[Story]: THE RICH, THE POOR, THE MISERABLE LOVE (Episode 5) TrendyVoice

13 September 2016

[Story]: THE RICH, THE POOR, THE MISERABLE LOVE (Episode 5)




Episode 4
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ENJOY the CONTINUATION!

 
Time could fail in breaking a man, so are numerous adversities of this sphere. Organized governments and laws could fail in rendering an outspoken man speechless and a powerful man powerless, but one thing, only one thing is the general weakness of all man; love.

Yes, it’s definitely love, as most assuredly, no man is so wicked in the present or past times that he loved nothing at all. If he had found all human beings on earth detestable; we only need to look closer at his footprints, he would surely have had tremendous love for something, maybe if not an item, then animals like cats, dogs, birds or snakes, so much that he would be unconsciously willing to sacrifice anything to save those things he loved.

I personally have claimed to love many things and people in my life; my family, my hometown, my teachers, my friends, myself and my books, but until I met Toro, I never knew I could love someone more, so much that I would be looking at her face on the ceiling from long dusks till dawns. There I was, on the bed, trimming my fingernails with my teeth absentmindedly, regretting that I allowed Toro to clear the bill, thinking about why Phillips’ phone had not been reachable since the day before, trying to see a glimpse of light in the darkness that encircled the whole business, beginning to consider whether Mary was whom I would fall unto eventually and how it would be like, courting a student; reviewing everything that went down at the brasserie in my mind from the beginning till end, and well, hoping that—where was Mr. Phillips anyway?

It was close to dawn before I finally fell asleep, the Morning Prayer alarm only a whistle in one of my Toroic dreams, and when my phone finally chimed, around 9am of this Sunday morning, with my head still deep in the labyrinth of my cover cloth, my hand groped lazily about for the phone and got it. It was when my hand touched the phone that my senses told me that the caller could be anyone… could be Toro. So I boiled out of bed like gas in a leaking cylinder, but it was Phillips.

“Mr. Phillips, why did you do that? Ah-ah, you just left me alone like that. Since yesterday, your number is not even reachable.”
“I knew you would be on tenterhooks, but if I did not play the second fiddle and leave you with the blank cheque, you wouldn’t be able to deal the cards according to your instincts.”
“And you didn’t consider the possibility of me spilling red oil over everything?”
“Red oil… By that I guess you meant, mismanage the situation?”
“Yes.”
“Huh, did you?”
“How could I have not? She footed the bill. My money was not enough to pay.”
“I don’t understand.”
“You understand!”
“No. That’s not possible. You said you had fifty plus.”
“Yes but the bill was sixty one plus; insufficient fund!”
“How did you now handle it?”
“She paid, I didn’t. In fact, I’m sure by now she’ll be laughing at me over a phone screen. If you hadn’t switched off—”
“No, forget that, I wasn’t supposed to be calling or receiving your calls while you were with her, no. So, it was a total embarrassment from the beginning to the end?”
“No… not totally. We were already leaving before the shit happened, and I already proposed to her. She was—”
“Proposed, as in, proposed for marriage?”
“No naw, I meant, I already said I love her and all, and she said I’ll bleed or something.”
“Humm…” He probably sneered. “Bleed?”
“I don’t know. Maybe we should see.”
“We can’t see today again. That will be tomorrow. So, about everything, what do you think now?”
“Hugh…” I scoffed. “I think it’s over, brother. She hasn’t called me since yesterday.”
“She hasn’t—Wait! Don’t tell me you haven’t called her since yesterday, Mr. Adebayo.”
“I haven’t o. What am I supposed to call her for when I’ve fucked everything up?”
“You’re so… Oh my God! Okay, I’m out. We’ll see tomorrow.”

The call ended.

After the call, I felt exhausted. I was really a fool and I knew it. Mr. Phillips’ tone before he ended the call articulated sullenness and regret. I had not only disappointed him, I have also disappointed myself and bathed my ego in shame. I sat there looking at the phone, the ticking of the wall clock now audible, rain drizzled outside like a meaningless ballad, the idle conversations of my neighbours grew to my ears like intrusive profanity, and soon I heard my heartbeats as loud as everything else, beating rhythmically between acrid diastoles and pungent systoles. I was generally acclaimed a smart person; a champion of the people. I was wondering how I got to become like this over a short period of time. The secret was; Toro’s presence, even in her absence, petrified me. And if I did not learn to really hold unto my Phillip-designed anchorage, I would always feel inferior at the mere thought of her.

I dialed on the second icon to the right at the bottom of my phone screen and my contacts populated as swiftly as the phone was advertised to be. I strolled down to find Toro and after I found her number, I dialed it and placed the phone to my ear. It seemed human beings generally don’t care about being useful unless they’re mocked to be useless, bold unless they’re completely humiliated to be timid. The tone of her phone ringing went on and on, no answer. I wanted to redial it, I hesitated, minutes later, I hesitated more. But at some point, in-between consciousness and unconsciousness, certainty and doubts, I dialed the number again, afraid that she was intentionally ignoring it. Ah, why did I get myself involved in this palaver in the first place? I never ceased to regret.

