I was lying in bed, ready to sleep when I felt my phone vibrate. I was going to ignore it but it vibrated again, and again.
I read and replied the messages trying to remember whose number I had saved as Brown Sugar.
– Am good and you?
– I’ve been good.
I almost added “and you?” I tapped on the profile picture to see if I would recognise the person, but the picture didn’t help.
– Glad 2 hear. Wut have u bn up 2?
– Not a lot. A little of this, and some of that.
– Hmmmm… am sure u wud b wondring where I disappeared 2 for all dis tym.
– I was just gonna ask you that. I lied, cringing at her writing style with each message that delivered.
– I decide 2 giv u tym wiv the oda ladies dat am sure applied from that radio prog, Mr. Bond.
Aha, there it was. She had sent me a message two days after Maxine gave out my number on radio when Keme and I first broke up. She talked of a certain shugastick and dark chocolate. That was why I saved her number under Brown Sugar. And now here she was, months later, messaging me.
– What other people? I’ve just been here facing my work and trying to make new friends.
– Can I be ur friend?
– Sure, why not?
Not knowing how to respond to that I waited to see if she would send another message. None came. I set my phone down and fell asleep. When I woke up the next day I was greeted by the picture which showed the lower part of a face and most of a bust. The black top had a zip running down its front and the zip disappeared beyond where the photo ended. I turned onto my stomach and zoomed in on the photo, angling the camera as if it would afford me a better view of what the photo was not showing.
– Good morning bae
I typed. Bae? If the breasts in the photo belonged to her, I’d call her anything till I could physically explore them. And maybe after.
I waited a moment for her reply, and when none came I went to prepare for work.
Out the bathroom I saw my phone blinking red.
– Morn boo. Ow. Wuz ur nyt?
I cringed before replying.
– Night was okay, but this morning is better. The best gift to wake up to.
– lolzzz. U lik?
– Like? I love! Wait. Are those yours?
I crossed my fingers.
– Yes; n more.
– I like more. Getting ready for work, gimme a couple minutes, okay?
I dressed up in record time and got back to my phone.
– Have you eaten?
– No, iz 2 early.
– Really? I already had my first cup of coffee 🙂
– Eww! Cofi? Iz bitter!
‘The fuck is wrong with you?’ I muttered. ‘Can’t even spell coffee right.’
– Don’t tell me you’re a hot chocolate person.
– I prefer beverages.
I scrolled back up the picture to draw strength.
– What do you do for fun? Like after work?
– I don’t wok, iz 2 stresfl. I prefer biznes.
– So I take it then that your time is flexible?
– it depend. Y u axin?
I knew I had to close this deal before my resolve faltered again.
– You free for a movie today? And maybe dinner after?
– Wut muvi? And which cinema?
– I was thinking Ozone cinema. Are you familiar with Yaba?
– Am in Surulere. Iz fine. Wut time?
– Let me check for what’s showing and let you now, okay?
– I gotta run now. Work beckons. I’ll keep you posted, okay?
– kk :*
Work was busy and I was happy for it, time passed quickly. When I looked up, it was lunchtime. I took out my phone from the drawer where I tossed it. The red light was flashing.
I unlocked the phone and checked through my messages. Brown Sugar – I realised then that I didn’t even know her name – sent a couple of messages to ask if we were still on for the movie, and what we were seeing. I made a mental note to check and get back to her. I scrolled back up to the photo from the morning, smiled, before going on to check my other messages.
There was one from Kalakuta Princess.
– Hi Bobo, how’re you? I’m sure you’re busy now. Usually I don’t do this… lol… but I was wondering if you were free for dinner today. I enjoyed myself the other day and thought maybe I should show my appreciation.
“Usually I don’t do this…”
“… show my appreciation.”
‘Shit.’ I swore.
‘What is it?’ Osime asked.
‘Face your work.’ I waved her away.
– Hi, I’ve had a hectic day. How’ve you been? What time are you looking at for dinner?
– Hey! I figured. 8pm work for you?
I checked the movie schedule for Ozone and saw a movie for 5pm. Run time was 2hr 5mins.
– Depends on where you want to have dinner.
– it’s not like ghen ghen dinner o… lol…
– I know, they say a bad excuse is better than none at all -__-
– Any excuse to see my face again, abi?
– What is on your face please? Abeg behave. Lol.
I sent a message to Brown Sugar
– Hey bae
“Chill on the boo”, I wanted to type.
– Lol. Someone seems excited.
– I’ve missed you.
– So, it turns out I have to be home earlier than I thought. How about we grab a bite before the movie? Movie at 5, but we meet up about 4:15?
– iz purfect.
– See you then 😀
I then sent a message to KP.
– 8pm works fine. Anywhere in mind?
– Not really.
– There’s this place a friend of mine is helping her dad revamp. She’s told me so much about it. Maybe we should check it out, support her too?
– Friend or flame?
– Jealous, are we?
– Get over yourself.
– I’ll look up the address and send to you in a bit. It’s at Yaba.
– Alrighty then.
– Ace Ventura?
– You know that?
– I know things.
– Later then.
‘Why are you smiling as if you won lottery? It’s woman abi?’ Osime asked.
‘Come, face your work nau. Dem send you to me?’
‘It’s good to see you smiling again,’ she said, a softness in her voice I had never heard before.
‘What’s that supposed to mean? I smile all the time.’
‘Yes, you smile at customers and shit, but those smiles never reach your eyes.’
‘Please fuck off. You’re forming knowing me now, abi?’
We laughed and then she said, ‘This is your problem Bobo, always forming Mr. Macho.’