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.
I walk on jelly feet back to my house, crossing the street without checking the road. This still feels like a dream to me. I sit down on my small couch and stare ahead for a minute trying to get back the breath he took away. Boy! I’m something else. I unwrap my dress and my breath hitches for the second time. It seems it recognizes beautiful things too. It has Sabrina neckline with details of sequins down the middle which flares just above the hem. The button loop drops back down. I put it against my cheek and caress it with it as I inhale. Almighty. I step off the dress Akin didn’t even give a second look and step into this heaven. It is just my luck that burgundy looks great on me. Oh God, now, I don’t feel so guilty about lying to my dad about that false compulsory excursion fee. The money is well spent. I shrug. I turn to look at my back. Ronke, isn’t this a bit exposive? But even as I think that thought, the devil in me shoves it away. I haven’t felt this sexy in months. Darn! The dress clings to me like a second skin bringing out my derrière nicely. I wonder how Priye would feel when he sees me on Saturday especially since even I am feeling hot for myself. I fan myself theatrically with my hands. Everyone in my department knows that I’m his ultimate crush and sometimes it can be very annoying when he moons over me all over the department quadrangle. It surprised both of us when I asked him to be my date to the wedding but he was the only ecstatic one. Okay. Not entirely. He has a car temporarily, I think from his father and I need a ride. Don’t get me wrong. Priye is a very smart person which is something I’m highly attracted to but he is really average in the looks department and below that in dress sense and even though I have already taken care of his attire for the wedding, his regular self is still a turn-off for me. So, we are just convenient friends. It’s better that way. I look at my dress in the mirror again and smile. I gently pull it off so that I don’t rip it and hang it in the VIP section of my wardrobe. I try to imagine how I would look that day. I have to be totally dope that day especially since my mates from high school would be there. Those rival bitches too that never give up even after so many years. Seems they didn’t get a life after high school and are still stuck in that one. Some of them manage to be drop outs and queen slayers at the same time. I don’t know HOW they manage such mentally hectic works. Well, I’m not about to treat them with caution. 😉
“Ronke!! What did I ever do to deserve such a talented fashion designer like you? This dress pass Vera wang oo.” I say into the phone.
“I know how important this is to you. I wish I could also come to Ife but I’m tied up here. We for pepper them together.”
“Oshey! Pepper dem gang!”
“Feyi, you are too razz.”
“Na you sabi, babes, this dress is lovely! I love you.”
“Sha don’t kill them with your backside.” She says and laughs. I sense an undercurrent in her tone but don’t understand it. I pause as I try to think and I think she must imagine the wheels turning in my head.
She clears her throat.”See you, later. Busy!” She claims and hangs up. Weird.
It is three days to the wedding. I can think about her weirdness later. I need to start preparing. I call Priye to confirm if we are still on for Saturday.
“Hi.” His voice is low and a wave of foreboding washes over me. God, please. I forbid any form of disappointment in my life. Not at this crucial time.
“I just wanted to check if we are still on for Saturday and no delays!” I say even though my instinct is screaming negativity in my head. I bind and cast. Olorunmaje. God forbid. God forbid. God forbid. I repeat in my head. Priye can’t screw up when it comes to me. The guy is head over heels.
“I was in an accident last night, Feyi. I’m so sorry. I should have been very careful.”
“Oh my God. I was totally relying on you.!” I snap, conveniently leaving the part where he said he was in an accident out. I’m totally using this guy. I feel bad. “Okay. Don’t worry. Where are you.. Hope you weren’t hurt?”
“Not so badly. Just my legs.”
“Okay.” I say, distractedly. I’m already thinking of an alternative. “I will come by to see you.” I promise, eager to hang up as an idea pops into my head. It’s not the best but it will have to do. I pull on a dress and dash out of my room. Soon, I’m on a bike to the motor park all the while praying I meet him.
“Baba Muri!” I hail as soon as I see him.
He turns and smiles as soon as he see me. His brown teeth- prolly from a habit of eating kolanuts for years- peek from between his lips. “Hahan, Aunty Feyi. I no see you today. Hope no problem?”
“Nothing.” I say and try to smile so as to appease him.
“No.” I am getting impatient. This sudden change in plan is really grating on my nerves and I think he understands because he doesn’t ask me any more questions. Rather, he looks at me questioningly. “Please, I need taxi for Saturday.” I say.
“No oo. I don’t work on Saturdays anymore. I’m getting old.” He says with finality.
“Baba Muri please.” I beg and smile, winsomely. “Please now.”
“Aunty Feyi.” He grumbles. He knows he has got no choice when I want to cajole him. I really need him. He has been my designated driver for eight years now. From the first time I came with my father to write post jamb when he really lightened my mood after I found out my dad chose mass communications for me instead of international relations. I was so pissed that day. He made being in his taxi with my father bearable. When I got admission into the school, I would wait till his taxi was at the motor park then get into it and wait for it to fill up before starting our journey to school in his old rickety car hut he just got a new shiny cab from the Ooni just last week and he even celebrated it for me by letting me keep my transport fare for two days. “Aunty Feyi. Na because Na you oo.” He says as he fishes in his pocket for something and soon he brings his hand out wrapped around a kolanut. He bites into it. Old habits die hard. I better get him some on friday so that he won’t have a sudden change of plans too.
“Thank you!” I say and want to jump up for joy but don’t. I turn and my heart speeds up as I see a car with the same color as the one Akin was in but it slows down as I affirm it isn’t him. I walk through the throngs of motorist I hardly noticed when I was still looking for baba Muri and try to ignore their cat-calls. They reek of alcohol. Lord save us from these people. Next stop is my classmate’s make up studio.
“Emmanuella, please don’t forget Saturday oo..” I call into her studio as I put just my head in. My right leg hanging off the step. She is working on a client so she doesn’t give me her full attention.
“Okay.” She calls back and gives me a cursory glance through the mirror.
“Weldone ma.” I greet the client who in an attempt to nod in reply smears her makeup. I run away as I hear Emmanuela’s grunt of disbelief and distress. Emmanuela is from the eastern part of Nigeria. According to the school’s grapevine, she was a maid before her mistress enrolled her in school. She is one of the best students in our class now and she has businesses on the side albeit small ones but still.. You get my drift? I always wanted her life but I know it’s not for me so, I just have a grudging respect for her instead. I jump on the bike and I go to my hairdresser’s.
Keeping my fingers crossed. If, no, when things work out accordingly, Saturday WILL be Lit!