“Hello.” I answered the call.
“Hey sweetie, I’ve been waiting for you. Have you forgotten about our going to the movies?”
“Ooh, no, how can I? I’m actually on my way.” I said.
“Are you leaving me all here?”
Allison fumed and islam heard the sound of her voice.
“Who the hell are you with?”
Islam shouted over the phone and before I could give her a response, she ended the call.
“Allison , I have to go.”
I said hoarsely.
“Go to where? We’ve just started naa.”
“Noo, this is business; I can’t miss it.”
I said as I came down from the bed and quickly dressed up.
“Hey!” Allison called as I opened the door.
“Remember to call on me tomorrow; I’ll be missing you until then.” She said so sweetly.
As I was rushing to islam’s place, I was caught on traffic.
“Oh my God!” I exclaimed. “What is this?” I asked myself.
My heart was sinking and I thought about islam .
I only hoped her hearing a female voice over the phone did not irritated her.
She had seen me with a lady once in my apartment but I told her it was strictly business and nothing more.
She believed me even while I lied and was everyday clinging to me like a bee clinging to its honey.
When I got to her apartment, she heartily welcomed me as if she didn’t hear any voice over the phone.
I led her to the car, opened its door and gestured her to the seat.
“So what were you doing with her?” She asked curtly.
She sat down and I knew she was thinking about the voice she heard over the phone as I pondered what lie to tell her.
“Stop!” She said and I saw the car screeching to a stop.
I wondered if I was the driver maneuvering the steering wheel.
“Who was that? Tell me or take me back home.” She said harshly.
“Islam, the voice you heard was that of my research assistant.”
“Research assistant?” She responded emphatically.
She felt a little rattled.
It wasn’t unusual for her to feel that there was more to it than I told her.
“I’ve lost interest in the movies; take me back home.” She said unconfidently.
I pleaded with her that the voice over the phone was enraged on professional matters and not the other way round.
She refused and never thinking of losing such charming, intelligent and charismatic damsel, I persuasively begged her and she grinned.
“See my baby ooh, let’s go joor…
but never try this next time because you will end up jilted.” She said firmly.
“That’s my love.” I said and she smiled at me and I smiled back,
continuing to maneuver the steering wheel and hoping to get to “Bluebird Cinemas” before ten o’clock.
When we reached “Bluebird Cinemas”, I ordered our entrees straightaway and we watched a HALF OF A YELLOW SUN pleasantly.
As we were watching the movie, we were gnawing “guruguru” and sipping from the bottles of the Malta Guiness we were holding with our left hands.
I was genuinely interested in her and impressed by her feminine gorgeousness, the more she whispered to my ears, the more I never wanted to piss her off.
After about an hour of watching the movie, she leaned back at me and smiled before she focused on the movie.
“I’m so lucky to have you dear.”
She said and that touched the bottomless part of the deepest part of my heart.
Like the person I’ve always dreamt to meet, she was really the damsel of my passions and the materialization of my inventive genius.
I wanted nothing to put us asunder.
“I’m the happiest man in the world, having you as mine.” I responded wholeheartedly.
I made an expansive gesture and she focused on my face.
“You must be joking; who would come out openly and say such a thing? Even loving angels wouldn’t say so.” She said so thoughtfully and I searched my mind for the best vocabularies to coin a response.
I couldn’t get any sweeter set of words when I said: “What an impeccable idea!”
We continued chatting as we watched HALF OF A YELLOW SUN, focusing on ourselves than the movie.
I was a little bit nervous as she poured out the truth about her life and interests on me as if she wasn’t suspicious of my having an affair with another lady.
At a point, she started humming a song, bobbing her head to the music.
“Could you keep quiet lady?
We are in the cinema.”
The man sitting next to her said.
“Ok, she will keep quiet.” I responded on her behalf and she smiled at me.
I didn’t know what to do than to kiss her lips.
When I was backing off, she held my lips and all eyes riveted at us.
It was so romantically sweet and I wished I never cheated on her.
I loved her but wouldn’t stop flirting with other girls like Allison
After the movie, she agreed to spend the night with me since it was Friday and there wouldn’t be work the next day.
I was elated but just as I joined her on the bed; she asked me a question that really baffled me: “What is your deepest, darkest secret?”
I heaved a deep sigh and she repeated herself:
“WHAT IS YOUR DEEPEST, DARKEST SECRET?”
“I wonder why you’re asking me this;
you know I have no skeletons in my cupboard.”
I said and she grinned.
“I don’t mean skeletons in your cupboard.”
She paused and after some minutes, she added:
“We all live in glass houses and those who live in glass houses need not throw stones at each other.”
“So what exactly is your question?”
