Tayo looked out of her window at the traffic building up on Adeola Odeku. She had to wait till 6pm even though work had ended an hour ago because she needed a lift to CMS before getting on a BRT bus home. Her other alternative was to take a cab but her cab guy wasn’t picking his phone and she didn’t trust those random cab men this time of the year. She thought of taking a bike but she perished the thought when she glanced at the tight pencil skirt she was wearing, totally out of the question.
Three hours later, she was seated in the overcrowded BRT, sweat dripping down her forehead as the bus moved at snail speed towards the mainland. She looked like your typical VI secretary- well dressed but still a hustler. But things were never what they seemed right? Her mind travelled to the conversation she’d had with her mother- the one that got her in this mess…
“Tayo I know you are a big shot MD but no man is going to marry you if you have a car and live in your own apartment. It’s too much for the average Nigerian man, they get intimidated. Don’t you want this to be your last year as a spinster? I want grandchildren oh!”.
She had stormed out of her parent’s house annoyed that her mother wanted her to demean herself just to get a man. She had worked very hard to be where she was, it made no sense. If only Nnamdi hadn’t been such a punk…
Anyway her mum had gotten the last word. She had sold her beloved toyota rav4 and moved out of her posh apartment in ikoyi and back into her parents house. She sighed deeply.
Her life sucked but it wasn’t all bad. Jide had come into her life one fine day when she had gone to grind beans.
Another thing her mother insisted she do to show the men in the estate that she was homely and down to earth.*rolling her eyes*
She hated this life, she’d outgrown the whole living with your parents phase when she turned 27 but here she was at the peak of her career but at the pit of her love life. She thought of Jide- Average income, average ambitions, average looks Jide! He lived in a 2 bedroom flat not far from her parent’s house and obviously her parents who were firm believers in small beginnings approved of him. There were no sparks but her mum said at her age sparks were unnecessary. She was supposed to be logical about her choice and pick a man who would morph into a good husband and good father and of course a good in-law. Her greatest fear was the mediocrity that would befall her if she married him. Her money would always be a disadvantage, hidden and used sparingly to preserve his ego and her dreams of holidays in the Bahamas and skiing on the alps and living on Banana island not to mention the prominent role she hoped to one day play in the society would all be put in a box labelled ‘frivolous dreams’ and she’d be stuck in a life she had to live just because she didn’t wanna be an old maid.
Her phone started vibrating. She was very paranoid about public transport but curiosity got the better of her. She peered into her bag and saw it was a message. She thought of ignoring it but what else was there to do in this traffic? So in quick, successive movements, she stealthily stuck a hand into her bag looking left and right to make sure she wasn’t watched and all the while holding her bag tightly under her arm in a vice like grip and then lowered her head as the message appeared.
“Hi Tayo, would you like to hang out with me tonight?”
Tonight? Ugh! All she wanted to do tonight was take a bath and go straight to bed. Lagos traffic did things to a woman but she remembered she had said no to him twice this week already and she didn’t wanna chase away the only man in her life just yet. She’d respond later she grimaced.
She knew it wouldn’t be a grand date. He didn’t have much and he believed in saving all he had for a rainy day. Not to mention allowing her pick up the tab too often if you asked her! She wanted someone who would buy her nice things, take her to fancy places and plan great holidays with her. She wanted a man who would provide a good life for her not an average one… Was that too much to ask?
Jide was picking her up at 9. They’d been seeing each other since she moved back to her parent’s house in January. It wasn’t a relationship at least not the kind she was used to but he was dependable and what they had was comfortable, hassle free and… Ugh! She hated having to say this- B-O-R-I-N-G! On val’s day he had bought her a ready-made, fast-food cake that tasted like paper and a poorly produced card and her wicked friends had thoroughly laughed at her but her colleague Bisi who was almost tempted to polish up her driver and date him had pointed out to her that she was part of the lucky few who even had a man! She had earlier in the day contemplated buying herself some really great presents but didn’t want Jide to accidentally see them and think she was seeing someone else. He knew where she worked but had never asked her the questions needed to reveal her true financial position and influence so she operated on a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell basis‘. It wasn’t lying per se. She consoled herself that she didn’t want him to turn into a gold-digger or feel intimidated. Anyway she planned to tell him tonight over dinner.
As she was putting the finishing touches to her makeup her mum came in.
“Sweetie be back by 11pm please, good girls don’t stay out late and must you always wear jeans? What happened to nice dresses and your eye makeup is plenty…”
She wanted to scream! Her mum failed to see that she was all grown up. It was like she was being punished for not being in her husband’s house. She made up her mind that in 2013 she would get a flat on the island and buy a new car and forget this down to earth wife material facade. Any man who didn’t appreciate that should go hug a transformer in the rain.
30 minutes later…
“Tayo I’ve never met a woman like you. You inspire me, you make me a better man. I have something I wanna tell you…”
“Jide I have something to tell you too but I need to use the bathroom…”
Tayo jumped up, quite alarmed at her sudden urge to pee. She realised she’d been holding it since 6pm and dashed as fast as her heels could allow, to the ladies. She didn’t see the guy standing by the corner. The bump was epic and she tumbled to the floor, with an embarrassing thud.
“I’m so sorry miss…”
“Watch where you are going joor, ah!”
“I was stationary, you were the one moving!”
As he helped her up, their eyes met for the first time and she caught her breath. She felt her pulse quicken. What was a man like this doing in this sort of place. He was awesome.
“Take a picture it will last longer”
He commented dryly.
She glared at him!
“I was just wondering how you could just bump into me like that. I could have broken my heels or worse my leg!”
She rolled her eyes for emphasis.
He said teasingly.
“Hi I’m Philip, my friends call me Pope”
“Hello, I’m Tayo, why do they call you that?”
“I’ll tell you over dinner on sunday night”
She laughed. She was still laughing when she gave him her number. The smell of his Tom Ford perfume confirmed her initial suspicions. He was definitely lost. Guys like that belonged in posh restaurants or in her frivolous dreams box! Definitely not in the low-cost restaurant Jide had brought her to.
She returned to the table with a big faraway grin on her face and barely heard Jide’s opening sentence but his next words brought her back to reality with a bang!
“Will you marry me Tayo?!”
She glanced at the cheap-looking engagement ring in his outstretched hand and slowly up into his expectant eyes as time seemed to stop…
To be continued…
Hey chutzpah fam, thanks for your emails. You could actually drop comments instead! 😉 anyway due to popular demand, I’m gonna start a series on the guys’ side of the story.
Have a great week…xoxo