LOVE CAN TURN SOUR
By Ayodele Alofe
Saturday, March 27, 2010.
I finished having my early dinner and did the dishes, humming a song to myself. I was still buzzing on a high from the weekend; gosh it had been so much fun, clubbing with my girls and then my birthday party. Dayo had surprised me with a lovely birthday present, and I felt so special. Thinking of him made me smile now and I made a note to call him soon. I finished at the sink and inspected my fridge. I decided I still had plenty of food and cake left over, so I should be alright for a couple of days. I went to my living room and was about to settle down to watch a movie when my phone rang.
I picked it up and chuckled.
“Hello Lola, how did I know it would be you?” I said.
Lola had always been inquisitive and after the weekend get-together at my house, I knew all my friends would be dying to hear more gist about Dayo. Especially Lola.
“Great minds eh?” Lola replied. She sounded quite impatient. “Where are you now? Are you at home?”
“Yeah I’m at home. I came home early to clean up my house after the weekend and I’ve just finished. Somebody forgot their jeans in my spare room, I found a pair of earrings in the bathroom, and I still have some of -”
“Titi wait, there’s something I want to discuss with you”
“What is it?”
“I think it would be better if you sat down.”
“Drama, drama, Lola! I trust you to be dramatic”. I said, going to the TV stand to pick up the remote.
“I’m serious! Wait, is there anyone else with you?”
“No, nobody is here. I was about to watch a movie and paint my nails, but that can wait, this one that you are sounding ominous.”
I sat down on the sofa. “Okay spill.”
“Er Titi the thing is, I discovered something about Dayo today. Something bad, in fact...”
“Stop!” I interrupted. “I already know what you are about to say and I don't want to hear it!”
“Oh you already know?” Lola asked, sounding shocked.
“Yes I do! I know he belonged to a cult when he was at university, he told me all about it. But that was so many years ago. He is completely different now”
“Wait, let me finish” I continued. “He said he only shot a few times, he never actually killed anyone. I really don't want to discuss it. Anyway, how did you find out?”
Lola made an incomprehensible sound, and then she cleared her throat. “Well I didn't know about that bit, at least, not until you mentioned it now. That means he is one of those wolf-turned-sheep characters. But that wasn't what I wanted to tell you”
“Oh” I whispered. Darn it, I shouldn’t have released that bit of information. It could become awkward if my friends met Dayo again. Then I heard another voice in the background.
“Lola, who is there with you?” I asked.
“I’m at Funmi’s place. She’s asking after you”
“Say hi to her”
“Titi says hi” Lola said to Funmi in the background, then she returned to the phone. “Titi, what I discovered about Dayo today is that he is married!”
“What?!” said I said in a voice that was barely a whisper.
“Yes he is, I would not have believed it myself if….”
Something in my mind shifted and I didn’t hear what Lola was saying anymore.
“Hello? Titi, are you still there?” Lola shouted into the mouthpiece.
“What – oh yeah, I’m still here” I said, after what seemed like an eternity. I heard Funmi’s voice in the background again. She was probably asking Lola what my reaction was. I could just imagine my friends discussing my affairs behind my back and it was humiliating to think about. I had heard more than enough. I steeled myself.
“Lola, thanks for calling, I’ll speak to you later”
“But I haven’t finished ...”
I cut the line and snapped my handset shut.
For what seemed like an eternity, I sat still on the sofa, my mobile phone in hand, wishing I could erase the phone call I just had. Tears slowly streamed down my eyes. It couldn't be, I thought. But then, I knew even before the thought ended, that there was some truth in it. I had suspected something wasn't quite right with Dayo a few weeks ago, after he came back from one of his trips.
I had been so happy to see him that I chose to forgive the fact that he had been incommunicado for an entire weekend. He had told me his work had asked him to make an impromptu trip to see a client in the US and he had switched off his phone as soon as he left the office. The night he returned, he took me to a really expensive restaurant for dinner, something he hadn’t done before. I remember being flattered but also wondering if he was doing it to allay his feelings of guilt. I had gone all out to look my best that night, and I really wanted to have a good time. But something was wrong, I could sense it. Dayo fidgeted all night, when his phone rang, he changed it to vibrate status. There was something in the way he did not quite meet my eyes when I asked if he would not answer his call since the phone kept vibrating. He had brushed it away, claiming it was work, and he continued to ignore whoever was calling. He also fidgeted when the check came; his hands seem to shake as he signed the credit card bill.
Yes, it had crossed my mind, albeit fleetingly; that perhaps there was something he was hiding but whatever it was, I had refused to dwell on it. After we left the restaurant, he had taken me back home and apologised for his nervousness before kissing my doubts and fears away. I had decided that nobody was perfect, but I could not have imagined it would turn out to be this – I was dating a married man! Pain shot through my chest now at my ignorance.
I leapt off the sofa and paced around the living room.
“How could he? How dare he?” kept echoing in my head, propelling me to keep moving. Then I decided I had to unleash this fury welling up in me.
I picked up my phone and dialled his number.
In My Dreams It Was Simpler" is a series written by a group of Nigerian writers. The series was created by writer and blogger, Tolulope Popoola, in May 2009. She wrote the first installment, a short story titled "My Dilemma" and after receiving comments from readers asking for a part two, she decided to expand the plot and characters. She invited some other writers to join her in realising the project. The other writers are: Latifat Ayoola, Tade Thompson, Ayodele Alofe, Tolulope Adegbite, Erere Abayowa, Rayo Falade, Diamond Hawk* and Flourishing Florida*.
Each contributor writes from a different character's point of view, giving each of the stories a unique voice. This is the first book in the series, the writers are working on the next one, which will be released before the end of 2010.
You can find out more about the book and the series by vising their blog - http://inmydreamsitwassimpler.blogspot.com..