The account which follows is purely a work of fiction and so also are the characters in it. The author insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that any resemblance to an actual event or individuals is pure coincidence. All that follows is entirely the product of my imagination 🙂
Nkechi is a lil crazy; I’ve always known this. But there are times when I wish she’d just keep her madness to herself. Like last night.
She isn’t exactly my girlfriend. Oh well, she kinda is. I mean, how do you describe a girl who says to you “I love you” with very erratic frequency, but steadfast consistency over the space of four years. Back when we were in school, she once whispered it in my ear while my parents were less than a foot away. Needless to say, that’s how she won my dad over. No, no, no, don’t get her all wrong. There also have been so many other times when there was no manipulation involved. Like whenever we’d go chill out by the lagoon. We’d stare at the calm water for an eternity without saying anything. And then suddenly, with no prompting whatsoever, she’d cup my face in her tiny palms, plant a kiss on my lips and then whisper “I love you” while I got lost in her amber coloured eyes.
What was odd about our relationship was that she refused to accept the title of ‘girlfriend’. According to her, we loved each other. We didn’t need some stifling structure to dictate just how we expressed it, how we interacted with each other, or how our friends interacted with us because of our feelings for each other. I once received a report from our friends that Nkechi had introduced herself as my best friend & buddy to my new girlfriend at the time.
And yes, that was another thing with our relationship – Nkechi was cool with my other ‘girlfriends’. The sad part was, these other structured relationships never lasted as long as I would have liked them to. On a campus like The University of Lagos – Unilag, there really was nothing unusual about that. Still, it got to me. And it cut the deepest when our friends teased that my ‘girlfriends’ came and went, while Nkechi was always there, And this was supposed to be some kind of sign. They didn’t know the half of it – the other girls came and went because my best friend, Nkechi, stayed.
You’ll understand why when I tell you about last night. But get this straight. I love this girl. I really do deeply love her.
Myself and Nnenna have been going steady for about two months now. Or maybe I should say ‘had been’ cos I doubt if I’m gonna be able to get her back. Not when I consider how temperamental she is and the trouble I had to go through to win her in the first place. If Nnenna didn’t hear from me for exactly two days, she’d call me on the evening of the third day and spend at least half an hour on the phone, talking about everything and yet nothing in particular. And that was what happened last night.
“Nnenna, how you doing?”
I’d rolled out of bed to grab the phone off the table when for the third time the phone’s silent ring brightened the darkness of my bedroom.
“Are you busy or something? I could call back later.”
Her voice tasted like sweetened butter; if you could draw that allusion. I struggled not to sigh.
“Nnenna, can we not talk today? I’ll call you in the morning. Before you get into the grind of work tomorrow, we’ll talk.”
I could swear Nnenna was already saying ‘why?’ when that ever so clear honey sweet voice swept out of the darkness.
“Nnenna, he’s busy.”
I didn’t know when I blurted out, straight into the phone’s mic “Nkechi!”
“His hands are soon gonna be very busy too. There’s no way he could hold a phone while he’s working with ’em.”
She’d moved closer to me to make sure the phone caught her voice, her petite form bouncing on the mattress like some juvenile.
“What’s going on?”
The incredulity in Nnenna’s voice was rather distinct. Next thing I knew, Nkechi’s hands were clawing at mine, trying to get a hold of the phone.
“Lemme tell her watz up.”
I was screaming her name as I struggled with her.
And then we both let go of the phone. In exasperation I caught her by the waist and flung her at the bed’s headboard with both hands. She struck its padding with a thud and tumbled onto the pillows.
At that moment, the outdoor security lights came on in the next compound, pouring a soft white glow through the windows. I easily located the phone on the rug at the foot of the bed. Nnenna was still on the line.
“What was all that noise about?”
She sounded more than just a little frantic to me. While I, on the other hand sounded pretty calm.
“I threw Nkechi against the bed.”
“Calm down. She’s okay. She wouldn’t break even if I flung her at a brick wall.”
Nkechi’s voice rose like a rose’s fragrance.
“But you’ve broken my heart.”
That got me.
“Nnenna, we’ll talk tomorrow.”
Amidst Nnenna’s protestations, I hung up & dropped the phone. Nkechi wasn’t moving. She just lay there on her back, arms stretched out at her sides. Her breasts heaving in rhythm to some fast paced beat. I sat on the edge of the bed close to her head so I could look directly at her face while I spoke.
“Why did you do that?”
“Cos I’m tired.”
Her voice was heavy, like smooth honey pouring out of a jar.
“I’m tired of you acting like I’m not here, like your heart didn’t have a queen.”
Her eyelids parted and those twin pools of amber stole my soul like they always did; but I resisted.
“A tyrannical queen who sends breakup messages on my phone. Randomly deletes female contacts she doesn’t approve of. Pays me late visits on nights when she knows there’s a girl staying over. Should I continue?”
I could dimly make out her most mischievous grin spreading across her face. And then that pearly laugh. She patted the bed beside her.
“Lie down. Let me remind you what it feels like to be seduced.”
And I obeyed.
PS: Where I grew up, there’s something they say about every guy having a “mumu button” and there always being a girl who knows just where to find it. I think Nkechi is that girl for me.