We had been dating for only 6 months and she had changed my life. Cheta. Cheta redefined unusual. The way she thought, talked, laughed, walked… I always told her she dropped from Mars and always, she would laugh. She was a reserved girl but with lots of wisdom. She listened more than she spoke, she knew more than she let on, she was stressless and independent but she made me feel indispensable. Randomly, two weeks ago, she said
“Exes are the one set of people that frighten me. They’re really dangerous.”
I laughed and asked why.
“Ha. Because they bring further maths and disrupt your present chemistry.”
I looked a little confused.
“Hian! You want me to do differential calculus for you to get it?”
I laughed again.
“Differential Calculus na. dx, dy abi dy, dx”
I laughed hard. Cheta and her unusual sense of humour. That didn’t make sense in anyway. But I urged her to go on and make her point.
“C’mon Josh. If you dated them once, there’s every possibility you can hook up with them again. They wield so much power! I’m not in touch with either of my exes. I don’t trust them but more importantly, I don’t trust myself to hold my own around them”
I laughed again. I thought she was just paranoid, but I didn’t say so. Regardless, I was somewhat grateful she felt that way. I had nothing to fear. I thought about my own ex-girlfriends. There were about 4 of them and I was hardly in touch with any. Zara was travelling the world; I got tired of keeping up with her. Biola and Som were lost somewhere in Lagos. Kate had moved to Kaduna. It was a good thing none of them was in Port Harcourt. I guess that gave Cheta a feeling of security.
Out of the blues, Zara called me. She was coming to Port Harcourt for a friend’s wedding. I had not seen her in two years. I was mildly excited. We met up for a drink on Friday night. I told Cheta about her and she was okay with it.
Zara had changed. She had grown more beautiful. She rocked her thick natural hair in a ‘fro, wore light make up and a tiny clingy dress. We talked about so many things including our time together. It was like I’d been transported to a different Dimension. I had forgotten how exciting Zara was. She had that magical presence that left you spell-bound. She talked endlessly of places she’d been, people she’d seen, I was in a trance. She laughed easily and occasionally slapped my thighs. It was Zara, she had always been a “touchy touchy” person.
I think we took too many drinks. She asked me to dance with her. I did not hesitate. Our bodies moved in sync to the rhythm of Usher’s “D.J’s got us falling in love again”. I had forgotten how Zara moved. She was a great dancer. She actually ran a dance academy while we were dating.
My heart was racing and I could feel my body getting all heated up. I thought of Cheta in that moment and I felt instant guilt. Cheta didn’t know how to dance. I didn’t realize I was running comparisons in my head until Zara asked that we head out. Her voice zapped me back to reality and I knew I needed to go home.
We walked out together and I gulped in the fresh air that hit me. I wasn’t thinking straight anymore. Zara had that effect.
“Please take me back to my hotel” she cooed.
I thought it was a bad idea but I convinced myself it would be wrong to leave her by herself at that time of the night. I agreed to drop her off but promised myself I would not walk her to her room.
We enjoyed light careless chatter as we drove to her hotel. We got there and I parked. I turned to her and smiled.
“It was really great seeing you again Zara. This was fun”
She smiled and turned to face me in the car.
“Yeah, it was fun for me too. I’m so glad I was able to see you and hang out.”
There was awkward silence for about a minute.
“I regret that we ended things Josh. Do you ever feel that way?”
I did not know how to answer. After such a night, how could I not wish we were still together? But then there was Cheta.
“Your mum didn’t like me Zara. It was she who sent you off to Germany to spend time with your dad…”
“My mum is dead.”
I looked up in shock.
“I loved her, her death hurt but I couldn’t stop myself from thinking that you and I could finally be together if only I could sort my life out and return to Nigeria.”
I was still stunned. I opened my mouth to speak but the words were stuck in my throat. My brain froze and I could not think.
She leaned in, kissed me deeply and said
“I’m actually back for you…”