No matter where you were during the festive seasons of 2017 as a Nigerian you would have heard Simi’s melodious voice sing the tale of how she caught feelings for a boy named Joromi and decided to “shoot her Shot” at the slight chance that he felt same way and they could eventually be together. I was serving in the southern city of Calabar at the time when this song started making waves and whether Simi knows it or not, her song orchestrated the events that led to the story I am about to tell. First I have to take you back to the beginning.
When I started my service year, I expected the worse outcome but then I met and became friends with Nengi, Tarela, Tayo and Dotun or “the squad” as we called ourselves. It was with these people I had the most incredible times in Calabar. Over the course of our service year we developed a ritual, we all worked in the same firm, except for Dotun who worked somewhere different and during the weekends we almost always got together. On Fridays we all drove to the marina, watched a movie and then sat by the water side with little plates of pepper soups and drinks. Sometimes we changed things up and went for Isiewu at this bar on the highway. I lived for these weekend chills, bants, office gossips, bare conversations as we tried to decode Nigeria. On Saturdays we had cook outs at Nengi’s apartment, ate, drank and played silly card games.
I had grown accustomed to this ritual, it was as good as set in stone that the weekends were reserved for the squad. Which is why it surprised everyone the Friday night Tayo showed up at the bar with his roommate “Binju”.
Everyone else was low key pissed at Tayo for bringing a ‘stranger’ without giving us prior notice but they did the civil thing and carried on conversations as usual, trying to make sure Binju didn’t feel left out. As for Me, I was awe struck immediately I saw him walk in.
I really could not explain what it was about him that attracted me to him instantly. Maybe it was the fact that he was really fine and I liked fine boys but up till that point I had never dated a boy universally classified as “fine”; or the fact that even casually dressed in shorts, sweat shirt and a face cap he was as poised and elegant as one dressed in a designer suit. When he joined an ongoing political debate with that rich voice of his, I couldn’t tell which I was more attracted to, his body or his mind.
When it was time to call it a night, I had had a bit too much to drink and my little frame was trying so hard to withstand the pressure, Binju must have noticed me struggling to maintain my composure because he asked if I was Okay, I answered in the positive but he smiled and said he didn’t believe me. He offered to take me home just to make sure I was okay but I shyly declined. As soon as we dropped the guys off I turned to Nengi and Tarela and begged them to invite him for the cook out. They were surprised because we had all complained about his initial presence. Then I confessed to them that I kind of liked him and would like to see if the attraction led somewhere.
Then Tarela said she felt he had a girlfriend, she said she had noticed him leave the table to a less noisy area a few times to pick up calls. Who calls a guy at almost midnight, his girlfriend or his mother she reasoned. But then Nengi thought it would be better to confirm directly and not assume. Almost immediately, Simi’s Joromi started playing from the radio and we looked at ourselves like what better sign could there be? I decided I was going to shoot my shot, so we called Tayo up and told him to come along with Binju the next day.
The cook out went on as usual, all the while me and Binju kept flirting with each other subtly. I can’t remember why I had to leave early but I did, but not without taking Binju’s number. The next morning I called up Tarela to find out how the rest of the evening went and then she promptly informed me that during the drinking game Binju had hinted that he had a girlfriend. I refused to believe this so I called up Tayo and asked for confirmation which he gave. I was not having any of that, this could be my soulmate and I would not rest until I had explored all options.
I called Binju and told him I liked him and we began talking on the phone but I also noticed I was the only one calling most of the times, he rarely called me and most times it took at least three calls to get him to pick up. I was getting discouraged at this point mostly because he kept sending mixed signals, one minute we are flirting the next he becomes distant. Finally he fessed up one day and told me he had a girlfriend.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it was at this point I did the stupidest thing I have ever done in my life. I asked to be the side chick. I told him all I wanted was something casual, no emotions involved. Of course I was lying. Surprisingly he said no. I was taken aback. I could not believe he turned me down. I was embarrassed to say the least.
I called Tarela and Nengi immediately and told them we could not hang out with Binju any more, I told them if Binju was going to be at any of the hangouts I would not be there. I could not face him while the sting of his rejection was still fresh. Yes, I know I was being dramatic. My friends were confused, they had let him start hanging out with us because I asked them to now they had grown used to him and I was asking them to pick between hanging out with me or him. Tarela thought I was being an ass, “you cannot really be angry at a guy because he chose to remain faithful to his girlfriend” she told me. They all thought Binju was a standup guy, and I was the little minx trying to wreck his relationship.
