Kevwe was about to go off his wife when Ese held his hand.
“I’m just so eager to know what Lawrence and Modupe are doing; the explanation can come after.”
Kevwe smiled, and he flung the piece of paper away.
* * * * *
Lawrence and I had picked a table, in the open, where we could see the stars twinkle—that is, if either party decided to study the night sky for a while. I’m sure neither of us did search the skies; perchance someone did, it certainly was not me. A typical weekend, Friday evening, and the bar had recorded an overflow, a number more than its space could contain. The air reeked of booze, the acrid smell of cigarette ashes, and the occasional perfume of a hooker. And an almost palpable gloom sat at table with us—sadly, we only ordered two bottles of a local premium beer, and two plates of pepper soup; none for our impersonal guest. Twenty minutes after we had been served, similar portions, a significant disparity could be seen: one plate now had more meat than the other, one bottle had more liquid content than the other; both items that had more content sat side by side on the table—okay! simply put: one person was not eating, nor drinking.
“And, how’s Modupe?” I asked, after I had taken another bite from my plate. I had followed a careful order: first, his family, his parents mainly; then his work, those crazy office politics; and finally his woman, Modupe. Being friends for over twelve years, right from our first semester at the University, I was certain that Lawrence had not dragged me out that evening just for a treat. Nothing else, he had barely touched the spoon that sat in his plate. Lawrence liked being in control, needing no one; well, except on issues that concerned a woman—fortunately, or is it unfortunately, I was the only one he could share such troubles with. At the moment, I was convinced that I had touched the crux, the reason for his gloom.
“Modupe is fine,” Lawrence said, lifting his bottle to his lips. His fingers beat lightly on the table after he had dropped the bottle.
“I learnt Lucy is married, with a kid, a daughter.” Lawrence said, interrupting me.
“Yeah!” Their was a notable difference in Lawrence’s tone, a happy one now. I heaved a quiet sigh. Lawrence paused for a while, a pretty smile making a stunning contrast on his sad face. It was no surprise that Lawrence still thought of Lucy, but what worried me was—why is this dude allowing Lucy that much power over him, the thought of her that is?
I took a sip from my bottle, and tried to recall all I could about the lithe girl, Lucy.
Having started as friends then roommates, Lawrence had first mentioned the name Lucy one cold evening. On his way to the hostel that evening, the rains had started unexpectedly and Lawrence had run to the first available cover he could find, the front porch of a closed shop. A girl had been there before him, Lucy. Moments after Lawrence joined her, the girl made to leave; strange, the rain had not subsided—truly, a guy who is a little over six foot tall would certainly make an eighteen year old girl uncomfortable, especially when it was dark and the area a little deserted. Lawrence, surprised by his own action, had held her back, pointing to a shed ahead, where the flicker of a kerosene lamp could be seen. Still another surprise, Lucy had asked him to go with her, stating that where they were was not exactly safe—not even for a guy. Lawrence led the way. A friendship started that day; it blossomed into a relationship that would last for two years. Lawrence did all he could to save the relationship. But, weeks before our final exam in school, Lawrence forced himself to accept the truth that the relationship had totally gone south.
A little above a year after Lawrence had started working with a Nigerian-based German construction company, he had met Angela. Angela was a striking look-alike of Lucy, and I believe it was the singular reason Lawrence had dated her. Five months after, the relationship was over. It was at that time that Lawrence had mentioned Amaka. Amaka was a girl, Lawrence claimed, he had a brief fling with during his youth service year. There was no picture to prove her existence, nor the claim that she had been a part of Lawrence’s life for a while. Nonetheless, I believed him—because we are friends! I also believed Amaka would not have been too far from looking like Lucy.
“Modupe and I have been . . . close for a while.” Lawrence started, drawing my attention to the present. “Man, I’ve never had it fine with ladies, how am I sure Modupe will be any different?”
“And I guess you’ll never know until you take it to the next level. You—”
“It’s not that easy, man. I wish . . . I—”
“Modupe is a good girl.”
“How sure are you about that?”
“Put her to a test,” I said. “You know, like Abraham when he sent his servant to search for a wife for Isaac—ehm, Rebekah, Rachel?
“You don’t even know the story.”
“I remember, it was Rachel.”
“Yeah! Rebekah. Remember the cattle, giving them a drink?”
“Camels. And I certainly do not own any camels.”
“Yeah, you don’t. You don’t need ’em.”
“I know the perfect test.”
To read the previous episode of Our Little Secret, click on this link: www.naijastories.com/2016/04/little-secret-chapter-one/