DUEt: He’s just not that into you

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Coffee Smells

She sat staring at her blackberry. Willing it to ring, to beep, anything. He had promised he would call her tonight and so she waited.

“Hey! Is this seat taken?” Where the first words she ever said to him. He looked up at her, prepared to give her a non-commital grunt that has been known to keep people at bay.

He is not much of a nature person, but there is this thing about the park that soothed him, helped him forget. Maybe it is the lush green of the grass, or the riotous mix of colours from the flowers that marked its boundaries; or maybe it is the fact that residents of the housing estate rarely came out here – all of them secure in the walled coolness of their air-conditioned prisons. Whatever it is, it suited him fine.

He could just sit there on this bench and let his mind wander, his thoughts and imaginations running free.

Often there was that resident who would want to take a break from walking the dog, or jogging or trotting – whatever they did in their bid to get in some exercise – and try to share this bench, his bench. It was not the only bench in the park, but it was situated so that the swings in the corner hid him from whoever was passing-by while giving him an obscured view of the entrance, affording him a little slice of privacy. Yet people still seemed to make a beeline for it everytime.

His perfected grunt usually kept them at bay, but that day was different.

He looked up, grunt at the ready, and saw an embodiment of harassment.

From the top of her wind blown hair flying in all directions, past her smudged eyeliner, red-rimmed eyes, tear stained cheeks and smeared lipstick, past the shawl carelessly thrown across her shoulders, to her shoes  – a nice pair of flat black shoes, dusty but not too scuffed.

In the instant he took in all of these, he sort of knew.

“No it is not, you can have it.” She just stood there staring, a vacant expression on her face.

When he looked up at her, she stood staring at the most beautiful pair of eyes she had ever seen.  It seemed to her the eyes were seeing into her soul and even beyond.

Then he spoke, his lips drew her eyes to them. Full and puckered in the middle, they turned down at the sides when he spoke. She imagined them smiling, they would surely light up a room. Oh! To have them nestled against hers, nibbling and sucking. She saw them alone, both of them. He whispering to her, his voice holding secrets of World peace; she drinking in every spoken word, hearing the words unspoken and still thirsting for more. A sigh escaped her lips.

“Hey miss! Are you going to take the seat or not?” He asked, hoping his voice would bring her back from wherever she travelled to. This one sure had a lot on her mind.

It worked. She snapped out of her reverie. Apologising, she quickly settled into the seat and began rummaging in her bag.

He pulled out a book from his back pack and flipped it open. He held it close to his nose and heaved a mental sigh when, from the corner of his eyes, he noticed her pull out an iPod and plugged her ears with earphones.


The weather was balmy and she had come to the park to gather her thoughts. She and Zack had fought again. The fights were becoming even more intense and constant, the most annoying part was they fought over the most inconsequential things. Last night it had been about her bedazzled phone pouch. Imagine! He thought it looked too silly and girly and she was too old to be seen carrying a phone that glittered every which way. She reminded him it was her phone and she reserved the right to do what she wanted with it.

That was when he lapsed into a tirade about how she never listened to him. What sort of wife would she make if she contested his every decision? Who would their children listen to? Yada yada yada! On and on he went till she took her bags and ran out into the night. He hadn’t tried to stop her, neither had he apologised. She was done with the relationship, if she was to retain her sanity, she needed to leave now. More importantly, she needed a distraction.

They sat in silence. Her playing music off her iPod, him reading a book. Or more aptly, pretending to read a book. She could tell his mind was anywhere but on those pages. For one he held the book too close to be able to see the print, unless his eyesight was really that bad; secondly, he had not flipped a page in the almost ten minutes she had been sitting there beside him.  She just needed to get his attention. He seemed aloof. One of those who knew what they are worth and wasted no time bullshitting.

“What are you reading?” She asked in an attempt to break the silence that threatened to stretch on forever.

He would have played deaf and ignored her, but she had the earphones on, not him. “The Jury by John Grisham.” He said curtly without moving his head, hoping she would hear his tone, read his body language and let him be.

“Oh! I love his books, I’ve read practically all of them,” she enthused. “I’m Ngbemela by the way, but friends call me Ela”

“I’m Tera, Tera Firma. A pleasure meeting you.” He bit off the last bit. And like a lone mosquito that made its way into a room, she buzzed with so much zing in his ears – he was tempted to swat her at some point. She chattered incessantly and he was certain if he had duct tape, he would have taped her mouth shut!

