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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Men She loved (1)


               


Lola could hear it, but she had not spotted it yet and she would not be satisfied until its blood was on her hands.

 She leaned on the edge of her seat, poised and ready to attack. The mosquito flew into her line of vision and she clapped it between her palms. Temi looked at her, amused.

“Can we eat now?” he said. She smiled at his sarcastic tone and met his gaze with a bold one of her.

“Be my guest,” she said. 


He dug in, but she hesitated. It was the first time he was eating a meal of hers and he seemed such a traditional sort of guy. 

She suspected it would matter to him if she was not able to cook. Normally, she would not have cared what anyone thought of her cooking; after all, she fed herself and she had not died yet. But she wanted to please Tem
 “Do you like it?” He glanced up at her.

“You haven’t touched your food,” he said
“I wanted to know if you liked it.”
He smiled at her and his dimples lit up his face.

“I do.” She returned the smile.
 “Now will you eat?” he said.
She picked up her fork and scooped a few grains of rice and stew. She felt his eyes on her as she put it in her mouth.

 They ate in silence and her thoughts vibrated inside her head until she felt a headache coming. How she wished he would talk!


They sat on the porch of her home. A home given to her by her grandmother in her will. She had dragged the table to the porch with the help of Ada, to give it a romantic feel but Temi was yet to comment on it.

 He had not commented on the candle either, perhaps he suspected there was no light. He had told her she looked pretty; she had circled her eyes with kohl eyeliner and her lips were blood red, she wore the quintessential black mini dress and she knew ‘pretty’ didn’t begin to describe how she looked.

The wind blew her hair into her face. It was a lovely night, she couldn’t have hoped for a better one; and the estate was quiet as though there had been an estate meeting and they had conspired to stay out of her way. 

Temi leaned forward and brushed the strand from her face. She hoped he would kiss her.

“I’ve got to go. I have a meeting this evening,” he said. Her hope died. “Should I help you clear up?”



“No. It’s fine. It won’t take me long,” she said, kissing him on the cheek and waving him off.

As she watched him disappear into the darkness she thought about how she fluttered about him like a butterfly, hoping that he would anchor her, suspecting that he could not.


 ***


He didn’t even realise that she wanted him to save her; so oblivious was he to her needs and her desires.  She had drawn him a clear map to her heart and he still lost his way. 


She was beginning to realise that sheer longing to reach a destination did not preclude the arrival at the destination. She was beginning to believe that he would never find his way.


Her phone rang and she picked it up breaking out of her reverie. Ada’s name flashed on the screen

“Hello?”

“Dayo is back in town!” her heart skipped a beat and she felt her mouth go dry. Words, images, sounds, smells crowded her mind and she felt herself swoon. “Did you hear me?”

“I think so.”

“What will you do?” What would she do indeed? She could leave the city, the state, the country but unless she left the planet, she would merely be exerting useless energy.  “Lola! Snap out of it! What will you do?”

“I don’t know.”

“Does Temi know about him?” she asked.

“No.”

“Let’s keep it that way,” Ordinarily, Lola was an advocate for full disclosure, but as the years had passed, she had found herself speaking less and less about Dayo. 

What was there to say? It must have been at least a year since she had spoken his name at all. She wondered what he would look like now, if he had changed. 

She recalled the last time she had seen him. They had been sitting across the table from each other; his eyes had been sad and grateful. 

They spoke as though they were alone, even as guards milled around. She had promised him she would return. She had not. “Earth to Lola!”

“Sorry."

“I really hate it when you blank out on me. I was saying, if you see him, just cross the road or whatever. Do not talk to him under any circumstance. He should get the message. Understand?” Lola smiled at her friend’s protectiveness.

“I understand.”

    ***

  Dayo stood before her, bearing down on her and as she looked behind, she saw there was nowhere to run to.

“Where were you when I needed you?” his words echoed in the room. Her heart tripled in pace and she clutched her breast.

“Dayo please…” he struck her and she fell to the ground.

“Every day I waited.” She tried to crawl away and she felt a sharp pain in her back. He had stabbed her. He took the dagger out and stabbed her again. And again...

 ***
Lola woke up with tears in her eyes and her heart going so fast, she thought she would faint. But the dream was familiar to her now.

 Ever since Ada had told her of Dayo’s arrival in Lagos, she had not had a restful night. Every night he judged her; and executed her.

She kicked the duvet off and strode purposefully to the bathroom. When she turned the tap, it groaned, spat out brown water and then nothing. She sighed and picked up the bucket.

 She would be late to work again. Fortunately she was her own boss; otherwise she would long since have found herself without a job.

Lose It Love It Live It (LLLit) was a concept that had materialised in her mind and Ada and her husband had provided capital for.

She had been a little unsure at first. She wasn’t cut out to be a business woman but Ada had run with the idea and she found herself catching her friend’s enthusiasm.

Thanks to Ada, she owned (or at least partly owned) a building that held a gym, a dance hall, a health/medical clinic, a swimming pool, a spa, a tennis court, and a basketball court. LLLit was her dream and she often taught dance and acted as a personal trainer to a few of her clients.

She had also starred in and produced a few workout videos.

“Good morning,” Lanre, her neigbour greeted her. He was washing his car as she locked her front door.

She could time herself by him. He washed his car 9am each morning, left for his office at 10am, was back for 7pm, mowed his lawn on Mondays and Wednesdays, visited his mother on Sundays, and so on.

She smiled at him and told him good morning.

She looked at her own neglected car guiltily, as she usually did when she bumped into Lanre in the morning; yet another reason to leave the house on time.

He followed her glance and laughed.

He wore one of his three – wash the car- outfits. Today's was a pair of faded grey shorts and a black tee with ‘I belong to her’ on it.

She had teased him non-stop about the t-shirt but now she was used to seeing it. She had begun to imagine the girl who had given it and perhaps she had then run off with another guy.

“Did you sleep well?” he asked. She did not feel up to chatting, but Lanre was not just her neighbour, he was her friend.

“So, so."

“I ask because you look a little tired.” She touched her face subconsciously. She had put on more make up than usual to mask the bags under her eyes but Lanre was staring at her with a concerned expression...


 To be continued...

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