“I mean what is that that you will rather tell no one, not even yourself?”
Immediately she spoke those words, my head pounded and my heart beat an icy tempo.
She closed her eyes and rubbed her temples, eager to know what will come out from the tip of my tongue.
She deserved to know what was going on in my life but I couldn’t tell her that my heart’s deepest secret was me stabbing Cynthia to death.
Gritting my teeth and looking for words to make known to her that she was all that mattered to me and there was nothing I kept hidden from her, she suddenly sealed my lips with her middle finger and told me not to say a word.
At that point, I shivered as I looked into her eyes, feeling a tiny icicle of dread against my spine.
“All that matter to me is you.”
She whispered to me before we went catching fun and having a really sweet night.
Shuddering at the thought of anything that will incite the continuation of yesterday’s tete-a-tete with Allison .
I woke up before her and prepared a surprise breakfast.
‘What is this?
Is this how to fry egg?”islam asked funnily when we were having breakfast together.
“C’mon, taste it first naa.”
“Ooh, this is nice baby, where did you learn how to cook?”
“I did a lot of cooking years back in the university.”
“But I would not watch you do this as far as I’m around.”
She said and I shook my head laughing out loud.
“Abeg, let me hear word.”
As we were eating, my phone beeped and when I saw the caller’s name, I didn’t want to pick it up.
“Who is that baby?” islam quickly asked and I didn’t know what to say.
It was allison and I didn’t want to spoil my relationship with her, neither did I wanted to lose islam.
It was a dilemma of some sorts, keeping her only as a friend and not allowing anything to put islam and I asunder.
“It’s my office colleague.” I told her firmly.
“Hello, what is it again?”
I answered the call, forming a frown.
“Why are you talking like this Bryte?”
Allison said from the other end of the phone.
“I would be seeing you later this evening.
Is it fine by you?” I asked hoarsely.
“See you later then.” She said with a chuckle before ending the call.
“Who is this colleague of yours?
I was thinking there’s no work today being Saturday, where will you be meeting her then?”
Islam asked and looking at her straight in the eyes, I felt obliged to tell her the truth.
“It wasn’t a colleague; it was my late girlfriend’s friend.”
“You are playing games with her abi?”
“It’s not like that. She’s just a friend.”
“If you don’t tell me the truth now, I’m leaving and I will never return.”
‘It’s you I love and not her.”
“So why the games?
You think I’m a fool abi?”
Islam stood up and headed for the kitchen and from there, she went to the bedroom.
I followed her behind, calling her to stop and hear me out but there was something about her – something peculiar that made her mistrust me.
She had seen me with other girls and must have wondered if she was the only one that occupied my heart’s loving centre.
“islam I’m sorry.”
I said, holding her from behind.
“Remove your hands off me.”
She shouted and picking up her bag, she headed to the sitting room.
I followed her, trying all I could to placate her but she wouldn’t listen.
As soon as she stepped her feet out of my house, she fell down.
I immediately held her up.
“I’m sorry dear.” I said and she stared at me.
“Don’t sorry me.” She shouted and blinking her eyes angrily at me, she walked out on me.
As Allison and I were eating at the “Tosway Restaurant”, there was a feeling I wanted to feel but I did not feel.
I burrowed into myself and my feelings for her began to die away.
I admired her, her beautiful face and flawless acquaintance with the English Language.
I liked her dress sense and walking steps but the more she stared at me with her eyes narrowed, the more I was losing interest in her;
she was just an attractive lonely career lady, looking for a husband.
I began to visualize her being with me, being my fiancé and future wife but my thoughts didn’t rhyme with my heart’s core and besides, I didn’t want our relationship to get so intimate because I was never really passionate about loving her.
“So how’s work?”
She asked smiling. .
At that instance, a strange silence engulfed us.
I was hesitant to speak even as she was calmly waiting for my response.
“I lost my job.”
As those words fell from the tip of my tongue, she exclaimed: “What happened?”
“It’s a long story but to cut it short, I’m looking for a new job.” I said sharply.
“Ooh, that reminds me…
the bank where I’m working is recruiting new members of staff.”
“What are you implying?”
“You can work in the bank for the meantime.
At least half-bread is better than none.”
“As cashier or what?”
I chuckled and she raised her eyebrows, looking at me as though I wouldn’t want to work where she was working.
“Of course naa.
Working in the bank is a lucrative venture, you know.” She whispered.
“I know but I don’t know anybody there to make the way for me.”
“What am I here for? I will help you.”
“I’ll really appreciate.” I said and she stood up and kissed me.
“I’ll help you baby.” She assured me.
I was already looking at our relationship through the lens of the past tense but with the promise of a job, I decided not to end it immediately.
