching heat outside.
We ordered drinks and talked and talked. She filled me in on almost everything that happened after she graduated. I gave her bits and pieces of my own experiences after I graduated. We had some good laughs and I felt a kind of old bond re-forming. Her eyes were bright as she talked and it was a pleasure to watch her. Twelve years is a long time but I realized I still had some feelings for her.
“I missed you.” She said, after a brief pause. “I can’t begin to say how sorry I am for what I put you through back then.” There was genuine sadness in her eyes.
“I still think about you and wish I’d done things differently but what did I know then? I was a foolish little girl.” She reached out and touched my hand.
“You are the best guy I ever dated and if I didn’t fuck up so bad, we’d be married now.”
“Yeah. We would.” I said quietly, caught in the moment. There was a brief moment of silence. I put my hands on hers.
“Would you consider giving us a chance again?” She said, with tears in her eyes.