Authors: Somi Ekhasomhi
“Sophia!” he exclaimed, wrapping me in a hug.
“I can’t believe it”
I stood there, shocked and happy at the
same time. It was beautiful to stand there in his arms, inhaling his cologne
and the fresh scent of his clothes. It felt so good I wanted to stand there
“I’ve been thinking of you all evening!” He
exclaimed. “I don’t know why. But since I walked in here I have not been able
to stop thinking about you.”
I smiled weakly and said the only thing I
could think of. “Well, Long time no see.” I said lamely.
“Yes!” He said emphatically. “Much too
long.” He paused and looked me over admiringly. “You look great.” He said.
“What are you doing here?”
“It’s a work thing.” I said. “For my
“Ah!” He smiled. “Living Lagos.”
I nodded, of course he knew about it, Eddie
would have told him.
He grinned widely. “Well, just look at my
little Sophie! All grown up and running her own magazine.”
“I could say the same about you” I said.
“Except you’ve always been ‘all grown up’”
He laughed. “So no one has tamed that your
tongue of yours yet.” He said teasingly. “It’s good to see you though, five
years is a very long time.”
“It is.” I agreed. The woman he had been
talking with was still standing there, waiting for him, I guessed. I looked
towards her. “Aren’t you here with someone?” I asked.
“Many people.” He replied. “My sister,
Cecilia, I’m sure you remember her, her husband, my cousins! That’s my cousin
Julie I was just talking to. You can come meet her if you like.”
I almost let out a sigh of relief. He
didn’t have a date with him after all.
As we walked toward his cousin he turned
towards me. “So are you here alone or is there someone looking daggers at my
back right now, ready to challenge me to a duel?”
“Oh no no!” I laughed. “I’m here alone.”
“Good” He laughed. “That suits me fine.”
“Really!” I exclaimed. “Why? I hope you
don’t have any nefarious plans for me?”
He gave me a look I couldn’t quite
decipher. “Here’s Julie.” He said, as we reached his cousin. He introduced us.
After a few moments of small talk, he took my hand and led me away from his
cousin. “We need to catch up.” He stated. “When can I see you again?”
“I’m free this weekend.” I said, my heart
singing, this was going much better than I had hoped.
He nodded. “Where do you live?” He asked.
I told him.
“That’s not far.” He stated. “Let me take
you home.” He offered.
I almost said yes before I remembered that
I’d brought my car. “I brought my car.” I said regretfully, wishing I’d never
“Okay, well tomorrow is Saturday.” He said
thoughtfully. “So we have all day.” He thought for a moment “You know what?
Give me your keys. I’ll drive you home and get someone to bring your car to
your house.” He smiled teasingly. “That way, at least I’ll get to know where
you live, in case you plan to disappear after tonight.”
I happily agreed.
His sister came over to say hello. She was
tall, like him, in fact they looked so much alike, they could have been twins.
She was obviously pregnant and seemed to be one of those women who carried
pregnancies with energy and ease. I had met her back when I and Michael were at
school together. So we knew each other.
“You!” She started to chide me as soon as
she saw me. “Why did you abandon my brother?” She asked mock seriously.
“I didn’t.” I protested weakly.
“Don’t mind her.” Michael said to her in a
conspiratorial tone. “She broke my heart and she won’t even accept it.”
“I didn’t.” I exclaimed with a frown.
“Hmm.” Cecilia said. “Thank God he has
found you. He’s been moping around the U.S for four years, so now maybe he will
stop.” She smiled. “Hopefully you’ll be a good influence on him.”
“I hope so.” I laughed. “Though with this
one, it might be too late.”
“He’s too corrupt already, isn’t he?” She
laughed and turned to leave us, then stopped. “Folake just called.” She said to
Michael, “She asked if she should still bother to come. But I told her it was
too late and we had already finished.”
He was holding my hand and I thought I felt
it tense up a little, but that could have been my imagination “Okay.” He
shrugged. “That’s fine.”
We soon left for my apartment, after I had
shown him where my car was parked. He drove one of those new Range Rovers. It
was very comfortable and luxurious. “Nice car.” I commented.
“I aim to please.” He said.
I thought he seemed a little preoccupied.
What was he thinking about, and who was Folake? The person his sister had
mentioned. Was she his girlfriend or fiancée, I didn’t want to think about it
so I pushed it out of my mind.
“Don’t be so quiet.” He said after a while.
“I spent the last five years missing your constant prattle.”
“Prattle!” I exclaimed incredulously. “I
didn’t used to prattle.”
“Yes you did.” He said. “You could never
stop talking, you had opinions on everything and you never hesitated to voice
“Some people would call that opinionated.”
“Well.” He said. “As Jesus himself once
said,” He looked at me with a teasing smile. “You said it.”
We both burst out laughing.
He stopped at the parking lot of my
apartment building and we remained in the car, just talking. I told him all
about running ‘Living Lagos’, he seemed really impressed.
“I am impressed.” He said at last.
“Thanks.” I replied diffidently.
“So aside from the magazine, what have you
been up to?” He asked.
“Nothing much.” I said, “Just living.” And
thinking about you, I added silently.
He laughed. “I used to have nightmares that
when I saw you again you would be married with a kid or two and a jealous
husband who would forbid you to talk to me.”
“Well I hope to have the kids and the
hopefully not-so-jealous husband someday soon.” I said, with a small forced
He held my eyes for a while. What was he
thinking? I wondered.
“I’m engaged.” He said suddenly.
I had been sitting there in the car with
him, my whole body growing warm at his closeness. As soon as he spoke, it was
like someone had poured icy water all over me. My stomach dropped and I looked
away from him. Outside the car, the security lights were casting an orange glow
all over the compound. I concentrated on that, so that I wouldn’t cry. I felt
like a fool, I felt like I should have known, really. Why had I expected him to
be single? He was young, handsome and virile, of course someone else had taken
the opportunity I had thrown away.
I forced a smile. “Congratulations!” I
exclaimed, turning back to him. “I am very happy for you.”
He looked at me for what seemed like a long
time. He shifted his gaze outside the car “Thanks.” He said at last.
“She wasn’t there tonight?” I asked.
“No she was busy with work.”
“Oh!” I nodded. “Okay.” I opened the car
door. “I guess I see you around then.” I said, trying to make it sound like I
didn’t care, like he hadn’t just broken my heart a second time in one lifetime.
“I hope I’ll see you more than that.”
He replied. Was I imagining the pleading note in his voice? “After five years.”
He continued. “I don’t want you to disappear again.”
I nodded and he smiled.
“Goodnight.” I said.
“Goodnight.” He replied.
I watched him drive off. My heart felt very
hollow. All my hopes now felt too foolish to even bear thinking about. It took
all my strength even to walk up the stairs to my apartment.