My home, my fancy clothes, my boxes, me... all check. Then in Tunji's car, headed for his place. As we approached the gate to his house, I felt all forms of twitchings in my belle. Are you sure you are doing the right thing? Are you sure you should be here? Can you go through one night without the thought or act of sex with this man? Do you want this drama again? That voice was screaming in my head.
Tunji took my hand in his as we drove in. Suddenly, I felt tears slide down my cheeks; thank God for the darkness of the night, I wiped it off with the back of my right palm as we headed in.
I walked into his living room, leaving him to get my things out of the trunk, at that point I could not resist it so I let the tears flow down freely, shut my eyes for a minute; then whispered in a voice too croaked that even I couldn’t recognize, “Are you ready for this?”.
I walked to the couch, sat and then stood back up, paced around the living room for a bit, stopped to look at the paintings hung on the wall, the one with the semi naked woman stole my attention for a long while; memories of me in his bed, stack naked, creeped into my mind, I smiled through my tears, then, walked back to the couch. Only then did I remember Tunji, I scanned the living room in search of him, only to find him ghostly gazing at me.
“I love you Ojuolape, I know I have hurt you a lot in the past years, but I really do love you. I am not asking you to reciprocate it, at least not now, I just want you to know this. And above all, I am truly sorry. Come, - he walked towards me, took my hand in his- sit with me”, he said.
I obeyed instantly, searched my mind for what to say, but nothing came, so I just laid my head on his shoulder and then wrapped my arms around his waist. A while past and we found our way to his bedroom. I went to the bathroom, stared at the floor, remembering it all, how I sat on that floor for hours, thinking, trying to figure things out. Then I shed off my clothes, stood under the shower and ran water through my braids, down my body. I wanted to wash myself, my mind, whatever I needed to wash, to help me think right. I dabbed myself with the red towel that hung loosely on the bathroom door, walked into the room stack naked, straight to his wardrobe, put on one of his polo and went to bed.
As planned I guess, I was awakened by the aroma of scrambled eggs and sausages; which is the only thing Tunji cooks well by the way. I just started to leave the bed when he walked in with a tray in his hand, a tray filled with scrambled eggs, bread, sausages and juice. He placed it on my thighs, watching me closely as though his intention was to look deep into my soul. I reached for the juice, took a large gulp of it and had a lovely breakfast.
Every other thing went as he had planned: He packed, we went to the movies, saw an uninteresting action movie, I can't remember the title now, but it was really boring. We made the necessary finishing touches and plans and I finally did that which I had been running away from: I sent Chioma a text message, saying, “I’d be off for a day or two, don't miss me too much -then, I added- Tunji”. I just had to let it out I guess, let her judge me, hate me, but in the end, I knew she would understand, well I hoped she would.
Before I say anything and before you start to judge me; can I just say that it was worth every minute of it; I had fun!!! –I guess that is what life is for right?- This guy called Tunji understands the onions of a woman’s heart… My gosh.
So all through the flight, I kept asking why he would choose Singapore of all places. I know it wasn’t supposed to be a romantic trip, but we should have fun at least. And the moment I stepped into our hotel, ALL MY DOUBTS QUENCHED.
We stayed at the Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel. The staff were so friendly, they welcomed us with freshly squeezed juice, they kept calling our names like they had met us before or someone had put them through on how to pronounce Nigerian names.
Our room was beautiful, we were on the top most floor and the view was amazing. Everything was really nice, but they could all wait till I was well rested and gained all the energy I had lost from the trip.
Next morning, we had complimentary breakfast and as we did, Tunji went on about all he had planned out for us during this trip, places we would visit, activities we’d engage in. And I went, “Last time I checked, you were Nigerian, so how come you know a lot about this place all of a sudden? I just hope you have not brought me to the same place you take all those your girls to…”
“Okay Juju, you have two options: Get your mind off every other thing, take this as a proper and well deserved vacation. Or, sit back and worry about me and girls and miss out on all the fun”, he replied me and instantly faced his meal.
So option one was the most sensible thing to consider, I am sure you share the same view too.
Some time at noon, a lady came in and said that I had been scheduled for a full dose body massage, the way the words rolled out of her mouth “Full dose body massage”, I was sure it was going be heavenly. And it was.
When I got back to our room, I met Tunji lying on the bed watching CNN, I just went to his side, gave him a long and deep kiss, climbed on the bed and dozed off.
Next morning, I felt a tap on my shoulder, “Hey baby, we didn’t come all the way to just sleep, you need to get ready for my next treat”, he said. If only he knew that I had been up way longer than him.
In the early hours of the morning, I just couldn’t sleep anymore, so I sat on the bed and stared at him for the longest time ever. I began to wonder what the issue was, how a man could be this sweet and yet hurt me really deep. I knew I loved him, but also knew that it would be unfair to me if I stayed with him. I bent over and kissed him on the cheek and I was sure he smiled. My sleepy, cute, bear smiled in his sleep to my kiss and it warmed my heart.
I stretched out lazily and said, “If you could plan that massage without my knowledge, I am ready for whatever is coming next.” So I got dressed and off we went.