After another fifteen minutes he got up to leave, and she did too. It was then that he took a sidelong look at her and smiled. Hearing her talk had persuaded him to look beyond the dishevelled figure she cut – for though he was reluctant to admit she sounded intelligent and had a cheery voice, it was the truth – and he liked what he saw.

Beautiful women have always held a fascination for him. This one was no different. They left the park that day and he knew he was going to see her again.

That was the beginning of their whirlwind romance. Funny how she started out seeing him as a distraction, now barely a month later, the mere thought of him sent shivers up her spine.

He was playing games, it was all a game to him this thing they have, she could tell. His blackberry had always been an extension of himself; he could sit for hours punching the keypad as he outlined stories or captured events to use at a later date on his blog, so in the early days he was quick to reply her pings. Not so readily did he reply her these days. She was sure that there was someone else.

He had enrolled in a creative writing program and the assignments came thick and fast, leaving him no time for frivolity. He had explained this to her, but it did not stop her pinging every minute as if she did not know this was one distraction he could not deal with. There were times when he even went offline just to keep her at bay, and when he turned on his phone, her messages came tumbling in.

True the sex was good, her company great, but surely it did not buy her a slot in his life larger than what he was willing to allot her.

She had been there last week, and he did not even kiss her. A headache, he had claimed. The classic avoidance strategy, she could tell.

She is taking it all in her stride because she believes there is an explanation to all this and that with time and patience, she will make him see that she was in this for the long run; she was the one for him. Surely he meant it when he passionately whispered in her ear that he would go to the ends of the earth with her. Now he was no longer taking her calls, he had promised to call back the last time he did. This too will pass. Or so she tells herself…

I shook my head sadly as I watched my friend of almost ten years look at her phone once more and I thought: “Can she not read the signs so boldly displayed on the wall?”

PS: This was co-written with @chinnydiva, the Dominatrix. My appreciation goes out to her for accepting to execute this project with me.



"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.


  1. I love dis style of duet,d 2point of views woven into one,dis is near perfect. Big ups,Dominatrix n Franque,as always U r a master cratfer 🙂

  2. Nice one!You guys did a good job with the lines,never losing me for a second.

    Desperation sometimes blinds even the most cautious human beings; she was determined to make something(which was actually nothing) work.

  3. Awwwww,….niceeee!!! Thumbs up guys!xo
    Sometimes, it’s good to let people be. If they wanna be with you, they’ll make time to be! Girls like to turn ‘men for a season’ into ‘men for all seasons (forever)’! Not good!

  4. Almost everybody has been there at one point, once you have that crush, you no go dey see clearly at all. All rationality flies off the window.

    Beautiful writing.

  5. Lol… Nice one Chinny. I’m not the patient kind, the moment I feel weird at all in any sort of relationship, I just bolt.Sometimes gradually and at other times immediately. 😀 s

  6. Hmmmmm….I like. Well written!!
    Funny how a relationship going on smooth and lovely could hit the rocks as soon as it began. Does the love just end like that?

  7. Good morning family, hope ur week’s breezy. Glad y’all like this DUEt style, it was done all for u.
    @ Mateelly: U r far too kind;
    @ Chychy: thanx o;
    @ Ijay: Chinny made this one work. It was all her;
    @ georgeenah: finally the issue! It’s really amazin how differently the human mind works. Dunno if it’s desperation sha, but it’s cloyin n annoyin sometyms;
    @ Nkiru: iLike the “for a season” n “for all seasons” spin. So true;
    @ Lorlah: thanx. Glad u like(d);
    @ Chicasa: for guys, eye wey dey cry dey see. iNo jus sabi for some gehs sha.
    @ Everyone_else: this week is DUets week, so there’s another comin up on Friday. If u’v ever wondered about that friendship, that chance meetin, then do share woth all on Friday. Y’all be slick

  8. thanks guys, Franque is a brilliant writer, I keep telling him. Was actually scared to do this, but I’m glad I did. Thanks for believing in me Franque. x

  9. Totally agree with LH. Practical example am at work n very busy and my girlfriend keeps calling cos she’s bored in her own office. She obviously misses me and just wants to gist. But wrong timing!

