I had started to work on the set of a soap opera whilst still in school. I became more and more an activity junkie; asides school and the soap opera, I was a presenter on radio, travelled a lot Between Lagos and school because I was attending another school in Lagos.
My constant travel helped in my interaction with strangers as I grew accustomed to speaking to random people about random subjects. I travelled so well that almost all the ‘agberos’(garage conductors) knew me and my travel schedule so well! They would make a note to call me should I require space be kept and let me know at least thirty minutes before the car moved that I needed to be in the garage as my space was waiting gallantly for me.
Every minute was precious. Twenty-four hours was no longer enough for me in one day. I was stressed out a bit because Lydia, my sweet friend and classmate was close to beating my CGPA record to be the best in class. I wasn’t going to let that happen so between travelling, soap opera, radio, meeting new people and another school in Lagos, I still made out time to read. I was beyond exhausted.
As I said earlier, I was becoming quite a master at meeting and engaging new people. One of such persons was Imoh. Imoh was a producer on the set that I worked at and everyone loved and respected him. He was also friends with my then bestie, Tosin, who also worked on the same set as a director. We all had a mutual friend Peters whom till date, I consider a fun loving and fiercely loyal friend. Till date, I haven’t quite met anyone who would raise and march with an army to raze down anyone who spoke ill of me.
Myself and Peters had just finished work on set one faithful Thursday and were on our way to accounts to collect our daily performance fee. Peters said something so funny to me just as Imoh passed beside us. My laugh is really big and loud, I’ve been told and so in public, I like to minimise the impact. Peters was having none of it. She told another funny joke and I just threw caution to the wind. I laughed so hard my throat was burning. Peters was weird! Always telling the sickest jokes! Peters left me to collect her money first whist I stood in the accounts corridor just smiling at what she had just told me.
Imoh passed again. This time, he said ‘hello’ to me, smiled and handed me his card. What was I to do with his card? i looked behind it and saw that he wrote something on it. I looked a little closely. ‘I love your smile’, he wrote. My smile? This guy must be high on Passport! Even my mom, who loves me the most in the whole wide world, thinks my smile is goofy.
I showed Peters the card and she advised I talked to Tosin since she was best friends with me and cool people with Imoh.
‘I think Imoh likes you. He’s just a very shy guy and he must want to date you’, Tosin mused and if you really think of it, you are his spec.
Spec? I thought he just talked about liking my smile. How does this translate into me being his spec? spec? Peters thought the same and thought that I was too busy with everything in my life and could not notice it when a guy was flirting with a girl. Flirting? Ahn ahn! When did a simple card become flirting?
After a few weeks, all I could hera from Peters and Tosin was how me and Imoh looked cute together. Really? Cute? This guys must be taking a piss. Have they met Gabriel? Of course they haven’t met my long lost lover so who would blame them? Imoh wasn’t even as tall or as lean as I liked. He had this annoyingly wide gap tooth that I would later grow to love.
All these I said to Peters and Tosin but they felt I was chasing butterflies. When I pointed out that he was ten years older than I was, they seemed unperturbed. ‘age is not a factor.’ ‘he is a matured man and tey know how to take care of girls better.’‘Love grows naa!’ ‘It is never about the physical darling. Attraction will come later if you let it.’ ‘Imoh really likes you and you should take a chance with him.’
By now, Gabriel had stopped calling me. Even though I pined for him day and night and missed him plenty much, I didn’t want to go back on my word with Paula.
‘When the desirable is not available, then the available becomes the desirable.’ Imoh was decent and seemed to really like me. He tended to treat me well and fair so one day, after much urging from him, I said ‘should we date, I have no intension of sleeping with you.’ ‘whilst I am deeply attracted to you, I would love the chance to know you deeply and intimately and none of that has anything to do with your body.’ I was immediately sold. A few days later, we were ‘dating’. Imoh was my first boyfriend.
‘For God so LOVED the world that he GAVE his only begotten son…’ I would like to point out that I still feel weird about people who don’t give as the operational verbs in the above quote are Gave and Love. That may be gist for another day or is it for today?
Imoh and I had started dating for about three months and I think I was in love but soon, I was convinced; I had fallen out of love. So many things broke my heart in that relationship. So many.
As nice as Imoh was, I started to get the feeling that imoh loved the idea of me not me. I’ll explain.
He told me to start dressing ‘girlie’ and even gave Peters some money to buy me girlie clothes. I was disgusted but I hear that’s how people in relationships behaved. He requested, not so subtly, for me to start painting my face and nails. Once, we were kissing and he said to me that I opened my mouth too wide. ‘How do I kiss now? Corect me so I know what to do next time’, I said. ‘Well, watch American movies very well and do unto me what you see on screen’, he said. Seriously?
Our first valentines together, I went all out. Maybe not all out but I tried my financial best. I thought it should be a day when gifts were exchanged but to my utter shock, Imoh explained that since he didn’t know what my taste was, he didn’t buy me squat! What?! ‘Would you like me to get you sexy underwear?’, he asked. I felt like slapping the shit off his fuck face but then he flashed his gap tooth smile at me and I changed my mind.
Out of his graciousness, he asked us to go visit his friend whom I wasn’t really friends with. I obliged. I was soooo bored out of my skull! He was having a great time so I just sat pretty and smiled. ‘Was this how couples spent valentines together?’, I wondered. What an insignificant way to spend time. My day would later get interesting. His car fell in a ditch on our way home and we pulled it out together. Interesting, right?
I tried to keep it together but I was tired! Kilode?! I asked God for strength but I don’t think he heard. If he did, he wasn’t answering. I guess its because he knew if he gave me strength, I would kill him. So, instead, God gave me patience. I was patiently enduring my relationship when once again, my phone rang, again.
Gabriel called and we spoke at length. He was going to be in town for a bit and he really wanted to see me! He really wanted to see me. I was excited. It was the first time in months I was excited! Genuinely excited!
I told Imoh I was going to see a Gabriel and he really couldn’t be bothered. Little did he know the bad things I thought to do with Gabriel in my excited little mind. I felt proud I could pull off telling him without sounding suspicious. Bad girl Riri!
I got to the mall where Gabriel and I had agreed to meet. We bought ice cream and just walked about the mall aimlessly. He was smiling and grinning. So was I. I strated to plan how to break up with Imoh. Finally, I can be with someone who loves and cares for me just the way I am. I was grinning like the proverbial cat that swallowed the rat. Gabriel must want me back. Why else would he be in town, holding hands and grinning with me?
Gabriel left me for a bit to go bowl whilst I took a call from Imoh. He had forgotten where I was and had come visiting me in my house. I finally got rid of him and went to sit down. Gabriel sat beside me in a blop. My heart skipped a bit.
‘Babe, I broke up with Paula’. Angels in a choir sang ‘Halleluyah chorus’ in my head! Haaaaaleluuuyahh! Elated but still trying to show concern, I asked ‘so, what do we do now?’
He turned me to look at him squarely. My heart was thumping in my chest. ‘I’m in love Tobi. I finally found the one for me. I need you to help me commit to my choice. Christiana, I call her Chris is my new love’
You should see the look on my face! Who the hell is Chris?