“Babe, stop crying now, you know you are better than this, come on…”
“Dapo, I have never scored below the Duncan line. Never. Why should it start now? That Viva guy… what’s his name again?”
“Yes, him. I am so sure he failed me on purpose. He should have just stayed abroad forever.” I hissed so vehemently, I’m certain any snake nearby would have been ashamed at its own hiss.
“How far now? He is a nice man. I even heard he is a pastor.”
“Dapo, forget that one. He is a snake. Do you know how many ladies he harasses in this medical school? Pastor ko, prophet ni!”
We were walking back to our boy’s quarters after school that Friday afternoon. The University College Hospital, UCH, had many of such that were rented out to members of staff and somehow, inherited or reclaimed by medical students. The result of our Paediatric end of posting test had just come out and I had gotten below 50%. First of its kind.
“Na wa o! I thought this harassment thing in UCH was limited to the resident doctors and house officers. Which reminds me, that new houseofficer from Bowen University is the talk of town now… the moment he enters a room…”
While Ifedapo went on about the new fair skinned, Edo/Yoruba house officer, my mind went back to my paediatrics score. 500level really was not the best time to start failing in medical school. Dr. Ibeji had his issues but I knew he hadn’t failed me.
I had been distracted. I had made silly mistakes in my Multiple Choice Questions, I forgot to check my patient’s weight and height during the clinical exam and the oral part was just me pouring out what first came to mind without thinking. I had been thinking about, him, him and him.
The first him being my first boyfriend. That one was just a goat. Forgive me, but he was stubborn and dirty. I blamed myself for even attempting to date anyone in my 100level days. He had come to mind again because I heard he was now engaged to one of our classmates then who won Miss Akwa Ibom.
“Imma… Imma… Immaculate!!! Look, it is that guy again.” Dapo was pointing at a white Nissan Pathfinder, coming towards us.
Jedidiah Famisola. The third him. He had been stumbling into me, or so he kept saying. I had seen him so often, I already had his plate number memorized.
“Ladies…”, Simi’s Joromi filtered from inside his car as he slowed down beside us. The guy behind the steering kept a well trimmed and moderate afro and a neat beard. His grooming was top notch and seeing as I was just thinking of that 100 level goat, seeing Jed was a pleasant sight.
“Jed, this is your fifth ‘stumbling’ into me in three dyas. What do you want?” I stood hands akimbo beside his car.
“Why don’t you both get in so I can take you to your boy’s quarters? I’d drive responsibly, I promise.”
“How thoughtful of you but Dapo was just giving me interesting gist.”
“I like gist too and if the gist is classified, I’d plug my ears and just mind my driving, pinkie swear.”
I shook my head as I turned to Dapo. From the way she turned her body away from his car, I knew she wasn’t interested in joining Jed’s ride.
Shaking my head, I told him, “Sorry, Jed, today is not your lucky day.”
He put on a sad baby face as he drove away from us.
“Imma, you could have gone with him. It was obvious it’s you he was interested in.” Dapo spoke up the minute his car disappeared.
“Why would I leave you for a guy I barely know? Besides, he does not look serious. How does he still not have my number, after over two months of stalking me?”
“You are funny o. Did you give him your number? No. If he gets it from someone now, your first argument would be on why he would get your number from someone else. Aunty, pick a struggle joor.”
I laughed. Dapo was right. I had refused to give Jed my number and he had not gotten it… which was the easiest thing to do. A few questions here and there and anyone’s number could be obtained.
Maybe this guy is actually serious.
“So why haven’t you given him your number?”
“Ifedapo! It is not like you’ve ever encouraged anyone to date. Isn’t it a sin?” Dapo’s upbringing had her totally against dating but I was her friend, a total opposite thinker.
“Biko, that’s my own. Answer my question first.”
“I still miss him…”
“Dear God, no way! That’s over six months already.” I could read exasperation in Dapo’s voice.
The second him, the one that had been dominating my thoughts. Folusho. My first love. My dearest Folusho. Our story is complex. Some things I wish I could undo. Reflexively, I traced the diagonal scar on my left upper arm.
NINE MONTHS AGO.
“You always look splendid. Come closer, let me admire my babe.” Folusho’s lips curved as they did when he was trying to concentrate. Just that, this time I knew he was just being funny.
