I never knew how loud I was, but the way he jerked up from sleep told me all I needed to know. I silently walked to the toilet and sat on the floor till morning. At dawn, I went to my bag, got my wallet, went to his neighbour’s, borrowed his phone and called in sick at work. I went back home, headed straight to the wardrobe, packed my things and walked out of the house, all through, Tunji just had his eyes fixed on me like a zombie.
Back to your house, back to your house, back to your house, was all I kept saying to myself throughout the drive home…
As I stepped into my apartment, everything felt different, strange, empty, dusty, a lot of things, I couldn’t even deal; I just went straight to my bed and laid on it. Then I cried and cried and cried. I cried. Crying was the only reasonable thing that I could do; the only thing left in the world for me. I turned on my laptop and sent Chioma a mail that read, “if you could only come to my apartment now, I will cherish that” and then started to scream, to ask myself questions, “Why me? Why me? Why Shola? Why Tunji? Why this hurt… Why? Why? I kept screaming till I drifted to sleep.
I felt a strange coldness on my forehead and opened my eyes slowly to find out what was happening, too weak to even put up a fight. It was Chioma, she was wiping my forehead with a damp cloth, just like our mothers did when we were kids and down with a fever. I lifted my hands to my forehead in the bid to stop her, then felt my temperature, I was steaming hot, my whole body ached. I struggled to talk, I wanted to ask her how she got in, how she knew she should come, but she hushed me and as though she read my mind, she said I left my gate and door wide open. I smiled weakly. She said the moment she got a mail from me, she instantly knew that everything was not alright because e-mailing was the strangest means of communication between us, so she jumped into her car and headed straight to my house.
All I could say was, “SHOLA and TUNJI”, I saw tears gather around her eyes and I began to cry all over again. She dropped the bowl of water she had in her hands, sat beside me and hugged me tight and we cried together. We maintained this position till I felt my stomach cracking of hunger. I tried to stand, I staggered a little, got my balance and walked to the kitchen. Chioma instantly followed me, as though she feared that I was going to do something unimaginable to myself. I opened my fridge, took the beef sausages I abandoned there the last time I was home, pulled out a knife from the plate rack, she quickly took them from me and began to prepare the sausages. I took the bottle of Vodka that was up the shelf –which by the way is my new addiction now- and poured two glasses as I began to tell her how and what I found out.
At that point, I was certain that this girl was my one true friend. The more we drank, the more we reminded ourselves how much hungover we would be the next day. We then decided to go for a swim and drove to Orchid hotel, somewhere around the second toll-gate on the Lekki-Ajah express way, bought bikinis there and ordered two glasses of chapman.
I guess I just wanted to feel sexy again, because we just kept shooting breeze for more than three hours talking about how we met, our days in Covenant University, how we became friends, the initial fights and hatred we used to harbor for each other before we became friends.
Chioma used to feel on top of the world back in the university, she was an extreme extrovert and every guy’s dream girl; with the way she walked like she was on a run way platform, swaying her really large hips with care and ulterior intent, oh I never liked her. I used to feel that all she had in her head was guys and sex and that was not my ideal female friend. I would watch from a distance, admiring her lovely figure – them coke body girly figure, dark skinned, a bit chubby and most importantly, sexy-, but show instant disinterest when she got close to me.
I, on the other hand, was rather reserved, never liked partying, was always one or two chapters ahead of every class; you could call me a good girl. The first close encounter with her surprised me a lot and changed my perspective of her. My boyfriend and I had a fight the night before my Management examination. It was one of those fights that you know was a breakup, but wouldn’t allow yourself call it that –kai, I have always been a lover girl sha-. I called him all through the night, but he kept bouncing my calls and finally turned off his phone. Needless to say that when I got the question paper, the words were written in Spanish, with "Nada" being the only Spanish I knew. I just kept moping at the paper like a dullard, all I could see was a picture of my boyfriend the night before as he walked out on me, totally ignoring my helpless pleas. I was done for, I knew it.
After the test, I placed my head on the table and wept: I had a relationship that was almost crashing and to top that up, I just submitted a blank script for an examination on a 4 credit load course. I really had to cry. Suddenly, I felt a pat on my shoulder.
“I watched you during the test, what is the problem”, she asked.
Too frustrated to even care about anybody, I remained silent. She sat beside me and went, “I understand that the questions were tough, but nothing in this world is worth your tears my dear, it is life, examinations come and go. Don’t worry, you would get another chance at it and you would do better this time.”
