Simply Complicated XVII

Simply Complicated XVI

Merry Christmas guys. I’ve been with family all week. Given the season we’re in, that automatically implied little or no time to myself. I’m sorry this is late. I hope you enjoy it. Merry Christmas.
***
For the second time that day, Khalid felt like he was in a very bad dream. What was with the Oguntubos and reappearing from oblivion? First Seye, now Bode. He tried to sit up and say hi but before he could complete the movement, Bode swung a fist into his face. Aisha gasped and rushed to his side. The pain he felt was blinding but he said nothing. It was Aisha who spoke instead
“Bode! What the hell?! What did you do that for?!”
Bode rubbed his clenched fist in his left hand. His face was blank, totally unreadable
“I’ve wanted to do that for a long time now.”
Aisha looked scared and confused, totally unsure what to do. Khalid rubbed his nose and felt the blood.
“I’m sorry Bode. I have been looking for you for six years now-“
“Bloody liar!”
Horror filled Aisha’s face
“You two know each other?”
They ignored her. It was as though she wasn’t even in the room
“Bode, everyone told me she was dead.”
“It was convenient for you wasn’t it?”
“Bode, stop this. I messed up, I’m sorry. Seye has forgiven me, why are you still holding on?”
Bode shook his head.
“I’m not Seye.”
“I know that. But you’re her brother. I did not hurt just her. I hurt you too and I am deeply sorry-“
“Don’t patronize me man. I don’t need it. Save that patronizing for your followers and all those other people that gather to listen to you blab. I came here for one reason only and that is to let you know that sometimes the ones we love end up paying for the evil we do.”
Khalid looked at Aisha sharply and back at Bode
“What do you mean by that?”
Bode smiled.
“Aisha was going to pay for what you did…”
“What are you talking about?! What do you mean I was going to pay for what he did?!”
“Ask your fiancé. He raped my little sister six years ago.”
Aisha suddenly felt dizzy.
“Wait. What are you saying? You’re Seye’s brother?”
Aisha felt the blood drain from her face. This was a nightmare.
Bode smiled calmly.
“I think both of you should sit down.
Aisha did not need to be told. She sat down on the couch close to Khalid who put his arm around her.
“Did you ever tell Khalid about our kiss?”
Aisha wished the ground would open up and swallow her. She couldn’t even look at either of them. She felt Khalid’s grip loosen around her arm.
“Yes, she told me about the kiss. So?”
She wasn’t sure she heard right. She turned to look at Khalid but his eyes were fixed on Bode. Bode looked a little disappointed but he continued.
“Aisha, nothing about our meeting was an accident. When I discovered you were involved with Khalid, I decided to take my revenge. I’d been nursing it for a long time, waiting for the perfect time to execute it. I never schooled in Lancaster…”
Aisha’s mouth dropped open.
“But.. but…”
“I studied Computer Science and not Public Relations. We met at that training only because I was stalking you…”
Aisha was in utter shock. She could not believe it. Khalid simply looked on. He looked like he was impatiently waiting for Bode to get to the end of his story but he didn’t say anything.
“I wanted Khalid to know what it felt for someone you care about to be violated by someone they trusted. So I was bidding time. I followed you and gradually eased into your life. Two weeks ago when we went to Beer Barn, I drugged your drink. I was going to do to you as Khalid had done to Seye but you got really lucky.
Unlike your fiancé here, I’m not a cold ruthless beast. I just couldn’t do it. I find you attractive, yes. I became attached to you and found myself caring for you more than I meant to. I guess that also helped. I eventually felt guilty for trying to hurt you for something you had no role in and that’s why I’ve been trying to reach you since; to say I’m sorry.”
Aisha had tears in her eyes. Her emotions were a mess, all mixed up; anger, hurt, shame, disappointment. So Bode was on a mission after all? She should have told Khalid about the kiss! She really should have!
Khalid’s voice broke into her thoughts
“If that’s all you have to say, you can leave now.”
“I wasn’t speaking to you.”
“Me, her, same thing. You can leave now.”
Aisha found her voice.
“I think you’re cold, wicked and very selfish. I can’t imagine I called you my friend. Please leave my house.”
Bode looked at her and shrugged
“Okay!”
There was an arrogant air of indifference about him. He walked out of the house and shut the door behind him.
“I can’t believe you kissed him and didn’t tell me about it.” Khalid shot at her
“I can’t believe I was going to get raped because of something stupid you did!” She fired back
“So this is somewhat balanced in your head? How on earth did you wind up kissing him and why did I never get to hear about it?”
Aisha sighed. She was tired.
“It was a mistake. It happened the night you and I had a fight after your return from PH. I was really mad ‘cause I thought you had cheated. We went out for a drink, I got drunk, I kissed him. It was nothing major. I’m sorry.”
Khalid rubbed his eyes. It had been a long day. A long month in fact but thankfully, it looked like it was all coming to an end.
“So why didn’t you tell me about it? I thought you said we had no secrets between us?”
“Says the guy who raped a girl and kept it a secret all this while.”
“That was different. Besides I opened up before Seye showed up.”
“I still can’t believe I could have gotten raped on your account.”
Khalid reached out to her. He was tired and he wasn’t going to push this any further.
“Come here babe”
Aisha got up and walked to him and he hugged her tight.
“We both made mistakes. Mine was graver and had more terrible consequences than yours and I’m sorry. I could have done some real damage to you without even meaning to and for that I am deeply sorry. Can you forgive me?”
There was no smile on her face but there was no frown either.
“I guess so. Maybe in time we’ll be alright. But for now I think we need some time apart.” She detached herself from his embrace and looked away from him.
“Time apart? What do you mean?”
“It’s been a really rocky ride Kay. The past month has been tough with all the issues we’ve faced. Maybe we should just take some time out, do some personal appraisal and decide what we really want.”
Khalid looked confused.
“Are you breaking up with me?
Aisha didn’t respond.
“I’m talking to you. Say something.”
“Kay, I’m not sure. I’m just saying we need the time apart. Someone found me, stalked me and built a web of lies around me just to get at you. We went out together a number of times and I never suspected a thing. I’m not sure how I feel right now. It was all too convincing. I just need some time to get my thoughts together.”
Khalid looked at her and he felt utterly defeated. He picked his keys and walked out of the house. He had never had so much trouble and drama in his life while he was single. This was just too much.
***
“Sometimes love is not enough and that’s exactly what I discovered with Kay.”
“Relationships are hard work dear daughter. If anyone ever told you it was all fun, they lied to you-”
Aisha looked at her mum and shook her head
“You’re not getting me. I’m not saying it’s all fun. I’m just saying I love him but that’s it. I have nothing else on the table. No trust. It’s all gone. I feel like I’ll always be looking over my shoulder.
What if Seye decides she doesn’t want to forgive him again and she comes to baptize me with acid?”
“You’re being paranoid.”
“I’m not mum. If her brother who was not directly affected would want to rape me to get even with him then anything can happen. Mum, Bode came close, really close…”
“You were careless.”
“Really? So I should have asked for an ID or what?”
“Aisha. I’m not trying to make you change your mind. You asked for my opinion, I gave it. You’re not obligated to do what I say
You say you love him but love is not enough. Okay. Although I don’t know what you children call love nowadays. In my days, it wasn’t just a feeling. It was a choice to be with someone when they had shown you all there was to them. You’ve come to know Khalid in his entirety. You’ve seen him at his strongest and at his weakest. So what next? You can’t deal with his past? So you want to up and leave? You can’t deal with the fact that he made a costly mistake? Fine. You want to call off the engagement? Go ahead.”
Aisha watched her mother get up and leave the room. She really wasn’t ready. This was too much to deal with.
***
“How about we go back to Kenya together?”
Khalid watched his mother pack her things into her small bag. She always travelled light.
“I’ll just leave my life behind? Just like that?”
Mrs Sani smiled.
“We can work together. I’ll pay you good money.”
She winked and Khalid laughed.
“You know money isn’t the problem. I find fulfilment being here.”
“I know. Your father would have been proud.”
They were silent for a few minutes.
“I miss her mum. Very much.”
His mum smiled, a knowing smile.
“I know you do. Just give her time. Let her decide what she wants. If she doesn’t choose you, it’s her loss and not yours. I raised a solid man and I’m proud of you.”
They shared a hug
“Thanks mum. I love you.”
“I love you too son.”
***
Khalid was driving his mother to the airport when the text came in. he saw the light blinking but ignored it till they were parked at the international wing of the airport.
“Call me often…” his mum was saying. But he was not with her. His eyes were on his phone.
“I love you, past, present and future. Mistakes, achievements, failures. I love you and all that is you. I’ll come over tonight so we can talk and maybe start over. Clean slate, new beginning, no secrets…”
“Khalid?”
The twinkle was back in his eyes.
“Mum?”
“I know that’s Aisha. Focus, I’ve got a plane to catch.”
“Right!”
“I’ll call you the moment we touch down. You guys keep me updated alright?”
“Alright mum. I love you. And thank you, for everything.”
She smiled and spared him a quick hug. He watched her walk briskly into the airport and the moment she was out of sight, he was hurriedly typing a reply.
“Clean slate. I’m all in. Went to drop mum at the airport. I’ll be home in 45mins or less. See you!”
***
And that good people, is the end of Simply Complicated. I hope you had as much fun reading as I had writing. I’ll be taking a break off the blog but I’ll be back before the end of January 2014 hopefully with better stuff for your reading pleasure.
Thank you for following this series. You are simply amazing! Merry Christmas and a splendid New Year ahead.
Yours always,
Yougeecash

