The husband was upstairs in the study. He reckoned the wife was downstairs somewhere. Probably watching TV in the living room or rustling up some lunch in the kitchen. He’d been holed up in there for the better part of the afternoon. He had just acquired a new gadget – a ‘toy’ if you were listening to the wife rant about the cost – and the manual obviously wasn’t going to read and master itself. But after all that time, he’d decided he was feeling hungry. He got up and walked out of the den towards the stairs. He felt he was in a rather polite mood so he held the banister, bent his neck downwards and yelled: “Bitch, I need food!”
His reply came from the kitchen. It was swift and equally loud:
“What the flying fuchsia are you asking me for?”
“Did you not hear me say that I needed to put something in my mouth?”
“Seriously, you should repeat that in a gay bar!” The wife was out of the kitchen and in the living room so she could look up at him while they traded loving insults.
“Screw you to damnation!” he cursed.
“Awww. You kiss your wrinkly mother with that potty mouth, sailor?” the wife asked,
“My mother? I kiss you all over your nasty nasty body with this mouth. Seven days a godforsaken week!”
“Exactly. Now you know why I cry myself to sleep every night.”
“It’s your father that makes your mother cry herself to sleep every night. In that case, some people aren’t getting late-night head ever again!”
“Ehn? Don’t try it o! God will punish you severely for that. How can you deny me my God-given right to mutter incoherent gibberish thrice a week?”
“Deny what? Uncle Sir Mallam Bunny Rabbit don finish for market?”
“No. But I prefer Major General Tonguey Tonguer.”
“Story. Sweetie could you microwave some of that jay-rice for me? Pretty please?” he pleaded genuinely.
“Already did that.” as if on cue, the microwave testified with a ‘DING’ “Say you love me or you’ll starve to death,” she threatened.
“I love you… But I’m still retiring Major Tonguer.”
***** ***** ***** *****
The first words he’d said to her were probably not the cutest: “Eh eeeehn… is that so? Shebi after giving me gono and cut-cut and staphylococcus you now come here to spend my money abi?” he scratched eagerly at his groin for effect. “God will not do you well for this thing you have done to me o…” his fake Yoruba accent was terrible but it was good enough to make the elderly man who’d been pestering her aggressively at the bar get up and leave in a hurry.
As soon as he was he out of earshot she proffered her thanks amid laughter. “Oh my God, thank you so much. I thought I was going to die here.”
“Yeah. I could see the elderly guy was looking pretty desperate to get into your knickers,” he said in his natural tone of voice. The utter lack of an accent when he spoke took her by surprise. She laughed heartily.
“Hello, I am man. Pleased to meet you,”
“Hi. My name is man. Wo-man,” she said while paying homage to the James Bond movie character. It was his turn to laugh. Five minutes later, they were enjoying a nice conversation when:
“Smooth. You know I’m going to ask for your number, right?” he said,
“What? Hey! You just saved me from being hit on only so that you could hit on me yourself?” her words were dripping with sarcasm.
“What can I say? Man giveth and man taketh away,” he smiled while mentally crossing his fingers.
“Give me one good reason why I should give you my number…”
“’The reason’ is probably going home to tell his buddies how God saved him from catching genital herpes from a skank who at first sight he thought was an…” he paused and seemed to sober up, “… unbelievably attractive, smart young woman.”
She tried to look unimpressed, immediately put on a straight face and seemed to be looking past him as she deadpanned:
“Zero eight zero one, three five seven…”
Three weeks later, they were officially dating.
Once, he was driving her home in his car after a nice evening out.
“You almost ran that red light. LASTMA in this area doesn’t joke around oga,” she said
“I know. It’s just that my brakes are almost always funny.”
“My mechanic says the genuine version of my brake pads and lining aren’t in the country. I have to make a special request and order them in from wherever.”
“Ah. Risky biz. You should change mechanics. Or cars.”
“I should. By the way, you look smoldering hot,”
“Thank you. Makes you think of hitting that. Right?” he paused for a second but answered anyway,
“Intensely. Viciously. Like you owe me something,” she tried to suppress her laughter. She failed.
“See, I like that about you. You’re so real.”
“Oh yeah. My pot belly is definitely for real.”
“Hahahaha. Stop joking around. You know what I mean.”
“I’m serious. Here,” he pushed his stomach out toward her, “Feel that. Hundred percent natural. All me. No silicone.”
“Okay. I just like you though. Just like that. You get me. You’re probably smarter than I am though you don’t like to make it seem that way. And minus those nails, I think you’re pretty real as well.”
“My nails? You’re a dead man!”