She asked me to come with her after we had had dinner and I couldn’t respond to the contrary.
On the table next to us, a family of a father, mother and son were eating and chatting as we gingerly walked out of the restaurant.
At her house….
we watched a movie before we went to the bedroom.
I showered and just when I was about to join her on bed, my phone beeped.
It was islam.
She had refused to pick my calls since she left my house and I wondered why she was calling me at such an odd hour.
I answered the call with a muffled voice.
“Hey baby, how are you?”
“I’m fine dear.
I’m really sorry about the other day, it won’t happen again.” I promised.
“Can I come over for the night?
I’m really missing you.”
“I’m out of town dear but when I return, you would have the whole of me.
” I lied and she laughed out loud.
“But do take care of yourself for me ooo.”
“I will and you take care too.”
Three weeks later…..
I got a job as a cashier in “LEGACIES BANK” and that drew me closer to Allison.
Had I a voice, I might have woven a nest of songs for her, for helping me secure the job.
Not that I loved her; not that she was my dream woman..
“How will it be for me?” I was sunk in the river of thoughts.
My love for islam had started so naturally but my affair with Allison had always been conditional.
Although she helped me get the job, I was reluctant to take our relationship a step further.
Anyway, I thought how dicey and risky having a relationship with her could be especially when islam was still my perfect woman.
Allison greeted me after closing from work one evening.
I responded, looking at her with her beautiful smile.
“I hope you like the job?”
“It’s nice. I like it.”
“I can see it in your smile.”
“abi ooo.” I was hesitant to speak further.
“Take care dear.”
She said as she opened the door of her car.
“I will and you too.”
I was entranced by her care and concern.
I wondered if the power of her admirable tenderness would make me truly fall for her.
My repressed desires and passions were beckoning my attention.
Comparing her with islam would be an exercise of futility.
Islam was like a nightingale singing at sundown, transparent as white clouds.
She had the softness and majesty of roses.
She had the unparalleled quality of loving patience, losing her was tantamount to a calamitous calamity.
She was so exceptional in my eyes.
While on my way home, I stopped at a supermarket to purchase some toiletries.
A group of young women were there, surrounded by older men.
With their hair loosed and eyes staring at the items displayed for sale, they threw their head up and down to the rhythm of the songs they were listening from their ear-pieces.
When I came to the cashier to pay for the items I picked, her eyebrows danced over a demonic smile as she watched two ladies quarrelling because one of the lady stepped on the other’s toe.
“Your money is 40ced.” The cashier said.
Removing the money from my wallet to pay, the cashier’s face changed into Cynthia’s.
I screamed and ran out of the supermarket.
One thing I never knew was that islam was allison’s friend.
My heart bled and grew numb when I found out and days passed as my mind ruminated on the fact that they were really great buddies.
I was driving out of the “Tosway Restaurant” one afternoon when they were driving in.
It was so amazing that none of them saw me as I maneuvered the steering wheel of my car, driving into the highway.
“I have gist for you.” allison told islam
“Wait a minute…let me eat something first.”
“Ooh, I’m also damn famished.”
“The waitress is already here.”
The waitress handed each of them the menu and they ordered some fried rice and chicken.
I had assumed that they were mere acquaintances but they discussed and shared intimate issues about each other that made me conclude that they were more than mere acquaintances.
As they were eating, drinking and conversing, they laughed and in their laughter, there was a certain kind of friendly assent that bespoke of familiarity.
I wouldn’t have known if I had not driven back into the restaurant and sat at one end, watching them with keen interest.
They were engrossed in their conversation to know that someone was looking at them.
“islam, you know what?”
“What like what?” allison smiled.
“All men are cheats.” islam said firmly.
“Don’t say that…
I trust my guy ooo.
“Do you know what he does when he’s not with you?”
“I don’t but if he tries any shit with me, I will lynch him.”
As they chatted, they shared their life experiences, their desires, their dreams and passions.
“Is your guy your first?”
Islam asked with a chuckle and allison laughed out loud.
She was surprised that she would ask her this.
She had had many guys in her life and was thinking that she must have had a similar experience.
“My first love was Henry a nice guy, handsome and hardworking.
He brought joy into my life and exposed me to things I had never known.
This is to say the least.” She paused for a while before she said further.
“Although I didn’t marry him, we are still good friends, and I often visit him and the woman he married.
I was scared of living my life with him.”
“And why were you afraid of being his wife?”
“I loved him so much but he was bad tempered and almost nearly ended up beating me and I don’t want a husband who will be beating me all the days of my life.”
“Same thing here baby. I don’t want a monster for a husband.”
I stood staring at them as they talked.