Simply Complicated XVI

Simply Complicated XV
Because I love you guys, here’s a bonus episode. Enjoy

Khalid swallowed. His throat was dry. He was numb with shock. They stared at each other for a while and Aisha spoke eventually.
“I think we should find somewhere to seat and talk.”
Seye’s smile disappeared and her face was an unreadable mask
“It’s been such a long time Kay, you and I should actually find a place to talk. I’ll be waiting outside”
She threw Aisha a casual glance that told her she was excluded from the conversation and walked out.
Bystanders looked about in surprise but none of them said anything. Khalid still had not recovered from the shock. Aisha took his hand and led him to a seat. His mum mysteriously appeared beside them.
“What’s wrong with you? You look pale.”
“I just saw Seye.” He managed to speak but the words felt weird in his mouth. Like he didn’t own them. Like he didn’t even own his voice.
“What do you mean you saw Seye? Which Seye?”
His mum had on a look that made him feel as though he was crazy. Aisha still held his hand.
“She’s alive. She was here. She’s waiting outside.”
His mother shook her head.
“So what happened? She died and resurrected? Why didn’t we know that?”
Khalid didn’t respond. He got up and walked towards the exit. His mother watched him leave and shook her head.
“That son of mine has been through so much.”
Aisha looked at her, unsure what to say. The woman was a tad bit intimidating. She shifted her weight from one foot to the other, arms still folded across her chest but didn’t say anything.
“Sit down my dear. Let’s wait and see what this girl is up to.”
***
“You’ve done pretty well for yourself. That’s great.”
Khalid looked at her and shook his head. She was too calm and relaxed like they were regular friends who ran into each other once in a while. It felt surreal being so close to her, leaning on the railing in the corridor of the hallway.
“What exactly happened to you Seye? I was told you died.”
“Yeah, I died but I resurrected, call me Jesus.”
Her tone was careless, flippant. Her words were casual, indifferent. He was unnerved. This was not the Seye he knew.
“What do you mean by that? I was broken by the news of your death. I was depressed. I spent a year in therapy all because I thought you were dead. So can you please explain to me, what the hell happened to you?!”
Seye laughed.
“See this one. You’re a twitter overlord, famous public speaker, bright economist, so the whole world should come crumbling at your feet? Why are you raising your voice?”
Her smile mocked him. Her eyes dared him to give a smart remark, to make a comment that would sting but he knew he couldn’t do that. Instead he willed himself to calm down and he lowered his voice.
“What happened to you?”
“What happened to me? Do you really care? You were so eager to accept my death story Kay. So much for the purported love we shared. You raped me, got me pregnant and left me for dead. My death was convenient for you now wasn’t it?”
Khalid was not about to be blackmailed emotionally. He willed himself to think straight and focus. He cast his mind back to six years ago. He had felt terrible guilt. The news of her death had done nothing to make him feel relief. How could she have thought that?
“Seye, I made a mistake. A grave one. And I regretted it till this moment. I always thought about reaching out to you while I was in Malaysia but I could never bring myself to do it. And before I knew it, news reaching me said you were dead. I was broken. I was going crazy. I tried to reach out to your brother but he shut me out. I sank into depression. I wanted to die myself. You have no idea what I went through at that point.-“
“Shut it Kay! Just shut it! I have no idea what you went through? Are you kidding me? What exactly did you go through Kay? Tell me! Were you raped? Were you betrayed by the first person you loved? Were you abandoned by that same person and left to face the consequences of their action alone?”
Her eyes glazed but she didn’t look like she was going to be overcome by tears. There was no break in her rant. She just continued
“I was lost! I could not understand how a guy who claimed he loved me would rape me. I trusted you. I was just a kid Kay. A child! A mere 14 year old! I was young and innocent and I trusted you! The fact that you were leaving me for Malaysia was heartbreak enough and then you had to rape me?
How on earth can you live with yourself? How did that make sense to you? How did it add up in your head? ‘oh I love her, so let me rape her as proof of my love for her’ really? Was that it?! And you stand here and talk to me about pain. I should have placed a curse on you then maybe, just maybe you would know what pain is.
So don’t you dare stand there and tell me about pain Kay because you have absolutely no idea what pain is! And don’t you dare talk to me about going through anything because compared to the hell you put me through, you’ve had an easy sailing in life!”
Her breathing was heavy and her eyes were red, but still there were no tears on her cheeks. Khalid was subdued.
“I’m sorry-“
She laughed. Her laughter was scary because it held no mirth.
“Look at this one. You’re sorry? For what?”
Khalid sighed. This was going to be difficult.
“I’m sorry I tried to justify myself now. I’m sorry I took advantage of you six years ago. I took some really bad advice which I could have ignored and I got drunk and I had sex with you-“
“You raped me Kay, there was nothing consensual about it.”
“Okay. I raped you. And I regretted it immediately it happened. I went to Malaysia and I couldn’t get you out of my head. And then I heard about your death and I was broken because I felt I would never get the chance to beg for your forgiveness. I honestly tried to reach out to Bode but he blanked me out. I don’t think he ever forgave me. I finally visited Nigeria two years later and my mum had moved to Abuja. I went to PH in search of your family but was told they had moved. Some said to Ibadan, others said to Lagos but no one seemed certain so although I wanted to look to for them, I did not know how to go about it.
I’m not justifying what I did. Not in any way and I’m not compelling you to forgive me. You don’t owe me anything. But I’m really sorry. This thing has stayed with me for so long and I can’t seem to be able to rid myself of it. I’m sorry. I really am and I pray you can forgive me.”
Her eyes softened a little and her breathing returned to normal
“You went back to PH to look for us? Nobody told us that.”
“Honestly, I did. I went to your old house and the people there said you moved. I tried school mates and those ones were really not helpful. They blamed me for your death and didn’t want to offer any help at all.”
She took in a deep breath and proceeded to bite her nails.
Khalid smiled nervously
“You haven’t stopped doing that?”
She eyed him
“We’re not old friends playing catch up Kay, don’t try to get chummy with me.”
His smile disappeared and his sober look returned.
“I’m really sorry Seye. I messed up big time and I doubt I’ll ever be able to fix it.”
She smiled a sad smile and when she spoke, her voice seemed to come from a very far place. The look on her face told him she was no longer with him. She had travelled back in time.
“You can’t fix it. I almost died doing the procedure. Of course it was a quack doctor. It was horrible and scary. I got home and started bleeding. It was the most frightening experience ever. Bode came into the room and saw me in a really bad state. He went out to get my mum and by the time they returned, I had passed out. They rushed me to the hospital and I was admitted for a week.
My dad wanted to disown me. Everyone was both sad and mad at the same time. My dad was the one who started the death story. I’m not even sure how. But at the end of my stay in the hospital, I was sent to my grandmother’s place at Ogbomosho. It was Bode who told me that everyone heard that I was dead. It didn’t make sense to me but it was the least of my worries. I actually felt dead, like my life was really over.
Bode got admission at Ife and soon after that, my family moved to Ibadan. Things were tough for me but you don’t need to know all the details. Bottom line, I somehow managed to make it through. I’m in my final year at University of Abuja. I’m studying French. We moved to Abuja again early this year so that pretty much sums it up.”
They looked at each other in silence for a while and Bode was unsure what to say. He was however surprised when she spoke up.
“You look good though. You’ve really done quite well for yourself.”
Her honest compliment made him uneasy,
“Thanks, I guess.”
She smiled.
“Relax Kay, I just needed to vent. You seemed like you wanted to go all self-righteous so I had to check that. I forgave you a long time ago. I’d be hurting myself if I didn’t.”
“I’m really sorry Seye.”
“If you say I’m sorry one more time, I’ll throw you over the railing.”
They both laughed. She stretched out her arms and he walked into them and hugged her warmly.
“You have no idea what you’ve done for me.”
She smiled as she released him.
“You’re lucky. If you had met me in the first three years when I was still struggling to put my life together, I would have killed you. I went through some serious counselling, I just had to let go of all the hurt, anger and bitterness but it certainly wasn’t a walk in the park.”
“I can’t begin to imagine. But if you’re studying French, why are you here? This event was solely for Economics students.”
She laughed again.
“I’ve actually not been in Abuja for months now because of the strike but I came back two days ago and I saw someone tweet about the event so I decided to come check it out.”
“Wow. Do you follow me on twitter?”
“Nope! I check out your TL once in a while but that’s it. I don’t even use twitter that much.”
“So how did you know the term “overlord?”
She laughed.
“What do you take my for? An ignoramus? Please shift.”
They both laughed and in a minute, he was serious.
“So, what’s up with you? Other than school, are you seeing someone?”
Seye laughed and shook her head
“Is that your business?”
He smiled.
“Sorry. Just curious.”
“You’re engaged. My relationship status would mean nothing to you. But in case you’re worrying, no, I don’t hate guys. I’ve met a few nice ones after you.”
Her comment stung but he did nothing to counter it. She was right. He had not been nice.
“Well, I’m glad I met you. I’ve got to run. Be safe.”
She began to walk rapidly away but he went after her.
“Can I get your number?”
“Don’t push your luck Kay. My chapter in your life is closed. If we ever run into each other again, it’ll be nice but other than that, forget it. We run different circles now. Adios!”
She waved her fingers and was gone in seconds.
***
Aisha cuddled up with Khalid on the couch in her living room. Her heartbeat increased as she thought of all that had happened that day. Khalid had come clean now. There were no secrets on his part but she had not told him about Bode. Bode had called her four times today and she had not taken the call each time. She had not replied his pings either. He seemed really desperate to see her but she was not going to be able to especially seeing how things had turned out.
She felt Khalid stroke her hair absent-mindedly as they watched Tinsel but her mind was hardly on the show. She heard a knock on the door and got up to go answer it.
“Hi.”
She was completely taken aback. Her voice was a nervous whisper when she spoke
“Bode, what are you doing here?”
“You and I need to talk.”
“Errm, now’s not such a good time. Why didn’t you say you were coming over?”
“You weren’t taking my calls or replying my messages. Let me come in.”
“Now is really not a good time. My fiancé is around.”
“On the contrary, I think it’s a perfect time.”
He edged his way in through the door before Aisha could stop him and he walked right to the couch where Khalid was sitting and stood in front of him.
“Hello old friend…”

