Too Much To Ask

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“Chidinma, it’s really cold. I need you here.”

“Awwwwww.”

“How’s it been over there? Do you even get to go out?”

No o. I get to be indoors alone. It’s so boring, from the house to the office and back. I just came in now. I’m so tired.”

“Ouch. Coming back this late. Your boss is just being mean. I’m so sorry Baby, I wish I was beside you.”

Hmmm….me too. When will you be back from Lagos? It’s been three weeks.”

“I’ll be home to you soon. Stay beautiful. I love you.”

“Me too.”

Yeah,  that was Chidinma’s new way of responding to my sweet-nothings. “Me too”, because the words “I love you too” were a little too stressful for her tongue, or probably consumed too many micro-seconds. I smiled as I hung up, not because of any giggly sensations generated by the phone call, but because of the unfolding of events.

Maybe I would have bought her story of returning home from work by 9.35pm if I was not once a corps member myself. Then again, she was seeing out her service year in Umuahia, not Lagos or even Port-Harcourt. When did offices in Umuahia become so busy? When did traffic become so bad as to result in such a late arrival, yea, late by city standards?

I could catch the faintly dismissive tone in her voice while the phone call lasted, something in the tune of “oh o na, can he finish rambling already? I’ve got stuff to do.” There was also something about the air of the conversation. There was this strong sense of “yimu” that I could not explain, so strong that I could almost taste it. I didn’t miss the subtle adjustments in voice pitch either, those adjustments that come with getting tickled in sensitive regions. Someone was being unapologetically naughty over there. I would know; once upon a time I had been at the other end of the phone, when not-so-faithful Valerie would tell her fiancé that she had been attending a skill acquisition class, the reality being that my room was her learning centre.

I didn’t need to watch multiple episodes of the show “Cheaters” to know that Chidinma was slipping from my hands. There were obvious signs; the “I miss you” texts had dried up, she no longer tried to call at hours when my full consciousness was not really guaranteed, and there was the matter of her citing exhaustion of mobile data as the reason why she had not been chatting me up, whereas I had seen her online the previous day. Yea, Whatsapp could rat you out like that. She was obviously too tired to speak with me, tired from being “extensively occupied” with some other guy, and I already had a name.

Nicholas had made his intentions known long before, even at the stage when I was only just getting absorbed in the novelty of being with Chidinma. I saw how he would reach for her waist whenever it was time to dance at the parties to which she accompanied me. I saw how he always wanted to sit beside her at the functions we attended. Well, I could not easily do away with Nicholas’s company; he was a mutual friend to Dan, a close buddy of mine, which meant that he was almost always around whenever I hung out with Dan. He was obviously not anxious to observe the Guy Code on not trying to take your friend’s girl, and I had pretended not to notice, but it was the day Chidinma refused to drink vodka when I asked but took a gulp on Nicholas’s persuasion, that I saw the red flag flying full mast in my face.  True, all was fair in Love and War, except that this was not a case of Love, but rather one of weak will and/or deceit.

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Now I had been away for over three weeks, and if she had been warming up to him right in front of me, only Heaven knew what had transpired in my absence. Back then, she would complain if 48 hours had passed without meaningful communication between us, but these days there was a relative indifference. Over time, it has never really been settled as to which adage held more significance between “Out of sight, Out of Mind” and “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”, but in my case, the former had definitely played out. She must have felt really smart, juggling three men in her emotional palms.

Yes, three.  Nicholas and I were not the only ones staking a claim to her heart. Chidinma had been romantically involved with someone (whose name I did not bother to find out) at her resident city of Kaduna before ending up in Umuahia for her service year, and she had not exactly called it quits with her man. I found that out when I first got to know her, and while I made it clear that I did not plan to steal Love from any one, I also realized the need for territorial convenience when it came to emotions, and I had convinced her to agree to a short-term romance, more like an “emotional leasehold agreement” which would end when she left town. I had been honest with her, and I wondered if the same treatment was too much to ask for.

Sure enough, I was in no position to judge her, and then again she was by no means the love of my life, but I loved to think that there were certain basic rules when it came to relationships, and Honesty, if not full-fledged Fidelity, had to be one of them. I felt insulted that Chidinma did not deem me worthy of some bare-faced truth. I wasn’t around, she had “needs”, and I just might have understood (emphasis on ‘might’) if she had just been open about it. One could not help but wonder what had become of the concept of romantic relationships nowadays, with Commitment becoming the exception rather than the rule, and Cheating enjoying the defence of “Curiosity”.

On second thoughts however, it seemed like fun to play the fool. I felt like Batiatus from the “Spartacus” series, who was aware of his wife’s affair with the gladiator Crixus but pretended to be ignorant, and I decided that it would be interesting to let Chidinma revel in her own delusion. For her, I was the stupid lover-boy who had no clue of what was going on. It looked like a nice script to play by, at least until someone got fed up.

“That you think me to be a fool is insult enough.”

******************************************

“Guy, how far you na?”

“Bruv, I’m cool.”

The following day, I received a call from Gbolahan, an old friend who by some funny twist of fate had found himself earning his bread in Umuahia, and who was familiar with Dan. He had not heard from me in a while, he said, and we laughed about the many drunken nights I had missed out on, but all of a sudden, the discussion changed course.

“Ehen, you sure say Nicholas nor dey wan snatch that your girl from you?” he asked.

“Oh, really? Eh yah”, I replied.

