By Samuel Adewumi.
Fia Fia… My Itel 1550 speaker blasts out Davido’s “Fia” which I recently set as my messaging tone. I mumble and groan to check who has sent the text. The day has been very hectic: from the provoking thought of waking up to take my bath; especially now that the harmattan seems to carry a hammer with which it nails people down to their beds, to the stress of running to class (so as to secure a seat) that will not later hold, amongst others.
I flare up when I finally discover who it is. It is Carolina. Carolina is my class mate and the prettiest I have ever seen, light in complexion with a thick frame, perfect for her curvy waist. If there’s any lady I desire to take for a wife, Caro is the one. The travesty here is just that, no matter how much I talk to her, Caro has been saying no. “You’re not my type, I mean… stop disturbing yourself over me,” she shouts the first day I ask her out.
Lest I forget, she is rich. Very rich. She uses an iPhone X; one of the first few to use the mobile machine in our school. Her dad owns the largest yatch in Lagos. He controls several oil companies, owns industries and several factories. In fact, he has willed some of his companies to Carolina. Truth be told, if the heavens should smile on us and make us get married, oh boy, my generations don get money.
I quickly tap the green messaging icon on my home screen and read its content to myself. It reads: “Honey I’ve been waiting outside your hostel for the past one hour. Have you forgotten where we planned going?”
I jump out of bed with immediacy. I have forgotten she promises me a surprise. I celebrate my birthday today. How she knows; I don’t know. “Will you be free this evening?” She asks after a literature class. I say yes, not because I’ll be free, but because she asks.
Two minutes later, I am out of the hostel. I wear a brown round neck I buy last week, it still smells freshly of òkìrìkà, with a sky blue jean trousers and a pair of blue sneakers to match.
My heart beats faster as I see her. She looks up. My heart races faster. My head pounds. She is standing by her Red Nissan Jeep, radiantly dressed. Her lips, as usual, glows.
Without saying a word, she smiles and signals me to enter the car. Hurriedly, I enter. She enters too. After she fastens the seat belt, she drives. She drives good. The AC is on, I like it.
“You look good, you’re handsome,” she says.
“Thank you,” I reply her. I am happy. I’ve been waiting for this time all my life.
Fifteen minutes later, she stops the engine. We’re at a mall. I smile as I get down. She gets down too, comes to my side and clutches her hand inside mine. I am very happy. She looks at me, and we both smile.
Conspicuously, we walk in like couples. People look at us and smile. I hear a tall lady murmur under her breath, “Wow… They’re so cute.”
We walk to the cloth hangers. Caroline looks at me and tells me to go on and pick as much clothes as I want. I hungrily ransack the shirt stand and pick eight long shirts.
Twenty minutes has passed, I’m still selecting clothes. I look at Caroline and smile. She folds and refolds her hands. She smiles back at me. I select four more and I’m done. We package the clothes in two big Satin bags. As we set lo leave, Caroline stretches out some cash to the cashier, who collects them and hands us a receipt.
Smiles wet my face as we walk to drop the bags in the car. I remember Oche, my foolish roommate; he’s in trouble today. I’ll do show off for him. He will beg me to give him some shirts but I will not answer him. I go pepper am.
We get to the car. I expect her to open the back sit so we can drop the stuffs but she doesn’t do that. Instead, she keeps looking at me. I look back at her. Unexpectedly, she drops the bag on the ground and kneels down. I want to speak but the words aren’t coming out. I want to ask why she is kneeling down but it seems a morsel of dried eba has blocked my throat.
Abruptly, she brings out a little red box from her brazier. I look at her, confused. Everyone has gathered. A large crowd has surrounded us. I don’t understand what is happening. Am I mad? Or is she the one mad? Someone must be mad amidst us.
She opens the box. A golden ring sits there. I look down at her. She holds out the ring and tells me faintly, “Ayo, will you please marry me?”
Chai! A dream true! I scream “Yes, I will marry you.” Everyone claps and shouts. They smile and take pictures with their phones. I gently help Caroline up and stretches my left hand to her. She carefully inserts the ring into my finger. The roaring crowd let out more cheers. I am happy too. This is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Instantly, I close my eyes, lost in the atmosphere of love. As I push out my lips to hers for a kiss, “paaaaaaa”, a heavy slap lands on my left cheek. I open my eyes. I see Oche; wearing a brown singlet. The room is dark and dirty. I am sweating profusely on my old naked mattress.
“Idiot, you wan kiss the hotplate abi? You better wake up and go find Garri come, beans don ready o,” Oche says.
—Photo by StockSnap via Pixabay