In January, a few weeks after my sister’s wedding, my aunt called to tell me she gave someone my number and the person was going to call me. I asked, “What is he calling me for?”
She said, “Ehn… don’t worry. He will call you.”
Me, I like aunty. I trust aunty. Christmas in Warri, we shared a bottle of wine and had a long ass conversation about a lot of things, centred mostly around faith, money, career. I figured whoever was going to call would either be a potential employer or, worst case scenario, a pastor. So when the guy called about an hour later, I answered with my best “pastor voice”.
That call lasted only about a minute and it felt like an interview – Where do you stay in Lagos? Which church do you attend? I’ve never heard of it. Are you on Wuzzup? I had barely hung up when he messaged me on Whatsapp, requesting a full-length picture and a brief description of myself. I didn’t send a picture or describe myself. The rest of the evening, as he bombarded me with messages (‘it sims am disturbing u’, ‘wen ur lest busy let me no’), I came to the painful conclusion that;
- He was neither a pastor or an employer.
- The only punctuation mark this man has ever come across is the hyphen in his mother’s maiden name.
- Aunty does not like me as much as I thought. Either that, or she was being paid handsomely.
At night, after he sent the last message (Gd nyt. Slip tyt) I blocked him. It was mean, I know, but I just couldn’t deal.
It’s good Friday. I’m in Warri for Easter, and aunty is in my house, demanding to know what went wrong with the guy. I’m wary of the fact that she will give him feedback so I choose my words very carefully. Also, I don’t trust her as much anymore, so I simply tell her that he came off as a bit too desperate for my liking.
Her eyes widen in shock. In her world, there’s no such thing as a desperate ‘oyel’ worker. She reminds me that time is no longer on my side, and then gives several examples of women, all friends of hers, who were smart enough to scheme their way into one man’s house. I like that kind of gist so at this point, she has my attention. One friend got pregnant, the other two just positioned themselves strategically. The last story sounded eerily like kidnapping where the girl seduced the guy, then showed up at his family’s doorstep days later, with her parents, to announce that their son had slept with her and would have to marry her.
She concludes each story with “If the man likes, he can carry all the women outside, she is now sha in her husband’s house with her children”.
I don’t want to end up sha being in someone’s house… that’s not the dream. I also want kids who will win spelling competitions, but I don’t say anything else so we just sit there in silence.
She asks, “Abi do you have someone you’re seeing?” and the question catches me completely off guard. “Is that the problem? You already have a boyfriend?”
I think of one guy living in a different state about 8/9 hours away, who complains that I don’t allow him breathe with my incessant phone calls. We haven’t spoken in two days because I haven’t called. I want to explain to her that it’s kind of complicated, that if I can just work on my trust issues, we wouldn’t fight so much and everything would be perfect, but I don’t think she will find the irony amusing. So I pocket my sermon on the concept of phone calls as a love language for a later date.
I say no, there’s no one.
That evening, the oil worker calls. His acting is worse than his spelling because he is “surprised aunty didn’t tell me that you’re in town”. This time we talk… he asks about past relationships, school, work, everything. Some of his own questions, I throw back at him. He talks about his now-married ex that he has never quite gotten over. She is his biggest regret, and he admits that he compares every girlfriend to her.
A part of me feels sorry for him. Maybe he’s still single because he’s daft and goes around warning prospective spouses that they will forever be compared to the ghost of his ex.
The next day, it’s raining heavily, but he insists on coming to see me straight from the office. We meet at the gate of my estate and I get in the car. He wants to go to my place, see my parents. I have visions of him knocking on my mother’s door at 2:00am because I didn’t respond to his “Gd nyt. Slip tyt” so I make him park in a random empty garage instead. I don’t need him knowing my house.
He’s much better looking in person than in his “Wuzzup” picture. He has a lovely smile. I start to feel a little self-conscious because he’s dressed up for our meeting. Me, I’m wearing my nicest flip-flops. We talk some more about his job. He’s casually mentioning the number of people who call him ‘oga’ in his office. He has a meeting in Denmark next week, from there he’ll head to Spain. In my mind, all I can think of is how he writes his official e-mails.
He talks about his mum who he loves dearly, but can’t visit too often because of work. I have a suggestion; why can’t she come visit you?
“Das ezally why I need a woman in the house. If mumsi come, she need to ‘ave someone that will stay in the house with her and be cooking for her.”
Like me, he has trust issues and is scared to death of being lied to or cheated on. It’s the one thing we have in common and before long, we’re exchanging war stories… who cheated on us, and how we found out. In the end, I won. It’s the longest, most interesting conversation we’ve ever had. He’s happy, almost excited, because aunty has assured him that I am a good Christian girl who doesn’t want him for his money. He keeps exaggerating the “good girl” and I start feeling a tinge of guilt. Will he still think I’m such a good girl if I tell him about Jason, my faithful dildo?
Hours after he’s gone, I get an e-proposal… or is it a mobile proposal? He is certain that God wants to do something in our lives by joining the two of us before the end of the year. He promises to take care of me and provide for me. He has a flight to PH by 2:00pm the next day, so please can he get a response before then?