Simply Complicated XV

Simply Complicated XIV

“You’re speaking to a bunch of students today, aren’t you?”
Khalid turned and looked at his mother. It had been two weeks since he told Aisha the truth and he had still not heard from her.
“I’m supposed to. But my insides are a little distorted.”
“Distorted? What’s wrong? Don’t you feel well?”
“I feel alright mum. It’s just since the split with Aisha, I’ve not really been motivated to do anything.”
His mum sat on the edge of the bed.
“If you’re not going to actively try and win her back, don’t sit here and brood.”
“Mum how can you say that? She doesn’t want to see me, she won’t take my calls. She’s deleted me on bbm and blocked me on whatsapp and unfollowed me on twitter. How do I try and win her back when she’s totally cut me off?”
“My friend, don’t sound indignant. She is justified in being mad at you so don’t even sound like she’s overreacting-”
Khalid cut her off
“For this long? Mum, she didn’t give me a chance to explain myself-”
“You had over a year son! Over a year! You were together that long. How did you not think to tell her about that before proposing marriage to her?”
Khalid sighed and massaged his temple.
“I don’t even know whose side you’re on.”
His mother shook her head.
“I’m not taking sides. I’m telling you the truth. I’m your mother and I love you, but I will not treat you like a baby because you aren’t. I will constantly push you to become as strong and responsible a man as your father was.
It’s 8:30am and that program is for 10.00am. I’m going to be at Chelsea hotel in time for your presentation. I better see you put up a good performance. Get your act together.”
She got up and walked to the door. As she put her hand on it, Khalid called out to her
“Mum?”
She turned and he said with a smile
“I love you. Thank you.”
“I love you too. Might be tough love, but I really do love you.”
She opened the door and walked out.
Khalid sighed again and cast his mind back to that day again.
***
Khalid walked into the room shoulders slumped and Tayo immediately sat up on the bed.
“How far? You’ve told her abi?”
He nodded and sank into the only couch in the room.
“What did she say?”
“It’s not what she said as much as what she didn’t say. She left nothing unsaid.”
“Err, that doesn’t tell me anything, you know right?”
“She told me I am cold and selfish and she’s not sure she wants to be with me anymore.”
“Wow. That’s plenty enough. But did you explain everything to her? Did you tell her how much you regretted it and how it haunted you for so long? Did you tell her you had to see a therapist for about a year?”
Khalid shook his head.
“Not quite. I didn’t get a chance to say that.”
“I’m confused o. What did you get a chance to say then?”
“Tayo, I’m tired abeg. I don’t want to talk about this.”
“That’s the issue with you, guy. You never want to talk about anything. I like Aisha and I know you love her. You gave up all those other random babes to be with her and now you want to just throw it all away?”
“Tayo, I’m confused okay? And I’m really tired. I wished I never raped Seye, I wish I hadn’t gone off to Malaysia! I wish she hadn’t died. I’d have likely come back for her. But all that didn’t happen and I regret it but there is absolutely nothing I can do to change it. I’ve tried to make the past disappear but evidently, it simply won’t!
Look at me! Thousands of people out there respect me. I’m the smart economist that consults for people in top government positions. I write papers all the time and make presentations too. I tried to be a great boyfriend, tried to be everything any woman would want. I don’t drink, I don’t do wild parties, I don’t smoke, but somehow all these mean nothing because of one mistake?
I cannot undo what I did. If I could, I would but I just can’t. I love Aisha very much and when I tried to talk to her today, I didn’t know how to. The words simply refused to form in my head and the few that formed got stuck in my throat. Her words stung tonight, but even more than her words, the disappointment in her eyes broke my heart.
Now I realize I sounded like a fool saying ‘my friends encouraged me to do it, I was drunk…’ I didn’t mean for it to come out like that. I really didn’t…”
Tayo scratched his head.
“I wish I coulda recorded that outburst. I’d have gone to play it for Aisha to listen.”
Khalid shook his head.
“You’re just a goat.”
“Don’t worry man, you’ll be fine. Just give a little time and then try again.”
But Khalid had tried two days later and nothing changed. Aisha was furious at him. He could not think of a time when he had ever seen her so angry. She didn’t take his calls and then at a point, her phone was constantly switched off. He tried to find her a couple of times at her house but always the gateman said she wasn’t home, even when he was sure that she was. He was totally broken.
Tayo offered to help talk to her but Khalid would have none of it. And then he simply stopped trying. He just stayed home and brooded every single day doing little or no work at all until his mother showed up. She came in the night before his speaking engagement and he told her everything. She hadn’t said much and then she was back again in his room this morning.
He smiled. His mother, his rock. Annoyingly headstrong but he totally loved her. Her little rant this morning had given him the required ginger to try again. He brought out his laptop and quickly rushed over his slides. He would take a shower and go back to Aisha’s house this morning.
***
Aisha sat up in bed Saturday morning and stretched. She reached for her phone and checked the time “7.30am”
Khalid was speaking at Chelsea hotel this morning. She was originally supposed to be there but after the split she wasn’t sure she would go. She was still hurting. Not as much as the first day but there was still some hurt. She knew in time she would forgive him but she wasn’t certain they could continue with their relationship or even get married. Maybe if he had put the blame on himself. Maybe if he had tried to reach out to her more frantically, maybe they could have worked things out. But after a week of trying, he just gave up. So he wasn’t truly sorry? Or their relationship wasn’t all too important to him. She sighed. She really loved Khalid but this revelation had given her several reasons to begin to doubt.
She picked up her phone and typed his number from memory. She was going to press the call button but she changed her mind. What was she going to say? She had not spoken to Bode since that night. She wondered why he hadn’t tried to reach out to her but she was too distressed to really worry about that. He had gone off to Dubai anyways. Her mum was out of town for the weekend so with no concrete plans for her Saturday, she went into the kitchen, fixed herself breakfast and sat down in the living room to watch repeat series of NCIS LA.
***
“Oga, them no dey house o.”
Khalid looked at his watch. “9:20am”
“Let me park inside and wait for them to come back.”
The gateman scratched his head.
“Madam travelled. Aunty Aisha no dey. I don’t know when she will come.”
“It doesn’t matter. I’ll wait inside.”
“Uncle Kay, no vex abeg but you no fit wait inside.”
Khalid smiled.
“Oga Abdul, you know Aisha is inside. Let me just see her, please.”
The gateman looked a little nervous.
“But wetin you do aunty na? She dey vex well well o.”
“I know. Na wetin make me dey beg you, make I go see am. Abeg. I do one very bad thing but I wan beg am true true. Na mistake wey I do.”
The gateman looked at him suspiciously.
“You give another woman belle?”
Khalid shook his head.
“You carry another woman?”
Khalid shook his head still.
“So you no get another gehfriend wey carry belle for you. Why aunty kon dey vex na?”
Khalid sighed.
“It’s complicated. Abeg just open gate for me. I go follow am talk, she no go vex for you.”
The gateman shrugged.
“Okay o. Beht na becos of say I like you o.”
Khalid smiled
“Thank you.”
He squeezed a one thousand naira note into the gateman’s hands and drove into the compound.
He came down, walked to the door and knocked.
Aisha opened in a few seconds. They stared at each other awkwardly for a minute without saying a word. Abdul found a vantage point by the wall and leaned on it to watch them.
Khalid fully clad in a black suit, white shirt and carton coloured pants went down on his knees. He brought out a folded sheet of paper, opened it and began to read.
“I hurt you, I betrayed you, I broke your trust and I don’t deserve to have it back. I doubted you and I did not believe in you or our relationship as much as I should have and for that, I am sorry.”
He took a breath and was going to continue but Aisha stopped him.
“Err, maybe we should take this inside?”
“No. Please allow me.”
He went back to the paper in his hand.
“I am sorry that I did not tell you about Seye when we first started dating. I am sorry that I did not trust you enough to make the choice on whether to be with me or not after I told you about her. I am sorry that I tried to blackmail you into marrying me. The only reason I did that was because I love you in a very selfish manner.
What happened with Seye was a mistake but it was totally my fault. I wanted to sleep with her but I could not bring myself to just do it. It’s why I got under the influence of alcohol. I hated myself afterwards. I could not forget how much she cried that night. I felt disgusted with myself. In truth, I have not touched alcohol since that day. You always asked why or how it’s possible that I never drink alcohol. Well, this is the reason.
When I heard she passed away, I thought I would run mad. I suffered clinical depression and everyone was worried about me. I saw Dr. Olivia, my therapist, for a year before I was able to get through it. I tried to reach out to her only brother but he totally blanked me out. Being that I was in Malaysia then, it was very difficult to do more. My mum moved to Abuja and I could not re-connect with the family again. I heard that they relocated too but I’m not even sure where to.
The last girl I dated left me when she found out about Seye. It hurt, but I got over it. I thought not to tell you because I was scared of losing you. It sounds lame but I love you more than I can explain. With you, I have always felt like I can be greater and better than I am now. With you beside me, I feel like I can take on the world. My fans make me feel good about myself but you make me feel great.
If you choose to forgive me, we can try to move on from here and build a solid future, no lies or secrets between us. If you choose not to, I will understand. I will hurt, I’ll probably go about for a zombie like a long time but I’ll put it all back together. But I’ll be grateful for the time spent with you. I grew to love you after interacting with you for a while, I loved you yesteryear, I loved you yester month, I loved you yesterday, I love you today and I know for sure that I’ll love you in every tomorrow that is to come.”
He folded the paper and looked up at her. She had tears in her eyes. Her voice was broken when she spoke.
“Please baby, get up.”
They locked each other in an embrace.
“I love you too. And I forgive you.”
He made a sound that was somewhere between a laugh and a cry and Aisha laughed with the tears still in her eyes.
“I really doubt that I could stay mad at you forever you know, I love you too much.”
Khalid laughed again. She pulled herself away
“Wait, aren’t you supposed to be speaking at that students’ stuff today?”
He grinned and nodded.
“Yep, I am!”
“Then why are you here?”
“Because you’re more important to me than money is.”
She shook her head.
“It’s not about the money Kay. It’s about impact.”
He smiled.
“I know babe. I just wanted to come here and do this because somehow I was sure you would forgive me. I wanted to have my spirits lifted before I climb up that podium.”
Aisha laughed.
“You’re funny. So… Do you want me to accompany you?”
“Of course! But you’ll have to hurry. I’m running late.”
***
“I’m sorry I won’t be able to take any more questions at the moment. It has been really great speaking to you and I hope that we can all do the right things and maintain a positive attitude so we can re-build Nigeria. Thank you for listening, have a nice day.”
The applause that followed the end of Khalid’s delivery was thunderous. He smiled as he walked off the stage and took his seat next to Aisha in the front row.
He took her hand, inclined his head towards her and whispered
“How did I do?”
“You were brilliant. As always. I’m proud of you.”
The meeting was over within a few minutes.
Several of the students milled around Khalid asking for autographs and generally famzzing. He had on his charmer smile as he signed note books and answered questions. One girl asked
“Is this your girlfriend?”
He smiled, took Aisha’s hand in his and replied
“No. She’s my fiancée”
Aisha smiled and waved at the girl whose face dropped. A few of the students laughed. Khalid had Aisha’s hand in his and was still laughing when he felt someone tap his shoulder. He turned around and when he saw the face, he froze. He dropped Aisha’s hands and his eyes grew wide. The person behind him smiled. He opened his mouth to speak but it came out as a whisper.
“Seye?”
Her smile grew even wider
“Hello Kay…”

Simply Complicated XIV

Simply Complicated XIII
A dear friend helped with this post. Amazing what can come out of random conversations. Thank you Olarry.

