Okay, back up a little bit, in case you missed it, Trisha was fifty per cent of the reason why I left Lagos in the first instance. The other half was Sonia. And there she was, smiling at me, ever so sweetly, my welcoming party.
I paused for a few seconds and approached her. ‘Hello,’ it was the most natural thing to say.
She tried to hug me, but I stepped back. ‘What are you doing here?’ My face was expressionless.
‘I have missed you,’ she explained, approaching me. ‘Besides, we need to talk. There’s an issue that needs your attention.’
A dark scowl came over my face. Issue, what issue? Then it occured to me, issue, pregnancy; but she was not the pregnant party, there was no bulge and she was sexy as ever, my little man had started noticing things and was fixing for a salute.
‘What are you trying to pin on me?’ My eyebrows were arched and I kept my cool.
‘Nothing you didn’t get yourself in initially. You pinned yourself.’ She shook her head sadly, ‘and I thought that maybe you could be the one. The one that I finally made mine, but like the others, you went behind my back and slept with my closest friend.’
I smiled. ‘So that’s what this is about?’
I didn’t see the slap, her visage did not change yet the delivery was perfect and the sting made me reel. I glared at her.
‘Just cause I allowed you carry out my fetish, you thought you had access to her body too? All those nights, all the while when I was craving for you…, and then you left town unceremoniously; did you think, I would not find out?’
I was stumped. I just kept glaring at her. The slap still stung. Damn, I never knew Trisha packed such punch.
Her features softened and she smiled. ‘This is a friendly warning, leave town and never come back; I may overlook what you did. Stay, and you will understand the true meaning of hell.’
She pushed past me and left me standing there wondering how on God‘s earth she had known I was arriving back in Lagos. I stood outside my door for almost ten minutes contemplating going to a hotel to sleep.
Finally, I braved it, and put the key in the lock. The door opened and I stepped in. I was finally home.
For the first month, I was a fugitive in my own home. Running from and evading an unseen enemy. I kept in touch with Kemi and I made sure we spoke for half an hour at least. I didn’t understand why, but something would not allow me let her go.
After one month of playing hide and seek with my imagination, I decided that both girls – Sonia and Trisha – would have to show up and kill me. I was tired of running, so I started living again.
At work I had asked that Jane take over completely Sonia’s account, she did not object.
I was doing my level best to adapt back to Lagos, but was finding it hard. Work was the only thing that made sense, my house looked bare, everything had lost it colour. And to top it all, there was Trisha’s looming threat.
I was a walking corpse in the city I had once ruled, a ticking bomb, ready to self-destruct. Then a couple of notable events happened that showed me the error of my ways.
I am a creature of habit; so normally, I followed a set pattern, thus you could monitor me to the minute. But since Trisha’s showing, I had been doing things out of the blue, just going with the moment. So I could evade her imaginary assassins.
It was on one of my manoeuvres, that I turned into a shopping mall to window shop and if anything really caught my fancy… I was ready to persuade myself to buy. I had been window shopping for almost ten minutes when it happened.
‘Akin,’ is that you?
I paused briefly, there must be a lot of Akins in the mall I surmised, I started walking.
‘Akin!’ the voice had urgency to it. It was insistent. I stopped, and turned around. In retrospect, I should just have kept walking, pretending I never heard.
There, standing a perfect smile on her face was Imole. She was as beautiful as ever and I felt stirrings in my loins. Then she started walking towards me and I swear, the lights in the mall became dim and slowly, Ne-Yo‘s ‘Do You‘ started playing in the background.
I stood there watching her come, to me. Then she got to me, stretched out her hand and said, ‘hi, it’s been a really long while’
The song stopped abruptly and I realised it had been playing in my head. The lights were back to been bright and sparkly.
‘Yeah,’ I said. Feeling stupid and unsure what to say. So I asked what came to mind next. ‘So how are the kids and the husband?’
It was a question I should not have asked for she smiled bitterly. Then she launched into a tirade of how unfortunate things had been for her. After a while, I found us seats and we sat there sharing our tales of woes.
The dude she left me for was already married with kids. He had done it to become a citizen, secure a better life for himself. He only told her the truth when she started planning their honeymoon and was prepared to go back with him to the States.
When she finished her sad tale, she looked me in the eyes then said, ‘I’ve never had a lover like you, you were my very best.’
That got to me, my head swollen, my pride stroked and there was the little matter of a saluting soldier. I cannot say how it happened, but I invited her back to my place and she accepted.
One thing led to another and like old times, we were rediscovering new places, becoming one and it felt good. Then Imole looked me in the eyes and whispered softly ‘I love you.’
I paused momentarily, my hands on her bare chest. ‘What did you just say?’ My voice was husky, overriden with passion.
‘I love you.’ She said defiant.
I rolled away from her shaking my head. ‘No, no, no!’ I corrected her. ‘You do not love me, matter of fact when I think of it, you didn’t back then, and nope, you definitely do not love me now.’
I was looking for my jeans at this point, thankful we hadn’t done the deed when she jarred me backed to reality. Then I remembered Kemi, and I hated the man I had become. I would have just slept with Imole without recourse…
‘You have to leave now.’ My voice was stern.
She understood, slowly got dressed and walked out of my apartment and life for the second time. The first time, she had the power, and I was a basket of tears. Now, I sat there watching, unmoved as she sent subliminal messages to me. It was over between us, and I had just realized it.
I went into the kitchen and fixed myself a glass of juice. I was berating myself for being weak, not the kind of man Kemi deserved. I drank up the contents and smashed the glass. Something had snapped in me. Either the gods released me or like Kratos, I would bring hell to them…