I stood in front of the mirror, checked my lipstick and patted my hair one more time, combing my fingers through the tresses, I was about to pick a brush when my friend spoke,
‘Babe, leave this hair na, you want make e scatter’, Ese spoke behind me.
I laughed at myself, I was giddy with excitement. I had worn my best wig, a short blunt cut Brazilian hair. I turned my back to the mirror one more time. The short black dress fit perfectly, I turned forward again and touched my tummy, it felt flat, I was looking snatched. Of course, I had to, all those sit-ups and planks and barely eating for two weeks just had to pay off. The hunger was no match for the joy, I felt inside.
‘Madam sit down” Ese, spoke again.
I couldn’t, I was too nervous to sit, or even stand. I was pacing my room, the adrenaline was high, and walking was the only way to calm myself.
“Leave me jor”, I retorted.
“We too go love oo”, “but Cynthia, it’s been four hours oo, shei he said he was coming by 10am, its past two already, are you sure he’s still coming”
“Calm down he is coming from Asaba, maybe there is traffic”. He told me two weeks ago that he got an appointment in Asaba, a very big contract he had said, he would love to see me first before going to his house, when he returned. Probably the Lagos traffic held him, I couldn’t tell and I didn’t even what to think about it.
“Hmmm, okay oo, but am tired, nobody is in my shop, I sent my sales girl to the market this morning, and she hasn’t called that she is back. You na office worker, for me I make money every day, and I am losing money waiting for your boo, and you no dey pay well”. She already started packing up her makeup materials and arranging them neatly in the box.
I laughed, Ese was my university friend, I knew she meant well, I couldn’t give her an answer. She stood up, and took her bag, and her make-up box, ready to leave, I wished she could wait for Jay, but I also couldn’t stop her from going to her shop. Hunger and want had brought us close together; I remembered how we shared meals and even a small bed. We would do odd jobs here and there just to eat and buy hand-outs. We had come a long way. From scratch she had made something of herself, I had always been the office girl,
working part-time as a secretary or a teacher to pay though school. Ese, on the other hand, had always been the business woman, she started by selling makeup pencils and brushes around campus, to make ends meet, self-taught herself makeup artistry and making many blunders on my face, I was always her model. Today she owns her own high-end shop where she sold makeup items and wigs and I appreciated her for doing the best she could for me.
“Baby girl, am out, give me full gist tomorrow, or I kill you”
I smiled she really knew how to calm me down.
“Thanks girl, I appreciate”, as I walked her to the door.
“No qualms, I will deal with him tomorrow for keeping you waiting”
I was all my myself now, I checked my phone for the umpteenth, time, no calls and Jay’s number was not going, even my head was tired of going up and down as I checked my phone.
‘’This guy sef, is he planning to surprise me, e too like surprise’’.
I loved surprises too but not today, I just wanted everything to be perfect. I was very sure he was going to propose, he had said he had something special for me today, when he called again yesterday; it had to be a ring. We had spoken for hours, about everything, our jobs, lives, marriage even children. It had to be a ring; no other thing could seal this deal.
I looked at the mirror, my gold earrings sending sparks from my earlobes, my makeup was perfect, I had called Ese to do it for me since I didn’t trust my shaking hands to hold a brush, my smile was literally touching my ears. ‘Nawa’. My eyes went to the phone, ‘haba, oga call now’.
A strange feeling ran through my head to the pit of my stomach, I tried to calculate the distance between Asaba and Lagos but my intelligent brain refused to function. I shook my head went to the fridge and took a bottle of water, took a big gulp and felt slightly better, but that weird feeling lingered. ‘’Oh no, I drank water, hey’’ I ran to the mirror, my tummy didn’t bulge. Ah! Thank God.
I finally sat down took the phone again, went online, and checked his Whatsapp page, he was not online. I checked the time it was five minutes to four. I breathed out, the dress was tight, and I was losing my patience. Six hours waiting for this guy, one has to lose her patience. I closed my eyes for a second. Just when I was losing hope, the doorbell rang.
My eyes popped open, ‘he’s here’ I checked the mirror again, everything was perfect. I smoothened my dress again, put on the gold heels, misted my special fragrance one more time and walked towards the door,
‘’ I pray that amebo Juliet, does not come out of her room o’’.
