[Story]: THE RICH, THE POOR, THE MISERABLE LOVE (Episode 6) TrendyVoice

13 September 2016




I brushed my teeth for an unusually long period of time before I bathed. Who knows if kissing could truly happen? Phillips was beginning to respect me. He knew that so far, I’ve managed to coordinate myself well in the whole romantic business. He saw me to the road where I boarded Oshodi bus and he returned home.

Once again, I found myself sardine-packed with my co-tenants of our constantly changed moving houses. I was confident; the t-shirt looked smart on the jean. And according to Phillips, the brown shoe did just fine. It was a slow motion through Obalende to Lekki. It took two hours to get to my destination; a duplex at the end of Marwa Garden which looked like Villa Doria Pamphili in Rome. It is pitiable I’m not good at describing houses, but whoever designed the structure of this house captured my heart in a stilled cell of dumbfounded astonishment. I stood at the gate, taken aback, digesting the artistic build of this Siamese twin building standing on an expanse of a wide interlocked compound. I could not help but remind myself that I’m a prince and such doesn’t amaze me.

Dear friends, foes and passers-by, of all the things capable of thwarting great destinies, poverty is one. The love of money is the beginning of all evil they say; they did not say being rich is the beginning of all evil, so I guess if it’s improper to love money, it’s definitely not improper to love being rich. Evidently, the evil that most of us have experienced so far in our lives were not inflicted directly by rich folks who only see our rural areas on Yoruba films but by our relatives and neighbors who have circled the sun for years in poverty and have grown to see wealth as an abyss from which they must drive us away.

You see, unless our voices are uniquely raised through certain talents or entrepreneurial skills, we will never be recorded to have existed in the world books that matter. You could be gold, but unless you’re refined by money, you’ll not glitter. Talents are butterflies; they soon leave when they find their hosts completely indifferent to them, and most regretfully, some categories of talents are utterly useless in the absence of money. The world of the rich is the real world, the world of the poor is just the outskirts of the world where every rich folk dumps his refuse and recruits his well-dressed slaves for his aristocratic exploitations he calls jobs. Nobody knows us in the world they call the world, the misery of our poverty is only talked about in afternoon news which instead of being watched by people, rich kids would rather play x-box or watch Cartoon Network, poor kids themselves would rather watch football, someone like me too would rather watch music videos on Trace or MTv.

So, at most reality, the world of the poor, as 90% and vast as it is, is only a shadow cast by what is really called living. Rich folks do not know that poor folks exist, at least they often forget they do unless briefly while they travel and are crowded upon by them to sell popcorns, boiled corns, snacks and handkerchief by the sides of the express roads.

This was a massive house in front of me. The florist who worked here was obviously not a cheap one. A quiet piece of Siamese twins, frescoed halfway, painted halfway, two-storeyed, and its courtyard littered with numerous cars covered up in tarpaulins. My lovely Toro became visible at a cleverly structured balcony looking down on the courtyard. The building itself was distanced from the gate but I could still feel the seductive wrath wreaked by the snoopy sweat top and shorts she wore, probably her idea of pajamas. My manhood was up immediately, and as I watched the gate slid open without anyone in sight opening it, the bulge was only continuing to bulge more, and I was anxiously like;
'ìwo nkan omokùnrin mi yìí, gbó òrò olúwa, gbó òrò olúwa, s’agbéjé mówó, wónmi síshan, óyá gba ìsinmi, gba ìsinmi lórúko Jésù Kristi olúwa wa, àmín; a prayer which was not answered.

What an embarrassing thing! I quickly thrust my left hand into my pocket to hold it to the left, waved back at Toro with my right hand as she waved me in. The door into the house was atop a porch which had three steps. The door opened remotely too and I walked in to find myself in this vestibule with luxurious stuffs. The sound of footsteps descending the steps was audible and Toro herself finally appeared before me in all her glory. The pajamas were a sweat top and shorts, too short to help my erection imposition and I could not flee but got more stirred by the spotlessness and purity of her thighs. Her gorgeous physique sat well on her gloriously curvilinear body and her decanter-shaped waist alongside her creamy hue of a complexion complemented her crescent-shaped eyebrows which eased down on velvet black, beetle’s leg eyelashes. When she broke into what through my hypnosis I recognized to be a smile, her enthralling oyster-white teeth lit up my spirits and her inviting lips jolted me like an electric current. She absently ran her fingers through the flowing spools of her moon shadow-black hair which epically plunged over her gallant shoulders.  Her wonderfully placed dentition said the entire welcome message without words and when she extended her hands, as soft as silk; I shook it gently, like they would be ruptured by my bony hands if I shook them too roughly.

“You have more space here than most of the other houses in this neighborhood,” groped I, “I like this place.”
“Thank you. Come.” She grabbed my hand and led me through this unbelievably furnished house.

Damn it! Money is gooooood! Was this a house or a museum? After walking through hallways with no doors, we emerged at what I took for the living room with a spiral staircase at the right side of it. I looked at the floor and saw myself looking back, huh… the ceiling was a large big painting of the sky, and the bulb was made to look like the sun. There was a ridiculously large flat screen TV by the left, displaying a football match which didn’t look real. The couches were put end to end in a rectangular manner; they couldn’t have been brought into the house, they must have been made there, too huge.

As we were about to walk up the staircase, a voice was uttered through jaws loosened by the complications of whiskey.

“Toro, you’re not going to introduce him to me?”

