My clothes were strewn everywhere. As I bent up to pick, fold and arrange them neatly, my thoughts started racing. I have to be at the studio by 7:00pm for the night shift. It’s 3: 00pm now and my script isn’t even finished. I need an hour to leave the house, get to the studio and get settled in, so that means I must be out by 6:00pm. I need an hour to freshen up for work and an hour before that to sleep. By my calculation, I have just one hour to….
The shrill of the door bell interrupted my thoughts.
“I’m coming”, I yelled.
As I swung the door open,”oh! Hello Chris, Bola isn’t home yet”.
Seeing that I wasn’t inviting her in, she said, “Actually Deola, I came to see you”.
Somehow, I had been expecting this visit but I was still surprised. I was going to ask her to come some other time but out of respect for Bola, I let her in, told her to sit and offered her a drink.
“I really don’t mean to be rude but I need you to make this quick ‘cos I haven’t finished my script yet”. She nodded.
Then she started, “I’ll go straight to the point”. I smiled
“I want you to move out!”
My neck snapped, “Excuse me?” I said I had been expecting this visit but I never expected the conversation to go this way.
Chris leaned forward,” Look, we both know that Bola is in love with you, and he is the only one who doesn’t seem to know it. I don’t stand a chance of making him fall in love with me if you don’t move out”.
I discreetly gritted my teeth and thought, ‘what nerve’! I was seething!
“I have a two bedroom flat in VGC at my disposal; the house comes with a Toyota car. I know it’s small but I’ll also give you a cheque of 2 million. All you have to do is move out by weekend and keep this between us.”
I smiled, “How awfully generous of you dear”.
She smiled back. Of course the sarcasm was lost on her; she is as dull as an overused pen!
“I’ll think about it.” I got up and walked towards the door, grabbed and swung it wide open, “Thanks for stopping by”.
She grinned, “awww! I knew this wouldn’t be so hard. We could all do with a little extra comfort, can’t we?”
My grin widened as I said, “We sure can!” and thought, ‘Get your butt out, you insulting b***h!’
I looked at the time…3: 20pm? That conversation seemed like an eternity! I really felt insulted. Who the hell does she think she is? Just a filthy rich kid without morals or principles, who thinks she can buy her way through life, that’s who!
“Mschew!” I hissed then thought, damn girl! That hiss was nasty! A smile crept on my face and then I remembered my dad and how I got to this point…
I’m sure people living three streets away would have heard him scream.
I rolled my eyes and answered from the next room, “yes daddy?!”
“Come here! Why didn’t you show up at church today?”
I took a deep breath, “daddy, we have been over this before. I am no longer coming to church with you. I have found a church where I feel fulfilled, why do you not understand this daddy? Why do you find it so hard to just accept? This is not out of disrespect or anything, I am just trying to find my own bearing”.
He gave me a stare, “you are asking me abi? Henceforth, you either come to church with me or you move out and attend whatever church you want, is that clear!” It really wasn’t a question.
He strode off to his room. I didn’t follow him. I made a mental note to talk to him later that night.
At about 10:00pm, dad retired to his room. I waited for about 30minutes so he could get settled before approaching him. I apologised for getting him angry and every other thing he might be accusing me of silently. Then, for the uptenth time, I explained the reasons behind my decision to leave the church he worshipped at. All attempts to bring him round were futile! He was sticking to his ultimatum.
The next day, I sent text messages to my siblings, asking them to beg him on my behalf but dad wouldn’t budge. I then called mum, dad’s brother and three of dad’s best friends, as it turned out, involving them only made it worse.
I was at my wit’s end, so I called Bola, my best friend.
“Hello dear”, he responded to my greeting.
“Deola, guess what, I just found this apartment in Opebi. It’s a two bedroom with a spacious kitchen, airy sitting room plus the lavatories are in good condition. With a little touch here and there, this crib would be so posh! The only problem is I am short of 60k and I haven’t found a roommate yet.”
“A smiled spread across my face, “I’ll be your roommate and I’ll give you the 60k by Friday.”
I could visualize his face gradually squeezing into a frown, “ok, start talking!”
Of course he knew something was wrong, that’s why we are besties. I downloaded the full gist…
“Are you sure you want to do this?”
“Do you want 60k and a roommate you already know through and through?”
“See you Wednesday!” He was referring to our weekly lunch out together.
“Yeah! Bye dear.”
Even though I had given Bola the money, I still made countless efforts to appeal to my dad but he was adamant. The final straw that broke the camel’s back happened the following Sunday. Dad must have been hoping I would have caved in and come to church by 8:00pm because at 8: 45, while I was out with the choir of my new church, he showed up and literally dragged me into the car. When we got to his church, I was all roughened up and refused to come out of the car. Suddenly, I heard a thunder bolt and simultaneously felt a searing pain at my cheek.
Needless to say, I moved out that day. Fortunately, Bola had finished cleaning and furnishing the house. I called him and he hired a cab to come get my stuff.
That is how it all started. It would have been easy for Bola and I to hit it off but we were scared of messing our friendship up, so we laid some ground rules about domestic work and our sex lives. We were also too busy trying to work our way to a place of relevance in our different fields, so there was no time to fool around.
This however, did not stop us from doing everything together. We cooked together, washed dishes and clothes together, sanitized the house together, attended parties as each other dates, called each other during distressing times at work, we would sing songs together, bring home little gifts every now and again; our lives were intertwined.
I called and visited home from time to time. At first, it was difficult to keep up because my relationship with my parents had become strained but I kept at it. Eventually, my dad asked me to come back home but by then, a year and a half had gone by.
A year and a half had gone by with Bola in my world and I started to believe things wouldn’t change. His friends were mine and my friends were his. Our world seemed to evolve around each other. Of course we had our fights and ugly moments but we managed them well. We shared trying times and we found consolation in each other.
Did we have sex?!
It was towards the end of our second year as friends? Lovers? Roommates? –whatever you want to call us- that he met Christian Odufe. She is the daughter of the CEO, O’Duffy Insurance Co. –a company which Bola was working with at the time.
Soon enough, I got to meet her after I had heard more appalling stories than I cared to. Since Bola and I had never t to redefine our relationship, I couldn’t as well come off screaming about being cheated on.
Now, one might expect that things between Bola and I would change but it didn’t and still hasn’t. Rather than eat out with Chris, he would get home in time to help with the cooking. I am still the one he calls when he is on the edge at work; I was still his confidant and bestie.
Fridays, fortnightly, his friends with their girlfriends /fiancées would gather at our place for some sort of mini-party. In time past, we had had spaghetti parties, pizza parties, French fies and burger party – they were all food-themed parties with all sorts of drinks and loud music. Countless times, we had neighbour banging on our door because of the music, the more daring ones joined in the fun!
All this of course, irked Chris. I was the known and accepted one...I was a major stakeholder in the ‘cabal’ and no one wanted that to change. The other girlfriends couldn’t relate with Chris, therefore, she wasn’t invited to our bi-monthly girls’ night (this started a year ago). Chris started to misbehave as there is only so much she could take. Pity!
CONCLUDING PART COMES UP SOON!