I smiled as I catwalked to his side. I saw his eyes look me over, stopping on my lower belly left bare by my pink crop top.
“Folusho, are we still going for this party? You are not even ready.”
He pulled me down to sit on his laps, rubbing my butt as he replied, “we can have our own party, right here, right now…”
His voice, low and sexy, close to my left ear, was melting my resolve. He knew that would work almost always.
“Hmm… Folusho, no… We promised. Get dressed.”
I attempted to stand but he pulled me back to himself as his lips found mine. I forgot about the party and the promise and our imminent lateness for the next five minutes as we kissed. Folusho’s hands were already under my top, holding my waist, his cold palms causing tingles through my skin. Folusho’s kisses were unique. I was wary of them yet eagerly looking out for them too.
Fash’s campaign song rang out from my phone, bringing us out of our embrace.
Fash had run for president of the Student Union when we were in 100level. I liked his campaign song and was too lazy to change it.
“Jeez, Imma, why is that song still your ringtone? That guy already won the elections and even graduated since. I’d help you change it once we get back. Enough is enough, ehn, Fash’s wife.”
Folusho finally dressed up and we left for the party. Thanks to ‘African time’, we were among the early birds. It was a surprise birthday party for one of our resident doctors.
I had been dating Folusho for three months and it had been amazing. He was a gentleman to the core, always looking out for me. Even though we were in different groups for our clinical rotations, he always found ways to make it up to me. From the random gifts passed through different class mates to the times he joined me on ward calls even though he was not meant to be on call. I was glad we both opted to get BQs rather than stay in the school hostel. It made it easier to spend days together without any interference.
“Imma, you’ve been avoiding this issue for a long time now.” Folusho sat across me on his bed, leaning back on a dark brown throw pillow.
“No, Folusho, not avoiding. I thought we already agreed and concluded on it.”
“Really? You thought that? How so?”
It was two months after the party. We were in his room. We were to have an evening tutorial and his place was closer to school area than mine.
“I’m not having sex with you, Folusho. Change this topic.”
“Wow! Am I that repulsive? Why not really? We are both old enough and medical students, we know how to protect ourselves and prevent anything weird from happening.”
“I said I am not going to. Why is it so important to you?”
“Oh, so I’m the only one that gets turned on, hm? I’m the only one with sexual urges, just because I have a boner and you don’t?”
Sighing, I looked up from my phone to face my boyfriend. This his insistence on us having sex was becoming worrisome.
“Olufolusho, is there something I’m not seeing? You’ve been all about this issue for two weeks. I love you. You love me. We can wait till it is right, can’t we?”
He didn’t answer. He started stuffing his books into his bag.
“I thought we planned leaving together for the tutorial.”
” I forgot, I have to get to the college secretariat first. I’d join you in class later.”
That was an obvious lie. College Secretariat at 4:30pm, yeah right. I picked my phone and sent a WhatsApp message to Ifedapo as he left the room.
“Babe, this guy is still all about this sex thing. I’m worried.”
“I think he is just teasing you. Folusho is not like that.”
“But his friends are like that. What do we know that they have been putting in his head?”
“True o. I don’t know why he even moves with those guys. But they respect him sha. See, don’t give in to any thing. You’re worth more than that.”
“I know… But, I don’t want to lose him. He has been acting really strange lately. Next month is our anniversary, I mean, we’ve lasted this long…”
“Immaculate James, you’re not giving him your body. He is a nice guy but you aren’t giving him that as a reward or an award.”
“Alrightieee… Better start dragging yourself out for tutorial.”
Another two weeks went by and things became even more strained between me and Folusho. At this point, I was certain he wasn’t teasing me. The subject came up again as we walked towards the cafeteria one evening.
“Okay. I’ve had enough of this. Do you want a breakup? Is this your way of asking?” I stopped walking to glare at him.
“Oh no, my Latté. Not at all. It’s just… You know what? I’m sorry. I am so sorry. I was being selfish, only thinking of myself and the little man down there. Imma baby, I’m sorry. Why would I break up with you? Mother of my future children.”
I rushed to hug him, “don’t scare me like that again, Folusho. It wasn’t funny.”
The next weekend was our anniversary. I decided to play a prank on him. Looking back now, that was not a good move. I sent him a text the night before the exact day;
“Folusho, I am ready. I know I am not a virgin and all but I’d give you this as a gift for being supportive all these months. Let’s have sex!”
