Read the first part of this story here:
I counted down to Friday like it would never come and when it did, I was ready. I had already opted for Fridays to be a work-from-home day so I was home all day attending to mails while styling my afro and getting my manicure-magic on for the night.
I had just worn the ankara styled jumpsuit in a rich burgundy and yellow when my mum stepped into the room.
“Ah!, Are we going somewhere?”
My mum was born way before “The Collide” when Nigerians still asked questions that were clearly answered in real time. On a good day, when I wanted to poke at her I would’ve retorted with a “No, I’m frying yam” as a response but not tonight. Tonight, I wanted to get off on the right foot.
“You will not answer me now o. I hope it’s not one of those old Lagos divorcees or widowers you’re dressing up to go see this night. We already know that road don block finish’
I rolled my eyes. “Mummy please just come and help me wear this earring abeg. Are you the one manufacturing husbands? Besides at my age, it’s mostly divorced men and widowers that come around…”
“Ah! It’s not your portion o. You will marry a man that is your age mate and single. A man that is not second hand”. She responded, pinching my ears slightly.
“Mummy!” I yelped. “I have to go jor…”
“So you will not tell me who you’re going to see ehn?”
I looked at her fondly, patting her dull grey hairs. At 66, my mother had aged gracefully with a nice glow and a sharp mouth. Two contrasting features.
“I’ll tell you when I get back. I love you” I said, giving her a kiss and dashing out before she could press on.
At 8:05, I was parked at The Coral Restaurant and Bar right off old Eko Atlantic. The Atlantic ocean that lined the city’s borders gave off a cold breeze that fondled with my afro as I meandered through parked cars and into the soft babble of the seafood open restaurant. The smell of grilled fish from the barbecue stand made my mouth water. I sighted Timi seated on a large cane sofa; perusing the digital menu pad like he was making a life and death decision. I plumped right next to him; taking him by surprise.
“Sorry. I’m late”.
“Oh that’s alright. I only just arrived a few minutes ago.”
“Anything interesting on the menu?” I asked, craning over to see the menu list. After a few failed attempts, we managed to punch in our order for the night.
“So…Ronke. How was your week”.
“It was great. We’re working on our communications plan for the year and with new innovations in the market, it’s almost impossible to keep up with what’s trending.”
“Yea. I quite agree. Even Marigold has the challenge of fitting new innovations with what people really need. My team and I are working on meeting the interiors of the Niger Delta regi…you know what? Let’s not talk about work.”
We both laughed.
“What do you want to talk about then?”
“Well, I’d like to know Ronke. And I have to apologize in advance as I know it’s seen as rude to ask but…How old are you?”
I almost choked on my Chapman. I had expected to tell him my age tonight but not so early on. Not that I was afraid; after all older women married younger men these days. It was the trend but yet there were some who still thought the idea was far reaching.
A surprised glint flashed in his eyes as he looked me over.
“Naah, that can’t be…’
“Why do you think so?” I asked.
“You don’t look a day over 26…wow! ” he said, “I apologize but yea; you don’t look 35 at all”.
“Well thank you. I guess all my time in FastFit is paying off.” I said just as our order arrived. Grilled prawns and chips on the side for me and Seasoned oysters for Timi. The night went well and at the end of it, I was rather full and smitten. I had to plug in the “self drive” option in my car, while I went web digging on any information I could get on Timini Adonye. There wasn’t much. He was one of those that had online avatars that engaged on his behalf. I would have to rely on physical communication. Sigh.
“Girl, tell us about it!” Sharon exclaimed. We were seated on the plush pink sofas in the nail bar waiting for our call up number. It was Saturday and the little studio was packed with high-end Lagos babes. The air smelt of acrylic and polish powder that made my nose itch. I had just filled the girls on Timi’s gist and they were all giddy like I had just announced I was Cinderella with new glass slippers.
“We just went on one date.”
“Two dates” , Ese corrected. I was going to tell her the coffee shop couldn’t count as a date when the receptionists announced our number. We moved through wraps of cotton wool and dusters to a section where small UV nail dryers were lined. I started to explain to the girls how I felt about Timi. I liked the guy. Who wouldn’t? He was definitely a hunk – Nigerian breweries standard but there was still a tight knot in my belly that made me anxious. I hadn’t been in a relationship in the past three years and I always wanted my next to be special – to be real.
“You should fuck him”.
I looked at Ese aghast. Mischief danced in her eyes.
“I just said…”
“I know what you just said Ronke. But, the year is 2065…no time to waste time o. You like the guy, you go for him.”
I tucked my tongue. Wasn’t I supposed to meet him at his place this Sunday? What was I thinking would happen? – a stroll in the park and some fairy tale bullshit? I sighed.