“Still breathing,” he goaded
“I’ll fix that in a moment.” She tried to act like she was fuming.
He saw that he was close to an eatery’s parking area. He pulled up, parked, unbuckled his seat belt and proceeded to kiss her until she was convinced that she had feathers and fins in lieu of human toes.
June 30th 2015; 6:30 AM
She woke up and reached for him. He wasn’t there. Disappointed, she stretched out her left hand and fumbled around the night stand for her mobile phone. Once she’d touched it, she pressed a button at the top of the device to unlock the touchscreen and make the display come on so she could read the time… 6.35am.
Still too early to get up.
He was a car and gadget lover, read PC Pro religiously and enjoyed board games. She could never get her head around the toys he always obsessed about. She was only glad to have a car because it made her commute to work easier and meant less time in his ride with the funny brakes. He was cute, spontaneous and eager. She was supportive, accommodating but a little unsure. He’d long ago figured that she was probably in love with him but was unwilling, for some reason, to declare as much. And though they weren’t exactly on the same page on a few matters, they agreed on political issues:
“Sweetie, did you hear that our lawmakers are hoping to pass a bill that pretty much attaches a jail term for being gay in this country?” She lifted her eyes from her iPad where she had just been reading something pertaining to that story.
“Sweetie…” she tapped his shoulder. He seemed fixated on something showing on the TV screen in his pad.
“Oooooh…. what about it? This lion is about to eat this zebra like the zebra ate his mama.”
She rolled her eyes. “What do you think about this anti-gay bill business?”
“Ughh.” He lowered the volume of the television and turned to her. “It’s stupid. Very stupid.”
“Oh really? I think so too. It’s like the dumbest thing ever. I’m a little glad we agree on this, dear.”
He wore a puzzled look on his face. His thumb was hovering close to the ‘volume increase’ button on the remote. “Wait… we agree on this issue?”
“I thought we did,” she answered sweetly, “Didn’t you just say you though it was a dumb idea? Well, I think so too.”
He cursed himself for even desiring to see this conversation through and put the remote down. “Why exactly do you think it’s a dumb idea?” he queried.
“Well for one, we have way bigger problems for our legislators to focus on. Plus I feel that all the furore is a bit overblown…”
“Ah.” He breathed. She knew that move.
“What?” she asked, “You have a different view?”
“Well, I have something to add.”
“Assuming homosexuality, for example, is really a problem in Nigeria, I think jail would be counter-productive. Surely, there are better ways to punish a man who likes men than to throw him into Penis Central! I mean gays’ll go to prison and smile at the entrance once they observe how much premium tail is available!” She was already laughing.
“For real. It’s not funny. Send those guys to jail and they will never be able get a grip on their bars of soap. Straight dudes will have to get denim boxers. It’ll be even more of a madhouse in there than it already is… Stop laughing…” She didn’t.
They also had fun a lot of fun talking about sex. One day, that led to a very good thing.
“So what’s your take on role-playing?” he’d once asked,
“I could do that. Depends on the role though.” She smiled.
“How about you be Dame Patience and I’ll be Berlusconi?”
“Berlusconi? Why him?”
“I’ve always wanted to be Italian.”
“Sure. And I’ve always dreamt of playing Nigeria’s most eloquent First Lady ever,” she sighed
“What about oral?” he switched.
“Ooh. I’d like that,”
“Like that? You’d better love Major General Tonguey Tonguer! How else am I supposed to make your unbelieving spirit speak in tongues?!”
“Major who? Don’t tell me you just made that up?!”
“Of course I did. Thank me now. Now I say!”
“Dirty perv!” she laughed but then she became serious as she thought about something, “Given the purpose to which you just put it, isn’t it ironic that the language is called ‘tongues’?!”
He laughed heartily before replying:
“Okay, it’s confirmed – we’re going to hell.”
“Yeah but I’ll love you still.”
“You’ll what?” He’d told he loved her countless times in the past but made it clear he wasn’t in a hurry to hear it back. Now he was hearing it back. Sooner than expected.
His next move was to break into song:
“Joy, joy, joy, hallelujah joy…”
June 30th 2015; 6:35 AM
Apparently, she’d been having one of those dreams again.
She smiled. There was a time when she resented those dreams. But after a while, she started to feel less bothered and now, she found herself even looking forward to them. She’d speak to him about it though.
Talking to him about stuff always proved to be cathartic.
He bought the ring 6 months after they had started going out. He was convinced they were surely on the road to a happy married life with picket fences or whatever was left after their toothy kids would have gnawed away at them. Spontaneity was his strength. That evening, it probably proved to be his undoing as he popped the question while they were having dinner at a lively restaurant.
