It’s almost noon, and I have been staring at Lekan all morning. I am so confused right now; it’s like he knows I exist, but refuses to acknowledge it. This has been going on for more than a week now, and it’s becoming really frustrating to tolerate his attitude. It started the day he got me all those nice things and Wale went off in a jealous sulk.
When he came to work that day, I hugged him and thanked him for the gifts; but he maintained that he didn’t send any gifts. I told him to stop pretending and I showed him the gifts and the notes, and the laptop, and the note attached to the laptop, and all the other minor stuff I had been getting randomly from him. I expected him to smile and admit to his crimes, or confess his love or something, but he just stared at me and my gifts for a long time, said he didn’t get me all that stuff, and then went to his seat. I won’t even lie, I was very disappointed. I tried to get him to talk, but he said nothing. He has been that way ever since; ignoring me and saying nothing.
I decide to go over to him and sort things out, when Wale bounces into the room. He literally bounces into the room on the balls of his feet, with a big smile on his face. He has been the direct opposite of Lekan in that all he does is bother me, crowd my space, try to help me with work, get me lunch, see me to the BRT bus stop, and so on. It’s like they went to a secret place and decided to switch roles or something, because Wale has been doing all the stuff that Lekan used to do. As is expected, he bounces over to my desk and asks if I’ve had lunch, and if the AC isn’t turned up too high for me. And as I have been doing, I roll my eyes at him and ask him to leave me alone. He just laughs and goes over to his desk. He nods at Lekan and sits without a care; and for a moment, I wonder why Wale always looks like he is the boss instead of Lekan. I decide to stop worry about their relationship and just live my life.
It’s lunch time, so I nod and mutter that I am going to the restroom so that Wale won’t follow me, and head out towards my favorite eatery two streets away. I think to myself that I can afford to spend a little more today, since it was payday yesterday. Just as I sit down with my pre-ordered meal, I see a familiar figure enter into the restaurant. I fight the rising knot of panic in my throat and try to face the other side, but it’s too late.
Iyke has seen me and is already walking towards my table. It hurts that he doesn’t look even a bit stressed out or sad, or sick. I know it’s been over six months now, but I can’t help feeling pain; considering that I almost married this man.
“Aunty Kim” he says “look up, stop hiding your face.”
“Hi” I say, forcing the lump down, and looking up at him with what I hope is a defiant expression.
“Mind if I sit?” he says and sits without waiting for my answer. I just watch him and wonder why I am still hurting at the sight of him. We are supposed to be over; over with capital letters – OVER.
“How have you been?” he asks
“Fine” I reply and he poises himself as if waiting for me to ask how he’s been. I wonder why I should even care at first, but then I am too soft hearted so I just give in and ask how he has been.
“So glad you asked.” He says and I immediately regret asking.
“I’ve been really bad…..” he starts and I just start trying to tune him out. I don’t want to know how he has been. If I’m being honest, I don’t care. He says something about Bibi, and I immediately tune back in.
“……. after seducing me” he is saying “she gives me syphilis and has the guts to call you up. I was even drunk when we did it you know.” He sighs and runs his hand through his hair “I’m so sorry, Kim. I didn’t know what I had, I didn’t appreciate you enough. Even when I called you and said all that stuff……” he breaks off and sighs again, and I see a lone tear trail solemnly down his face.
“But you broke up with me” I say to him, refusing to believe the crap show he is putting on. My food lays there untouched, and I start feeling irritated at how this discussion has taken away my appetite.
“I know I broke up with you. It’s because I was scared.” He says, and works a broken sob into his throat
“Scared of what?” I ask him
“Of not measuring up.” He says and starts to explain how his life was starting to look to routine, and he had started straying, and he wanted to confess, and other stuff I don’t even listen to, because I am so angry with him.
“Okay, your apology is accepted. I’ll see you around” I say when I start to feel like I might cry. I retrieve my jacket from behind me and make to stand up, but he stops me
“What else?” I ask
“I followed you in here today.” He says
“Oh…kay?” I shrug and try to pull my arm out of his
“I did that for a reason.” He says again
“Okay, cool. But I have to go now.”
I pull my arm out of his and start walking away. I am barely out of the door when he comes to grab my arm again
“Iyke, please leave me alone.” I say as calmly as possible.
“I want you back, Kim.”
I gape at him, and try not to burst out laughing. What is this one saying?
Sometimes the angel you don’t know is a better choice. Sometimes, the devil you know still wants in.