FOREWORD: Sometimes, we ought to look into our lives, search our minds and remember how we met those precious ones who have made our lives worthwhile and colourful. Sometimes, we have to do more than mere remembrance, by immortalizing the exciting memories in words, in actions, and through mementoes. This is one of such.
I dedicate this to C.Jas, with love. May we always remember and smile.
She cut the call before I could utter another word. I turned on my heels and started making my way back to the hostel. From the look of things, it was evident that no academic work could take place in the school for the day. As much as I tried to wish it away, the words of C.Jas, my girlfriend, kept playing in my head, like a song put on repeat.There is a problem. We need to meet immediately. No questions. Just come.
Several thoughts raced through my mind. What was so important she had to discuss with me? What could it be that she could not even hint at over the phone? Why did she sound so serious? I considered possibilities. Could it be that she is…? No, it couldn’t be. I could not even bring myself to imagine that. I quickened my steps. I needed to get to the hostel, change my outfit and head for the rendezvous as soon as possible.
The hostel area was quite serene as I approached it, unlike the pandemonium we usually have at night. Most students had left the hostel, probably now stuck in another boring class. I greeted Iyalaje who sells provision by the roadside. She asked for why I was coming back from school so early. I told her the condition of things in few words and hastened down the path. God forbid that I should be tied down with petty talks at such a crucial time.
I flipped my bag on my bed and unbuckled my belt. If I were to go out with C.Jas on a normal day, I would take my time to have my shirts and trousers well-ironed. In most cases, I take a refreshing bath, rub into my skin a sweet-smelling body cream, put on a dapper outfit, go generous with my perfume and groom my hair, among other things, before leaving the room to meet my inamorata. Yes, I can ‘dress to kill’ like that. I couldn’t do anything of such that morning, though, because I was nervous; I didn’t know what bomb C.Jas was about to drop in a matter of minutes. I tucked out my shirt, slipped my feet into a pair of slippers and hurried out of the room, looking haggard.
There is a problem. We need to meet immediately. No questions. Just come. Those words shooed me into the streets.
I got to Prosperous by 9.30am, thirty minutes before the fixed time for our meeting. Only few people sat in the restaurant of the hotel by then, and from my presumption, all of them must have spent the weekend there. Prosperous Royal Hotel is one of the newest hotels in the capital city of Ekiti state. Situated in a strategic position along the university road, it serves as an avenue for fun-loving students, merrymaking staff, business tycoons, top-notch office workers and other up-to-date socailites to have unmitigated pleasure, relaxation and flamboyant jamborees.
A waitress walked over to my side and asked if I would want anything. I told her I was waiting for my chic, but it would be okay if she could bring me a cold bottle of Gossy water- something to cool my nerves. I knew C.Jas would soon arrive. She is always punctual, that girl. So, I was not willing to take anything that would tamper with my clear reasoning. I would need much of my senses as far as the suspenseful business was concerned.
I took a glass cup and poured myself a drink. Ten minutes later, C.Jas arrived. She was looking ravishing in a knee-length, body-fitted wine gown, stilettoed feet and wine handbag to match. I liked the touch of red lipgloss on her lips as well; it made her look like a model on the cover page of some beauty magazine. I confirmed there and then that I had chosen the right one. I found myself humming Timi Dakolo’s “Iyawo Mi” without even realising it. How pesin go see fine babe and inspiration for fine song no go come?
But this feeling was not mutual. While I was awestruck with C.Jas’ beauty, that had been more pronounced with her head-turning outfit, I regret to say that shabby would be too lenient a description for my own outlook. Little wonder why she could not hide her disdain but just had to ask why I was so dressed like a ragamuffin. Yes, ragamuffin- that was her exact word. It hurt, but as a sharp guy, I was quick to remind her that she didn’t inform me I would be coming for a red party on the moon. We both laughed.
I had not even allowed her to settle down before asking what it was she wanted to discuss with me quite badly. She read the anxiety on my face and broke into laughter. She threw her head back and pointed at me as a spasm of hysteria seized her, making her chest heave. I felt stupid, for I could not identify the cause of her outburst. At last she regained her composure and opened her mouth to speak.
“Omoya, don’t tell me you are so nervous because of what I said over the phone.” She laughed some more.
“Er, yes, I admit I’ve been worried about how serious you sounded over the phone. Pray tell me, what’s the matter?”
“Now, Omoya, take a deep breath. There’s no problem. I only wanted to ensure that you would come. I was afraid you might want to bury yourself in Guyton or any of those massive medical books instead of giving me some attention today that you can afford to. The trick worked, shey?”
Oh my! I was shocked to hear that. So C.Jas made me go through all that trouble and psychological trauma just because she wanted some attention? Incredible! I wanted to get angry, but I could not. I wanted to flare up and shout on her, but I found myself smiling as I stared into her crystalline eyes, fascinated by the way her dark eyeballs danced a rumba while she taunted me. This is why I love her, and this is why I can’t afford to lose her. The ease she exudes in being hilarious and dramatic is what I have yet found a match for, simply unparalleled.
The first time I met C.Jas is an experience I would never forget. It was at GT bank. I had gone there with the hope of cashing some money at the ATM before the next lecture would start, only to be welcomed by one of those long queues that weren’t a rarity on campus. Because I was in sore need of money, I had no option than to join the queue and pray to Somebody in the Highest that it would move faster.
“Who is the last person on the queue, please?” I had asked.
“Sadly, I am. Don’t you pity me?” a lady had replied, making a pitiful face.
“Perhaps I would need more pity myself, for I shall now be condemned to stand behind you.”
“Oh poor you! And who is it that has so condemned you?”
“I wish I knew precisely, but I hear they say it’s Buhari who first caused us to line up like ducklings after the mother duck,” I had answered, feeling brilliant.
“My, you must be a duckling then. I sure as hell am not one. You need more pity indeed,” the lady had said with a sarcastic tone, her countenance like someone really sorry for my predicament. Every student on the queue had laughed without restraint. I had laughed at myself, too.
That humourous lady was C.Jas. Somehow, we had got chatting on sundry topics as the queue progressed. Somehow, I had collected her number. And somehow, well, you can fathom how one thing led to the other and she was sitting opposite me in Prosperous Royal Hotel by 10.00am.
On the day we met, it happened that I could not withdraw money at all because the ATM went temporarily out of service when it was almost my turn. Although I went back to class without a dime, I didn’t return the same way I had come, for I no doubt got something far valuable. I found love.
Isn’t mysterious the way of love?
~~~Omoya Yinka Simult
March 14, 2015.
P.S: -In other news, I am made to understand that the timing of this story is perfect, bearing in mind that it’s exactly a month after Valentine’s Day. This is a compensation, because I could not write anything during the last Valentine’s Day. If you’re thinking C.Jas got me occupied on that day, you might not be wrong. No more words.
-If I told you the above story was a work of fiction, would you believe?