His hands clenched the wheel tight. He was quiet. No one could tell from his bland exterior the chaos that roiled inside.
She raised a brow. “You’re awfully quiet today. Are you still upset about the Abdul thing?”
Abdul. Ahmed. Dapo. Chijioke. He couldn’t keep track anymore. She always went and came back and apologized. And he always took her back.
All because of money. He loved her. And he did believe she loved him.
But these other dudes could take care of her. He couldn’t.
His ramshackle car and dingy one bedroom apartment to their mansions and Porsches.
And she was so beautiful; they were drawn in like moth to flame.
“Mike. Answer now…” She reached out to touch his ear. He drew away. She sighed and pulled out her phone. “Fine! Be that way!”
He turned on the radio. But it refused to distract him.
Walking into the bar with his buddy. Remembering the sneers and raucous laughter.
You’ve got nothing.
You’ve got nothing.
“I thought you were gonna fix the A.C? I’m hot.”
He said nothing.
Remembering the phone calls from his guys- “Dude, let her go… You can’t afford her standards. I saw her out last night with…”
Broke-ass. Pauper. Have-not.
He gripped the wheel even tighter. He’d reached the end.
She laughed at something while she fanned herself with her left hand. She looked up. “This guy’s house is far sha.. Since, na wa..”
It was dark when they arrived.
“Why does he live so far?” She hissed. She stepped down, flipped her hair over her shoulder and peered into the darkness. “Doesn’t he own a gen? No light.. After that hot long ride..”
He came over to her side of the car. Held her hand and turned her to face him.
She smiled. “Oh, you’ve forgiven me now?”
He drew her into a hug. Buried his nose in her neck. She wrapped her arms around his back. She let out a long sigh. “I do love you, y’know?”
“I know. I love you too. So bloody much. And that’s why.”
He never got to answer.
Figures jumped out of the darkness and latched on to her; the surprise factor making it easy to bundle her without much resistance.
Her eyes widened. She didn’t scream. Her eyes sought his out.
“Mike.. What’s going on? Mike? Mike!”
He turned his back to her and refused to look back as her screams faded.
He drove back home slowly. Tears pouring down.
“You have to give up whom you love the most. That’s how I can make you rich…” The Baba had said.
They won’t laugh anymore.
Story by Pemi Aguda