So fast forward to a few Saturdays after, we were at the marina (just the squad) when Binju showed up. Tarela was the first to see him as he alighted from a ‘Keke na pep’. “Isn’t that Binju?” She asked, and we all looked towards the direction she was pointing. The first thing I noticed was the girl with him. He was holding her shoulders whilst she was holding his waist. This must be the girl friend I thought to myself. I sized her up immediately. She was short, about my height and had the same stature as me. It all made sense then as I realized he liked small girls, like me, like his girlfriend. As if on cue Tayo then announced “oh! Binju’s girlfriend is visiting from Port Harcourt“.
I looked at him icily and replied “thank you for the heads up. “
I silently prayed he would not see us but then he noticed us and walked towards our table and then he introduced his girlfriend and made small talk before eventually leaving to find their own table. My face was on fire at this point. Dotun must have noticed it because he turned to me and said “the babe isn’t even that fine sef” and we laughed and when Simi’s Joromi started playing at that exact moment we laughed harder at the irony and drank more pepper soup. There and then, I deleted his number from my phone and cleared all our chat history. When it was time to leave, call me petty if you like but I made a big show of driving my car round the lot and back to where my friends sat.
We stopped hanging out with Binju as a group and I tried my best to forget about him. My friends were passing out soon, but since I was stream two I wasn’t going to be passing out with them. We tried to have as much fun as we could have in those short days leading up to the passing out parade and when my friends left two days after their passing out parade I was alone all of a sudden.
We kept in touch though, which is why a week after my friends left when I got a call from Binju, I called Tarela immediately. I narrated to her how I had woken up that Friday afternoon to ten missed calls. I had wondered who was so desperate to talk to me. When I called back and the caller announced himself as Binju I was shook. It was even more puzzling when he asked me out on a date.
“I don’t think you should go” Tarela advised.
“Nothing good can come out of you going to see him”.
I agreed with Tarela, thanked her for listening and told her I wasn’t going to see him.
However as I lay in my bed that night I thought to myself what if he broke up with his girlfriend. What if he was willing to take a chance on us now? I should hear him out shouldn’t I? And so I do the exact thing Tarela said not to do. I pick up my phone and call him to confirm our date.
Date night came and I drove down to fiesta, I waited for about thirty minutes before he showed up, and started offering apologies saying he didn’t know I would get there so early. I was annoyed at first but once we started talking I had forgotten all about his lateness. We talked about everything that night, music, politics, religion, family everything. It was so easy to get lost in him and when I heard his laughter reverberate through the room I wondered why we were not together if I made him this happy.
It was as if he read my mind because he answered and said;
“I wanted you. Just you. Not your friends not anyone else but somehow every time I saw you, you were always with them, it was like you all were a package deal. I didn’t want them in our business.”
All I heard at this point was that he wanted me. Then he told me I could get what I had always wanted. I asked what he meant and he smiled and said; “don’t pretend like you don’t know what this is, I’m leaving Calabar tomorrow so you need to make up your mind.”
“Leave on Monday and we can hang out tomorrow” I responded and I was rewarded with the most beautiful and slightly devious smile I had ever seen.
On Sunday I went over to his house, the one he shared with Tayo. We were watching a movie on his laptop and then slowly his hands strays to my laps and he starts drawing little circles up and down my legs. Soon we were kissing and I was missing my clothes and lying on his bed with just my pant and bra. Then a thought hit me, he passed out same time my friends did. Why was he still in Calabar?
I was between short breaths when I asked him why he was still in Calabar, half expecting him to say he stayed back for me but then he said “oh I’m waiting for my girlfriend, we are supposed to travel back to Lagos together”.
I swear, I went deaf for a second. When I recovered I asked slowly “you still have a girlfriend?” He answered in the positive and then with a perplexed look asked why I would think he did not still have a girlfriend.
Maybe because you fucking called me ten times and invited me out to dinner and talked with me till midnight I said to myself. Maybe because you gave my friends the impression that you could never cheat on your girlfriend. I looked at myself half naked in the bed of a man who clearly wanted me just for sex and was too dodgy to come straight up and ask for it and I whispered to myself;
“Cheta, you have suffered.”
I got up immediately and put my clothes back on silently. I walked out of his room. Walked to the street got in my car and drove home all the while telling myself “you are better than this shit.”
I called Tarela when I got home. I told her everything that happened half expecting her to say “I told you so” but she just sighed. “I cannot believe we all thought that guy was a faithful boyfriend when he was just waiting for us to leave so he could have his way with you when you were vulnerable. Last last Men are scum” she said and we both laughed.
After I hung up, I went into the bathroom and as I stood under the shower warm water trickling down my back, I was forced to admit to myself that I was scum too. I was the one who went after a guy that was clearly taken, and then asked for casual sex when I knew I wanted something more and even though he turned out to be a stereotypical Yoruba Demon in the end I knew all of this drama could have been avoided if I had just stayed in my lane after all no be who first shoot ball dey score goal.