The “Hello,” of someone rushing to answer the call sent electricity running down my nerve cells. It was Toro.

“Hi,” I replied, not thinking. “I—I—wanted to call you… yesterday but… Hope you got home on time.”
“I was hoping you would call me.”

Eh? What did she say? She was hoping I would call her?

“I’m sorry. The network here was bad yesterday and I tried your number for quite a while before I thought maybe you switched it off.”
“But I didn’t.”
"I’m so sorry. That network mehn! How’re you today?”
“It’s fine here. Too silent for a Sunday morning though. I’m just so tired. I want to sleep moooorrrrrre.”

Oh my God! The conversation felt like she confided in me already.

“Don’t tell me you’re not going to church.”
“Church?” she chewed the ‘church?’ in her mouth like groundnut cake, laughed faintly now. “I’ll probably go.”

Did she just laugh?

“I’ll report you to your pastor. What do you mean you’ll probably go?”

Unlike MTN, glo doesn’t warn that you have one minute before your credit will be exhausted, it would just go off, and that was exactly what happened, the call just got disconnected and without checking the balance, I already knew what happened. Damn it, I stormed out of the bed in search of my boxer shorts (I slept nakedly as I usually did). I had to dress up and quickly look for a recharge card, and unfortunately, it was a Sunday morning, I was not likely to see one easily. Calling Phillips or anyone at all to send credit to me didn’t sound well; I was ready to try my luck. How could the credit just—oh my God!

The Super Mario ringtone buzzed to life and Toro appeared on the screen, again, playing my role! Do I answer or not?

“I’m so tired of these glo pumpkins mehn!” that was me trying to sound foreign. “They have fucking deducted my fucking money for the renewal of my fucking internet subscription and I didn’t even fucking know.” Ah, I probably sounded like AY Comedy Show Santa Claus, I dropped that pitch immediately.
“It’s okay, we can talk now,” she simply whispered through a muffled squeak.

I was thinking of what to say next, the wind was really turning to my favour and I mustn’t blow it.
“Have you eaten breakfast? It’s after nine o’ clock already.”
“Yes, Aunt Ronke had served since eight.”

I would later know Aunt Ronke to be their cook.

“What about you? You eaten yet?”
“Noooo, I just rose from the bed. I sleep heavily on weekends.”
“Look at you, lazy guy.”

Although that was an abuse, it was what I liked mostly so far in our conversation. She was being practically friendly with me. She wouldn’t have called me lazy if she was still feeling uncomfortable around me. I laughed more to complement it, though like a prince, not like a poor person as my boss had taught me.

“Really, you know, school all week, it sounds a best idea to sleep the weekends through. I do write sometimes though, or visit friends.”
“Hum—hum? What do you write?”
“Articles… poems… short stories, novels, and various stuffs.”
“You write novels?”
“Yes. But ahem, they’re not published yet.”
“But you’ve written them.”
“Yes, there’s one I’m even working on now. It’s a four-book series, Taunton Town.”
“Taunton Town? Like the one in England?”
“No, I didn’t know Taunton really exists, I just picked it from the air, sort of.”
“Can you engage me then? I don’t mind.”
“Of course, why not? I’d love you to really see them. I know you’ll have the brightest ideas on how to improve on the plots. It still hasn’t passed through the editing stage. You’ll please pardon the mistakes.”
“Okay—okay, absolutely normal for an unpublished work. What’s your plan for today anyway?”

Oh my…

“Huh, ahem… no plan actually but… I don’t know. What’s up?”
“Where do you reside?”

Eewo! Where I resided? I wished she was not thinking about coming to my place. My room would be one of the impossible wonders of the world to her; a bed as tiny as grave floor, uncarpeted room, aroma of cooked beans meant to be eaten with gari, my washed boxer shorts hung in the room to dry, she would have a very bad impression of me, most undoubtedly. Or so I swore.

“Huh, hugh—hugh,” clearing throat, “ahemmmm, mtchew, where I res—Iyana Ipaja area sha but I don’t usually stay there.”

Then, followed was a silence which put me in the position of trying to imagine her thoughts.

“Maybe you should come over to my place then. Can you? I’d also love to show you something”

I froze. Until that moment, I didn’t know it was a dream. I wiped my face, laid back into the bed quietly. This was not only impossible but also unimaginable, the mysteriously beautiful girl with the 1957 Cadillac El Dorado inviting me to her house?