Juliet was one nosy neighbour who made gossip her livelihood. This same Juliet who told everyone that papa Abel was beating his wife on a daily basis, only for us to find out that it was not true. At least her big mouth saved Mr John from getting robbed when she said she saw a man climbing his fence, and he was nabbed on time. I guess that was why people in the estate still tolerated her. She always wants to know what is going on with everyone so she can tell her fairy tales, I rolled my eyes. This was my own fairy tale, and nobody should spoil it for me, please Juliet stay in your apartment abeg. I took one more breath, frowned my face a little to feign anger for keeping me waiting and opened the door. Somehow, my handsome Jay had metamorphosed into Freddo the guy who brings our mails, I hissed. The ever-smiling Freddo was not moved, he was a happy fellow, but today I didn’t want to see his face,
‘Omo, see as you set, you dey wait for person, that guy lucky well well, naim get all this packaging’
‘Watin you want oga Freddo’
‘You too dey vex, fine geh like you’ then he starting singing with his bad voice
(Not today, I didn’t need his jokes or his songs)
‘Anyway, you get package, base on who you be, I gat bring am personally’.
He shoved an envelope into my face; I took it and shut the door.
I heard him complain, I didn’t care; I was not in my right frame of mind.
I tore the letter open
It was Jay
I really liked you, but am getting married next week”
Blood drained out of my face, anger rose up from the pit of my stomach, I took off my shoes, threw it to a corner of the room and took off the wig, dumped it on the floor, as I slumped into the couch.
“’Like’ kill you there, just like that, no explanation, nothing, who was I to him, a side piece?”
He didn’t even have the courtesy to tell me face to face. What rubbish. I tried his phone again it still wasn’t going, I went on Whatsaap to send him the text of his life, he had blocked me, “you have got to be kidding me”, I decided to send him an SMS, but I couldn’t my fingers refused to cooperate.
My mind went back to when I first met him; he came to my office to look for my boss as he had an appointment. I was the secretary, he was cute, well dressed in a well-fitted blue suit and an irresistible smile every girl would fall for. He knew how to hold a conversation and this was what attracted him to me. And I was not bad looking, if I could say so myself. He asked me to dinner, I declined. And accepted lunch for the following day, he moved fast, too fast thinking about it now, in one month, he was already talking marriage. All through the dating period; if I will even call it dating, he was super nice, taking me out to dates, opening the car door, buying me things. He knew the best places in town, the best eateries, cinema, hangout spots, suya spots, and the best everything. “That guy spend sha”. Even when I told him that I didn’t want anything, he always insisted, I knew it was too good to be true, but you can’t blame me na, I had always been unlucky with men. Especially that idiot Ayo, I was even spending money on and he still had the guts to cheat on me or Efe that felt he owned me because we were dating, I don suffer, I told myself I was done with them but Jay changed the narrative, or so I thought. He made me feel good about myself again.
The best one was when he insisted on going with me to my company’s quarterly dinner for its workers. Ah! Best day of my life, bros, was all over me, he took me to the venue in his car, opened the door for me making other single lady jealous, he grabbed me a seat, brought me wine and food and we danced, hey! Bros, was even greeting everybody and introducing himself as if he has won lottery, I felt on top of the world. Even my boss was even smiling at me, in his mind, “better bring wine and invitation card.” There was no way I could ever have felt that he was not serious. This dude definitely hid his tracks well. “devil need to learn one or two from this guy, I swear”.
The only weird thing was that he constantly demanded sex, which I was not ready to give, we had quarrelled about it, but I didn’t care, maybe that’s why he decided to use the marriage yard-stick. Thinking about it now, it all made sense, but love was covering my eye. He just wanted sex, last strike before marriage.
I took my phone again, I didn’t know what else to do, as I was scrolling, I saw the Facebook app
“Ah! Why I no reason Facebook since’ mtcheew”
I opened the app, went to his page, and there it was, posted two hours ago, his wedding invitation, I was angry, pained and sick of everything. I went to the comments section, I planned to type the worst insult I could imagine and tell the whole world who he really is, a wolf in sheep clothing.
“This guy no know who e dey try”
My fingers were stuck, I couldn’t type, I looked at his fiancee’s smiling face, she was pretty and she looked like a good person. I didn’t want to spoil anything for her, I breathed again and typed,
I turned off my phone and threw it on the couch, The adrenaline was gone, all the stress of preparation set in, I felt extremely tired for the first time in a very long time, I broke down and the tears flowed, smearing my makeup, it didn’t matter anymore. Then my stupid stomach grumbled, it was hungry and didn’t care how I felt.
‘Yeye, see as you no chop because of man’.
I laughed and laughed, unzipped the dress as I dragged myself to the kitchen, to feed the vampires in my stomach.
Tomorrow will be a better day, well I hope so.