Aisha woke up to the persistent ringing of her phone. She sat up in bed and tried to trace the direction of the sound. It stopped. Soon it started again. She swung her feet lazily off the bed and retrieved the phone from her handbag on the floor.
“TAYO”
“Hello, Tee, what’s up?”
“Madam, you’ve been M-I-A, what happened to you?”
“Sorry dear. Nothing o. Went out for some drinks last night, came back really stoned.”
She felt him hesitate and she rolled her eyes. He should not even dare judge her. Where was his friend?
“Hmmn. Are you home? I want to come over.”
Aisha pondered for a few seconds. Why was Tayo coming over? Was Khalid sending him to clear the airways ahead of his arrival? That would be unlike him.
“Err, sure. Why? Is everything alright?”
“Yeah. We’ll talk when I see. I’ll be there in 10 minutes. You sound like you’re just waking up. Maybe you should wash your face.”
She laughed in spite of the unease creeping up her spine.
“Alright. See you soon.”
She hung up and tried to gather her wits. She felt better than she had when she woke up the first time but she still felt a little tired. Perhaps another hour of sleep would fix that. She yawned and looked at her phone. There were several missed calls from Khalid. So he was ready to talk to her now abi? She sighed and dropped the phone on the bed. It was best to hurry and prepare for Tayo’s arrival. She would call Khalid when Tayo had left.
Nothing prepared Aisha for what Tayo had to say.
“Whaat?! What do you mean accident?”
She trembled all over, shock waves crashed mercilessly into her.
Tayo held her and assisted her to the couch. She listened to him replay his earlier conversation with Khalid, reassuring her that he was fine and had not sustained any major injury. This was unbelievable! So while she was out having a good time with Bode and being mad at Khalid for not calling, he had actually been in an accident?
She picked her phone and dialled his number. The call simply would not connect and so she pinged him instead. Surprisingly, it delivered within seconds
-Kay! Baby! Tayo just told me what happened. Are you okay?
– Lol. Hi babe, I’m getting around to it. Other than some terrible headaches, I’m fine. You went off my radar luv. Were you so mad at me?
-I’m so sorry mine, really sorry. I kinda was but I was waiting to hear from you all day. Your calls came in after I’d slept off last night and I woke up really late. Not the point. How are you?
-Lol. Again, I’m fine babe. A bit shaken, but I’ll be alright. Trailer ran into my cab, I was seated at the back. Driver died on the spot, I passed out.
-Wow! I coulda lost you today baby! I’m so sorry.
-Relax love. I felt bad too. My last thought was of you and the fight we had. We really have a lot to talk about when I return.
-Sigh. Okay hun. When are you coming back? Today? Where are you actually? Hospital?
-Lol. Calm down babe. No, I can’t make it back today, I’m not in the hospital, I’m at my hotel. I was discharged late last night. It was really tough but I insisted I wasn’t gonna pass the night at the hospital. I’ve got a few bruises, but other than that and the headaches, I’m fine. Besides, I told Dr. Olivia about the accident, she said she’ll have a proper look at me when she gets here so relax, I’ll be fine.
Aisha rolled her eyes. This same Dr. Olivia
-Uhhh, okay…
-Is it my headache or do I sense something unsaid in your undertone?
-Mine, I’m sorry but this woman makes me awfully uncomfortable. If it weren’t for her, you’d have been home safe with me today. Besides, I thought she was a psychologist? What would she know about ordinary medicine?
-Lol. Wait, what? I never said anything about her being a psychologist, how did you know that?
-I googled her up after you left yesterday. Silly, but I just had to know. Kay, what exactly is it with this woman? Why is she so important?
-Okayyy. Actually, it’s not she that’s important, it’s what’s between us.
Aisha felt something heavy sink in the pit of her stomach. She read that twice but before she could compose a reply, another message came in.
-Oops. Not sure that came out right. What I meant to put across is that she became a friend and confidant after we met over there, it’s strictly professional.
-Sigh. I worry for us Khalid. I really do. I don’t get this mystery that suddenly shrouds you. What exactly is going on?
-My love, I promise you, we’ll talk upon my return. I need you to just be a little more patient with me. I’ll take the first flight back tomorrow, we’ll have dinner at my place and we will talk.
-Hmmn. Okay o…
-Dr. Olivia just came in. Gotta run. Know this, you have my heart and there’s no one I love as much as you.
-Same here boo.
She looked up from the phone and sighed. Tayo was seated beside her fiddling with his own phone the whole time.
“So, you guys cool now?”
“Tayo, your friend has me really worried.”
Tayo smiled a knowing smile.
“He has me worried too, trust me.”
“Why is he acting all strange? What’s really going on?”
“What did he tell you?”
“Nothing actually. Just the accident and that we have to talk when he returns.”
“Tor, we’ll wait for him to return na. There’s not much else to be done.”
“You’ve started this your mumu brotherhood thing that you guys do ba? You won’t tell me anything.”
Tayo laughed.
“That’s because there’s nothing to tell. Truth is Khalid really loves you. For a smart fellow, he does some very ‘un-smart’ stuff occasionally. But you can’t doubt his feelings for you. They are deep and true.”
“Abegi! Don’t go all poetic on me.”
Tayo laughed again.
“Well, I’ve got to go. He asked me to find you, I did, I need to go home and sleep some more.”
Aisha smiled. Tayo the nice guy.
“Alright then-
She covered her mouth as she yawned
I’ll see you some other time. Thank you”
“This one you’re yawning like this by this time, what happened na?”
“I’m just tired o. I was so mad at Khalid yesterday, I went out drinking with a friend. I didn’t even intend to actually. It just happened. And I honestly cannot remember how I got home. I must have been pretty wasted.”
“Hmmmn. Okay o. Take care of yourself.”
She walked behind him and shut the door after he was gone. She thought of calling Bode to thank him for ensuring she got home safely last night but decided to put it off till later.
***
“You can’t hope to build a future on lies Khalid. In marriage, I always advice the couple to lay all their cards on the table. Let the other person know what exactly they’re up against. And if they want to stay, let it be on their own terms. You can’t choose for her Kay.”
“It’s difficult to just open up to her and tell her something so dark.”
“Kay, I don’t expect it to be easy. But if you love her then you will give her the choice.”
Khalid sighed. Dr. Olivia looked at him and smiled.
“Tell me about her.”
“Her name is Aisha. She’s a great girlfriend actually. She’s funny, smart. Not as smart as I am-“
Dr. Olivia laughed.
“Not as smart as you? Right! Go on.”
“She talks, a lot! But I love listening to her because she’s funny. Her sarcasm is unmatched! She’s just a piece of work. And she’s got this funny laugh too. She’s hardworking. She’s got a slave driver for a supervisor at work but she works with little or no complains. Then she’s nice. If Aisha likes you, she’ll go out of her way to make you happy. She’s a really great lady.”
“I like her already. How did you two meet?”
“The most unusual thing, I’ll tell you that. I was driving along the express and I saw a lady changing a flat tyre. I was totally blown away. Beautiful lady who could handle herself? I was smitten. Didn’t stand a chance. I offered to help. She laughed my offer away. I stayed there and watched her fix it all by herself. We talked for a bit when she was done. I asked her to dinner, she declined. Asked her to lunch the following day, she declined still. It was a bit of a shock for me. Ladies never turn me down.”
Dr. Olivia laughed long and hard.
“I really do like this lady. Self-assured, confident…”