  10. Franque(crying smiley), u just broke my heart by hitting the nail on the wall. Thank you very much for this piece, now i know that this will not pass, he’s just not into me, no need clutching at straws….Beautiful piece..

  11. This is so apt as it describes a period in my life not too long ago… *sigh*, its all part of d venus and mars theory, cos to me this dude is definitely NOT into her,but she jus can’t see it or even conceive of d idea! Kai..

    As usual, Franque, u’r fantastic, well done chinnydiva too! This is good

  12. *looking around very suspiciously and holding hand bag under arm* how did you guys find me?i mean,he is a creative writer,we met in the park,we both adore John Grisham books,he now avoids me- doesnt reply my tweets,my calls,emails etc.i keep staring at my phone hoping it’ll ring(he has a special ring tone)it hasn’t.
    i’m not obsessed!
    so i repeat,how did you guys find me?

    P/s: beautifully written… 😉

  13. I’m late… 🙁

    Franque, that book thingy, how’s it coming?! Cos ya really, really good. U knw that?! ..its not every writer that can weave such fab write ups wiv other writers… Kudos!!! (Y)

    Chinny,Nice one yo!

  14. I just can’t understand it,if he’s just not that into me,why doesn’t he bloody break it off,why does he give me these hopeless hope,why does he keep me thinking and wishing that it will some how work out.

    I know i should move on but my feet feels clued.I feel the pain in my heart like a million arrows are piercing through but still i love and want him despite all the pain he causes me.

  15. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew I smelt the desperation from “what are you reading” I’m yet to hear a happy ending from a tale that involves a girl doing all the work IT NEVER ENDS WELL. Though nowadays men are so LAZY because of all the desperado’s out there but it’s best to leave the chasing to the men. If he wants to get in touch with you HE WILL plain and simple.

  16. Kai! I haven’t been this late in a while *eyes MTN*
    Me I’ve always been too grounded 2 get bogged up in emotions so I feel d guys pain…getting stalked is so not cool, from any perspective
    Great job chinny
    @franque: hateful comment

    PS:duets again! Yay me!!!

  17. I really don’t get why a guy can’t just say it’s over or babes u know when i told you “I ll go to the end of the world for you”, i didn’t mean it. I only said it in the heat of passion or to get you into bed. It hurts but it’s really simpler than expecting someone to read the writhing on the wall because last i checked only Daniel was able to achieve that feat.

  18. @ LH: U get my point;
    @ Deji: exactly! And u dare not tell her to get over her boredom n find herself sum’n to keep her occupied!
    @ O: stranger things hav been known to happen. This too may yet pass;
    @ Deevagal: Thanx for ur words. More of us can relate with this than those who can’t;
    @ Cutie: iAm the boy next door, so how n why won’t iKnow u?
    @ ‘Deolu Bubbles: Thanx;
    @ Maks: Thanx o. It’s just that sometyms readin between the lines can be hard;
    @ terdoh: Thanx. iReckon it was written by a man who’s been there before;
    @ Nena: Better late than never. The book project is killing me!
    @ Sandra: Bless ur heart;
    @ Elope: My dear, sometyms the ‘hope’ is cooked up by our minds purely as what we wanna see/hear;
    @ Louisa E: Just lyk animals at Zoos, men really have become lazy. We havta return these men to the wild by takin away their ‘options’;
    @ Jazz: iSee u;
    @ Kay: Leave the “MTN” story. As for “Hateful comment”, #Seen;
    @ Ife: Awwww. Thank you, bless ur heart;
    @ iKnow x2: from what iKnow, most guys r too chicken n hope that the geh’ll pick a fyt and present them with a ‘perfect’ reason – without them sayin anythin;
    @ Uk: iPromise those ones r not gone. In fact, there’s one gettin served 2day.

  19. Franque, ur a maestro. This piece was beautifully interwoven. I used to be like d gal in dis story but guess wat, i woke up. Until a guy takes me to the altar and tells me ”i do”, my heart’s mine only. No gal shld focus only on one guy. Now i am very good friends with so many guys dat wen one starts acting up, i dont get hurt so much…i just head to where the next free booze, asun, chopies etc is n just chill out. Peace.

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