Our anniversary plan was to see a movie at Dugbe mall then have dinner someplace. We met at 2pm to set out for the cinema. Our movie was scheduled for 3:45pm and I totally disliked being late. Folusho had borrowed a car from one of his friends.
“Sweetie, I need to quickly see Dante.”
“Yes, sure.” He hadn’t mentioned the text and I was somehow glad he didn’t. I already figured it would be a cruel joke. Maybe he hasn’t even seen it.
Dante was a class ahead of us. He was the chairman of the biggest boys association of medical students. He had money to throw around and was known to arrange weird games for people to get money from. His roommate was Joel, the best medical student in their set. He and Dante were total opposites and none of us understood how they got to be roommates. They were preparing for their final exams.
“You can just stay in the car. I won’t be long.” Folusho excitedly got down from the car and bounced towards Dante’s. I didn’t like him associating with Dante and his group but Folusho was too social not to. He just wanted to be friends with everybody. Even Jesus wasn’t.
Joel stepped out of the BQ just as Folusho went in. He stood, looking towards the car but not at me. There had been rumors that he liked me but I never bothered to confirm or dispel them. He was a good guy and nerdy, that’s all I cared to know.
I heard Folusho’s high laugh and smiled to myself. If I did not intervene, we were going to miss the timing for our movie. I got down from the car and walked towards the BQ. I definitely couldn’t go in without greeting Joel who was now watching me.
“Joel, hi. How’s jacking?”
“Uhm, just there. How are you?”
“I’m fine. Definitely happy I’m not in your shoes… Yet.”
He laughed, an almost calculated but delightful sound.
“I need to get Folusho out of there soon.”
“Yeah, I guess so. How’s the relationship?”
That was the most personal, yet innocent question I had been asked, especially coming from Joel.
“Fine, I guess. Today is our anniversary.”
“Congrats. Are you sure you want to go in?”
“Not want, I need to. Take care, Joel.”
I saw concern filter across his features.
Why that look? Almost like pity…
I was about taking off my sandal when I heard Folusho’s voice from inside.
“Dante, I told you. I told you she would agree na. You too, read the message she sent me just last night.”
“Whatever jare!” Dante’s voice was deeper and louder, “took you six months, something you said you could do in less.”
“Yea, I thought so o. But the girl is tough. Imagine, she was even ready to break up with me. I would have been owing you twenty grand by now. But, I think I’m actually beginning to like her, dare or not…”
I didn’t wait to hear the rest. I had been a dare to Folusho? Not even a dare to date, a dare to sleep with. I brought out my phone to call Ifedapo, then changed my mind. I was fuming with anger and tears were threatening to spill from my eyes anytime soon.
“Immaculate…”, Joel was in front of me, ” I’m sorry you found out this way. I thought they already called off the dare… Especially seeing as Folusho seems to actually now like you…”
“Joel, step aside. Please.” If Joel knew, how many others knew?
Back in the car, I wiped my eyes, touched up my make up and sat, waiting for Folusho. He came out soon after and we continued our trip to the cinema.
“Hope you’ve decided on what you want me to get for you, as per anniversary gift.” He was smiling, glancing sideways at me.
“Olufolusho, do you love me?” I don’t know what the relevance of that question was at that time but I just asked anyway.
“Definitely! Why wouldn’t I? It’s been six amazing months with you.” He was nodding vigorously. I wasn’t sure if it was because he really meant it or because of the money Dante must have given him.
I had been trying failingly to hold back the tears, “You lied to me. You’ve been lying to me.”
“Baby, what are you talking about?” He looked at me sideways, his smile gone.
“How much did Dante promise you? 20k? Why would he even place a dare on me?”
“Has Joel been feeding you these lies?”
I glared at him. Why was he still lying? Why would he do that to me?
“The text I sent you last night was a prank, a joke. Was that what you went to boast about to Dante, without even discussing it with me?”
He probably figured he had lied enough and started apologising, telling me how it started as a dare but now, he could not imagine a future without me. It sounded so much like an African Magic script. I grabbed the steering from his hand and yanked us off the road. His reflexes were quite good and he was able to quickly get the car back in control. I started hitting him, pulling at his shirt. He was screaming at me, begging me to get a grip on myself. I was not listening.
The car entered a pothole and he lost control.