January 5th, 2013.
So an otherwise perfect Christmas day meeting with the parents was almost ruined by the man who deemed it fit to throw in his hat in the ring with me but I didn’t let it make me respond spontaneously because if I did, it would most likely be me “Jet Li-ing” the shit out of him, his size notwithstanding. It was an insult to my person what he did that day but I guess when I remembered it was me and not him who would be taking Christy home, I decided there was no need to react.
I was still smouldering on the drive back to my place. It was a silent drive back home filled with Christy’s apologies which didn’t necessary make me feel better though the discovery that her dad was a bit of a mischievous fella amused me greatly. Ade had told me to expect more mischief from him. He was a wonderful father-in-law but given to bouts of extreme mischief on occasions. Was he trying to make a sport out of I and Kunle?
Kunle made one or two attempts to get Christy alone but I effectively imposed a blockade by not giving him a chance and Christy seemed rather pissed at him. He gave me a smile after several unsuccessful attempts to bridge my protective barrier that seemed to say “Ok, you win this”. So far, I seemed to be winning the war anyway. Clarisse, Candice and Chris seemed to be staunchly in support of my candidature for Christy’s affection, though Clarisse shared a common enthusiasm with her father for the “sport”. It didn’t stop her from flirting with me though but I assumed flirting came natural to her and it seemed evident when Christy had to assert some form of possessiveness over me.
All in all, it was not a bad outing but I knew I had to be on my toes and up my game if I wanted to win in this. Christy and I spent the remainder of the holidays together. For the few days she had to work, I was a constant presence dropping and picking her to and fro. I had feared that eventually, she would find me a bit suffocating but she seemed to glow with the attention I lavished. She laughed and smiled more, warming my heart and making me feel real confident. However, independent enquiries confirmed that Kunle was going to be in the country till April – an information that bothered me a bit but when I realized Christy’s work schedule was just as busy as mine was, I knew I had the advantage. It would take an extra-ordinary act of ingenuity to tilt the scales. Kunle kept calling and when he did, she would ask my permission to take his calls. I didn’t dissuade her as much I wanted to but she maintained a high level of loyalty that surprised me.
Tunde was practically rolling when I narrated the story to him.
“Finally, a challenge comes! Now, you’ll have to fight for what you been taking advantage of for so long.” He said still laughing.
“I never took advantage of Christy. I was just being my quintessential self.” I retorted haughtily.
“I hear. Perhaps, this new challenge will motivate you to do the needful?”
“Nah. Not yet. We haven’t even dated for up to a year yet.” I said.
“Really? That’s your excuse?! You disappoint me man.” He said, shaking his head sadly.
“Its not really about how long we’ve dated…I just can’t explain it.” I said defensively.
“Then what are you counting for? I know you man. Christy is a different breed and you know it. She is perfect…maybe too perfect.” He paused. “Or is it that you feel you don’t deserve her?”
I went silent. The thought had crossed my mind severally in recent times but I did my best to never let it reach the surface. We deserve what we get in life, don’t we? I certainly deserve a good woman regardless of what anybody thinks.
“Ah…so the legendary Mickey Jay finally grows a conscience?” He laughed hard, slapping his thighs as if to modulate his laughter. Tunde had an uncanny ability to read me – I hated it but it proved useful from time to time.
“I’m not even going to talk about that!” I retorted.
“You’ve gone soft. I really have to say this but I think you’re in love this time.” He said teasingly after his laughter subsided.
“Well, if that’s how you see it.” I said, shrugging.
“Of course, that’s how I see it and you know I’m seldom wrong. No need to go all macho on this.” He looked up the ceiling in thankful supplication and said, “Lord! Thank you for touching the cold, cold heart of my friend.” I had to laugh.
“Bachelorhood is overrated bro. Trust me, I know. You’ve got a good girl, grow up and do things right before you lose her to somebody else.” He said more seriously.
“I won’t lose her to somebody else and certainly not to that twat of a basket baller!” I said ferociously without meaning to.
“You’re really in love!” Tunde exclaimed.
“I just don’t think proposing now is best. I can’t just do that because I have competition. It doesn’t feel right. I’ll take that step because I want to and not because I’m being pressured to.” I said, ignoring his exclamation and speaking more calmly and reflectively.
“You and these your rules. Affairs of the heart doesn’t come with a rule book. Go with the flow, go with your heart.” Tunde said sagely.
And I took him up on that. I was determined that 2013 was going to be different. After a private new year’s day celebration at my place, the year started slowly and I was at my desk by 2nd of January as was Christy. With the holidays gone, she went back to her apartment and for a while, I wondered how I had never felt the emptiness of my three bedroom apartment. There was no way I was going to be able to monitor her independently so I picked one of her colleagues, Joseph to be my informant and be on the look-out for an extremely tall dude and he agreed.
First reports came in on Friday; a big box of chocolates and love notes mysteriously appeared on her table. I didn’t bother to let her know I knew but she told me all about it where I spent the night at her place and we both enjoyed the chocolates together. Another surprise came when we were awoken on saturday morning by a loud knock. It was a group of four men in uniforms who explained they had been paid to remodel and re-furnish Christy’s apartment. They came with a large truck which was parked outside, full with brand new Italian sofas which they intended to replace Christy’s with. An argument ensued when Christy refused to let them but I intervened and told her to let them carry on.
“The sofas are nice and they’ve been paid for so no problem.” I said gently
“But don’t you know who its from?” She asked, shocked at my reasoning.
“Of course love, I do. Its from Kunle. His generosity, though unnecessary is most welcome…if you’re okay with it.”
“I’m not okay with it.” She said stubbornly.
“My love, you didn’t ask for it so it imposes no obligation on you. Except you think it does.” Holding her hands and looking into her eyes, I asked her gently.
She looked away and came into my arms. “I guess it doesn’t.”
I kissed her forehead and held her close for a while as we watched the men take out her old furniture. A thought seemed to cross her head and she called out to one of the guys.
“What’s going to happening to my set?” She asked, almost alarmed.
“Err…we can take it anywhere you want.” One of the guys said.
“Who can we give these furnitures to?” She asked me and I smiled. There was a notepad and a pen on the table. I tore a page off and wrote down an address in Benin.
“Benin? Who’s address is this?” She asked after peering at the piece of paper and looking up to me, confused.
“Its my fathers house in Benin. Its empty and could do with some furniture.”
“But what if I need them back?” She asked.
“You won’t.” I replied mysteriously.
“I don’t understand. How do you mean?” She asked, more puzzled than ever.
I sighed. “I didn’t really want it to be like this you know. I wanted something more classy, more relaxed, more private.” I paused.
Her eyes widened in surprise and expectation. Her body tensed and her hands trembled. I was equally tensed as my heart beat rate doubled and I suddenly could hear the pounding in my ears.
“I was thinking if you would like to move in with me.” I whispered slowly.
The expression on her face was golden; the sparkle in her eyes would have made a diamond envious. Her smile was like the sun.
It told me all I needed to know.
Malcolm O. Ifi.
I am on twitter @saymalcolm