It was a hectic day. Maryam had been jumping from her table into the laboratory and back and this conversation she was having right now was not helping her day get better. Not in the least.
“Chukuwudi please now” she begged the lab assistant once again. “I am just asking for past records on the operation, ones oga has done before so I can go through them”. She hated doing this especially with this particular guy.
“Nbabey luk” he said in a thick Igbo accent, he sat on his chair pompously and looked at her, “I didn’t say I won’t give it to you but I am saying lisen to me. Babey I like you. Let me take you out to eat some fish and chips and we wash it down with a bottle of Orijin. Ngwani what says you?” He smiled at her showing off his front gap tooth. Maryam wanted to recoil in irrigation. She had met Igbo guys, she had Igbo toasters, heck she had a couple of Igbo male friends. She just couldn’t understand where this man had emanated from. None of her friends were like this.
All this was because her boss had announced on Monday that he was going to pick one of the “newbies” to assist him on a dog operation. Although there were three other new doctors at the clinic like Maryam, she felt lucky. She had been on point all through the week. She had been reading on the operation, she had gone to the lab attendants to pick their brains and now she was here with Chukwudi asking for notes. She felt her confidence would be top notch if she could just get the notes. Everyone was more engrossed with the upcoming national elections than the operation so she had a good chance. All that was left now was for her boss to state when the operation will hold and who would assist him.
“Fine I will think about it” she said.
“Wanderfu” Chukwudi exclaim in joy. “I will send one of my people to you before today ends with everything you need” he said and winked at her. She quickly left his office. She couldn’t believe she had even considered going out with the dude. If she was going to go she was going to take Priscilla and Kevwe along. She would suffer alone
She had just reached her table when she noticed the flowers. White roses. She smiled in amazement. Who knew her favourite flowers and how in the world did they find so many in Abuja? She thought. She quickly checked if there was a note attached, there was. She felt that butterflies fluttering feeling in her belly. She opened and read.
“Been thinking of you. Please have dinner with me.
She smiled. Picked up her phone and dialed his number.
“Hi Ayomide” Maryam sounded genuinely pleasant.
“Damn I didn’t think hearing your voice will feel this good” Ayomide said. Maryam could picture him and his handsome grin. She giggled.
“So I got your message, how did you know I love white roses?andshey you know you could have sent a text or called ba?” She said.
“I was to scared you would not pick my call and texting wasn’t appropriate” Ayomide replied, “besides I knew you would be courtious enough to acknowledge the flowers which was a lucky guess by the way”.
“Hmmm well done. I love them. So dinner yeah? I could do that. But I am not going anywhere during this election period oh so it will be afterwards. I am not ready to start running while eating my meal” Maryam joked.
“Fear fear” Ayomide teased. “Well I understand though. Will you be voting?” Ayomide asked.
“Vote fire” Maryam exclaimed. I am not going anywhere near a polling booth”. He laughed again.
“I hear you. So how does Tuesday sound?” Ayomide asked
“I hope everywhere is calm by then” Maryam said.
“I hope I can call you to say hi before then” Ayomide said cautiously. Maryam laughed again.
“Of course. I said I needed space to think, I didn’t say I didn’t want to talk to you ever” she said.
“A man has to be careful with you ladies. You may say one thing but a lot is hidden within” Ayomide said.
“Well mister man. I have work to get back to. Talk to you later.” Maryam said.
“Yeah, true that. Talk to you later okay.” Ayomide said and Maryam ended the call. She smiled. She knew she had made up her mind even before she saw the flowers but she had pushed all that to the back of her mind when work called.
He had made a mistake, who didn’t. It was a shot at happiness and she was going to take it. Her phone rang again.
“Pris how far?” Maryam was surprised Priscilla would be calling her.
“Maryam I’m in trouble” Priscilla exclaimed. Maryam didn’t like the tone of her voice. She couldn’t tell if it was excitement or anxiety.
“Calm down and tell me what happened?” Maryam said in her most calm voice.
“Okay” Priscilla said. Maryam could hear her take a deep breath to relax. “Okay I’m ready to talk”.
“Good, now what happened?” Maryam asked.
“You remember Ebuka?” Priscilla said. Maryam couldn’t place the name, “the guy I told you about from the mall now. Valentine’s day toaster?”
“Oh oh, yeah” Maryam said recalling, “you went on a date with him abi”.
