Not until one, clocks 23, decides on a voyage to the pell-mell State of Lagos, does realization dawn and terms like Yoruba demon, mowa, owa, owambe, snake their way into your vocabulary. But then, you’d understand better if you were brought up ‘right’ like I was, lived the ‘good’ life – keeping the pretty flower between your legs, safe until 26, when you decide it was a good enough time to start familiarizing with the male blessings Eko land had to give.
For this, you’re not absolutely surprised when a certain young man with proper beards, offers to pay for your popcorn and pulpy orange at Ozone Cinemas, on a busy Tuesday evening. You walk into the movie theatre together, sit next to each other, and you accept in the end that you’re on a first date because he can detect and agree with you which scenes are humorous and which, a total waste of everybody’s time.
At the crown of it all, you’re surprised someone like him has taken such interest in you. He looked nothing like the flock you were used to – very confident, yet to figure out their future plans. He looked fine and responsible, with a matching name- Olumide. A real catch.
You saw the way he looked at you when you laughed like he was looking into you, looking out for you, falling, for you. It warmed up your insides. As there was a quick spark everywhere in your body after, when he said his favourite scenes were the ones with you smiling.
You liked it very much. As you ended up liking it and him at the movies the very next day, and the subsequent days of driving you everywhere you did and did not know in Lagos, in his sleek Toyota Avalon, and nine months later, when he showed you a diamond ring on one knee, you said yes. That night you let him tongue kiss you for the first time.
He’d tried, he had needs; ones you’d felt, but the good man had been patient and sweet, understanding like an Angel. It was the least you could do, and you knew it. And when he started making sly comments about you guys having sex, it didn’t sound so absurd. You wouldn’t budge of course, but you could afford to think about it, and then playfully slap his hands off. You weren’t quite ready, yet you knew it was only a matter of time.
And so 7 weeks after the proposal when he showed up with his friends, siblings and foster parents and you had your traditional wedding, it didn’t seem so reasonable to resist him. There was nothing to protect anymore. He was madly in love with you, as you were him. Now, you were bonded by your people in marriage, your church wedding was the very next day. All your friends, twitter, Instagram had the invitation card for the very next day. You had proved the point.
The only scary thing now was the pain. Didn’t they say the first time was always so painful? You made him aware of this of course, and he reassured you. And yes, it did hurt, but not as bad as they’d said. Afterwards, you’d gone to bed in each other’s armpits, a revitalizing sleep, only to wake up to a stupid sheet of paper on his side of the bed, in a house you’d both paid for.
“I’m so sorry, it had to be you. You
were, are, a sweet sweet person; the best I’ve encountered on this job.I’m tempted to give you all the details as to why and…but I simply can’t. I pray you can forgive me somehow, someday.”
You are wondering if/why your brain is playing such rude games with you on your golden day.
It had nothing of the ambience of a prank- his wardrobe was cleaned out, but a dream wasn’t far fetched. You pinch your left hand and feel the unpleasantness. Then decide to drag the trembling legs to the kitchen, all the way uncertain if you’d get there- a face wash might help clarify things. No human would go through all that trouble to ruin you; just for sex with one woman.
Something terrible must have happened to the universe. Or the outer space. Perhaps it was something that had to do with the sun or the moon or something!
You sink to the floor, uncertain whether to scream or cry. Nothing happens; you feel numb in all places.
Surely, the fact that one’s heart is beating, doesn’t mean he’s alive.