“You there?” asked the caller who was still waiting for a response, probably also anxious, or already regretting that she invited me.
“Yes—yes, I’m here. I’m just hmmm, looking at my schedule.”
“Unless you can’t, I’d really use a company on a boring Sunday like this.”
“Okay. I’ll come. But I don’t know your address.”
“I’ll send the address. You could use Google map. It’s easy to locate my place. It’s in Phase One in Lekki. Come early, the day is still young, and, come by your car.”
“Huh, hugh—ugh—uhgh…” chuckling, “but I don’t have a car. “ I said that before I reckoned it was a foolish revelation, or maybe not.
“Get a taxi then.” She didn’t seem to care though.

You see, the distance between poverty and wealth is a flick of a switch on some hidden wall. The distance between past fears and present satisfactions is just a flick. The flicking takes but a second and a poor man turns rich, a hopeless man turns fulfilled. Did I perform so well the previous day that I already became the man of Toro’s dreams? But she footed the bill? But she withdrew her hand from my hold? But she—damn it, that day was so dream-like. I was not happy, neither was I sad, but how I felt at that moment, hearing her repeated that I needed to come, it’s not a usual thing in life, not a usual feeling.

“Call me when you’re coming,” she said and hung up.

I phoned Phillips and simply bragged that I’ve fixed the letdown and that Toro just invited me to her place.

“You must be joking,” was his explosive response.
“I’m not joking.” I was rather egotistical. “She wants me to come right away.”
“Wow!” a long ‘wow’ for that matter, “Okay—okay, I’m coming down to that place now. There are certain things you need to know.”

That’s my friend!

“But you said we can’t see today.” I was trying to be mordantly sarcastic.
“Forget that, we’re seeing today brother.”

He came and our usual dos and don’ts were discoursed, which although were always lengthier than I could cram all at once, were quite notable.

“You’re allowed to pass comments on how beautiful the house is. You can squeeze your face and look around, but not with your mouth open as if you’ve never seen such before. Walk confidently and make sure you do not kick anything, what did I say?”
“I should not kick anything.”
“Good, don’t gaze at the decor for too long. You’re allowed to check your wristwatch at that point to convey an impression that you’ve left some other things just for her.”

Suke! Haven’t I already told her that I had no plan for the day?

“If you see a painting, say wow, you’re in love with the artist. Rich folks place much value on artworks, you have to portray yourself as one of them, and please, a poster should not be mistaken for a painting. Don’t stand far from her while you walk. Holding her hands isn’t abominable. You like her, she likes you too, don’t forget that. And, I assure you that she has thought about how kissing you would be like already.”
“No, that can’t be true.” I prayed he was right.
“What are you saying? You had dinner together yesterday, she’s inviting you today, she has thought about everything! The window will open for sure. You only need to not miss it when she wants you to kiss her.”
“She’ll kiss me?”
“She will not kiss you! But if there’s a time she just smiles next to you without a reason, it’s an invitation to kiss. Wait, let me… okay—okay, fingers are all you need to watch If she suddenly stopped talking and kept looking at you in a smiling face, look at her fingers, if the fingers are calm, she’s not waiting for a kiss, but if the fingers are moving idly, brother, at that moment, she’s imagining sinful things with you. That’s your moment. You’ll close up on her and give her the best of world kisses.”

I scoffed. World best shit! Sukendere!

“How do you know she’ll want to kiss because of how she moves her fingers? I’ve tapped on things with my fingers many times and I wasn’t thinking about kissing.”
"It’s psychology of human behavior Mr. Adebayo. I know what I’m saying. Body movement is everything. You better listen now.”
"Okay o, I’m listening, but this kissing thing, see, I don’t think that’s what I’m supposed to be planning on now o. What if she runs back and thinks I’ve taken her for some cheap slut?”
“You don’t understand how girls like her think, do you? That isn’t in the program of their thinking. If you don’t make such steps, she’ll rather be thinking you find her unattractive or nauseating!”
“Okay, I should kiss when I have to, body movement, fingers. I understand. Move on.”

Silence ruled over us for a time. He was angry.

“Just accept me this way Mr. Phillips. You’ve helped too far to soar off now. I’m sorry. I was just, you know, I thought maybe rushing to the extremes… okay, just let’s go on.”
“I’m not saying kissing should be your major goal. I’m only saying, if the room opened, you take the chance, that’s all.”
"Yes, I guess we only got off on the wrong foot. Let’s move on.”
“If you were to kiss her, how would you kiss her?”

Aaarrrgh… kissing again!

“Huh… I don’t know, normal kissing.” I shrugged.
“Well, you do not strike me as someone who doesn’t know how to kiss.”

Phillips offered to provide a car but I didn’t have a driver’s license. I asked about how to relate with her family, he said that was hers to handle, not mine, but I should only be upright and respectful in a princely way. I should always remember I’m a prince and they’re all lucky to have me around but I should not be rude or overdo it. Having that in mind, according to him, I would do just fine.

....to be Continued!

Written by: Lord eBay (and his romantic adventures, 2016)
Twitter: @eBayism
Facebook: http://facebook.com/lescothafrica
Email: dearlordebay@gmail.com

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