Maybe it’s the splattered crackles of her splintered laughters. Maybe. Maybe it’s the delight of not swinging to that coolness of the breezy evenings alone. Maybe. Maybe it’s the sheer delight of always sitting close to mama alagbado’s famed spot, savouring the alluring sight of swirling fires beneath a shoved metal and the scented smokes that roast the corns we always devour with excitement. Maybe. Maybe it’s her candour. Maybe. Maybe it’s her beauty.
But there is something divine about my evenings nowadays. Evenings I spend with my pretentious lover and sister.
We talk about anything except how we feel for each other. That’s a religious boundary we don’t cross. Pains of love have thought us that you can never be sure about what you feel until certain realities of life cloud you. And until God happens. Well, she doesn’t really believe He happens. Looking forward to our rendezvous every evening could just be the excitement of meeting someone new. Nothing more.
But that changed last night. Well, she started it.
“I am having an interest shift in the kind of man I want to marry since we became close. You’ve really challenged me.”
“Really?” I sounded surprised but delighted.
“Yeah,” she said. “I now want a guy who is as romantically charming as he is spiritually sound. I just don’t want a God seeker, I want a me-lover too. The resourceful, funny and intelligent type. He must write well, speak good English and have impeccable social manners.”
Social manners? What’s that? I didn’t ask though. I just listened.
And then I preached… Oh common! Christian marriage is not just about what you want or the silly idols of your heart. Sometimes, you don’t even know what you want. Just let God speak to you.
When I saw her reaction, I kept mute without thinking twice. It was the oh-spare-me-those-religious-rhetoric kind of look which seems to ask what language God speaks. She kept talking again. I listened to how someone else fits the frame but not me. Well, she wants a tall guy. That hasn’t changed. And I am still short. She wants a ‘clean’, fine guy. That hasn’t changed. And I am still the ugly dude you’d rather reference than walk with when the sun is out.
“Asake, I—I—I…” I struggled to spit out what was building through my chest so quickly.
“Are you okay? Is everything alright?” Her charming voice gave me a false hope that whatever I had to say wasn’t too much a sweet soul like her can’t stomach.
“I think I am in love with you.” Mo jabo.
And that was it. Her jaw dropped. She was so stunned it seemed the only reason she wasn’t angry was because she was too shocked to be. Rather, she stood up and walked away. That has never happened. Last night, she didn’t chat me up on whatsapp. She didn’t call me on her mtn awoof calls. Maybe she was still processing my outburst.
And on this cold evening, I am sitting alone at our familiar spot, snuffing the imaginary scents of her body, stroking the flexed, stranded wood of the shattered shack. I sit. Alone. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Till deeper darkness covers me and an awkward silence gradually falls on the rugged street….
It doesn’t seem like she’s coming tonight. Would she?