Feyi, my brother will help you bring the cloth. He is coming to Ife.
I am typing on my whatsapp when the message comes in. I go to check it to be sure it is not what I am assuming. My heart is beating a little faster as I open the message and confirm it is really Ronke. Ronke was my close friend in high school but University seperated the both of us. Now, to the matter on hand. Ronke has only one brother and he is not even in Nigeria. How is he coming to Ife? The puzzled expression on my face stares back at me from my phone as the backlight goes off. My high cheekbones and full lips gives my face an ‘almost’ exotic look, but being a little thick puts me on the chubby side which I inherited from my mum’s side of the family.It doesn’t bother me though. I for one think it makes me fill out really nicely in all I wear.My name is Mofeyisara Boluwatife Ajayi. I am a 400 level mass communication student at Obafemi Awolowo University. I think I’m a friendly person but it’s usually not a personal realization. Anyways, Ronke studied Mass communication at Kwara state university. She secured a job at Buzz broadcast station straight out of school but has a couture business on the side. As we all know how much we strike in my school, this is my seventh year in OAU while my mates that we attended high school together have started working and collecting fat salaries. It can be very depressing. A couple who is an alumnus of the high school Ronke and I went to is getting married. The bride used to be our good friend. As we all know how expensive aso-ebi is now, I had to struggle through months of scrimping to save the thirty five thousand aso ebi in this terrible economy. I had to swallow my pride and let Ronke collect it for me from the bride since they both reside in Lagos and begged her to help me sew it almost for free. Now, she is telling me her older brother is coming with it. Here!in Ife! I have been trying to keep up with all this great expectation by faking most things but I’m not really comfortable with it.
Her elder brother, Akintomide Akintilo was like the ‘quarterback’ you see in this foreign movies. He was a famous sport person who was involved in everything in high school. He brought the school medals from basketball than all the other athletes in various fields combined. He was also very bright. The school staff used to call him ‘Starkid’. He was five years ahead of us in school. He ignored me most of the time even as his baby sister and I were good friends. I guess he dismissed us as kids not giving us any thought till when totally necessary. I remember one incidence when he actually acknowledged me the first time we met and was introduced, back in boarding school. Ronke had pulled me by the hand to meet her big brother whom she totally adored.”Bro, meet Feyi, my new best friend”she chirped. He smiled at me telling me to be good and to give education a chance. I had looked up into the widest, brightest smile I had ever seen so I didn’t give much thought to his advice. How are you coping with boarding? He had asked.” Hope the seniors don’t make life difficult? Ronke and I had passed knowing looks. “We have our tricks.” We chorused collectively. If only he knew how senior girls were falling over themselves to get on his good side.
Okay. I type and hit the send button. I didn’t know what else to write. The last I heard of him was that he had gone pro and was playing basketball for the Lakers. Yeah, he is a big deal. I still can’t believe he is in Nigeria let alone coming to Ife.
Ronke, isn’t your brother in America? Quit playing around?
I press send before I change my mind. Ronke used to tease me about having a crush on her brother back in school so I had to squash whatever feelings were nurturing. Besides, I knew nothing could ever come out of it. Several senior girls had clamored for his attention, and are still head over heels, some downright obsessed with gaining his attention. I didn’t even stand a chance.
Didn’t you hear? I will give you the gist later. I have given him your number. He will call you.
Wow. This is getting serious. If someone told me yesterday that I will be seeing the ‘Tom stiles’ today, I would probably hit them in the head. I don’t even know what to do. I wanted to go for lectures before and just monitor the driver of the commercial bus she was going to send but now I can’t even gather the strength to wear clothes. I can’t believe he still has so much power over me. Well. Who am I deceiving?
Well. Who am I deceiving? I think.
When after five hours, I have changed my dress eight times and is still undecided, my phone starts vibrating and I see it is an unsaved number, I know it is him. I just know! I look at my image in the mirror and wipe my sweaty palms on my dress. I use my hand to drag my hair into position before picking his call like he is going to see me.
“Hello,” goes my small nervous voice.
“Tife?” He usually called me Tife when it was necessary to acknowledge me even when everybody called me Bolu in high school. Now, the Tife sounds like Tfare.
I clear my throat. “Yes?”
“Eeerrrrmmm. This is Akin. I’m almost at your campus now. Where are you?”
“I’m in the… Huh.” I clear my throat and try again. “Just call me when you get to the front of Skye bank at the junction of two possible routes. I will come out.”
I go to his instagram page and press the first letter of his handle in the search box and his name pops up immediately. I have always searched for him but too scared to follow him. I flip through his page and I’m amazed. I can’t believe I’m going to see him again. Just then, my phone vibrates in my hand scaring the crap out of me. I pick. “I’m here.” He says.
“Okay.” I disconnect and rush out of the house. I see him before he sees me. He looks so American and I realise with a lurch again that I gotta keep squashing. As if I call him with my eyes, he turns towards me and smile. “Rat.” He says and throws the dress as I cross the first half of the road. I catch it like a robot, dumbfounded. “Nice catch, Rat. See you some other time.” He says and gives me a winning smile that melts my heart. Oh Lord, how am I to survive this?
I sincerely hope he is just passing through as I stare after his speeding car, with my bag of cloth clutched tightly to my beating chest.