“Hello, please am I speaking to Franque?”
“It depends on who’s asking,” I said into the mouthpiece, my eyes rolled towards the ceiling. I had the phone in the crook of my neck, holding it in place with my shoulder. I had been in the middle of a video game of soccer with a friend when my phone rang. Without looking at it, I had accepted the call, pressed the phone against my left ear and signalled my friend I was ready to continue the game I had paused.
“Sorry, is this Franque?” The voice asked again. There was something vaguely familiar about it. I could not quite place the accent though, it seemed a bit contrived, but was missing the rolling ‘r’s that colour the foneh of the cool kids.
I pushed the start button on my handheld controller to pause the game, pulled the phone from my ear to check the number: it could be a call about work and I did not want to send the wrong impression to prospective employers. The caller ID was hidden.
“Yes ma’am, this is he,” I finally conceded.
“I got your number from a friend and I was told you are quite good at the services of being a lover, is that true?” She asked me.
“I don’t know where you are getting your information from, but I cannot say if I am good at that service. I mean, I don’t go about asking to be rated.”
“Meet me at Southern Sun hotel, 7pm. I don’t like being kept waiting.” Click. She hung up.
“Guy, you dey see my life?” I asked my friend with whom I was playing video games.
“Wetin happen?” He asked me back, and I repeated the conversation to him.
“Guy, e no funny,” I said when he finally stopped laughing. “You sef tink am nah, I go jus waka go Ikoyi say I dey find who or say wetin happen?”
“I… Sabi… Say e… No funny, but sebi na you dey form fine boy up and down? E don be now.” He managed between laughter.
“Abeg give me game,” I called for him to continue our video game. A few minutes later my phone rang again, and as soon as I saw the caller ID, I knew who my prank caller was…
Personally, I think the word love has lost all its meaning so believing in it is a bit of a Herculean task for me. When I go into a relationship, it is for the fun of it and that was exactly what I had in mind with this one, or so I thought.
He came into my life on the 3rd of May 2011 via these pages. From relationSHEEP to AIRtiquette and fatherWOOD, I read every single article of his and didn’t go to work that day, only getting up for toilet breaks. I thought I had a way with words and writing, but his kept me in awe. Even food sef I no gree chop and in my head bells were going off.
I took a plunge and said “Hi” on twitter; he replied a day after. I was so nervous, I had butterflies in my stomach. How dare he make me feel things? He didn’t seem to have any airs about him, why wouldn’t I fall?
We began flirting through DMs back and forth and then took it to BB. I was always looking forward to hearing from him each day, about his flights and the various passengers he encountered. I had never felt this way before, it couldn’t be love. I don’t fall in love, PERIOD!
I was seriously counting down to the day I would see him and jump into his arms and just touch and kiss him. We fixed a date, and the 26th of May came. We met up and yes, I did savour the first kiss. We went to the cinema and I couldn’t keep my hands and lips off him, he reciprocated and I was in cloud nine. We even began planning a trip to Calabar just us two.
Then suddenly it was just “Hey,” once in a while and then one day he asked, “Do you notice we haven’t exactly been the same since you came back?”
I replied “Yea, but don’t worry its because we’ve been busy. All that will change.” Deep down I knew where it was heading but I didn’t want to think about it.
Then he said “I don’t feel the same way about you right now.” And in my mind I said ‘Gbam!’ With those words, the akamu cleared from my eyes.
For the next few days I thought about the way he had kissed me, held my hands, put his arms around my neck, and I didn’t want to let him go. So we agreed friends with benefits it would be.
Till the one finds me, I’m perfect with these benefits.
That was then.
Let’s just say we rarely talk now and even then, I can’t seem to get him out of my system.
I once read somewhere that if ever I wanted to be on a diet, I was better off hanging out away from the dessert cart. I am still a work in progress.
I started writing for the fun of it, then it became that other thing I did, my side hustle. With it came a tiny bit of popularity, and with that came a few girls and, as an omo boy, I was flattered by it all.
It began with a twitter follow, then a BB contact request – they usually did, they still do. My number was always last to go, if ever, for the simple reason that I could mute or unfollow a tweep, delete and ignore a contact, but how does one deal with a caller?
She was in Accra at the time and Accra felt like it was on the moon. Then she returned to Lagos and we fixed to hang out. I suggested the movies, even though she wanted to meet at Ice cream factory. We ended up doing both: a meet up at Ice cream factory followed by a movie at The Palms.
I always choose movies for dates for more reasons than one, chief of which is, if it is a first time meeting the movie takes away the initial awkwardness and also occupies me, just in case my date turned out to be boring. Another reason for movies is the adventurous intimacy the cool darkness of the cinema encourages; I have been kissed and cuddled more times at the cinemas than anywhere else.
This was no different.
When a few days later I read her blog entry about me, I knew this had carried on long enough. I tried to ease off gently, not just for her emotions, but also for myself – her parents were society people and could make life uncomfortable for me and I knew it. It was then that she proffered what she must have thought a brilliant idea: Friends with benefits.
“No problem,” I said or something along those lines, knowing her suggestion was my cue to become emotionally unavailable, something that came quite easily to me.
Work happened, and other things followed, and before she knew it, we had drifted so far apart, it was hard to believe we ever were close.
The months passed, then a year, and now almost two years. In this time she would call me out of the blue and we would talk a bit. Two weeks ago she sent me a message professing her love for me. I told her to miss me with such craziness, we had a good laugh about it, and I thought that was that. Then I got these phone calls…
“You better don’t go anywhere,” she said in a tone that suggested she was having fun. “You were feeling hot with yourself, abi?” She asked.
“First thing is,” I lied to her, “I don’t even know where Southern Sun is.” That threw her.
“You mean you don’t…”
“Let me call you back,” I cut her short, and then hung up.
I sighed and squeezed my eyes shut, rubbing my temples with the tips of my fingers.
While at one time the way she made me sound – like a packet of skittles she must have, had been flattering, these days I am not so flattered anymore.
"Franque is in aviation, which by the way is not his job, just a lifestyle. If he ever kept a diary it would read like his articles will. Unfortunately he doesn't. Scratch that. He didn't.AIRtiquette is a walk in his shoes. Since regular isn't in his vocabulary, brace yourself for a bit of airwalking!" Follow @franque_521 on twitter.