His treat that day was at a place called “Arteastiq”. It is a tea lounge, where one could have breakfast, dinner and paint. The ambience was to die for, the attendants moved really swiftly, very attentive and never forgot to smile. I was certain I was not in Nigeria.
When I was served the menu for breakfast or brunch, I already knew the drill: when you are in a restaurant that was too foreign for you, make sure you order a meal that was really familiar to you. So I scanned through the menu till I found something, “The farmer’s Breakfast”, which is their way of saying: Scrambled eggs, served with tomato salad, toasted turkey bacon and mushroom. The waiter looked at Tunji for his order, he just smiled and said, “I will have what the lady is having.”
He knew me, he knew what I did, he knows I always do safe.
Then the painting: I literally painted nonsense. I just kept on stealing glances at my partner as he painted skillfully, bobbing his head to whatever music was playing in his mind, he was having fun and I was too, just by looking at him.
When we were done, our guide was really pleased by Tunji’s work, that he gave us a discount for dinner. Tunji drew an image of a young, smiling lady, sweet figure 8, on really high heels, with a folder in her hands. When he was asked to describe the painting to everyone, he smiled and pointed at me and said, “This lady, is whom I painted” and they all started clapping –But of course, Tunji and his charms”.
For dinner, I had safe, again: Fired Calamari and Truffle Sweet Potato fries. It was supposed to be starters, but I was fine with just that.
Back to the hotel and had a restful night.
Next day, I had had enough foreign, so we asked for our Nigerian brothers and found out that two Nigerian guys (Ibo and Calabar) delivered Nigerian food to any hotel you are in in Singapore. We got their numbers and ordered Jollof Rice, Moimoi and Chicken… Bliss. Rest of the day, we had the spiritual Full Dose Body Massage, but this time, together and went for a swim.
Our last day in Singapore, we went to a place called “Tiong Bahru Wet Market”, a traditional market for people to shop for all kinds of Singapore specialties and produce. Above the wet market was a food centre, which is their mama put in a really fancy way. Nothing like what we have in Nigeria. I tried their rice, they call it Spicy Singapore Fried Rice; Really spicy, a lot of sea food, nicely designed, quite a good meal. Then finally, we headed to “Orchard Road” a massive shopping street, - what’s a girl on a vacation with a man who looked like he had enough money to spend, without shopping-.
As we got back to our home country; to reality, I knew I had to deal with a lot of things: My friends analyzing my life and heightening how silly my decision was. My boss and the entire office with their pity party attitude. And yes, me asking myself where I went from there.
Let me tell you one little secret:
One of the nights, the second one I guess, I found it difficult sleeping, I had tossed and turned for some minutes, so I decided to take a walk around the hotel. I went to the brown transparent table to get the room pass, but didn’t find it there. I went through the pockets of Tunji’s trousers in search for it and then I felt it…. I felt a box, I brought it out, flipped it open; the reflection of diamond shown directly into my eyes…It was a ring…A RING. Tunji had a ring in his pocket, in our trip to Singapore. I had a weird feeling of excitement, I wanted to jump, to scream, but I just began to laugh and caught myself, trying not to wake him up from sleep, I quickly shut the box, replaced it into his trousers, then rushed back to the bed, closed my eyes for a while, opened them, moved close to Tunji and cuddled him.
The next morning; We had great sex. The fact that we had not had sex since the day I walked out of his house and with all the happiness in me about the ring, the sex made brains. And that was it.
I kept on waiting, anticipating the moment, the time for the grand proposal. By this time, all the hurt he had caused me had gone far with the wind, but nothing happened. Any reason to step out of our room, I wore my best make up, wore the best smile, but nothing happened. I kept on waiting and waiting until we got back to Lagos, Nigeria.
So now I don’t know if I would call that a nice vacay or not… Bitter sweet sounds more like it.
Saturday morning and I rang Chioma,
“Babe, I am back in town, I had a fun trip to Singapore, -I went silent for a bit, waiting for her to say something, when she didn’t, I finally let it out- with Tunji. I know you have a lot to say, but I am sorry I didn’t tell you -I waited again, but she wasn’t forthcoming, so I carried on-. You know a sister cannot leave this end without getting her love something really nice, drive over let’s open my box together.”
“I am busy” was all she said and hung up the call.
I dropped the phone and started to question myself, “was that really a right move?’ ‘am I making a mistake?’ ‘will I end up regretting this?’. “Stop it Juu, -I screamed at myself- it has happened, carry on with your life!!!”. That was it, the push I needed, then I started to clean up my house. Half way into it, I heard a horn at my gate, I went to find out who it was and I was blessed with Chioma’s face, I just Love this girl, she came into my house and said,
“Honey, I am done fighting with you, you love this guy and to you right now, that is all that matters, I just wish you guys good luck.”
I started jumping up and down, then I said, “so that means it would not hurt anyone if I stayed at his place for a day or two”. She looked at me like she had just seen a ghost and I burst out into laughter and said, “I am just fooling around joor, come let’s tear the box open”. She joined me in laughing. But somewhere in my mind, I knew she knew that I wasn’t fooling around, because I wasn’t…