“You snatched the words right out of my mouth. And she can be so stubborn! That just gets pretty annoying sometimes. She’s also highly opinionated. Even if she’s wrong, she’ll stick to her guns. It’s crazy.
Anyways, I followed her on twitter, she followed back. I think she was amazed to discover I was some sorta twitter celeb. We interacted a lot, I finally got my lunch date and the rest as they say is history.”
“Hmmn. What has been the most recurrent issue between you both?”
Khalid thought for a while
I’ll say it’s the distance. I travel a lot and sometimes we do not get to see for three weeks straight. It makes us edgy. But that’s about it. She does try to be considerate.”
“You’re afraid that telling her about Seye will change how she sees you?”
“I know it will. She’s always been proud of me. She shows me off to her friends and talks about me all the time like I’m some flawless hero. She won’t be able to reconcile the two people.”
“That is up to her Kay. If you tell her, you satisfy your conscience, you find peace. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. You’re so certain she’ll be disappointed but what’s to say she won’t forgive you? We never know unless we try. Truth is, if you guys don’t get past it then you were probably not meant to be.”
Khalid massaged his temples for a while.
“I guess you’re right…”
“Of course I’m right. Talk to her. The sooner the better. Don’t let her feel like you tried to con her into marrying you. Be transparent, lay all the cards on your table.”
They moved on to other issues and talked for another hour before Dr. Olivia finally got up to leave.
“If you want to travel tonight, I guess you can. You got really lucky. For an accident that claimed the life of another man, you sure came out without a scratch.”
Khalid smiled and thanked her. He got up and walked her to the door.
“I don’t know when I’ll see you again. But if all goes well and we fix a date for the wedding, I’ll be sure to let you know.”
“I’ll be expectant. You take good care of yourself now Kay. And don’t be a stranger.”
She gave him a quick hug and was gone. Tayo packed his backpack. He was not going to hesitate for a second. He looked at his watch, “2:30pm” If he was lucky, he would find a flight back to Abuja tonight.
***
Aisha slipped into the maxi gown easily. She brushed her hair and applied light make up in a rush Khalid had just called to say he had gotten in and wanted to have a talk with her. He was coming to her house.
Her mother walked in and smiled as she watched her.
“You two amuse me. I thought you were fighting this morning?”
“Mummy leave that matter jor. Shey you’re supposed to be going out?”
“Imagine. You’re chasing me out of my own house because you want to talk to your fiancé. Why don’t you people just go out sef?”
Aisha laughed and playfully pushed her mother out of the room. The elderly woman laughed
“You better do and marry o and stop harassing me in my house.”
By the time Khalid showed up, she was gone.
Aisha welcomed him, warm hug, deep kiss and a big smile. She served him a dinner of spaghetti and meatballs and when he was done eating, (Khalid barely picked at his food) they moved to the living room.
Without wasting any time, Aisha went straight to business.
“So what’s this big story you have for me?”
Khalid looked a little uncomfortable. His discomfort set her on edge.
“I know it’s cliché and stupid for guys to start a confession with ‘you know I love you’ but somehow I feel like I really should.”
“Okay? You’re getting me nervous.”
“Before I start, I’d like to read something I wrote for you.”
He dug out his phone from his pocket, fiddled with it for a few minutes and began to read
“There’s something sticky about you. Regardless of how much I try, I just can’t get out of your grip
And I’m not even trying. I remember the first time we met. I knew in that moment that you were the sorta woman that would complete me. And then we fell in love and over time, you proved me right
You love me beyond measure. You are my greatest treasure. Being your partner gives me the greatest pleasure and loving you is not something I do for leisure
My sun rises and sets with you and no matter what I do, I’m constantly thinking of you
I’ve given up thinking of why I love you so much. The list is just endless. I only hope and pray that I’ll be that man deserving of your love that you’ll always be proud of. I love you babe, always and forever.”
Aisha felt a warm bubbly feeling course through her. She was all smiles when Khalid dropped his phone and took both her hands in his.
“I love you too baby. And that was really very sweet. Only I’m worried. It’s the first time you’d write something for me…”
Khalid laughed, a little uneasy. He cleared his throat and began to speak.
“Six years ago, I did something utterly stupid. Something I deeply regret and something I’m still paying for.
I was young and immature and I allowed myself to be overcome by peer pressure. I was in love with a girl and I was about going off to school in Malaysia. My friends suggested to me that if I slept with her, she would not forget me and we could always pick up from where we left off upon my return. I was young and stupid and I didn’t know any better so I took their advice.”
He noticed how she subtly removed her hands form his but he continued all the same.
“Seye was a virgin, pretty young girl. She was definitely not going to agree to premarital sex so doing what my friends suggested was going to be difficult…”
He paused and tried to come up with the appropriate words, to phrase them correctly. Aisha looked at him, understanding dawning on her but still she refused to believe it. Khalid couldn’t possibly have!
“You raped a young girl Khalid?”
The horror on Aisha’s face ripped his heart.
“It was a mistake. I got drunk and I did it and the following day, I left for Malaysia…”
Aisha had a look of total disbelief on her face. She covered her mouth with her hand, eyes wide open.
“Khalid, you rape a little girl, then you abandon her and run off to Malaysia?”
Khalid swallowed. He tried to respond but his tongue was glued to the roof of his mouth. No words came out. He nodded instead.
“Unbelievable! So what happened to her? She got pregnant and had a baby for you?”
Khalid shook his head again. This was it. The climax of it all. The most difficult part of his confession. He felt the room cave in on him. But he was determined to get this over with.
“She died. She got pregnant, tried to abort and died in the process.”
Aisha blinked severally. She retreated further into the couch. Khalid tried to reach out to her but she winced and drew back.
“Babe, please.”
“And why did you wait this long to tell me?”
“Because I wasn’t sure how you’d react. I was scared.”
“So why did you tell me now?”
“Dr. Olivia, she was my therapist when it happened. It’s why I needed to see her and talk to her. I was having all these panic attacks. She suggested I tell you the truth.”
Khalid was finding it really difficult expressing himself. There was so much he wanted to say but he just could not find the words.
“Wow. So if she had not said so, you would not have told me? Khalid, a young girl died because of you. You asked me to marry you without telling me that. I think that’s just cold and selfish.
We’ve been together for over a year, I was sure I knew everything about you. I was sure I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you but not anymore.
You know what? I think you should leave.”
“Babe?”
“Khalid, please leave. I can’t believe you raped a girl and she died afterwards. Like that wasn’t cold enough, you wanted to keep it from me. Just go. We’re done talking.”
She felt the tears gather in her eyes but she fought them. She watched him get up and walk to the door shoulders slumped. He was leaving without a fight. She was hurt, she was angry and she was broken. Her fiancé was a rapist.
She shut the door behind him, sank into the couch and just let herself go. The tears came down in torrents and she did nothing to hold them back. She felt the tears would not stop and the hurt of Kay’s betrayal would not go away. There was no way out of this. They were over.