“Guy, this is not something like a ‘jolking stuffs’ o.”

“Well, what you do want me to do? Should I start weeping, or should I call a hit on Nicholas?”

“Oh well, he can have her. She isn’t all that anyway”, he said, before hanging up.

If there was one thing Gbolahan and I absolutely agreed on, it was the fact that Chidinma was not worth all the drama. She didn’t key into my interests, we could not have any meaningful intellectual conversations, she was not exactly a power dresser, and her Eastern accent was of a thick variety. It had always been for the territorial convenience, and even that was losing its essence.

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I thought of Nicholas , and a certain feeling welled up within me. It was the feeling associated with the realisation that someone had eventually helped you to take care of the garbage bag you had been thinking of how to effectively dispose. I laughed hysterically.

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53 responses to “Too Much To Ask

  1. Wow.
    What can I say.
    The brilliant way you put words on paper is just flabbergasting.
    You made random things and thoughts more interesting

  2. And intriguing.
    I really don’t know what to say…
    Amazing piece.
    And as for Chidinma.
    The lady try o! Three guys at once? Holi Molly! 🙊🙊🙊

    She does not know what guys can do when you don’t matter to them. They will be happy to pass you on to the next friend that want a taste and some sort of distraction.

  3. I like the ending. Sometimes time and some other factors just have a way of taking garbages out of our way. Engaging piece

  4. Whoa! Three guys at once??? My My My. How do girls handle that? I dunno.

    Jerry, every now and then, your write ups oozes intelligence…you know, you know how to get it together and at the same time, hold it together. It’s amazing, really amazing.

    I like the way you portrayed the thoughts that runs in their mind, I mean, the guys. It’s nice.

    I always get to learn something significant from your pieces.

    Thank You for the mention. I appreciate, a lot.

  5. Slipping the noose around her own neck, thinking it’s someone else’s…
    Classic tale of a con-man getting conned while she’s executing her own con.
    Jerry you weave this easy…like water finds its path.
    Kudos

  6. The lady sha.
    Nicholas don enter one chance but come to think of it, she might become a changed and better person with him in her life.
    I love the way you play with words. Beautiful piece from a beautiful mind.

  7. Interesting something. I hope no one is construing any part of anything here to be love? Ain’t nothing like that here.

    And the funny thing about how life plays out, Chidinma might become a better person with Nicholas as Maureen said. But it’s no one’s loss. Just life.

  8. Hmmmmmm,Ify is at it again! This is great! Lovely piece you have got here,very lovely,superb,it is the handiwork of an active and functional imagination.Back to the story,Chidinma is so deceptive o,chai! What type of girl is this? The funny part is that she is comfortable with it all,I guess she is still living in the era of,’enjoy-your-life-while-you-are still-young.forgetting there are several consequences.there is no offence keeping several male friends,but your fiance is your fiance,not loving everyone including your fiance the same way.Bad on her part,But no one knows why she is like that though,maybe she has been mishandled in the past and decides to get back at guys,who know? That notwithstanding,she ought to act like aa graduate atleast,not a flirt.Regarding you Jerry,I think you deserve what you saw on one hand being that you once had an affair with a girl who lied to her fiance that she was attending the skill class.the law of Karma in action.You also had a romance alignment with her,your aim for being with her was for the short term romance,’you can’t have your cake and eat it’.On the other hand,I don’t blame you with the actions you took,though you had a not-too_good motive to enter into a relationship with her,but atleast every human deserves some form of love and trust.Keywords.Love,trust,fidelity,uprigtness.Good work Ify,you are still our genius’.I twale your ministry’

  9. Nice one brother that’s the world we have found ourselves in, cheating is easy for love partners these days they call it adventure, when are we starting our publication I really feel u are taking the back seat with your skills in putting words together, OYA make we begin dey release writing series na

  10. Emotional leasehold agreement, very funny. It’s so true what they say that every idiom or proverbial saying has its exact opposite and you craftily portrayed that. Thumbs up.

  11. All these relationships and the wahala wey dey follow dem come sef eh, na to dey single sure pass o.

    Wonderful write-up as always, Cap’n.

  12. Lol, nigga you’re just pained…. the excuses sounded very lame… she sha dumped you for your friend…. Lol, the Valerie part had me… and the way you so made Ibo accent sound like it’s British accent is amazing, Lol…

    I like your style… come and teach me…

    • A web of uncertainties which you wouldnt wanna indulge in, eh Walt?

      But then again, the narrator had only been away for about three weeks….why the eagerness on her part to switch affections?

      • Methinks more or less, she:d been waiting and hoping he left for a while. It isn’t just the long distance matter for her. It does run deeper.

        Great piece as usual. Hope you’ve been good.

  13. Simply Brilliant! Outstanding!! Impeccable!!!

    Buh’ haven’t you heard? Didn’t you know??
    ALL girls got a Particular lover for the “Situation” in Life: Secondary School, Church, University (Department [Class, Level], Faculty, Fellowship, Night Class etc), Home (Neighbourhood BF), Youth Service (Camp, CDS, PPA, Home or Corpers Lodge or Family House[as the case may “Warrant”]), Work… #ImagineTheRest

    It doesn’t move me, up until one of such Suddenly decides to play the #FidelityCard Ish on Moi. #ThenIErupt

    I Believe it’s Time the Guys served them the same Menu!

    Viva @ The Corner: #JustSaying

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