BN Prose: Nurse Foluke by Queen Kolawole
…how do you do such a thing to someone who makes you feel?
When I agreed to date Baba Ajimobi, Tunde had not yet surfaced in my life. Perhaps, that was the reason I felt irritated when I heard the familiar honk of his car. I was off-duty this afternoon – a hot one for that matter – and my plan had been to simply rest. I used to look forward to his presence, but now, I only wanted to be left alone.
I told myself I wasn’t losing interest in him, I was just tired from work. I convinced myself I was only upset because he hadn’t informed me before coming around, my patients had drained me during my morning shift. He must have learnt of my schedule from my gateman, the one he’d hired for me. In fact, I was living freely in one of the apartments he rented out. I let him knock for some minutes before deciding to open the door.
“My dia, were you asleep?” He asked, trying to draw me into an embrace, but I side-stepped him. His mouth reeked of orogbo.
“You could have told me you were coming,” I said, unsmiling.
He settled into one of my sofas which dipped under his weight, first removing his shoes before peeling off his socks in a manner that suggested that a soldier ant had been in it. “I came to spend the weekend with you my dia.”
I wasn’t impressed. “But today is just Thursday.”
“What is the difference between Thursday and Friday?” Baba Ajimobi wanted to know, but I was in no mood to respond to him. I’d met him while I was in the school of nursing and he’d been the one who finance most of my educational expenses. He had separated from his wife for years, and now that I’d gotten a job in a private hospital, he was ready to settle down with me. I wasn’t. My life was just beginning. Besides, Tunde was already in the equation.
“What will you eat?” I asked him instead, ignoring his rhetoric. His lips curved into a mischievous smile, “The food is right in front of me.”
“There is elubo, yam flour that I will use to make Amala,” I pretended not to understand what he meant, so I babbled. “I made my gbegiri yesterday evening. It should still be fresh.”
“You know I’ve missed you,” Baba Ajimobi cooed. He always acted younger than his age when he wanted a woman, but unlike Tunde, he was randy.
“Should I make Iyan instead? My odo is still in good condition.” That was not his concern.
I let him have his way eventually and if he noticed that I was unmoving under him, he didn’t show it. I just lay there, like a log of wood and let him do the grunting. He soon rolled off, as usual, and fell into a deep sleep. It made it easy for me to remove his hands from my chest. He didn’t know when I left the room to collect my thoughts, but all I could focus on was Tunde’s soft caresses and husky voice. I had to end this with Baba Ajimobi, but how do you do such a thing to someone who counts as a benefactor?
Tunde and I had attended the same secondary school, but we never spoke a single word to each other. I knew I’d seen him before when we met in church, but I couldn’t place his face until he told me. He’d wanted us to become friends and connect with each other, so he asked for my WhatsApp contact. Of course, I had no reservations. What will a harmless conversation do? I asked myself. Until it became frequent. He started developing an interest in my daily activities. He would ask questions: “What did you do today Foluke?” “Did your boss give you the permission you requested for?” “Have you eaten?”
The day he finally asked me out on a date, Baba Ajimobi was around, so I said no. He thought I was playing hard to get because he persisted even after Baba Ajimobi left, but I wasn’t ready to step up the game. I should have told him off since then, but I was selfish. I wanted us to continue our friendship, but he knew his worth and would not settle for less.
The moment I realized I had fallen in love with Tunde was when he cut me off. Apparently, he was tired of what he called ‘hide and seek’. The first week he stopped calling me, I told myself the emptiness I was feeling was normal. Even at work, I would keep on checking my call logs and refreshing my WhatsApp. “Why hasn’t he called me?” I kept on asking myself.
I decided to seek him out.
I knew the secondary school he worked in, so I went there, in scrubs. That was on the third week of our disconnection. He was in a class when I arrived at his school, and I was made to wait for him by his desk in the staff room. The teachers passed suggestive glances amongst each other. The question no one dared to ask me was if I was his girlfriend. I would have said yes.
He hadn’t been expecting me. I could see it in his facial expression. The way his pupils had dilated and his mouth formed a small ‘o’, but he soon collected himself because people were watching. His mouth easily morphed into his signatory easy-going smile. He greeted me cheerfully as if nothing had happened, and I almost believed he hadn’t been ignoring me for the past few weeks. He asked quietly when he reached his desk, “Can you come outside?”
Outside the staff room, he dropped the facade. Not even a trace of smile could be found on his lips. His forehead now had thick furrows, “What are you doing here?”
“Is that how to greet someone you haven’t seen in a while?” I wanted to know even though I was a bit taken aback.
He scratched his head and avoided my gaze. He said nothing afterwards. He wouldn’t start a conversation, I soon realized.
“I’ve missed you.” I blurted out and that was our undoing.
We went to his tiny apartment after school and our emotions took over. Not for once did I remember Baba Ajimobi during our intimacy. That was the moment I knew I was in trouble, but I brushed it aside. I had to end this with Tunde, but how do you do such a thing to someone who makes you feel?