My shifts were stable. Most of the month was spent on night duty. I preferred walking back home early the next day and seeing people wonder why i was moving in the opposite direction. It also meant i could spend the day indoors.
I had my own apartment in Ibadan. When i told my parents i would be moving down south, they initially thought i was joking. The Kanayos were known in the East; influence, wealth, popularity, authority.
“Koko, what’s your plan over there? We have no one there…”
“Dad, i am 25years, i dont think i need you babysitting me anymore.”
“This is not about your age young lady!”
“You did not question Tafo’s decision to move with Edi to Lagos.”
“You said it yourself, with Edi! You’re going there all by yourself. Maybe if you also found yourself a man.”
The number of times i have had to walk out on talks with father had been steadily increasing. He kept referring to Tafo and her life. I am sure he had no idea what that was doing to me.
When Edi got the employment from Trisha Law Firm, he immediately told his future in-laws of the need to move to Lagos. Tafo had been working with the Uyo ministry of works for about four months. She had some talk with father and mother. Next thing i knew, they had worked her transfer to Lagos. So she could be with him.
“For God’s sake, they are not even married yet mum!”
“How does that have anything to do with this? Won’t they get married soon?”
That was three years ago. Tafo was going to be 30years old in some months. Edi had not proposed.
I don’t have to describe the kind of relationship i have with my only sister. We have been antagonistic since i can remember. She had the curves and sweet looks. Not like i was lacking, i just think God could have done more.
When she hit puberty and the guys started winking at her, without even a blink in my direction, i took it as a sign… Battle lines drawn. I once thought of putting on one of her little brassieres to school.
I complained to mother. Why was i not getting wider ‘up and down’?
“You’d have to be patient my dear. It’s not yet your time.”
Believe it or not, that response was the basis of my life with Tafo around. She always got things first.
Somehow, my parents thought i’d hit it off with Kelvin. Being Edi’s younger brother, he was actually more handsome. Even a bit taller. And despite my love for tall guys, i did not see my parallel line meeting Kelvin’s.
But Kelvin became my best friend. We decided to friend zone each other. Things were much more fun that way. We fixed dates for each other. Got together after them to laugh at the poor people who thought they had found their loves. We ensured we both remained single.
He knew how i felt about Edi. Not because i told him directly but because he knew me. He read me.
One day he watched as i waited, hoping that Edi would hug me as he stepped out of the house. Instead, he rubbed my shoulder and stepped into his car. Kelvin came out and hugged me, holding me as i cried. I was 12. Kelvin was 14. Edi and Tafo had just celebrated their 16th birthday. I don’t know how Kelvin understood me that well.
The apartment i got in Bodija, Ibadan was through Kelvin. His friend owns it. I officially met Ovie when we were leaving secondary school. I knew him as Kelvin’s friend. But i did little to know more about him.
On graduation day, i found out he was also going to South Africa for further studies. That’s when we got talking.
Ovie is a player. He is the original definition of Casanova. His count of ladies slept with is indicated by new sneakers. Once we noticed new ones, all that was left was figuring out who his new conquest was.
I was in JS3, they were in SS3… The day he came with a black one with splashes of orange,. I learnt that was for Tafo.