That, Ladies and Gentlemen, was the grand speech, “Nothing in this world is worth my tears, not an examination, not a silly boyfriend, NOTHING!!! And that was how this girl called Chioma creeped into my life.
I told her that I needed to dance and suggested that we go clubbing that night on new outfits and the bill would be on me and she smiled.
Finally, we got back home at 3:30am and I promise you, the saying ‘THANK GOD ITS FRIDAY’ had never been used at a better time than that day. And heart break had never hurt as bad as what I felt. As I laid on my bed, I cuddled Chioma and let the tears flow freely.
Bright new day and a brand new life with only one aim for my life, never to see Tunji ever again.
It’s been seven months since the whole drama and I had had sex with two total strangers: the first one was a guy Jummy hooked me up with. Jummy was our fixer, when it came to sex and money, she always held us down.
The day she heard I broke up with Tunji, it felt like she had been waiting for that news for a long time, because she instantly began to feed me with the whole, “You are too cute to allow someone this lame make you hurt. I have just the right person for you my friend. Derick is the man you need in your life. Derick is tall, muscular and sweet, with a brown chocolatey color that screamed eat me up when you are around him, he would make you forget everything about that weak ass fool that thought he could trample on you, I tell you”
Sadly, after all the hype, I met him and sex with him was pretty boring; he was really slow, it felt like a performance to the slowest RnB you can ever imagine, like an occultic ritual; I like my sex all mixed up with very fast and slow vibe, I like it eventful, I like exploration, a guy who doesn’t go with any rule, one who would do whatever was pleasurable to me, but Derick was certainly from a different sex school. So it was an instant goodbye to him.
The second guy was a client of mine; he had been hitting on me all the while I was with Tunji, but I never paid him any attention. Now, I was in dire need of a distraction, so I thought to give him a try. The first time we did it; we had a romantic dinner at his apartment on a Saturday evening, we were supposed to end the night with a bottle of Rose red wine and him dropping me off at mine, but I had one too many glasses, so I ended up in his bed. Sex with him wasn’t that great, but not bad, at least, it was good enough for it to have happened more than once.
This wasn’t the Juju that I knew, when did I start having sex with no commitment of any sort. Nah, I knew something was wrong, I hadn’t healed and for me to heal properly, I needed to talk with Tunji, to know why the bastard cheated on me and why he had to do it with someone close to me. At this point I am sure even you know that the name Shola can never be associated with the word friend again. Well I just knew that I needed to have closure to help me properly heal and move on. So I put a call through to him to fix a date, time and venue. From the first Hello we exchanged, two things were very evident, the excitement in Tunji’s voice and the disgust in mine. Anyway, we arranged to meet at 7pm in a restaurant on the island.
Work was good that day, I got two calls from Chioma. I really love this girl, for the past 7 months she had been a friend, sister and mother to me. I purposely omitted my meeting with Tunji in our conversations this day, because I was sure what and how her response would be.
I got to the venue fifteen minutes later than our agreed time and Tunji had already arrived and was patiently waiting for me. He smiled as I walked towards him and for a reason unknown to me, I found myself smiling back. As soon as I sat down, he went on his knees –well, it was nice to see that I wasn’t the only one hurting, because he had really lost weight- he started to apologize and explain, he was saying a thousand things at once. This wasn’t how I planned our meeting to go, but, well every lady had the right to experience this, seeing man that hurt her so much look like this.
I stopped him and asked that he sat, he did and before I could utter another word, he began to tell me how he stopped seeing Shola the moment I left and hadn’t spoken to her till this moment and he went on and on.
Then, I asked the one thing I was there to find out… WHY? And the whole picture became clear:
So according to Tunji, he got to Shola’s office one day to find out that she finally got her boss to award him the contract. He was really excited, he hugged her, carried her up and told her they had to celebrate it and since it was already close of work, they could just hang out and later on meet up with me at the house so we all could celebrate, -the smile on his face now felt like he is telling the truth-. Knowing Shola, she insisted on getting to her apartment to change into something good enough for the whole plan and they drove to hers. On their way, Tunji stopped over at a supermarket to buy some drinks. When they got to her apartment, she went straight to her room to change and Tunji popped open a bottle in excitement, he was on the second glass when she came out and was surprised that he had already started drinking, so he suggested that they finished up the bottle before heading to our place… then he stopped.
