Ayodele had what some, in this anxious, wary and duplicitous world, would call a serious affliction; he always told the truth. Not just the censored truth that you think it’s alright for people to hear as any more would just upset them and put them off their amala and gbegiri. He told the whole truth; as his eyes saw it and as his ears heard it. He didn’t soften the hard edges of the fact to be kind, he didn’t omit to save time and he did not exaggerate to impress. As a result of this affliction so to speak and bearing in mind the aforementioned state of the world Ayodele cut a solitary figure wherever he went.
He had learnt to live with the isolation for his incapacity to lie brought with it an innate ability for detecting untruth in others. The frequency of these detections dismayed him too often so generally he made just as much effort to keep away from people as they did to avoid him and his needle-sharp honesty.
University was proving to be no different in terms of his social remoteness. A pattern was simply repeating itself; fellow students were drawn to him because of his self-assured yet mysterious demeanour, they moved in to investigate and had their facades singed by his unerring insight. His was a brutal assault on the egos of the would-be big boys and big girls at LASU, ripping through their pretentious displays, curbing a number of social aspirations and reducing more than a few of them to tears. Needless to say word soon got around that he was one to be shunned.
Thus he was alone and although he had accepted this state, he did not enjoy it. He hoped as he sat in his dorm room, hoped as he read in the library, hoped while he walked to lectures, perpetually he hoped to meet someone who was as comfortable with the truth as he, someone with whom he could form a friendship at the very least. He was tired of being a lonely lie-detector freak.
It was a Tuesday morning and he was sitting on a bench outside the Social Sciences building where he had just attended a Philosophy lecture. He was going over his class notes with the strongest conviction that his professor had misquoted Socrates when a girl dropped the entire contents of her bag right in front of him almost on purpose it seemed. He automatically got down and helped her gather her belongings. By the leisurely pace with which she collected everything back together he considered with an excited jolt that perhaps she was unaware of his reputation; ordinarily people tripped over themselves to get away from him. They both reached for the last stray item at the same time; a notebook. He looked up at the girl; she had been watching him with interest. Ayodele flushed as he took in her features; the most striking of which were her eyes. They were huge, framed with thick, feathery lashes and pupils so dark they drew him in like a black hole. The strangest wave of attraction welled out from her and seemed to cover him completely. All he could think was, ‘Wow’. She appeared to study him intently for a few more seconds like she was waiting for something then she flinched and stood up with an awkward lurch.
“Thank you,” she said and sounded out of breath even though all she did was rise from crouching.
“I…You…I…” he stammered, overwhelmed by her proximity.
“You’re the guy everyone tries to avoid because you have juju and can read minds or turn people into zombies or some such nonsense,” she said studying him again.
“Or Ayodele is easier…” he replied with a shrug.
“I know. I’m Sunrose,” she said.
“As in what happens every day at dawn?” Ayodele asked hoping he didn’t sound condescending.
“As in flower of the Sun. Have you no poetry?” Sunrose paused as though listening to something then said, “No, guess not.”
“I think I’m too literal to be poetic,” he apologised.
“Yes too wrapped up in the factual,” she agreed, nodding.
He found himself nodding with her till what she said registered in his brain. Her assessment of him had been far too shrewd to be overlooked. Sunrose smiled knowingly.
“Hmmn? How did you…” he started but she cut him off, “You only know truth and I can hear thoughts,” she said it so casually and he knew as only he could that she did not lie.
“People keep away from me too; they say I stare too much like I can see into their souls. I can’t of course,” she explained.
“Of course,” Ayodele repeated, mesmerised.
“I heard you hoping,” Sunrose murmured shyly.
“I hoped you would,” Ayodele said grinning. Suddenly he didn’t feel so lonely anymore.
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