It couldn’t be Azeez. I blinked, was I dreaming?
“Hey beautiful, are you gonna let me in?”
I pulled myself together and forced a smile. Please come in.
“Azeez darling, I wasn’t expecting you so soon, was just rounding up my evening with the girls”
As Mamus gave her visitor a warm hug, I caught Siki’s eye, that was our cue to leave. I knew Siki would have loved to stay, she generally loved aproko but I couldn’t stand being there a second longer than necessary. Thankfully Zainab and Amaka agreed with me and despite Mamus’s half-hearted protests that we stay a little while longer, we were gone in less than five minutes.
“Didn’t he recognize me?”
I silently pondered about this on the short drive home. Thankfully Barry was working late so I had the house to myself. I poured myself a stiff drink. Barry had banned me from drinking since we were trying for a baby but I needed it. Where had Azeez been all these years? Was it a good thing that he couldn’t remember me? Why did seeing him still have such an effect on me? Was he the beau Mamus had been talking about finally getting serious with? Why would he want an older woman? I hated having so many unanswered questions. I had a brilliant idea and grabbed my iPad. These days, most people had their lives on full display on one social network or the other. I checked Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter and four hours and a full bottle of wine later I had answers to quite a few of my questions.
Azeez was a successful designer with a fashion brand called Azure. He had relocated to Lagos from L.A some months back and he was divorced (already) with a child from his previous marriage. His ex-wife and kid still lived in L.A. He had no pictures of Mamus on his Facebook or Instagram but had some interesting tweets about his new lady love. I scrolled through his older tweets and one dated on the 12th of August 2010 caught my eye.
“I wish I could have this night forever, I wish time and circumstances would give us a chance…”
I had felt that exact same way that night. I remembered that night so vividly. I had hustled my way into a society owambe hoping to catch myself a generous toaster but had realised it wasn’t your regular party when all around me there were sounds of excited conversations heavily impregnated with deep British and American accents. This was forming on a new level and I had gotten weary of hearing people boast about how much money they had or where they spent their last holiday and had quietly retreated to the balcony. I couldn’t imagine opening my mouth in this kinda gathering and with the number of correct babes in designer clothing at the party, my chances of catching any correct bobo were slim. I stood there hoping Taiwo would hurry up with her work so we could leave, most guests had eaten anyway so I figured her job was almost done. That was when I heard his rich baritone. I have always been a sucker for a sexy voice. The balcony was dark so he hadn’t caught a glimpse of my face but his handsome features would be forever etched in my memory. He had come to the balcony to make a phone call and hadn’t noticed me which gave me ample time to study him.
“Remi this party is dulling oh, all the babes are forming like they never spoke Yoruba in their lives. Abeg come and pick me, I dont know why my mum refuses to let me drive in naija…”
I giggled at what I had eavesdropped and he noticed me for the first time.
“Guy I dey wait oh, let me call you back” “Hello were you laughing at me?”
“Yep, I couldn’t help it, the forming at this party na die”
“As in, omo I no fit shout, Hi my name is Azeez and you are?”
Modinat was what he knew me as and we had gisted for one hour switching from pidgin to Yoruba back to pidgin in obvious defiance of the party behind the glass door. We had tons in common, our ideas about life, favorite songs, childhood games. I had never been so real with anyone in my life. I was really feeling him and I knew it was mutual. When he let on that he had just finished his masters at a university in America and had come home to visit his mum, I felt the insecurity for the first time. Our lives were too different, I was a poor orphan, hustling for a living. He would never want to be with me if he knew who I really was. We bonded unimaginably and I tried to be as truthful with him as possible which meant evading any questions I felt were too personal. He told me that he had never felt this way about anyone in such a short time and that he wanted to be with me and see how far things would go even though he admitted that he had a girl abroad. I knew we could never be together and I told him I was engaged and in love with my fiance. His friend called at that very moment telling him he was parked badly and that Azeez had better hurry down. A tear pricked my eye as he asked for my phone number and I refused, how would I explain to him that I didn’t own a mobile phone? He took it as further rejection and had turned to leave and on a whim, he had grabbed me and kissed me and I swear down, no one had ever kissed me with such passion.
I hadn’t seen him again till tonight at Mamus’s house and he obviously hadn’t recognized me. I reached for my glass of wine and found it and the bottle empty. I groaned. What was wrong with me? I was supposed to be happily married and here I was agonizing about the one that got away. As if on cue, I heard Barry’s key in the door.
“Hi honey, I figured you’d be too tired to cook after hanging with the girls so I stopped by at Mandy’s and got us some dinner. Have you been drinking woah!?!”
Barry rushed to my side and instead of reprimanding me, he fussed over me caressing my hair and cooing into my ears. He had learnt early in the marriage that I didn’t like being questioned and as he silently reassured me of his love and carried me to bed, thoughts of Azeez began to dim in my head. When Barry served me dinner in bed I smiled gratefully at him. I would never know what could have been between Azeez and I but I was grateful about what I had in the present with Barry. Just as I finished dinner the doorbell rang, I wondered who could possibly be at my door at past 9. Barry got up from where he was propped beside me to check who was at the door. He came back in looking grim.
“Honey I think you had better dress up and come with me”
My heart skipped a beat!
……to be continued………