My mind was on getting home. As I walked past the big compounds of VGC I wasn’t thinking of the girls dancing for the men and I wasn’t thinking of Rotimi. Later I would realise I wasn’t even thinking about Johnny, and this would make me feel bad. But I just wanted to get home and I was praying and hoping the girls were all out and I would have the mattress to myself.
At God knows what time in the night, the roads were quiet. The street lights and the houses where lit but the serenity of the night was not disturbed by generators and I could hear the crickets chirping – something you don’t hear in VI. I’ve read somewhere that only male crickets chirp, and it’s a sound they make to attract female crickets. But why do they do it every night? Are they that randy? Are males, irrespective of specie, always looking to have sex? Men -I hate them. I hate them, I hate them, I hate them.
Yes, my mind was blank and those random thoughts fleeting through my head were just that: random thoughts. My mind was so blank and tuned into my random thoughts that I did not hear his car till he was right by my side. He rolled down the window to speak to me.
“What did I do?” he asked.
It was Rotimi. Truthfully, he had not done anything. I wanted to tell him this but I felt an overriding need to tell him something more urgent, something that had just occurred to me right then: I was losing my mind!
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” I told him, and it was the most truthful thing I’d said all night. Once again I was feeling my life spiralling out of my control. I had started suspecting it sometime ago but now I was almost too sure that my random acts of irrationality and madness, and running, were down to something more serious than the London boy or the life of a hustling girl. I truly and honestly realised there was something wrong with me, in the head, and I don’t even smoke weed o.
“Babes, you were raped. You are in trauma. It’s expected. Come in. Let me take you home.”
“Why do you want to take me home?”
“Babes, it’s like 1 AM. How are you going to get home?”
“I’ll get a taxi.”
“At this time?”
“But what if you don’t get one?”
“There is always a taxi?”
“And how long are you going to wait for one?”
“As long as it takes.”
“But I can drop you.”
“I don’t want to go home.”
“So where do you want to go? You want to go back to the party?”
“To your house.”
By now I was standing by the passenger door, his car was idling, and he was leaning on the passenger seat to see my face.
“Isn’t that what you want? Didn’t you want to take me home tonight?”
He kept looking at me but it was too dark to see the look on his face.
“Just come in,” he said and he opened the door for me. I stood still.
“This is what you were planning since,” I said.
He shook his head.
“No, I wasn’t planning anything.”
“Why are you lying?”
“I’m not. Look, I’m married. I have a wife, so I wasn’t thinking of taking you home or anything like that. But you can come to my place if you don’t want to go home. My wife is in England. You can sleep in the guest room.”
What is it about having a woman that makes a man more desirable? I won’t lie that it’s not true, and I won’t lie that I’ve not wanted a guy even more when I’ve found out he already has a woman. Some people have put it down to competition; others have explained it away as knowing that he’s dependable – ostensibly because he has a woman he’s taking care of. Yet others – and I tend to agree with them – say it’s because we think he must have something to offer that the other woman, his woman, sees in him. Is this true? Do we really base our decision to date a man, to flirt with him, to get into his car, to encourage his attention, on whether or not another woman already has him? If so, my question is, who was he with that made the woman he’s with now want him? Or was she better than us and saw in his single self, something that other women to follow would see in her man? I don’t know.
To say the truth, I wasn’t expecting him to say that. And when he said it, it was as if God had chosen that precise moment to slap me one more time in continuation of the punishment which I sensed my life had become. But I got into his car, and I made it seem as if it was because I felt more comfortable knowing he had a wife and he didn’t want to sleep with me, but that was far from the truth. The truth is I got into his car because in the space of the few seconds after he told me he had a wife and he didn’t want to sleep with me, I went over every second of all the interactions we’d had since I met him and I wasn’t ready to accept that the flirtation had all been in my mind. I had felt an attraction and I felt it was mutual, and yes he had a wife but that didn’t mean he didn’t want me, even if he was too faithful to go ahead and try to have me.
And maybe that is it. At that very moment I think I figured it out. We are attracted to the man who has a woman because we want to be loved like he loves her. At the end of the day it’s not about wanting to steal another woman’s man, or wanting to compete with her; it’s simply about wanting to be loved. And a taken man by definition is a man who has demonstrated his ability to love, so we want him to love us too, to see if we can be loved.