“Ermm we went on several dates actually” Priscilla said quietly.
“Naughty girl” Maryam teased “so you have been flexing and you didn’t tell your girls abi?” She smiled.
“It’s not like that oh” Priscilla said quickly going defensive. “Maryam am not a very opened person. That is all. I didn’t know how to …..”
“Calm down dear I was joking not accusing. Besides you don’t have to spill everything” Maryam said trying to calm her down. “So what is up with him, you are thinking of being serious?”
“Worse Maryam, he wants to marry me” Priscilla said with a strained voice.
“What???” Maryam exclaimed.
…………………. …………………………… …………………..
“Tired as hell man” Justin said exausted sitting down on his bed. “Thank God it’s Friday”.
It had been a long day at work. He had been working in a team that were assigned to build an online platform for shopping. The programing it took was mind blowingly stressful and despite the fact he had always loved coding he was happy today had ended. Otims had surprised him at work and they had come home together. Coincidentally they had got home just when Tokunbo had arrived. He didn’t seem in a good mood.
“You can say that again” Tokunbo said walking into the bathroom.
“Who pissed you off?” Justin shouted against the bathroom door “and dude are you taking a crap? Urgh yuck. That is just nasty man, wetin you chop?” Justin and Otims began to laugh.
Tokunbo ignored the guys. He was in no mood. Just like Joelyn said the lawsuit had been dropped and the two parties had decided to settle out of court. He had been called into Mr. Coker’s office and had stood there watching Joelyn praise his work ethic and diligence. The boss man was actually impressed. He had been told a bonus would be added to his next month’s salary and was encouraged to continue to work hard. On leaving the office Joelyn had offered him a drink in celebration which he had thought rude to refuse all for him to get to her office and she was all pleasant and touchy. He kept quiet and when done with the drink he left. What in heaven’s name was she playing at. All of a sudden he wasn’t enjoying the attention from his supervisor. He cleaned after himself, flushed the toilet and walked out.
“Guy you need to wash your insides” Justin teased again.
“Shut up Justin no change topic” Otims shouted.
“What are you guys talking about” Tokunbo said. He had been so engrossed in his thoughts he wasn’t paying attention to the guys.
“No just mind Otims oh, making a big deal as always” Justin said trying to wave off the matter.
“This fool of a friend is casted” Otims retorted but had a grin on his face. “My problem is why does this never happen to me. Toks him tell you say Dora show last weekend?”
“What?” Tokunbo exclaimed in surprise, “wait Dora-the-giver”, they had tagged her with that name ever since the fling started. Otims nodded in confirmation “came into town?” Tokunbo asked again, Otims nodded again.
Tokunbo turned to Justin. “Na lie Justin, Dora show you no tell me” Tokunbo pretended to act hurt.
“Abeggi no biggy now” Justin said.
“That is not the point Toks. I’m so proud of my boy. Finally he has redeemed himself” Otims said excitedly, “I was beginning to think he had lost it”.
“What is this fool talking about?” Justin looked confused.
“Don’t play dumb joh. You dey lash Michelle you come lash Dora on top. PLAYER!!!” Otims said happily. Tokunbo shook his head and chuckled. Otims could be extremely stupid sometimes.
“Ermm I didn’t sleep with Dora” Justin said almost embarrassed. He looked towards the ground. The smile on Otims face vanished immediately.
“You are pulling my legs right? Tell me you are joking. Tell me something other than the crap you just said” Otims seemed like he was going to cry. Tokunbo was laughing now.
“Guy even me sef didn’t understand” Justin said looking worried. “No be like say I didn’t want to oh but it just felt off.”
“It felt off?” Otims asked putting his hand on his head, “Justin Dada sleeping with a hot airline hostess that would blow your mind away felt OFF? And you nor get sense find the switch put am on again? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”.
By now Tokunbo was rolling in fits of laughter. It was always hilarious the way Otims took sexual matters so seriously.
“Tokunbo your friend has lost his mind and you are laughing?” Otims said seriously.
“Guy na by force to lash?” Tokunbo asked trying to control his laughter, “you know if him dey keep himself for marriage?” He asked jokingly.
“Thunder fire marriage there. What the hell now Justin, where your sense waka go?” Otims asked.
“Guy no be say I no try oh” Justin began to explain. “I pick her call now, I bounce dinner with Michelle go see the babe. We been start dey kiss and all but my body no just fit continue. I had to tell her I was in a relationship.” He said looking defeated.