Simply Complicated XIII

Simply Complicated XII
I’m sorry I didn’t post last week. I was so busy, the time simply flew by. Forgive me please.
***
Aisha woke up Sunday morning feeling unusually tired. She tried to lift herself from the bed but couldn’t. Her mind was foggy and she felt drained. She groped around her bed for her phone but could not find it. She tried to remember where she might have kept it last night but she could not immediately remember.
A gentle knock sounded on her door. She could barely raise her voice to answer. Her mother walked in and looked at her.
“It’s 7:30, aren’t you coming to church?”
She shook her head. It hurt and she instinctively reached out and held it.
“No mum. I feel like crap.”
“I’ve always told you not to go out drinking on Saturday nights. You can’t continue skipping church like this.”
“Mummy, I have a headache, please don’t make it worse. I didn’t intend to go drinking last night. Khalid caused it. I don’t even feel well.”
Her mother ignored her, walked towards the bedroom window and pulled the drapes apart. The sunlight came pouring in and Aisha shrunk underneath her sheets.
“You better grow up. This is not how women behave. You’re about to be married. If you and Khalid have a fight, you sit down and talk about it like mature adults, not go on a drinking spree.”
Her mother sat on the edge of the bed. A solid woman with a set face that had the ability to make Aisha shrink in fear or glower with pride. She gently lifted the sheets and checked Aisha’s temperature.
“Your temperature seems normal to me. But make sure you eat something and take some panadol afterwards.
I’ll be coming home late. The Women’s Guild and Mothers Union are going to an orphanage after service today.”
Aisha did not reply. She just raised her right thumb in the air and dropped it again. Even that took too much of an effort. What exactly had she done last night?
“Don’t worry, we’ll talk when I get back from church. I need to know what exactly is going on with you and Khalid.”
Aisha wanted to respond but even the thought of opening her mouth made her even more lethargic so she kept silent. Her mother eventually got up and left. She cast her mind back to Saturday and tried to remember what exactly had happened.
***
After consenting to lunch with Bode at 1:00pm, she proceeded to clean up her room. Her mum was attending the wedding of a colleague’s daughter and would likely be out the whole day. Convenient that Khalid wasn’t coming over. She sighed. If he was coming, her mum would have come home earlier. Her mum really liked him. She was still angry and very resentful. Khalid was being sneaky and it made her utterly uncomfortable. She remembered when they first started dating and she was getting vibes that he might be cheating on her, she called him and told him point blank.
“You cheat on me, we’re through. I will do any and everything you want in this relationship, I will cut my excesses, I will be humble, loving and attentive, I will do my best to not give you a reason to look outside but if you ever cheat on me, we’re done. And don’t say you will hide it from me because I have a way of finding these things out. Don’t give me cause to suspect you.”
Khalid had felt slighted by what she said, they had fought over the issue and a week later, they made up. He had gotten her point. She was not the kind of girl that believed men would always cheat and she would not tolerate it. They had a pretty smooth sailing after that with the occasional issues that couples had but trust had never been an issue between them. So why this? And why now?
At noon, she was about to shower and get set for her lunch with Bode when her phone rang. It was her Supervisor.
“I’m sending you an e-mail right away. There’s a report I need you to edit and mail back to me right away. I can’t reach any Elizabeth. This is urgent.”
Aisha opened her laptop and downloaded the document attached to the mail as soon as it came in. She almost screamed when she opened the word document. It was 80 pages. What kind of report was 80 pages long? She went back to the mail and noticed a second attachment. Aisha groaned. She opened the second attachment. It was a power point presentation with 20 slides. Her phone rang again.
“Have you seen it?”
“Yes ma, I have. The report is 80 pages. I’m not sure I can finish it today.”
“You can and please hurry up. That report is to be presented at a Civil Society Organization’s meeting on Monday alongside the power point presentation. Go over the slides, you’re making the presentation. I’ll be waiting for your feedback.”
Aisha heard the phone click and she was angry. She let out a frustrated scream and set her phone down. Why had she taken the call the first time? Why had she not simply ignored it? This was payback for being away from the office, she was certain. Had the woman no heart? She was supposed to be mourning the death of her grandmother! Why was she now being saddled with work? And during the weekend for that matter! If she had not come in, wouldn’t someone else have done the presentation? Wouldn’t someone else have edited the report?
She picked up her phone and quickly scrolled through her contacts. In seconds she was dialling a number.
“My one and only sweetheart, how you dey?”
She laughed and responded
“Stop clowning jor. I’m really really mad right now”
“Ahh, what happened? Who’s vexing my princess? I hope it’s not oga o.”
She paused. Bode was being flirtatious but the endearments were soothing to her ears.
“Omo, it’s that my mumu Supervisor o. The woman has just worked my last nerves, I want to quit! Imagine her slamming me with an 80 paged report to edit and send back to her today. What am i? A miracle worker? I can’t finish that thing that fast and she added a presentation I’m supposed to make on Monday…”
“Calm down dear, take it easy. Just breathe”
Aisha found herself doing as she was told. She breathed in and out and gradually became calm.
“Bode, I’ll be honest. I’m not in the best of moods. I’m stressing out over a lot of things right now and I wanted to just come, do lunch and come home and crash, but thanks to the witch, I’m not sure I’ll be seeing you today.”
“What’s the report about?”
“It’s a report covering all the activities of my office from the beginning of the year till now. All the departments submitted theirs and it’s been compiled into one. It’s just ridiculous.”
“So what exactly do you mean by edit?”
“I’m supposed to check the grammar, make sure it’s coherent I guess”
“Email it to me. We’ll split it in two, you handle the first part, I’ll handle the second. We’ll get it done before you know it and then we could go out. I’ll take you round some nice spots, you tell me what else is stressing you, you enjoy lots of fresh air, then I take you back home. How’s that as a reward for all your hardwork?”
She laughed and before she could reply, he quickly added
“Hoping oga doesn’t mind o.”
She gave Khalid a brief thought and shrugged. She was not going to bother about him. If he was off on some mysterious trip to Port Harcourt to visit some strange woman, she would as well stay here and enjoy the attention Bode was willing to shower her with.
“Naah. It would not be a problem at all. And I really appreciate your offering to help. I’ll split the document and send yours to you right away.”
“Alright dear, I’ll be expecting it. Don’t mind your supervisor. She go know say God pass devil today.”
Aisha laughed again and something tugged at her heart. Bode was really sweet.
By 3:00pm, they were done with the report and he encouraged her to go over the slides. She did and kept complaining to him about how badly they were done.
“I don’t know who prepared these slides but that person is such a donkey. Too much information is crammed into each slide and so if someone is looking at the projector, they’ll keep squinting to make out what is written.”
Bode laughed.
“Just highlight the major points and share the details during your presentation.” He said.
“Ha. Of course. That’s how I always do my presentations. I wonder who did this thing sef. It’s just a whole loada crap.”
Bode laughed again.
Eventually, she was done. Bode suggested he come pick her up so she did not have to bother driving back and she agreed. She gave him directions to her house in Wuse 2. He got there just before 6:00pm. She was taken aback by how great he looked. In the past week that they hadn’t seen, she had forgotten what he looked like, how really attractive he was.
She smiled as she held open the door to her home.
“Great to see you.”
Bode smiled back as he walked in. She shut the door behind him and for a few seconds, they stood staring at each other.
“No vex o, but is it because I’m not oga that you will not hug me?”
She laughed and opened her arms.
“Come here jor, mumu!”
He laughed and walked towards her and they hugged. She felt the heat in her cheeks instantly and the churn in her tummy. Being in his arms felt too comfortable, she had to remind herself she was Khalid’s fiancée. She pulled back and watched him. Something wasn’t right in his eyes.
“Are you okay?”
Even his laughter seemed nervous
“Yeah, I’m fine. Why?”
“I dunno, I thought I saw something in your eyes.”
He laughed again and this time it was genuine
“Shrink of life! I’m fine jor. My day was a little busy but I’m fine. I just want to be here for you. As an assistant boyfriend that I am”
She heard the tease in his voice and laughed.
“Right! Do me a favour, let’s talk everything but relationships tonight. Can we handle that?”
“Sure thing ma’am. You look lovely by the way.”
She had on a floral sleeveless, knee-length dress. Pretty simple but very pretty
She smiled and let herself get lost in his compliment.
“Thanks.”
They walked out of the house together. Thoughts of Khalid gnawed at her insides but she ignored them. He had only sent a text upon his arrival at Port Harcourt and she had not heard from him again. She was not going to stay home and brood. She would go out and have fun. Whenever he came back, he would explain to her who Dr. Olivia was and if she wasn’t satisfied, they were going to have major issues.
Bode had music on all through the drive. It didn’t take too long to arrive at KFC. They bought the bucket chicken with some icecream and walked out within a few minutes. In the car, they sat and talked, Bode supplying several funny stories that left her laughing and laughing. She had turned off all alerts on her phone and tossed the phone into some corner in her bag. After almost an hour, Bode suggested they go to Beer Barn.
She shook her head.
“Naah. Don’t like the sound of the place.”
He looked at her and laughed.
“Wait, what? You’ve never been there?”
She giggled and shook her head.
“Nope. Never liked the sound of it. It sounds like a place where a bunch of guys gather to drink beer and I hate beer.”
Bode burst into deep laughter.
“You’re a clown o. Shut that door. I’m taking to you to Beer barn. They don’t serve just beer there. Actually, they’ve got good drinks you might like. They mix stuff up pretty nice.”
“Okay o. But if I don’t like it, I’ll have your head”
She shut the door and he started the car.
Davido’s “Skelewu” came through the speakers seconds later and Aisha rolled her eyes.
“I watched that video twice and I didn’t see the dance that everyone was going gaga about o.”
Bode laughed.
“How would you see it? Do you have eyes? Besides do you even know how to dance?”
Aisha punched him and he laughed.
“You no sabi dance jor. Just admit it”
“I can dance silly. Don’t try me o.”
“Right! You’ll have to prove it to me.”
“Give me good music and you’ll see me in action.”
“I hear you. Don’t worry, let’s go to Beer Barn, you get a little something to drink and I’ll take you some place where you can dance.
Aisha remembered taking a drink at Beer Barn. The crowded bar smelled of cigarettes and alcohol. She remembered feeling inexplicably happy afterwards. Bode laughed and told her she just had a buzz. She laughed too but she wasn’t sure why. He asked if she’d like another drink and she nodded. She excused herself to visit the ladies’ before the drink came and upon her return, the glass sat there waiting for her. She finished the drink in quick gulps that left Bode laughing. They left at about 9:00 and he was driving to City Park when she told him she felt sleepy. He looked at her and smiled.
“Alright featherweight, I’ll take you home.”
She couldn’t remember much afterwards. She had slept off. She couldn’t even remember getting home and into her own room. She looked around her and sighed. Something did not feel right. Her body felt really weird. Moments later, she was drifting off to sleep.
***
Tayo was worried. Really worried. It was unlike Khalid to go that long without getting in touch with him. He had not called to say he’d gotten to PH or that he had seen Dr. Olivia. It was Sunday morning and there was still no word from him. He tried his number yet again but it was switched off. If only he had Dr. Olivia’s number or her email address. He sighed. This was truly worrisome.
He was still wondering what to do two hours later when he noticed the red light blinking on his phone. He picked it up and read Khalid’s message.
-Guy, how far? Was in an accident. How you dey?
-What?!! How? What happened?
-Trailer ran into my cab on my way back from the airport. Driver died on the spot. My injuries are minor though.
-Wow! Man! That’s some scary shii. Really scary.
-Lol. Tell me about it. I’m okay sha. I was taken to the hospital yesterday. Treated for shock and minor bruises. Then I’ve got this mad persistent headache. Other than that, I’m fine.
-Omo. Sorry o. I was worried. Tried to call you severally yesterday, your number wasn’t going through, then it was switched off. Pings no gree deliver. I bin dey wonder whether dem kidnap you.
-Lol. Mumu. I be Jonathan brother?
-Lol. E no follow. How did Aisha react? Is she alright?
-That’s the weird part. I haven’t been able to reach her. I texted her when I landed and she didn’t reply. At the hospital last night, I got someone to help call her but she didn’t pick up. I’ve called twice with my phone this morning and she’s still not picking up.
-Ahan. That’s not cool. Is she still angry?
-I’m not sure what to think. But if that’s the case then I’ll be really disappointed.
-Wow. Have you seen Dr. Olivia?
-Not yet. She’s coming to the hotel in a few minutes. I just wanted to let you know what happened. Please help me find Aisha and get her to call me.
Khalid looked at his watch. The time was 10:00am
-Alright man. No wahala. I’ll do that.
-You dey go church?
-Since when I begin go church for Abuja?
-You be mumu. Sha find Aisha. Call her or check her up at home but help me find her. I doubt that I’ll return today.
-Okay o. Take care. I’ll let you know as soon as I find something.
-Thanks.
Khalid dropped the phone on the bed and made himself more comfortable. The accident had frightened him terribly, seeing the trailer coming at them at that speed, he was sure he was going to die. His last thoughts before he passed out were of Aisha. He felt really bad that things were not smooth with them and guilt weighed heavy over him.
Now he began to wonder. What exactly was going on with her? Why had she not gotten in touch with him yet?