The moment I got into his car I started watching out for signs that he really wanted me. After I closed the door and did my seat belt I felt him looking at me as if we wanted to say something. He didn’t. At the exact moment I turned my head to look at him, he turned to face the road. He drove up the street then turned onto a side road. I was sure that wasn’t the way to VGC gate.
He didn’t look at me but he felt me looking at him.
“I live in VGC,” he said by way of explanation for my questioning look.
We rode in silence to his house. We didn’t talk when he pressed his horn and his night guard opened the gate. We didn’t talk when he parked and we both got out and he opened the door to his house and stepped aside for me to go in first.
I was only brave enough to take two steps into utter darkens. He switched on the lights behind me and I immediately started looking for her pictures. It was a lovely living room.
“Do you want some water?” he asked.
He left me to go fetch the water but I couldn’t get myself to venture further into his house; into another woman’s house.
He returned with two glasses of water and gave me one. As I drank he asked if I wanted to go to bed. I nodded.
“Come,” he said.
I knew in my heart that if he took me to his room and expected me to sleep in his matrimonial bed I would, but I wouldn’t let him touch me. I would remind him of what he said and I would wait to see how hard he would beg me to let him hold me at least.
Upstairs, he took me into a room and told me it was mine for the night then he switched on the AC and asked if I needed anything.
“No, I’m fine,” I said. Then he said good night and turned to leave.
“Thank you,” I said as he was about to close the door.
He turned to look at me.
“You are welcome. What are you doing tomorrow?”
“Cool. In the morning we’ll go to my clinic and I’ll run your tests. Is that ok?”
“I’m sorry about what I said to you,” I said.
“That makes two of us. I’m sorry I lied to you. I’m not married but I had to say so to make you come home with me. You were in no state to be going home alone.”
“You are not married?”
I did not believe him. He had realised he I wouldn’t sleep with him because he was married and now he was lying that he wasn’t, now that he’d gotten me to his house.
And with that he shut my door and I listened as he walked away and open and shut another door.
Needless to say, sleep was the last thing on my mind. The room he put me in was so tidy it felt uncomfortable. I looked at the beautiful bed with a perfectly smooth white sheet and I felt guilty to ruffle it.
I walked about the room, opening wardrobes and drawers, and then I finally sat on the bed. I sat like this until I started feeling cold, thanks to the AC. The light was still on and I was fully clothed. I realised I was waiting for him to return, to knock on the door and ask me to come to his room: to prove to me that he’s just like every other man.
But he didn’t come and I was getting colder and colder. I stood up and walked to the door. It didn’t have a key in the lock. I found the light switch and flicked it off. By the time I was done removing my clothes my eyes had grown accustomed to the darkness and I could see my way around. I got under the duvet, closed my eyes and listened to see if I’d hear him opening his door to come to mine.
I don’t know when I fell asleep. I woke up to the sound of knocking. At first it was in a dream and I was the one knocking on the door to our BQ because I’d left my keys at home and the girls were asleep, then gradually I stirred to consciousness and I realised he had finally come to make his move.
I was suddenly wide away under the duvet. He had stopped knocking and my eyes were on the door and my ears pricked to every sound. I heard the door handle turning and I closed my eyes. I felt the light from the corridor outside.
“Amaka, Amaka,” he called my name. Then I heard my phone ringing.
“Amaka,” I heard his voice close to me then I felt his hand shaking me. My phone was ringing closer to me now.
I pretended to wake up.
“What?” I asked, trying to sound sleepy.
He spoke in near whispers.
“Your phone dropped in the car,” he said. “My maigauard heard it ringing and called to tell me.”
The phone had stopped ringing. He was on the edge of my bed now. He handed me the phone and I checked only to find seven missed calls all from Mama.
“Thanks,” I said.
“No probs,” he said. Then he got up to leave. “Good night.”
He left and I switched off the phone. I was wide awake, I didn’t want to talk to Mama, and he was walking away.
Was it because he thought I had HIV? Or did he just not like me?