“Oh my gosh. This boy has lost it” Otims said sitting down. It looked like he was starting to have a headache.
“Funny thing is she didn’t care” Justin said. Otims raised his head with hope.
“Then what stopped you?” Otims asked confused.
“Man I don’t know oh. I just had to leave.” Justin said perplexed.
“It’s called love my friend, it is called love” Tokunbo smiled at his friend.
“Two of you need help” Otims looked at both of them with disgust. He couldn’t understand what was going on with his partner in crime. Toks had always been a lover boy, that didn’t shock him. But Justin practically taught him all he knew and he was now being weak?
Knock knock knock. The door opened and Kevwe poked her head.
“Hi boys” she sounded pleasant.
“Hey, babe how far?” Tokunbo greeted. “Kevwe what’s up?” Justin answered. Otims just nodded. He still wasn’t over the way she treated him the last time and didn’t want an addition.
“Everyone is downstairs in the kitchen and i just finished making dinner. Thought you guys would be interested.” Kevwe said. The guys looked at each other. For someone who just broke up with her boyfriend of over 3years she was too happy. But never will a man refuse food.
“You don’t need to ask me twice” Justin got up happily.
“Thought you would like the idea” kevwe said smiling at him. Then she added “Otims you can stay too just behave.” And with that she left.
Tokunbo and Justin exchanged looks but said nothing.
They walked down to meet the rest in the kitchen. With seven people in it the kitchen looked smaller than it usually did. Kevwe had prepared spaghetti, Justin’s favourite.
“So what has been happening in everyone’s life now?” Kevwe asked no one in particular. Everybody looked at her then at each other. She had started serving food and ignored their stares.
“Everybody already knows my gist. I broke up with Kenny, boo-hoo, that is out of the way so can everyone stop acting like there are egg shells all around me and be normal?” She looked sad but put up a brave face.
“Pris how far that your toaster?” Kevwe asked. Priscilla had just put some food into her mouth and nearly choked. She looked around everyone was looking at her. She wasn’t used to this kind of openness.
“Ermm ….. Well…. Ermm” Priscilla stuttered.
“Wait is it because of Otims?” kevwe asked. “We can send him home oh if you are shy” the gang laughed at the joke. “I’m just playing guy” she said to Otims.
“Girls talk” Maryam finally said cutting in before Priscilla spoke again. Kevwe looked at her and nodded.
“Haba now which one is girl talk now?” Justin said in protest.
“It means it’s not for your ears” Maryam said and stuck her tongue out in playful mockery. “How is Michelle by the way?” She looked at Kevwe as she spoke who rolled her eyes and turned away.
“I don’t know. That girl and her crazy behaviour. Just because I errm….. forgot to have dinner with her on Saturday she has been acting all weird this week. I’m giving her space.” Justin said.
“Is that what we are going with now?” Otims asked sarcastically. Justin gave him the ‘shut up’ look. Tokunbo began to laugh.
“So you guys are not speaking at the moment?” Kevwe threw in the question casually, trying to act uninterested.
“Nope” Justin said stuffing his mouth with more spaghetti, “o girl this thing make sense” he complimented her.
“Thank you” she said and smiled to herself. Maryam shook her head.
“Try and patch things up oh” Maryam said looking warningly at Kevwe. “By the way I am going on a date with Ayomide next week.” She beamed with joy.
“Finally” Priscilla and Kevwe exclaimed in unison.
“You really want to follow a baby daddy? You will be like a step-baby-mama oh” Justin teased.
“Shut up joh” Kevwe said to him laughing.
“Well just let him know there are guys ready to treat his fuck-up if he tries anything” Tokunbo said. “Yes oh” Justin added in support.
“Awww thanks guys” Maryam said happily, it was comforting to know her friends had met Ayomide and had her back. “That’s true sef Toks when do we get to see Teju now?”
“Talking of Teju I need to go call her” Tokunbo said getting up.
“Runaway. You will come back and answer” Kevwe teased him. Everyone had almost finished their food and the kitchen fell quiet.
“So who is voting tomorrow?” Matthew asked breaking the silence.
“Elder! Elder!! Elder!!!” Justin exclaimed. The whole room busted out in laughter. Even Matthew.
Muyiwa blogs at htttp://abluntnigerian.wordpress.com
You can follow him on instagram/twitter – @mfadarated.