For some reason, she was taken aback.
“No… I’m so sorry but I’m not sure. This is happening so fast. Too fast. I’m not ready… I don’t think we should get married… I…”
“But…” he was too stunned to say more. Too numb to think. His charm always worked. His style always won. Of all days, why not today? Why not now? He could feel the others at the restaurant begin to look at him with pity. Tiny ‘aww’s everywhere. All he wanted to do was make the fastest possible exit.
Watching him leave was possibly the most difficult thing she’d ever done. At first, she thought it was for the best. She loved him but she wasn’t sure as yet if she wanted to get married. At least that was what she told herself as she watched his slouched frame amble out of the restaurant dejectedly.
While she drove home herself, she thought about what had just transpired. She missed him already. She wanted to talk to him on her drive home. Sometimes, she called him and he ran commentary for her as if she was a Formula One driver. He’d name her Michelle Shoemaker. She never got the reference but according to his commentary, she was always second. She’d been miffed at that outcome initially, and she let him know.
“Sweetie, I’m a dude with a lazy waist and an abhorrence of condoms: I always come first!” he’d replied. And again she had laughed. God, she never got tired of his commentary.
And in that moment, she rationalized that her real problem was fear.
“But what am I afraid of? He’s the one! Ugh…” she chastised herself.
She got home and called her bestie. She told the bestie all. The bestie was always helpful. “So what are you afraid of?” the bestie asked,
“The term ‘marriage’ I guess. Being tied down. The ceremony… I don’t know,”
“Exactly. You don’t know. Is there someone else?”
“What? No! I almost went mad when I couldn’t call him on the drive home. I love that fool to death. I cannot live without him. I…”
“Say what now?” Bestie interrupted.
Then realization hit.
“Oh crap, oh crap… Girl, let me call you back…”
“Sure thing.” The bestie said and clicked off.
She dialed his phone. It rang but he didn’t answer. She tried twice more. Still nothing. She knew he’d come around. Eventually, they would have to talk and she would fix this. Damn right she would fix this. Whatever it took.
She began to make plans in her head. She needed a big gesture: something to catch his attention and make the situation ultimately memorable. She wondered whether to involve his friends. The ringing of her phone interrupted her thoughts. Her face lit up: he was calling her back.
“Hello ma… hello…” but it was not his voice on the other end of the line. She was a little alarmed but kept calm.
“Yes… Who is this?”
“I’m sorry ma, I’m sorry but do you know the owner of this phone?” He must have misplaced the phone somewhere. She began to wonder where this man on the other end of the line found it.
“Yes, I know him. He’s my boyfriend,” her voice was already shaking
“I’m sorry ma, but I’m calling you from accident site…” the person on the other end said in passable English.
Apparently, his ever ailing brake pads, when thrown in the same mug as his disastrously sour disposition that evening, mixed very poorly. He’d been wracked with emotion on his way home and having to fight back tears made his vision blurry at best and non-existent at its worst.
His bonnet was already under the trailer when he noticed. Stupid brakes didn’t help. It was gruesome but relatively quick. He wasn’t even crazy about fighting for his life anyway. Not that day. Not in that state of mind.
June 30th 2015, 6:37 AM
Left to her, she would grieve him for eternity. However, she eventually came to terms with the fact that it really wasn’t her fault.
She smiled again. Because the dreams were all she had left. Perhaps dreaming of the marriage they never got to have was her own coping mechanism. It had been a while since they’d talked anyway. She turned on her side and before setting herself up for a mild snooze, made a mental note to stop by his tombstone on her way from work in the evening. She closed her eyes. Maybe she would dream again.
***** ***** ***** *****
She heard the husband in the shower. Whistling.
She thought “why not?” and immediately began stripping. The shower curtain made a noise as she pulled it open and stepped in. His face lit up as he broke into a song he obviously just made up:
“Mr. Man I wed your daughter,
She follow me enter the water,
No be fight but I go rush her,
Baby say shower shower!”
“Shower shower!” she squealed gleefully while his nude form moved his pelvis in time to a non-existent rhythm. She joined him in dancing. She loved the way his random quirks popped up at the oddest times. He abruptly stopped dancing and spoke:
“Honey, you know I think you’re –to suffer a cliché – three times a lady, right?
“Yes I do.”
“Great! Just keep that in mind while I treat you like the exact opposite and viciously defile you for the next thirty minutes. Cool?”
He didn’t even wait to get an answer before he pounced.
***** ***** ***** *****