Simply Complicated XII

Simply Complicated XI
“Dear Khalid, I’m sorry you have been unable to reach me. Good news is I’m currently in Nigeria speaking at a Seminar in Port Harcourt. I have a conference to attend in South Africa on Monday so I’ll leave Nigeria Sunday night. If you can come over to Port Harcourt tomorrow, we can discuss this properly. Best wishes, Olivia Umari.”
Khalid read the mail a second time. She was in Nigeria! Great news! He had just gotten out of the shower when he saw the email notification.
“T-y, abeg book me a flight to PH tomorrow.”
Tayo looked up from the centre rug where he was curled beside his laptop.
Ajala! Everything dey alright so?”
“Yeah. Dr. Olivia is there. She just sent me a mail. Said if I can make it there, we can talk. She’s leaving on Sunday.”
Tayo nodded and went ahead to book the flight. While he worked on the laptop, Khalid’s phone rang.
“Hello?… Guy how far?… Okay?… In two weeks then?… Alright. Sounds good. I can do that… No, it’s fine. No mind them. If person no hold money, them go dey do am anyhow. Alright man. Later”
He hung up the phone and scratched his head.
“I need to sleep. The students’ seminar I was to be speaking at has been brought forward by a week. The guy said the venue they had booked earlier suddenly told them the date was no longer available. If it weren’t for this strike sef, shebi it would have held on campus. Omo this country tire me jor.”
Tayo grunted without looking up. Khalid changed into his pyjamas and lay on the bed. Within a few minutes, he was lost to the world.
***
Aisha felt a slightly uncomfortable sensation in her tummy. Was Bode really attracted to her? Nonetheless, she smiled and replied
-LOL. You know that would be dangerous ground to tread. My boyfriend isn’t particular about plant rights o. He’ll uproot you and your feelings and cast you someplace far.
She hoped she sounded cheerful enough.
-Riiight. Just checking you up sha. Hope you’re good.
Her heart sank. He’d taken her poor attempt at a joke far too seriously.
-*sigh* I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to sound curt. I was trying to be funny.
-Ha. You’d definitely not be awarded comedian of the year. I was kidding too. I missed you, yes, but nothing about that should worry you.
-LOL. I need to rediscover my talent then. I always thought I’d beat Basketmouth hands down if we ever had to face off.
Bode laughed hard when he read her message.
-HAHA. Someone must have been really washing you with Omo, Dettol, Harpic and the likes. Come here let me rinse you clean let your senses come back. 😛
-Loool. See tackle o. Only me? 😦
-Hehe. How about I rinse you over lunch tomorrow? Then you can give me all the gist about le romantic trip to Accra with le boo.
Aisha relaxed completely.
-Awww. That would have been awesome but we’ll have to postpone it. Got some family stuff to take care of tomorrow.
She did not want to tell him Khalid was coming over to talk wedding plans with her mother. There was no need to further rub Khalid in his face. He was being a good sport after all.
-Hmmn. Let’s see sha. Although I’m going to Dubai on Monday. My office is sending me there. I’ll be gone for two weeks.
Aisha’s heart dropped.
-Haba! Two weeks? Is this pay back for being away for a few days?
-LOL. Not at all. That would be more than pay back na. Two whole weeks as opposed to a few days? It’s really just work. If I had my way, I would not go sef. You sure you can’t make even dinner work?
She thought about it for a few minutes.
-Okay. I’ll do my best. No promises though. I’ll let you know if it’s feasible.
Bode smiled when he read her message. It was time to make his move. He was already going soft on her and that would ruin everything.
***
Khalid woke up to find that he’d overslept. It was almost 11pm. He looked around the room but couldn’t find Tayo. His phone lay on the table, the red light blinking. He got up slowly and walked to pick it up, his body very uncooperative. Missed calls from Aisha and a few messages too. One from Tayo saying he’d gone clubbing. He’d gotten him a morning flight to Port Harcourt and would be back in time to drive him to the airport. He stretched and fell back into the bed.
He felt the rumble in his stomach but could not begin to imagine what he would find to eat at that time. He was really exhausted. He shut his eyes for a few minutes intending to take a short nap but did not wake up again till 2am. This time, the hunger woke him up and he dragged himself out of the bed and into the kitchen. He was pleasantly surprised to find a pack of fried rice and chicken in the fridge. Apparently, Tayo had left it there. He yawned and put it in the microwave, setting the timer to 2 minutes.
He thought about Dr. Olivia and the talk they would have later in the day. She really knew how to handle him. But this time, he was afraid that just like Tayo, she would suggest he tell Aisha the truth and he knew he could not agree to that. They rarely had fights and when they did, her tantrums were scary. There was no way she would look past this one. He remembered a conversation they had long ago about a friend of hers who had been raped. People had blamed the girl for walking a dark alley at night, scantily dressed but Aisha was in total disagreement. There was no excuse for rape she had argued, stressing that it was unforgivable. To think that the girl would have to live with that memory for the rest of her life was something Aisha found upsetting. He had agreed with her back then and dealt with the pangs of guilt that plagued him for weeks after that conversation. How could he now tell her now that at some point in his life he had been a brute and raped a girl he had been madly in love with?
He sighed and took out his food as the timer went off. He would talk to Dr. Olivia but he would not consent to sharing that information with Aisha. There had to be another way to handle things.
***
Aisha woke up to the sound of her ringing phone. She reached for it by her bedside stool and answered, her voice still laden with sleep.
“Hi boo”
“Morning sleepy head! You still in bed? It’s past 8”
Aisha yawned
“Why are you up so early?”
“Uhh, I’m on my way to the airport.”
“On your way to where?”
“The airport. I’ve got to be in Port Harcourt today.”
Aisha felt the sleep vanish instantly from her eyes. Port Harcourt? Just like that? Was he feeling alright?
“Uhh, I’m confused. What’s happening in PH? And how come you did not mention it to me yesterday?”
“I’m sorry love. Something urgent came up. There’s a lady I knew back in Malaysia. We have business to do and I’ve been trying to track her down for a while now. She just told me yesterday that she’s in PH and I need to go see her.”
Anger seeped into Aisha’s pores faster than the speed of light. Nothing Khalid said was making sense. All she heard was: “Some lady. Port Harcourt. Urgent trip.” Was Ella pregnant for him? Did he have an affair and lie about it? Was she trying to blackmail him? Was there actually another lady from Malaysia? Who was she? And why had she summoned Khalid to Port Harcourt all of a sudden? She sat up in bed not even attempting to keep the anger out of her voice.
“Khalid, you’re not making any sense at all. Who is this lady? How come you never mentioned her? And did you forget that you were supposed to come see mum today concerning the wedding?”
Khalid noted her tone and he was very confused. Why was she so angry? It was a quick trip. He was going to take the first flight out of Port Harcourt on Sunday.
“Baby, I’m really sorry. Calm down. This trip is really important.”
Aisha could not believe what she heard. Calm down? Was he serious?
“Important? I’m sure it is!” her voice was laced heavily with sarcasm.
“This just came out of nowhere! We came in from Ghana yesterday, you said nothing about a trip to Port Harcourt. I called last night, you did not pick up and didn’t reply my pings either. Now you wake me up this morning and tell me you’re on your way to PH for some important business.
Run that over in your head Khalid, how does it sound? If the tables were turned and I was mysteriously running off to meet some unknown man in PH on the day I was to meet with your parents, would you honestly be calm?”
She heard him sigh and she tried to breathe normally. Why did he always do this? Why did he constantly give her reasons to be suspicious? His voice interrupted her thoughts.
“Babe, I think you’re overreacting and making this unnecessarily dramatic. The lady I’m going to see is a doctor. Her name is Dr. Olivia Umari. She’s a very good friend from Malaysia. I do not tell you everything about my work because sometimes I forget but I have been trying to reach her for a while now. I’m not even sure what you’re insinuating but this is really important. If it wasn’t, I would not be going. She sent me a mail after we got back to say she was in Nigeria for a seminar and I could come see her to discuss. She’ll be travelling on Sunday and I don’t know when next I’ll be able to meet with her again.
The reason I did not pick up last night was because I was asleep. I came home to meet Tayo in the house. We chatted for a bit and I slept off. When I woke up, it was about 11pm. That was certainly not the time to return your calls. I could have sent a text but I did not think it would be responsible of me to text and say I was travelling this morning. I’ll be back with the first flight tomorrow and I’ll come see you and your mum as soon as you get back from church.”
“Don’t you dare tell me I’m overreacting Khalid! Don’t you dare! You’re being mysterious and sneaky, going off to see some lady in PH, I try to make you reason with me and you call me dramatic? Are you alright?”
Khalid took a full minute to reply and Aisha almost hung up.
“I’m sorry. This conversation is not going like I thought it would. I really have to go now. We’re clearly not making sense to each other. I’ll call you when I’m settled later in the day.”
Aisha shook her head as though he could see it.
“Don’t bother.”
She hung up. Khalid had gone mad. What did he think she was? Some naïve 13 year old? This whole thing was very fishy. He had not seemed too enthusiastic about the wedding while she went on and on about her plans. He had mostly seemed distracted. Now he was running off to PH? She was not sure what to think. She knew Ella was likely in Port Harcourt already. Was Khalid going to see her? And who was this mysterious Dr Olivia? She quickly swung her feet off the bed and reached for her laptop in the bag beside her bed. It was time to do a little bit of investigation.
Thankful that the wi-fi was working in the house, she opened the google home page and quickly typed in “Dr. Olivia Malaysia, Nigerian seminar 2013”. She found her heart beating rather fast as she waited for the page to load and display search results.
Aisha held her breath as she scrolled through. Sure enough, there were links. One pointed to an article on a seminar where a famous Malaysian Psychologist was speaking at in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. It was supposed to end Saturday morning. A few other links showed articles she had written and awards she had won. Aisha was confused. To crown it all, Dr. Olivia was an extremely beautiful woman and google said she was single. She almost passed out. Single? Aisha had never felt so insecure all her life. The woman was supposed to be in her late thirties but she looked like she was 27.
She got up and walked about the room. Was she really overreacting? Or was there a genuine cause for concern in all this? She noticed the red light blinking on her phone and picked it up to check it. It was a ping from Bode.
-Morning ma’am! 😀 Just wanted to remind you to place me in your schedule today if it opens up at all.
She dropped the phone and resumed pacing. She and Khalid had dated for a while now. She had been sure she was ready to marry him at the time of his proposal but in the last few months, she had found herself questioning her decision. Was she really ready? Sometimes, it felt like he was holding back. Like he was not giving 100% into their relationship. At other times, she felt so happy, content and peaceful being with him. She had spoken to her mum but her mum said it was normal. They were both probably having cold feet because the idea of marriage was scary but this? She could not understand this? What exactly was Khalid trying to hide?
She picked her phone once again and replied Bode’s ping.
-Lol. Lucky you, I think something just opened up. Let’s meet at KFC for lunch by 1. But I can’t stay longer than an hour. Gtg now. Cheers.
If she stayed holed up in the house, she would go crazy just thinking. But she would not take alcohol with Bode again. Certainly not in this state. The last time had been disastrous.
***
Tayo watched Khalid’s grim face as they approached the gates of the airport. He had been silent since he hung up the phone. He had heard Khalid’s end of the conversation and knew for certain that it did not go well. He knew Khalid’s silence was because he expected Tayo to say “I told you so.”
Tayo’s suggestion when he got back that morning had been that they stop by Aisha’s place and Khalid explain that he needed to see the doctor for some research purpose. That would have partly been a lie but talking to Aisha in person rather than over the phone seemed a better idea to him. Khalid had refused. Now he was carrying his face as though someone else were to blame for his woes.
“You know you shouldn’t have told her she was overreacting right?”
“She was. I’m going to see a doctor and her tone is accusing like I’m flying to PH for a quickie. T-y, I’m stressed. You know this. The last thing I need from my girlfriend now is doubt and accusations.”
Tayo sighed.
“She’s not in the full picture Khalid. I don’t blame her for being suspicious.”
Khalid lifted his hand and waved it the air
“Don’t do that abeg. Just don’t. Being in the know will just make it worse. Let me talk to Dr. Olivia first.”
Tayo had a resigned look on his face. Khalid was so stubborn!
“Alright, I won’t. But I’ll sha warn you. Never ever tell a woman she’s overreacting, even if she is. She’ll open the floodgates of fury on your head and make it rain.”
***
Bode smiled when he read Aisha’s ping. Lunch would work right? Great! He could not afford to waste any more time. He had been going soft but now he had found his feet again. Khalid had raped his little sister Seye. That singular event had damaged their lives. It was time to get his revenge. Aisha might be an innocent, but Seye had been too. Khalid needed to feel the same pain he had felt six years ago. He went into his bathroom again and slipped 4 tablets of Valium into his pocket. This would go smoothly. He had spent months planning it. Everything had to go right.

Simply Complicated XI

I’d like to apologize for posting this late. I’ve had too much to handle over the past week and that made writing impossible. Better late than not at all yeah? Enjoy!

