“How dare you!”, Tonia screamed. I couldn’t look into her eyes, the slap was a hard one, I could feel the pain, it still stung my cheeks and I could feel them turn red or maybe pink, who knows? Looking so beautiful despite the anger all over her, she was wearing a pale pink jumpsuit I have always loved on her, she reached to pick up her bag and just for a second I felt bad for what I did. “I’m sorry”, I said, knowing fully well that I didn’t mean it and I never will, our eyes caught each other and she stormed out.
“Good morning, city of Lagos!, how una dey, wherever your waka jam you, if na office you dey o abi na traffic, make una sabi say your waka go pay plenty plenty…’, the man in the radio kept screaming his lungs into the microphone. I switched the device off as I climbed out of the bed. The marble floor felt like ice to my feet but I didn’t bother to put my slippers on as I wanted to enjoy the weather. Checking my alarm clock, it was already 7:13 am and I knew I was already too late for my morning exercise, nevertheless, I wasn’t looking forward to missing it, I slipped my gear on, took a quick glance at the mirror, pulled my hair back in a neat ponytail and set out to keep fit.
“Sisi mi!” Baba Ade, the gateman greeted me with a full grin, featuring the three teeth old age had left him with, “Whatsup baba, ekaaro!” I replied. He was a father figure to me, hence made the list of the very few people I spoke my native language (Yoruba) to. It took Baba Ade few extra minutes to open the gate as he was struggling with his threadbare agbada which he always wore whenever the weather seized to be nice.
He opened the gate and bid me farewell, reminding me not to be late. I inhaled the “fresh” harmattan air of Lagos, looked around the beautiful mini estate and started jogging.
It was a beautiful and serene environment, it took me and my friends almost a year to successfully secure an apartment here. On the beautiful and much talked about Lagos island. Beautiful flowers adorned the area as they were strategically located. It looked more like a private resort which was the major reason why we chose the house and paid several hundreds of thousands of naira to secure the mini flat.
A tall statue of a peacock caught my eye as I jogged past it, I was still wondering why I hadn’t noticed it there. Suddenly, I felt a light tap on my shoulder, I shrugged it off and kept looking at the statue but the tap came again, this time it was more like a shake on my shoulder and I looked back then I saw him.
“Uncle Vincent!, what are you doing here?” I managed to ask while I was trying to catch my breath. “Sorry! What are you saying?” he said. I noticed he had perfect white and straight teeth, it sure wasn’t him. the image of the jagged teeth quickly flashed through my mind and my stomach groaned. “What do you want?” I screamed, “What!” he muttered, he opened his mouth but nothing came out. I stared at him hard just to be sure my mind wasn’t playing games with me, but it wasn’t him.
“I just wanted to say hi,” he said timidly, picking his words slowly, I sized him up and noticed there was no ring on his finger. “All you bunch of nuisances,” I spat, “Leave me alone! Okay!” I said pointing a finger into his chest, hard and tense, his chest portrayed him as a fit young man. I turned back to go and heard him calling out, I started jogging back, hoping never to see him again.
When I got home, Baba Ade noticed the look on my face and he did not make any jokes about how long I took as he usually did. I walked briskly into my flat, I stopped inside the living room as images kept flashing through my mind, images I thought had been long gone. I looked around the cozy living room that was always a bubbly area anytime my friends stayed over. The room was well furnished by one of the best interior decorators in town, even against the will of my salary as a marketing manager in a cosmetic company on the island.
I looked at the floor-to-ceiling mirror that stood just across me in the living room, it was a gift from Biola, my first roommate in the university, she had given me so it would remind me of my beauty, a gift I had gotten from my mother, she was a rare beauty, even till her death. I had everything my mother had in modified versions, from an oblong face with juicy lips and a pointed nose that gave me the look of a beauty queen, a caramel skin color that glowed without effort on a body shaped perfectly with round hips and complimenting full breasts, to my smooth long legs that could drive any man crazy. I had also over time cultivated the habit of swinging my long, silky hair as I walked and exposing a little skin to express confidence and authority.
Men trooped into my office just to have me in their arms, they promise me heaven and earth, but they were not my choice, I was only delighted in the arms of married and engaged men, there I found pleasure and satisfaction. This habit has cost me almost all of my friends and even female acquaintances, as their men were the main targets and nobody wanted to be a friend to a man snatcher, they didn’t know I was only doing them a favor, saving them from a lifetime of stress. As I believed that all men, young or old were cheats, unrepentant and useless ones, but they didn’t understand.
To be continued