I heard the voice like it was coming from one end of a really long tunnel.
Bae. Bae. Bae. Bae. The word echoed.
The urgency in the voice woke me up. When I moved, the depressions in the mattress felt alien to my body. I looked round and the lilac walls were unfamiliar to me.
‘Please, I have a favour to ask you.’
I looked at the owner of the voice leaning over my supine form and, with her frame blocking out the light from the table, she looked vaguely familiar. I shut my eyes for a moment to adjust to the poor light, and when I opened them, the smiling face brought memories of yesterday back.
‘I, brother Sylvester, take you…’
Scar jabbed me in the rib.
‘“Brother Sylvester”,’ he guffawed.
‘Behave yourself,’ I whispered, rubbing my side.
‘But e funny nau.’ He insisted. ‘So when you marry, you sef go be “Brother Bobo”?’
‘Don’t be silly,’ I said. ‘Na so dem dey take marry?’
‘Shhh…’ Wale chastised us, and we fell silent.
Our friend Sly was actually doing this; he was really getting married. I felt a little something in the pit of my stomach. Not envy, just a kind of sadness. I guess Scar’s jibe touched something inside of me.
I enjoyed my current single status, but sometimes I caught myself wondering if there wasn’t more to life than days at work, evenings with my boys and nights spent alone.
‘Guy, look who’s here.’
‘Dude, you gotta stop with the jabs. You nor sabi say na only bone bone you be? Go dey take your bone chook person.’
‘No cuss me o,’ Scar raised his hands as if to ward off a blow.
‘Who you say…’ My throat constricted and my mouth went dry. I followed Scar’s gaze and although her back was turned to us – she was sitting a few seats in front and to the right of us – I recognised herself.
‘How did I not see this happening? And why did Sly not give me a heads-up?’
Keme and Ronke, Sly’s wife… wife?… were friends, so it only stood to reason that she would be invited to the wedding.
‘Oh well, I’ll just be cool to her. I’m sure we can be friends.’
‘Hi Bobo,’ the husky voice I know so well made me jump.
We were standing outside the church, waiting to take photos with the couple. So far I had done my best to avoid Keme. The first time I tried to go over and say hello, my stomach knotted up and my heart beat faster. I decided it would be a good idea to stay out of her way. But it would seem she sought me out.
‘Oh, hi there.’ I said. ‘I didn’t see you. How are you? You look so beautiful in this gown. You’ve always looked good in lilac.’ I wasn’t sure whether to hug her or shake her hand.
Keme just stood there, a half smile on her face.
‘It’s so good to see you again,’ she said. I wasn’t sure I heard correctly. ‘I’ll see you at the reception,’ she said, ‘and there’s no need to avoid me.’ She patted my cheek softly and smiled sweetly before walking away.
‘Oh no she didn’t. Talking to me like a recalcitrant child, complete with the cheek pat.’ I didn’t know if I should be angry or insulted.
‘What?’ I looked at the guys at my table who all seemed to be looking at a spot above my head. They had knowing smiles on their faces.
‘Running out on a girl like that… not cool.’
I whipped round to see the girl from the Bachelor’s eve two days ago standing behind me, both arms on her hips. I shot up from my seat, a smile at the ready.
‘Hey you,’ I let my smile slip a little, ‘about the other day, I’m sorry. I had a family emergency and had to run off. Would’ve left you a message, but I didn’t have your number. Still don’t.’
‘It’s alright, I was just upset cos I really enjoyed talking with you and didn’t want the night to end just then.’
‘Oh.’ I had nothing to say to that. ‘See,’ I took her hand, ‘how about you join my friends and I?’ I pulled back the seat next to mine and guided her onto it. I raised my head to see Keme looking at me from across the room. I could not make out the look on her face, but I doubt it was wild joy.
‘Shit.’ I muttered.
I do not remember the rest of. The reception because I kept the drinks chasing each other down my system. I must have been really wasted because I have no recollection of leaving the wedding, but waking up on this strange bed in this even stranger room meant I must have left at some point…