Simply Complicated X

“Dearest, sorry I did not get to reply your mail earlier. I had series of meetings in Abuja with the president and it’s been really hectic. Unfortunately, I will not be able to offer Khalid a job as you requested. You know how politics gets complicated sometimes. The best I can do is welcome him to carry out whatever projects you have in mind on contract basis. I’ll be in South Africa by Sunday night. I should return in two weeks. Make arrangements for us to have a special dinner somewhere nice with your mum and whichever of your siblings is in town when I return. Love always, Dad.”
Ella read the mail twice. She was on her way to the airport that Friday afternoon when it came in. She had been so certain he would oblige her. What did he mean by complicated sef? Mtscheeew.
Suddenly she did not feel interested in pursuing Khalid anymore. The venture was looking more stressful than it would be rewarding and just like that, she changed her mind. She pinged a friend instead. What she really needed was a distraction. The summit had been enlightening but it had been no fun. And Khalid! The clown had to flaunt his fiancé in her face at the gala nite. She hissed again.
– PING
Babe. I’m on my way back to Naija. Where you dey?
-Hey princess, I’m in Lagos o. Trying to get my groove although I think I’ll go to Dubai on Sunday
-Really? Sounds good. This week has been crazy. I need to chill.
-Haha.
Things didn’t work out with Le Prince Charming?
-Naah. I’ve given up on him. Need another distraction.
-LOL.
Want to come along then? We could spend the week together and catch all the fun we want. Shop, swim, laze around all day…
-LOL. That’s exactly what I need right now. Help me book the flight, I’ll sort you out when I come in. I’m flying to Abuja. I’ll take the last flight out to Lagos tonight.
– 😀 ok babes. Travel safe and keep me updated.
She replied that she would and slipped her phone back into her bag. Cynthia was one of the few close friends she had; the one who checked her excesses most times and the one person she could always be honest with. Cynthia had been against her decision to pressure her father into sponsoring Khalid for the summit but she did not listen. Stubborn lady that she was, she hardly ever listened. Oh well, that phase was over. Unto the next.
***
“Hi Dr. Olivia, I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch. I trust all is well with you. Please I need to speak with you as soon as possible. I’m getting married in a few months and the panic attacks seem to be returning. My fiancé is amazing and I feel like I do not deserve her. I did not tell her about the incident from many years ago because I’m certain she will not be able to handle it. I’ve tried your number severally but can’t get through. Please send me a number I can reach you on. Cheers. Khalid”
Khalid hit the send button and relaxed in the car. The cab driver had dropped Aisha home first before heading to his place in Maitama. He’d had yet another attack at the airport when they ran into one of Aisha’s friends. Aisha had introduced him as her fiancé, stressing that they were getting married in a few months. The way the guy looked him over made him nervous and the voices came flooding in. He excused himself and rushed off to get a bottle of water. If Aisha thought his behaviour weird, she said nothing about it.
He sighed. She was so proud of him, so excited to show him off, he did not know how to handle it. All she could talk about on the flight back was how to go about preparations for their wedding; creating a page on Facebook for the event, renting a hall, the dresses, cake, music, everything. With each plan she brought up, he could feel the world caving in on him, suffocating him and making it difficult for him to breathe. He requested for water several times and she finally gave it a rest when she noticed he did not quite share in her excitement. He promised to come see her mother on Saturday after he had rested so they could discuss, agree on a date and commence planning.
Khalid’s father had been a Muslim before he died and his mother, a Christian, had not bothered re-marrying. Every time he spoke with his mum about her marriage to his father, it was always with mixed feelings. His father had been a wonderful man and he regretted that they had not spent so much time together. Life was not fair at all. A director in Ministry of Finance, he had died when Khalid was just six years old. His mum would always insist that their seven years as a married couple were the best of her life. It had been a difficult union to happen. His father was Muslim, his mother Christian, but it had happened all the same. Both families ostracized them and after his father’s death, the amount of persecution that followed his mum was most unbearable. He grew up without any ties to his extended families because his mother ensured that none of them came close to him; especially her family. They had tried to re-connect with them after his father’s death but his mother refused. They relocated from Kano to Port Harcourt and life went on okay.
Khalid and his mother bonded pretty well. He was an only child but she did not raise him to be overly dependent on her so he turned out alright. By the time he finished his NYSC and launched out as a young economist trying to right the wrongs in Nigeria, she could not have been any prouder. She shuttled between countries in Africa, running shelters for abused women and catering to the needs of homeless children. He made sure he called her every week and once a month, she came into Nigeria to spend a weekend with him and catch up. She met Aisha on one of such visits and they got along well. His mum was excited by the fact that she was from Southern Kaduna like herself and she asked after her often. He needed to call her and talk to her about the wedding. She had not been able to come last month but was due back in two weeks. He looked forward to seeing her.
His mum did not know about Seye’s death until she came to attend his graduation and met Dr. Olivia. She did not judge him but she certainly did not exonerate him either. He got series of lectures on the importance of making the right decisions for a long time after that but he did not mind. It felt a little price to pay for Seye’s death.
He sighed again as the driver pulled up in front of the house on Uruguay street. He looked again at the big house that would sometime be home to himself and Aisha. His mum had bought it two years ago through a friend who worked with one of the government parastatals. Being here alone sometimes felt really lonely. Suddenly the idea of getting married to Aisha did not seem so scary anymore.
He paid the cab driver and walked into the house. He was quick to notice the pair of brown casual slip-ons left carelessly by the welcome mat. He shook his head. Tayo was in the house. Sure enough, as soon as he shut the door behind him, Tayo came down the stairs and into the living room.
“Maza! Ya ne?
He laughed tiredly and hugged him.
Ogbeni I dey alright o. When did you get in?”
“Last night. I’ve got an interview with this Travel Agency on Monday so I thought I’d come in here and chill till then.”
Khalid smiled. It was nice to have Tayo around. His madness was soothing sometimes.
“That’s good. You finally want to get a proper job.”
“If I hear! You know me now. Na mumcee. Popcee is even better. He’s pushing for a bank job but not so hard. Mumcee is sha pushing for a job even if it’s as Dangote’s driver. That woman will drive me nuts someday.”
Khalid laughed and shook his head.
“Naah. You’ll probably beat her to it”
He proceeded to walk up the stairs with his bag and Tayo trailed behind.
“Ha! I no gree o. I’m the best of all her kids. She knows sef.”
“Or you have managed to convince yourself that seeing you’re the most non-compliant”
“Whose side are you on sef?”
Khalid laughed some more. Tayo was just a clown.
“Side? Dude, there are no sides o. I’m just saying”
They walked into his room and he dropped his bag. Evidence of Tayo’s presence was visible all over. From the unmade bed to the clothes scattered and empty SFC disposable packs. A half-empty bottle of coke was somewhere in the mess
“Ogbeni, you know say I no get housegirl abi?”
It was Tayo’s turn to laugh.
“Wetin you wan carry housegirl do?”
“Mumu! Who wan clean this place?”
“Oh! Na you na”
Tayo grinned and patted Khalid on the back. He collected the bag from Khalid, put it on the bed, opened it and proceeded to help him unpack. Khalid just shook his head.
“You came in last night and look at the level of damage you’ve done”
“Whatever jor. You should be grateful I’m here.”
“Oh I’m grateful alright. Your madness is soothing sometimes.”
Khalid laughed and walked towards the bathroom. I need to take a shower.
“Ahan. What’s all this wedding notes I’m seeing here?
Bestman, Tayo? Who dey marry?”
He held up the notepad and waited for an answer. Khalid walked out of the bathroom and sat on the bed.
“Aisha and I are getting married in six months.”
“Wow! Are you serious?”
Tayo’s face lost all trace of humour for the first time since Khalid walked into the house.
“Yeah. We agreed on a date in Ghana. I’m going to see her mum tomorrow so we can talk about it.”
“Okay. Congrats.”
“Thanks, I guess.”
They were silent for a few minutes then Tayo spoke.
“Are you sure you’re ready for this?”
“I think so. I mean, I’ve got all these speaking engagements that fetch me money. I’ve got these organizations I consult for. I think I’m ready financially.”
“And emotionally?”
Khalid sighed. Tayo knew him too well. They had been friends for a very long time
“I had a panic attack in Ghana. I had another on our way back. I sent Dr. Olivia a mail today. I’m hoping to hear from her soon. I really want to be with Aisha but sometimes I feel like I don’t deserve her.”
Tayo sat down.
“Have you thought about telling her about Seye?”
“You know I can’t do that-“
“Khalid, what happened, happened. That was six years ago. Maybe if you tell her, you won’t have all these attacks.”
Khalid shook his head.
“No way. I can’t do that. You seem to have forgotten Maryam. I tried to start the relationship with her on an honest note; laid all the cards on the table, yet she walked away. Maryam and I were great together but the relationship did not last more than six months and you and I know it’s because I told her the truth.”
Tayo sighed.
“Khalid-“
“Tayo, don’t bother. For the first time in six years, my life seems to have meaning. I need you to help me keep it that way. I love that I find peace with Aisha. Don’t make me lose that, I beg you.”
Tayo sighed again.
“Alright. I won’t raise this again. Let’s chill till Dr. Olivia gets in touch with you and we’ll see what she says.
“Thanks man.”
Tayo got up and continued unpacking. He brought out a pair of shorts and the huge grin returned to his face.
“God bless the day we became friends.”
He folded the shorts neatly and stuffed them into his own bag.
Khalid flew from where he was seated and grabbed the bag.
“You dey mad o! Drop my shorts jare! Wetin sef? Na only me get friend?”
They both laughed.
“Oluwa o! Such violence! Kai! Na only shorts o! Ahan! If na Aisha I wan move nko? Wetin go come happen?”
Khalid laughed and hugged the shorts.
“Try am first na. Na thunder go fire you be that!”
Tayo laughed and shook his head as he continued unpacking
***
-Hey you, you didn’t go on your honeymoon yet you managed to forget me. Well done o.
Bode waited for a while but got no reply. Her recent update read “Hello Abuja!” but it was about thirty minutes ago. He dropped the phone eventually and went on to other business.
Three hours later, he finally got a reply.
-Hi dear. So sorry. Came back really exhausted. Been sleeping.
-Ha. Guessed as much. It’s okay. How are you now?
-I’m alright. What’s up?
-Nothing much. How was your trip?
-It was great o. I really enjoyed myself. Twas really nice to finally get a break off work. I did dream about my supervisor once. She was chasing me back to work with a cutlass. 😀
Bode laughed out loud. Aisha was so silly.
-HAHA. LOL! For real?
-Nah. Just kidding! 😀 How are ya?
-I’m great. Missed you while you were away. I had to ask myself if I was sure I hadn’t grown feelings for you.
Bode read his message and surprise washed over him. Did he really just send that? He had just let his fingers type, did not let his brain process the thought before he typed it out and hit the send button.
***
That’s it for today guys. Thank you for following faithfully. I regret to inform you however that I will be away from the blog for the next two weeks. I’m really sorry but I’ll be extremely busy and will certainly not be able to write. Forgive me please but I really can’t help this break. Merci beaucoup 😀
Meantime, let’s have your feedback. Ladies, if you were Aisha, would you honestly want to know that Le boo had been responsible for someone’s death? Even if it was indirectly and had taken place years ago? Plus how would you react to such news? Guys, if you were in Khalid’s shoes, what would you do? I’ll be waiting expectantly to hear from you people. You really rock my world! I can write only because you’re there to read. So thank you for always being there. See you in two weeks!
Love always,
Yougeecash