Despite the fact that you’d sworn before his face with sand in your tongue that you would never, never step your foot into his compound ever again, you returned to him. It is you, Sisi, that I am talking to. What is the problem, eh? What is it?! Remember that on that very day, you’d publicly dug your index finger into the ground and placed its tip bearing some measure of sand in your tongue, pointed the finger to the sky and said, “I swear, Richard, if you ever again see me in your house eh, call me monkey.”
Maybe I should even call you monkey now. Or would you prefer the short form of it: monk?
Sisi, I am so angry with you. I am disappointed in you, Sisi. Very much so! Not only that you’ve lost your dignity with your own hands, you’ve also made yourself look desperate; one desperate woman who needs to be taken off the market, or else she loses herself completely.
I understand that you’re thirty-six, and daily you’re deflowering, despoiling of beauty and youthful grace. I understand that very soon you’ll become a commodity not to be looked at, but Sisi, you just have succeeded in making yourself an object for mediocrity, nothing else. You need to understand, Sisi, that you are not a commodity first of all, that you definitely do not need to be bought off the market. If someone comes for you, fine; if no one comes, fine still.
“I’m sorry, Richard,” you’d said to him, standing before his door. “I was not in my right senses that day. I don’t know what had gotten over me.”
He hadn’t let you in after you’d knocked and knocked, told him through the shut door that it was you, Sarima, his babe when he’d asked who it was. He had taken a whole ten minutes only to show you his face through the half open door so that you wouldn’t enter or even get to see the interior of the house.
“What do you want?” he’d asked you, presenting only a colloquial feeling of unrepentance. It was your own fault, so why did he need to feel anything other than how he felt?
“I am really sorry, Richard,” you said again.
“I have heard,” he replied blankly.
You stood before him, do I say blushing? What nonsense! If not that I was only the other voice in your heard, I swear, babe, I would have slapped you, would have caned you so mercilessly for leaving the piles of office work that you’d left undone only to come see some crazy unattractive user.
“So, can I come in?” you’d asked, fidgeting.
“I am busy now.”
“Please, Richie…” You’d called him Richie in a meticulous tune, the way you sang when you led the choir piece in church, hoping that by that way he would be softened, that by that way he would let you in. But Sisi, Alfa na your case!
“Please what?! I said I am busy.”
“You have not forgiven me, then,” you said to him.
“Sarima, abeg, I don’t have time to—”
“Oh, it’s fine,” you cut in. You didn’t want to hear him finish saying what he had to say because you were scared the words he might say would break you more. Like he’d always told you, “I don’t have time to deal with your crazy rants,” “I don’t have time for your nonsense talks” “I don’t have the time to consider that” “I don’t have time to remind you about what I am in this for,” the countless times you’d whispered to him while you both laid in bed, after you’d both made love, that he hadn’t yet asked you about your people. Time was passing, you wanted to tell him, and you expected he should have been making arrangements to come ask for your people’s consent to marry you in the right way. Wait first, let me ask you, do you think he was ever going to marry you? Hahaha! Iyasikwa!
“I’ll just leave. Maybe I’ll check back on Saturday,” you said to him, and he was glad to have you leave.
Girl, it is now that I know that you don’t finally have sense! Chai! How could you have degraded yourself that much? How could you have not thought that Richard didn’t need you, that you were nothing to him but a tool he used to satiate himself? Chai, Sisi, me dey shame for you!
I was at the verge of bringing you to your right senses when you got home, but you were busied with thinking about how you’d lost him instead of focusing on the piles of office work sitting on your dining table when you drifted away, making my voice in your head seem insignificant. You gave me out for the other voice who shared your head with me as a home. I heard it tell you that Richard was your only chance, that if you did not chase him like mad, you would lose him forever.
But this is not really how you lose a man, Sisi.
I heard it blame you. It said, “Remember that it was your fault. You’d started the fight. How could you have asked him such a question?”
“Don’t mind him,” I’d cut in.
“Hahaha!” the other voice had laughed, “Don’t mind me if you like, but deep down in you, you know the truth. You know that it is your fault.”
“It’s not your fault,” I covered for you.
“He’d asked you never to mention the subject of marriage to him again, and you’d began with it, then shifting to accuse him of seeing other girls, and so his nonchalant attitude towards the subject. How is it not your fault, Sisi? He drew a line, and you crossed it. Tell me, how is it not your fault?”
“Taaaah!” I’d screamed, forgetting that it was in your head we were housed, and screaming could cause you grave ache in the head.
“Shut up!” We were frightened by the sharpness and loudness of your voice. We hadn’t expected it cha-cha. “Just shut up,” you said, and we obeyed.
You faced the work before you, and shortly soon, the other voice returned. It was persistent, and you finally gave into it, throwing me aside. It was your fault, your mind told us, and I could see the other voice smile. It’d succeeded in getting you again.
You picked your phone from the table, unlocked it with your fingerprint, scrolled through your content list until you found his number. “My Heartbeat, Richie“ was the name on the screen. You touched the dial button, and immediately, before it could start ringing, you cut the line. You didn’t know how he’d sound if he heard your voice again.
Then an idea got to you. Text him instead. You touched the WhatsApp icon on your home screen and began:
My love Richie, I sincerely want to let you know that I am sorry. Please, forgive me. I promise never to be that stupid again.
It was too square, you thought, so you erased the whole thing and began again:
Richie, please find attached in my heart a copy of my apology letter. I’m sincerely sorry, my love. I am willing to be your girl. Flog me if you need to, but please don’t send me away.
