It’s how many months now? Three or four since my heart was literarily tossed into the dark? The dark? How “time” flies! It is the same “time” they say heals all the wounds of the heart but I’m not sure exactly what it has done to mine, all I can feel is a kind of numbness toward this other specie of humans. Who can blame me? And why have I been unlucky with men least of all the douchebag of a first love? But I have made up my mind, to be strong for myself and move on. That’s the best I can offer myself so far.
So I started working in a school with my friend, Dupe. Dupe, the queen of sarcasm, one of my best moments are those times we spent together. Our late night walks, frequent strolls to get roasted corn, and her culinary skills. It came to a time I got scared I would not be able to bear surviving in the kitchen whenever I am finally alone in there. All these really made my entire world appealing. My world became like a giant apple that I wanted to bite and bite until I have devoured the whole thing right to the core, seeds and all, except on relationships of course.
Just when I was beginning to wonder whether good guys existed anymore; just when I was wondering what attracted me to the oddball, like a neon sign flashing “I’m Available-the Good is not Required” – lol. Yes, just when I decided to give cold shoulder to anyone who strolls into my space, Abdul walks into the picture, majestically, and I could not but notice and admit that he is one of the best I have seen. You are wondering what is wrong with this girl too right? I guess I have just been trained to see the best in people until they prove otherwise.
How do I resist the knots in my stomach and the chills that run down my spine every time his face pops up in my head? Each time I feel like screaming Hallelujah, I have seen the light! Have I? Because I wake up some mornings and ask Dupe “Do you think he will talk to me today?” And of course he always does. There’s something about his presence, his simple and calm appearance seems to communicate with my heart, bringing with it a lot of peace and tranquility. I know I feel this way because of the frog I had kissed the first time.
Abdul is not your typical Hausa boy, there are so many interesting sides to him. At first I did not believe he was of Northern extraction, his looks give him up for a fine Igbo boy. With his caramel skin I can not but keep my hands on every time, his sexy eyes and beautiful lips, and his hair! OMG!! He has this playfulness I just can’t overlook and I could bask in his aura miles apart.
Who would have thought a girl like me will embark on a voyage for love especially after my incredible and almost detestable experience in Lagos Island. My time in Lagos on the island then was unbelievable…my course mates and I had had an equivalent year abroad program in May 2015.
We lived in one of the clustered five-stores buildings on Glover Street, a street where able-bodied men sit around, loiter aimlessly, smoking and drinking in the wee hours of the morning mostly till evening…well I always wonder how they become head of families this way… Women engaging in various trades ranging from selling stuff at the roadside, unkempt hair salons and food canteens. In all of these, my favorite stop is at the woman who sells roasted plantain and groundnuts at the fourth junction down the street only because I love the taste of the hot and sumptuous boli and groundnuts. I remember the many bars lined along the potholed streets with multi colored lights, loud and violent drinkers and street jams blaring from the old speakers at nights.
I remember the dirty old man-our neighbor with his very scanty tobacco stained teeth, and how his frail arms held his crutches as if his life depended on them. The way he holds cigarettes sticks every time with his gnarled fingers, and his incessant bout of coughs. Anytime he speaks his croaky voice does some annoying buzz to my ears. I used to believe he had partial paralysis because he is always on those crutches. But my belief changed when one of my course mates saw one of the women in the neighborhood coming out of his room retying her wrapper continuously.
There is an old woman who sits by the putrid smelling gutter with green colored mire stagnant in it with tattooed arms. She wears many colored beads on her wrists and ankles.
The touts always roaming the poorly lit streets at nights who would not hesitate to cause any ruckus at the slightest provocation.
I remember the man who sells drugs at the adjoining street, that I always meet him in the Cathedral every afternoon the church bell tolls: his very long Rosary, his tight trousers. The security man who seems to have a smiley mask glued to his face every time I go in for midday Mass, he also gave up searching my bag when he saw that it is only my books I carry every time I come in to the church.
Most nights one of the girls and I take a walk from Glover Street to Holy Cross Cathedral, then walk farther to King’s College. Here the streets are always beautiful. Our regular walks stopped when one night a man with stern face was walking behind us looking like a zombie. He had this terrifying aura and it was pretty scary that night.
I remember falling ill one very cold night, how I almost threw up at the drugstore my friend and I entered. After getting the drugs I held on to her and staggering upstairs we entered our apartment.
The Island seemed to me like a village one day that our Austrian lecturers visited us and the scantily dressed children clamored round him shrieking “Oyinbo” while the men mumbled and the women looked on interestingly.
How can I forget this? How a middle aged Igbo man stopped me on the street one sunny afternoon just to get my phone number. I was really terrified as he jumped on the road and didn’t seem like making way for me any time soon. I was terrified and I only hoped I didn’t show it. Passers-by seemed concerned as they stopped and watched the man jitter like a drenched fowl. It is one of those embarrassing moments again I thought. I did not understand that it is because I am beautiful. I thought of it as some kind of punishment for something I must have done as a child that I am being tortured for now. It did not seem fair that it happened to me.
Yes, so I never believed it when we finally agreed to meet. For the first time seeing Abdul was overwhelming, a feeling I will not forget in a long time. From the feelings of fear, insecurity, anxiety and inferiority I always have some years back anytime I make trips to Lagos to a whole new feeling of excitement, hope, ecstasy and positive vibes.
I would not want to say how I met Abdul…it could come up in the next chronicles.
The bus stopped a thousand times or so I thought. People were getting off, the streets were crowded, and I felt like getting out and running there by myself.
I saw him dressed in the most simple clothing, my heart skipped a beat and I could not contain that excitement and love in me. I almost turned into a pillar of salt. Electric current shot through me I couldn’t help but hastily run into his outstretched arms. Although whenever I feel this way I become speechless.
I know God must have given me that All-knowing smile when I made decided to stay off guys, knowing fully well that there are lessons for me at the other side of the tunnel. Now I can say, and I hope you agree with me, that falling in love can be terrifying sometimes, that is why we do not say floating towards love because floating is kind of dreamy and falling in love is real because I have fallen already. It is really strange, isn’t it? How fast falling in love can be sometimes, leaving us no choice of our own.
Knowing more about Abdul now, all seemed like one of those kaleidoscopes I had read about. You turned it just a fraction, and all of the same pieces fall into a totally different pattern. Those times we play, joke and laugh they were flowers, lively ones. Things turn a bit tense, the pieces fall into demons breathing flames. And now the kaleidoscope had yet taken another twist and produced a very different image….this moment the demons had turned into snow covered mountains!
I hope. I just hope…