It is a Saturday afternoon in Ibadan. A centre rug with a mix of brown and black colours adorns Ola’s sparse living room. Soft music plays from a home theatre in the living room. Kunbi and Ola are seated on the centre rug playing a game of cards when Kunbi’s mobile phone rings.
“Hi, Sola. What’s going on?”
“Today is our first date together. I want to impress her. What do you think?”
“You don’t have to. Don’t build your relationship on deceit. Just be yourself and let her accept you for who you are”.
“Okay, thanks. My regards to your boyfriend”.
“Cool. I’ll let him know. Bye”. She says as she places her phone on the floor.
“Who was that?” Ola asks frowning.
“A friend”. She responds as she drops a card. “He’s trying to ask a babe out and does not know how to go about it. Your turn”. She says looking up at him.
“So, how is that supposed to be your business? Are you his lecturer?” He asks in anger.
“What do you mean by that?
Ola suddenly drops the cards he is holding on the floor and grabs her by the arm.
“Better be careful. What kind of guy calls you over the weekend in your boyfriend’s house?”
She is too shocked to speak. She drops her cards on the floor as well and struggles under his grip.
“You’re hurting me, Ola. What’s all this?”
“And I’ll hurt you the more if you don’t tell whoever that guy is to stay away from you”. He says as he drops her arm.
“My goodness. I can’t believe this. First, you think my cousin will attempt to sleep with me and now this. I don’t understand you any longer, Ola. I thought you trusted me. What happened to you after I moved to Lagos?” She asks in alarm massaging her arm.
“Tell him to stay away from you”. He says through clenched teeth.
She stands up and picks up her hand bag.
“I won’t listen to any of this. I’m going home”.
He gets very upset and pulls her by the arm flinging her towards the settee.
“Don’t walk out on me. Don’t you ever do that?”
As Kunbi falls on the settee, she burst into tears. Ola looks at her and immediately feels remorseful. He begins to pace round the room. He stops and kneels down beside her.
“Kunbi, I’m sorry. I did not mean to hurt you. Please forgive me”.
“How could you, Ola? Am I not allowed to have male friends any longer? Do you trust me at all?” She asks in between tears.
“I’m sorry. I don’t……I just……I don’t know”. He stammers rubbing the back of his neck.
“You are just what, Ola? When did you suddenly become so insecure? We have been dating for four years and you still don’t trust me?”
“I do. I just can’t stand the thought of losing you”.
“Is it because I got a job in Lagos? Would you rather I stayed back in Ibadan jobless?”
Ola shakes his head. “No, no. I just don’t want any one hurting you. That’s all”.
“I can take care of myself, Ola. I’m not a baby”.
He stands up and pulls her up into a hug.
“I am sorry. Please forgive me”. He says as he kisses her.
She initially tries to resist his kisses but eventually gives in to him.
Kunbi sits alone in her apartment Sunday evening. The TV is off as she has no pleasure in it. She is unhappy and lost in her own world.
What has come over Ola of recent? Have I given him a reason not to trust me? How come he has become insecure all of a sudden or have the signs always been there and I refused to see them? Is there any harm in what I am doing? I am so confused right now.
She is jolted out of her reverie by Wale’s voice.
“Oh Wales, I did not realize you had come in”.
“What’s wrong?” He asks with concern.
“That’s not true. I came in and had been standing here for a while and you did not even realize I was here”.
“Really?” She asks in surprise.
“What is wrong? Is mummy okay?”
Kunbi sighs. “Mum is fine. Wales, I don’t understand Ola any longer”.
Wale sits down beside her. “What do you mean?”
“Sola called me on my phone yesterday while I was with Ola and you won’t believe what happened. Ola was so mad at me that he manhandled me. I could not believe it. I never knew he was so jealous”.
Wale keeps quiet and just stares at her.
“Wales, did you hear what I just said?”
“I heard you. What exactly do you want me to say? If I said I told you so, you’ll get angry and say I want to spite you”.
“I know but……”
“There’s really nothing for me to say. My only advice for you is be careful with him”. He says as he stands up and walks towards his room.
Kunbi watches him as he walks away. She puts her head in her palms and shakes her head. She is more confused than she was before she spoke to her cousin.
Sola is waiting in his car outside Kunbi’s office. He looks at his wrist watch and wonders what is taking her so long. Two minutes later, she rushes out of her office building and apologizes profusely to Sola as she enters into the car.
“You sure, we would still have lunch today?” He asks faking annoyance.
“Hey c’mon, I said I am sorry. Let’s do somewhere very close. Maybe snacks”.
He nods as he drives off.
In a few minutes, they are seated in an eatery close by with snacks and drinks in front of them.
“Tolu always has this standoffish attitude towards me in the office but she never ceases to call me every night just to say good night”.
Kunbi smiles. “Maybe she is not comfortable with the attention you are giving her in the office, but I guess you have the green light already”.
“Are you sure?” He asks in anxiety.
“Yep! You see each other at work, she poses a standoffish attitude but once she is out of the office, she becomes true to herself”.
“True to herself?”
Kunbi nods and she sips out of her drink. “She calls you every night? It is because she cares about you and probably needs your voice to give her sweet dreams”. She says laughing.
“Wow! That just made my day”. He says smiling. “I thought she wasn’t interested in me all along”.
“Which is not true?” She says shrugging her shoulders. “Are you ready to be committed to her?”
“I hope so”.
“You hope? You are still not sure about this?”
“I think I would take it one step at a time”.
“Okay”. Kunbi says as she dabs at her lips with a napkin.
“Thanks. I owe you one”.
“And I’ll make sure I get it”. She replies laughing.