BY: SULAIMAN BELLO
The early morning sun was brighter than usual, the day was cold and dry outside. characteristics of the harmattan season. Duro yawned and stretched, cursing the morning for coming so fast. The cold had made the sleep more enjoyable last night, and he wished he could just go back to bed, but he knew he couldn’t, he had to be in school for the Professor’s test in an hour.
He turned in the direction of the woman who laid beside him, the one woman in the world he truly would want to be with for the rest of his life. She had been in town for three days now, making the three hours trip between their schools to spend time with him. He loved her and appreciated her devotion to the success of their relationship, he had no doubt they would have a beautiful married life and raise beautiful babies one day. Pulling the duvet away from his body, he slid off the bed and walked towards the bath. He stopped at the doorway and glanced back into the room. It was a nice comfy room, larger than the usual bedroom size for students, the walls and ceiling were newly painted, the abstractly designed cream rug covering the floor complimented the cream colour of the wall and also made the room bright. Electronics of all kinds filled the room, but he wasn’t seeing all those, his attention was held by the frail looking beauty curled up under the duvet, eyes closed, unaware of the world around her. She meant more to him than he could admit to her or anyone else, she made him do things he never thought he could, as well as stop doing things he never thought he could let go of. Returning his attention to the bath, he dreaded the cold that the bath would bring, he nevertheless stepped in.
With only a small white towel wrapped around his waist, he exited the bathroom to find Temi seated in bed hugging herself at the knee. She looked smaller in his Kobe Bryant Laker’s jersey. He wished he could just drop the towel and do things to her, but she wouldn’t let him. He knew it and he let the thought out of his head. The three nights they had shared in that bed followed the same pattern. They talked about all sorts; school, friends, family, cars, babies, movies, diapers, books, the ecosystem -everything but politics, she hated it.
Their discussions usually ended in kisses, long passionate wet kisses and each night he tried to make it more sensual than the last, hoping each night would be the night she would give it up. But when his hands ventured too far, she would pull away and remind him of her intentions to make their first time special. Special to her meant their wedding night and he wanted that too, so he backed off. He loved her too much to let his tenacity for sex give her the wrong impression about his intentions and feelings for her.
Fifteen minutes after, dressed and ready to go, he kissed her goodbye promising to be back immediately after the test, that will be in about 3 hours.
Under the big tree, right in front of the Faculty of Engineering, a point seen as the middle of the big campus, students gathered all day. Topics cutting across various fields were argued out here, soccer however was the most frequently discussed. The wooden bleachers built around the tree formed a circle, making it a nice spot for such arguments and other large meetings. It was scantier than usual this morning partly because of the professor’s decision to postpone his test till further notice.
The test had been the only reason Ronke and most of the faculty’s students came to school today, but for her school daughter Dolapo who sought her advice on matters of the heart she would have gone back to her hostel like the others. It wasn’t unusual for friends to pick on Ronke’s brain, especially on relationships issues. She was smart, confident and frank, and everybody knew she had enough charm and wit to keep any man under a spell. As she spoke to her school daughter about the matter at hand, she spotted Duro approaching and abruptly ended the discussion. Duro joined them hearing only the last sentence “If you like him as much as you say and you think he is serious, then go for it.”
Dolapo got up to leave, she gave Ronke a hug and said “He’ll be in my place in one hour, please drop by and meet him.” Ronke smiled, thinking of how naïve young girls can be nowadays, despite admitting the guy had been with a girl for about three years now, he promised her it was nothing more than a fling, Ronke knew her school daughter had made up her mind long before today’s conversation, she was only looking for assurance from someone she trusted. She couldn’t wait to meet the guy making her young friend feel so loved. She remembered how she felt too when she and Funsho started out, and now she was sure the only road their relationship was leading to was that of marriage.
After about an hour of their usual chit-chats, Ronke decided it was time to honour her school daughter’s invitation, and Duro decided to visit his elder brother who lived only a stone throw from campus, he hadn’t seen him since the arrival of his girlfriend.
Ronke was happy for her school daughter, while trying to recover from the heartbreak she suffered about a year ago she completely neglected boys, and now she seemed to have found the one to help her heal completely. She would know of the guy’s real intentions within just few hours of chatting with him, she knew she had that gift of seeing through men, they weren’t smart enough to fool her. She wasn’t poke-nosing she told herself, it was her friend’s heart, and it was her business too.
She met her school daughter in front of her hostel, she was getting drinks for her guest from their mallam’s kiosk. On seeing Ronke, Dolapo giggled like a five year old on christmas eve, “He’s inside” she said as they hugged. Ronke took some of the things from her friend to allow her carry the other things she bought. Drinks in hand, grin on face, Dolapo led the way to her room.
The young man sitting inside seemed to have heard their footsteps and knew they were coming, as he got up and unlocked the door from behind opening the door for them, Ronke stretched to catch a glimpse of him but all she could see as the door was opening was the shadow he cast. At last the door opened and he was standing in the door way.
The crashing sound behind Dolapo made her jump, she looked behind her to see the bottle Ronke had been carrying chattered on the pavement, she looked up and Dolapo seemed oblivious of the accident and the sharp pieces at her feet, she just stared straight past her, shock and betrayal written all over her face, she looked back at her prospective boyfriend who had come to open the door for her and he appeared stunned too. She was not too confused to know something was amiss. She turned to Ronke for an explanation, she was still and teary. Before Dolapo could ask the question, the answer came. “That’s my Funsho.”
Getting off the bike in front of his brother’s hostel, he paid the okada man and headed for his brother’s door. It was the last to the left in a row of red doors. While he decided to live in town amongst the “indigenes” of the town for fear of riots and cult activities within school premises, his brother had claimed staying around school would afford him the opportunity to use the school library till late in the night, so he rented a room in one of the private hostels around the university. However, Duro knew the real reason for getting this room was the large population of girls in the area.
As he raised his hand to knock the door, the sound coming from behind the door stopped it mid air. It was a soft moan, the action going on behind the door was certainly one generating great pleasure. Dapo was at it again, his philandering skills were of legendary status, the thought of sticking with one babe for him was far worse than the death penalty. The moan was getting louder now and more embarrassing for him standing there and listening to it. He was going to talk some sense into his brother today, with set jaw and clenched fists he headed for the opposite end of the hallway where the entrance was to wait for them to come out. While trying to sound as angry as he could, he would tell his brother to start behaving like the elder one, and also tell the girl she was one of his many sluts.
Thirty minutes passed and at last the door opened, their end of the hallway was too dark to see their faces from where he stood, but he could see their silhouette come together in a tight hug followed by a kiss.
“Haven’t you had enough?” he screamed from where he stood. Going towards them in a rage he kept yelling. Now he could see his brother’s face, the expression on it wasn’t that of the arrogant pride he expected, it was of confusion and he was surprisingly silent too. As he drew closer to them the next words that should have come out of his mouth stuck right in his throat, welling up into a painful ball that caused tears to roll down his cheeks, his knees lost their strength and he grabbed the wall for support. He had just seen the girl’s face. It was his TEMI.
The writer is @psuellie on twitter.