It was an enchanting sight to behold and I wondered how they met and became bosom friends.
The genuine smiles on their faces brought confusion into my heart.
I thought about the difference between the tyrant who exploit his or her countrymen and women with the political drum of tyranny and the family tyrant who tyrannizes by beating his wife and making his home a dungeon in disguise.
My blood boiled and my heart throbbed with alarming crescendo.
My sight could no longer contain the two of them talking out so freely and telling each other their loves and experiences.
I stood up and walked to my car. .
As I kicked off the car, I saw them standing up and walking to Allison’s car.
I bend my head in order to avoid being seen.
While in the car, their faces were still radiating joy and true friendliness.
“My relationship with my guy had been in trouble for a while but I could see in his eyes that he truly loves me.”
“Is there anything like true love?” Allison asked as she turned the car’s ignition.
“I believe there is true love but it’s hard to find.”
“Do you think your guy truly loves you?”
“I don’t think so but he’s such a nice gentleman.”
“What is his name?”
“His name is Bryte Morallson ”
“Are you kidding or what?”
“That’s his name. I mean it.”
“Yeah. Does the name remind you of anything?”
“It reminds me of my guy too.”
“What a coincidence!”
“A happy coincidence really.”
I was following them from behind and didn’t know when a lorry almost hit my car.
Obviously, I couldn’t continue to follow them but my curiosity was satisfied.
They were friends and my mind’s preoccupation was how to go about relating with the two of them.
I really loved islam but I find it awkward to bluntly put an end to my seeing Allison
It was a dilemma of some sorts and I wondered as I pondered what course of action to take.
“Bryte has proposed to me.” Allison told islam over the phone.
“What a coincidence!” islam exclaimed.
“Yes dear, my Bryte is also proposed to me.”
“Wow…this calls for celebration.”
“Our engagement party is even this Saturday.”
“You mean next tomorrow?”
“I will certainly be there” islam said with a smile.
In the stillness of my room,
I later realized that I had made a gross mistake by proposing to the two of them.
I wanted to live a life devoid of hypocrisy but I lacked the courage.
I had been hiding myself beneath the mask of love.
“What should I do now?” I locked my house and lay thinking about the impact of what I had done and why I was confused under the circumstances.
My nerves seemed to be on the edge and although I was gradually feeling such strong friendship for allison, Angela was the one I had always loved and she remained my idol.
I was diving in the swimming pool of thoughts when my phone beeped.
It was islam, my sweetheart.
“Hello darling.” I answered the call.
“What’s up husband?”
“I’m great dear.”
“I’m calling to ask if you could accompany me to a friend’s engagement party.”
“That’s fine. I’ll be there with you.”
The following day, I went seeing allison at her apartment.
I wanted to tell her the truth but I didn’t know how to start.
I had never loved her, not even for a single day.
She was beautiful but very arrogant, pompous and proud.
I didn’t want anything to connect me with her.
But I had already gone far with her.
“Honey, are you going shopping with me?” She asked.
“No.” I said firmly and she stared at me.
“Why are you frowning?”
“Allison , there’s something I need to tell you.”
“Is it concerning our wedding? Going for shopping?”
“No, there will be no wedding.”
“What? Is this April fool or what?” She smiled angrily at me.
“This is no joke. The thing is that I like you as a friend and not as a wife.”
“You mean you don’t want to marry or what?” She asked calmly.
“The truth is that I’m already engaged.”
“Who is the girl?
You think you will use me and dump me?
You’ve not seen my red lights yet.”
“I never planned this but it has happen.
You have to go on with your life and I will go on with mine too.”
“You mean it just happened that you’ve been f*cking me abi?”
“I’m sorry allison but I can’t marry you.”
She was grossly irritated.
I understood that it was difficult for her to accept the reality just as it was difficult for me to voice out what lay buried in my heart.
She sat down on the sofa beside me, trying to sound brave but I sensed the discomfort in the briskness of her words.
I cherished islam and never wanted to disappoint her.
When I was sad, she brought me joy and because of love, I gave my whole heart to her.
I had proudly proposed to her and I was ready to mingle my blood with hers on the altar of Eros and Venus.
“But there’s something I have to tell you.” Allison said, taking care to look acutely disappointed.
I was feeling so guilty that I made her upset but I had no choice.
“I’m all ears.” I told her.
“I’m pregnant.” She said and silence fell on the whole house.
“For who? Certainly not me.”
“Who else? You of course.”
I became immediately too flustered to think clearly.
I tried to walk out on her but my feet remained glued to the tiled floor of the house.
I drew closer to her and whispered some words to her.
“I love you baby; I’ll marry you.”
“I love you too honey; I want to be the mother of your children.”