by Daniel Nkado
The motorcycle stopped just in front of the gate.
I got down and handed the man N500.
“Aunty, make I keep the change?” he said, smiling as he searched his pocket.
He was still smiling as he extended N200 to me.
I gave him another look and told him he can go with the money.
His smile spilt over. “Eya, Aunty thank you o,” he said.
I smiled back and said bye-bye to him.
Quite unlike them, he was very friendly and smiley.
Inside the compound, a woman was screaming: “Temileyin, come and wash your bom-bom!”
I saw the little child run to her and turn her small buttocks.
She splashed water on them, rubbing to wash.
I looked away till she was done.
I walked up to her and said, “Good afternoon, ma.”
“Good afternoon, my dear,” she replied, wiping her wet hands on her wrapper.
“Please, I’m looking for somebody,” I said.
“Eh, who is the person?”
“Peter, Peter, Peter,” she sang, trying to remember.
“He is dark,” I said, “average height and muscular in frame.”
The woman still looked lost.
“That must be Brother Deji,” someone else said from a nearby corner—a young boy sitting on a white plastic chair with his legs crossed on the short veranda wall.
“Yes,” I said. “Deji.”
The woman smiled now; there were lots of gaps in her teeth.
She said something in Yoruba and I nodded, even though I did not understand.
She pointed to the right. “Go down. The door before the last.”
I said thank you and followed her direction.
The doors were so close to each other that I wondered if they really opened to different rooms.
I knocked on the door I was told.
Nothing came at first.
I knocked again.
“Who is that?!” came a loud voice from inside.
Before I could say my name, I heard the sound of an unbolting and the next second the door was pulled back.
He stared back at me: Peter. He looked just like I remembered him. If not better.
“Good afternoon, Peter,” I said.
“What are you doing here?”
There was no emotion in his eyes. Not like I had expected to see one.
“Won’t you at least allow me come in?” I said.
“I’m sure you know why.”
“Allow me in first.”
“Really? I don’t even have where you can sit.”
I made to smile. “I came here on a bike, do you know that?” I said.
“Of course, that’s the only way you could have.”
I walked past him now into the room.
It looked better in the inside than what one would have imagined from outside. Neat, cosy and sweet-smelling.
He locked the door slowly, grudgingly.
“What do you want?” he asked me again.
“I miss you,” I said. “I miss all the good times we had together, the laughter, the jokes, I miss all of it.”
“Sorry, I don’t remember any of those.”
“All I remember is the insults, you screaming at me, calling me names, telling me to go and never come back.”
“I was naïve then. I knew nothing.”
“That wasn’t the picture I got. All I ever saw was someone who finally realized what she truly wanted for herself.”
“Ok, maybe I acted selfish. Maybe I made a stupid choice, said and did stupid things to you, but here I am now. Let’s start over again.”
“It’s too late.”
“Stephanie, you nearly killed me. I spent weeks hating my life.”
“I’m sorry, I will say it a thousand times if I have to, but I know better now. Truly I do.”
I took a step to him and he drew back.
“Peter, I said I’m sorry.”
“You don’t have to be sorry. Just go.”
I held him and planted my lips into his. They still tasted just as sweet as I remember them.
He wanted to resist, he really wanted to— I could feel it.
But he eventually didn’t. I still have that much hold on him.
Some minutes later, we lay there on his bed, exhausted from the passion.
A knock came on the door.
He walked to the door in only his boxers.
“Oh Christ!” he screamed as he opened the door.
I saw the girl that burst into the room and she saw me too.
She turned to Peter and cried, “You are very wicked!” before running out of the room.
“Blessing, wait!” he called. “Wait, please!”
But she was gone already and he didn’t pursue her.
He just stood there, motionless, wearing a miserable face.
I rose from the bed and came to him. I patted his shoulder.
“She has been very good to me,” he muttered. “She really has.”
I squeezed his shoulder lightly. “Everything will be okay,” I told him.