You thought of this one as not too straight, not so alright. You tried to erase it and begin another one, but before you held the delete button, the other voice in your head told you that this was fine. “Perfect!” it’d said.
So, you sighed several times, wondering why you did, before you clicked on the send button. Sent, delivered, the notification marked. You were going to wait for him to read it, but he wasn’t online, so you thought to log out for the moment. You’d check back later.
You needed to face the office work now, but you still couldn’t. The thought of him kept making every other thing miserably impossible for you to achieve.
The next day at the office, your boss scolded you for not finishing your report, but you didn’t feel so bad. So long as it was for Richie, no wahala. Funny girl, let me call you that.
He’d read your message on WhatsApp. The notification icon had two blue marks at the right corner beneath what you’d sent, before which was the time, 10:27 pm. But he hadn’t replied anything. Until this day he hadn’t. You fought hard between hating that he hadn’t replied you in all those intervals you’d got the chance to look into your phone while attending to clients and finishing the former day’s works.
You returned to his flat the next day. It was a Saturday; Saturdays were off-days from work for the both of you. You’d promised him, anyways, during the last visit, and he hadn’t asked you not to come. I really don’t know how many times something would happen to you before you have sense, Sisi.
Luckily, he was in when you got to his flat, and on knocking only once, he’d come for the door without asking who it was.
“Richie, flog me if you need to, but please don’t send me away,” you said, later to realise it’d been part of the content in your message to him on WhatsApp two nights ago.
He smiled and let the door open so you could come in. Your heart jollied, you couldn’t believe this was happening. Without hesitating, however, you jumped in, and he shut the door close.
Inside the house, you were standing like a total stranger to him, your small designer pause held in your hands.
“Please, forgive me, Richie. I am sorry,” you told him. Babe, na mumu you be. Idiot. What really were you sorry for? That you’d told him that you wanted to settle? Oh, fuck that!
“I’ve heard that over and over again. I hold nothing against you, Sarima,” he said to you.
Your breath was unsteady. Maybe it was the coyness that was beginning to resurface with his presence. He approached you, and you saw desire in his eyes when your eyes glanced past his. It, the desire, looked like a tiny blade of lust, of deception (and I know you’ll never admit to the deception part of it). He took your chin in his hand and smiled at you. You smiled, too, unsteadily, though.
“My girl,” he said after his mouth had swallowed your lower lip.
“Yes,” you said. It felt to you like the first time someone was truly kissing you. Nonsense! You always felt that way when you felt guilty before a guy. Don’t let your head deceive you, girl, you’ve actually let approximately twenty-nine guys fuck you since you started fucking at age twenty-two. You are not that innocent virgin girl you’d been before the night Adebayo took your flower and sucked it so real clean that you thought, “Oh how lovely, I need you to fuck me always, boy!”
He smiled again.
You, too, smiled.
You did not know what the smiles were for, but you just followed him to smile so that your boring frowning face wasn’t going to scare him away. He kissed you some more, this time, a more concentrated prolonged kiss. As he kissed, his hands crushed your breasts. Your bodies touched, and you could feel him hard. Heavens, he was sooooo hard.
He made you kneel before him, unzipped himself, and let his little man, ah, so little was the thing, inside your mouth. You sucked it, with delight. When you were still a pure girl, you hadn’t known a man then at least. You’d always thought how possible it could be for someone to actually suck a penis. Your roommates in college, very nasty girls they were, had always talked about how nourishing a man’s cum was, and such talks had often irritated you until you went into your final year, and you knew a boy, Adebayo, who’d made himself your knight in shining armour. Today you hate to see Mr. and Mrs. Adebayo Sunday smiling before a camera with a Baby Adebayo in Mr. Adebayo’s arm on Facebook. You were supposed to be the Mrs. Adebayo, not a girl who didn’t know Adebayo as much as you did, but as with such other men that came after you in your earlier days, he’d abandoned you when the time was ripe.
Richard was at the verge of releasing when he held your face against him. You withdrew, and he called you “Bitch.” You smiled. Chai, this is you, smiling at a guy who calls you bitch, a female dog! Na shame I dey shame for you, Sisi.
He spanked your buttocks and he came inside you there, on his rug. What nonsense! On his rug! He hadn’t even had the dignity to fuck you on his bed. And you, Sisi, are the dumbest person I’ve ever known (forget that you’re the only person I’ve truly known).
At night, you made spaghetti, and after you’d both eaten, he fucked you again, this time in the kitchen floor when you were attempting to wash off the used dishes.
In the morning, the other girl came by. You got the door open when the knock had come while Richard sat on the couch watching Game of Thrones season five. The other girl eyed you immediately. It must be you who was trying to steal her man.
Richard quivered immediately he saw her. “You didn’t tell me you were coming, Belema,” he said to her.
“Oh, this is the one you screw when you don’t have me, huh? How many are they?” the other girl rudely said, assessing you like you were some shit.
You felt hurt, and because you needed to protect your long broken dignity, you asked, “Who the hell are you?”
“I am his babe,” she said, eyeing you, “And you better take your filthy self off my man!”
You turned to Richard, and he bent his face, scratching his head.
Orji Victor Ebubechukwu
hates to think of himself as normal, because normalcy is thought individually. His works have appeared in Kalahari Review, African Writer Magazine, and elsewhere. He lives in Nigeria, and is an avid lover of music.
Cover image credit: Tosin Taiwo