All my life, I had never known Tunji to be a wise man, but the fact that he didn’t go on from there made me realize how wise he was and how much he respected me.
So finally I had the information I needed, I could stop hating and punishing God’s creature, which is me, for being ugly or being too dumb as compared to Shola; finally, I realized that it had nothing to do with me.
Then the waiter knowing that our drama was over came for the third time with the menu, we placed our orders and she left.
Now eating the food, all I kept asking myself was, where would I go from there, then Tunji interrupted and said that the most hurting thing about this breakup, which was our longest, was the fact that we did not spend our anniversary together, then he said that we could go to Singapore for the weekend, or possibly a whole week if I could spare that. He then added, “Juju baby, I know I can’t bring back what we had as we had it, I know I cannot force you to come back to my life, my life if it interests you to know is nothing like you have known it, my house which I loved to keep sparkling clean is a filthy rag, as filthy as my heart is, in as much as I’d love you back to it and back to my life, all I am asking you for right now is this weekend in Singapore, let it be our last time together if you may, let us part ways in peace, please baby, please” and then tears ran down his face.
And guess what… Yeah, I bought it and continued eating. After all, an all-expenses paid vacation would do anybody more good than harm.
Next morning, which was a Wednesday, I put a call through to my mother, we gave our pleasantries and then I went quiet, my mum kept asking to know the real reason I called her. I say I just wanted to check up on her, to know if she was okay, but I know she knew I was lying. My mouth was quiet, but my heart was asking her if a trip to Singapore with Tunji was a wise thing to do....
“Okay mummy, if you would not believe me, then it's fine, have a lovely day, I'd check up on you later in the week”, I said, then hung up.
Work went on normally; I got over five calls from Tunji constantly reminding me that we aren't back together if I don't want us to and begging for a repeated affirmative that our trip to Singapore would come to pass.
The next day, I came up with a well-constructed reason -Oh well, you can call it a lie if you want- why I would not be able to make it to work for the first 3 days of the coming week. I said I had a feeling; a terrible sign, that I might be down with something, something I can't pronounce with my mouth or type with my hands right now without adding our usual “God forbid”. Ten minutes after I sent the mail to my boss, I got invited to his office. He was looking at me like he had seen a ghost, he finally gestured that I sat, I did, then he went:
"You are one of our best hands, I really wouldn't want to lose you to any other boss, firm, talk more of death”, -okay, so death!!!, that sure made me cringe a little, almost altering my planned composure-, “so that being said, I'd want you to take the whole week off, I'd like to say I'd call you all through the week to be sure you are okay, but I know that with stuff like this, you need no disturbance -Oh I needed someone to tell this man that nobody was dying, that I was just going to spend one week of my life with my love, oh sorry, my ex and I will be back like nothing happened. Thinking about it, that would be more than death if it was left to Chioma-.
I got up, walked to his side, hugged him hard and whisper, “thank you Sir, but I can tell you for certain that I am not going to die, best believe that”.
He whispered in response "Amen”, then I walked back to my office.
Friday came with a massive awkward vibe. What in heaven’s name was going on in my office: no files to record, no mails to send, no instructions to follow. What was happening? I wondered. Well if I wanted this trip to happen, I had better act my role well.
Close of work and the receptionist called to tell me that Tunji was at the reception. I asked that she sends him to the meeting room. The moment I joined him, my face screamed, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!!!”.
"Juju, I just had to come over to be sure you wouldn't change your mind, you know your friends, I know there are a lot of reasons not to make this trip with me, but I have put in place all the arrangement for us to leave tomorrow night"
I hushed him, looking around to make sure nobody was watching us as the door and walls of the meeting room were made of transparent glass and I did not want my cover blown away. Secondly, I didn't want him to know that I went through that much stress to make the trip happen and finally, I didn't get what he was saying at all. So I simply ask..."Tunji why are you here?"
"To get you home, pack your things with you, put you in my car, take you straight to my house, you have a cool bath, then serve you breakfast in bed when you wake, have you watch me pack my things too, we go see a movie. And I hope all this will keep you with me till 11pm when we board the flight and leave this country", he mumbled in less than a minute.
-nicely planned, I must say and with the look on his face, it was obvious that he was afraid of being rejected-. Okay, fine, we will do all that, just go back to your car and let me finish up here.
I packed up, shutdown my computer system, went to my boss's office to say my goodbyes, but he was in a deep conversation with someone over the phone, he waved at me and I was out.
Now, it was time to deal with Tunji and his plans.