A tall huge guy suddenly emerged from the rectangular couches with a pad of video games in his hands. He was handsome and fair. He wore a black singlet and his breasts sagged a bit over his slightly bulged belly. He was wide in girth and tall in height. He was an overfed rich animal and a spark of tiny gold flickered around his neck, he was simply fat.

“Tunde, this is Teju, my brother I think I’ve mentioned to you once. Teju, this is Tunde, my friend.”
“Once would have been enough to mention of a troublesome brother, hum?” he vibrated like an old and worn-out refrigerator just switched on.

I extended my hands and he gripped it roughly, I couldn’t withdraw it even when I wanted to.

“I’m Teju, my friends call me Uncle T probably because I uncle over them a lot. I like your Rolex by the way, is it Platinum Pearlmaster or 1942 Chronograph? It looks, in fact, so original to me.”

That time, I let my hand slipped through his fat grip in escape.

“Forgive my sister’s manners,” he continued anyway.” “Anytime her heart gets broken by one of her numerous boyfriends, she always takes it out on me. You know, I don’t really blame her, it’s perfectly understandable, her real boyfriend has offended her again, and she’s on rebound again. She’s always not a sweetheart when she’s that. Just try your best in helping her through it okay? And don’t dare try to get in her skirts, she’s—”
“You’re drunk!” Toro cut him off and dragged me up the staircase.
“Her real boyfriend always comes back, you know,” he shouted after us. “You’d not want to be found with her. They always settle their quarrels and end up back together.”

About this wristwatch which this ridiculous agric pig identified as fake, I was not very bothered. The talks about Toro having numerous boyfriends and having a boyfriend who always comes back ground my gears more. And we got to a room with a transparent roof. I guess it would have a cover that could be unfurled at the pressing of a button. This house and sky-view ceilings! Nothing was in the room except the bed whose colour was as white as the room itself. A large white bed in a large white room with a white wide rug and a roof displaying a wide white sky! There was a mirror by the right at the side where the door swung to, seeing myself in it gave me refreshed confidence, I was smart.

“This is my room, please sit.”

This is it? No teddy bear? No show glass? No makeup table? No electronics? Well, I would soon see. I sat on the bed.

“I’m so sorry about Teju,” she said somberly. “You see why I had to invite you now? I can’t stand him. He’s so boring and uncouth.”
“I think it’s a bit of xenophobia and anthropophobia.” I shrugged.
“I said he’s only xenophobic and anthropophobic, nothing alarming.”
“And… what would anthropophobia mean? I know of xenophobia.”
“He’s afraid of strangers and people generally, not for himself but for you. He’s a protective brother. I wouldn’t hate him for who he is.”
“But you don’t know him. You just met him.”
“I don’t need to know more. A brother who cares for her sister’s social health is easily recognizable. You can’t hate him. Please don’t.”

She exhaled sharply at that point and looked at me deeply now through her paradise-spawn eyes with joie de vivre. A sculptor could not have fashioned her seraph’s ears and pixie’s nose any better.

“I’m sorry,” she said genuinely.
“It’s okay. Where’s dad and mum?”
“Mum’s in Italy, dad, in China. They don’t come to Nigeria that often. It’s always Teju and I. I’m not in the United States where mum wants me because of this program I’m doing in Covenant. She wanted me to come to Italy though, but she’s just like Teju, I can’t stand her. So, it’s better to be here.”
“They all love you, Toro, com’on. You’re a precious thing, you know. I know you’re not the person Teju is trying to paint for me, you’re an adorable lady and the kind of person you are, I’m in love with it. I would do the same thing if I were him. It’s brotherly thing.”

She squeezed the corners of her pretty mouth into a melodramatic smile.

“Well, forgive my bad manners, what would you like to eat?” she finally asked after a heavy sigh.

I glanced at her thighs again and lost control again. Gbó òrò olúwa ìwo kinní yíì sé! Oh those candy-sweet laps!

Aunt Ronke later came and asked if I’d like to take pepper soup, big plates of giant catfishes, fruits and wine were brought after I said yes. Our talks and laughter through the meal in their fanciful dining room was brief. This looked mostly like the moment Phillips described that she could want a kiss but I couldn’t just leave my food and go to carry such out and most likely spoil the whole thing. While we pulled back the chairs to leave the dining, I asked her about what she said she will show me.

“Oh that reminds me of your books, where are they?” she enquired with hands spread out.
“They’re in PDF, I’ll just send it.”

Before she could think of giving me her phone which I was afraid to not know how to operate, I requested for her email, said I would send the novels as attachments, I did instantly.

What Toro showed me was a piano in a room whose French windows were looking over the exquisite houses of Marwa Garden. She sat at it after she yanked the cover cloth off, looked up at me briefly, smiled and began to play. I smiled in return. I was beginning to love this girl more than the concept of infatuation. Two days earlier, I could never have imagined this friendship, this closeness but there we were. When a man would die, the same unexpectedness!

“Bravo!” I applauded her pianist skills even though I was more concerned at that moment with when I would get to kiss her than how well she played. I knew Mozart, Frédéric Chopin, Ludwig van Beethoven and others from the books I’ve read and films I’ve seen, but my love for piano actually had its birth from a film titled The Legend of 1900 I saw back in 2005. I never actually saw a piano before except in pictures and films, pardon me, I did see a couple of mini upright pianos back at college. The piano in front of me was an Erard piano also called the Dying Swan. I would later out of joblessness one day Google the La Mort du Cygne Erard masterpiece to discover that it was specially customized and built in 1906 by the top crop of French artists of the time. It featured a fruitwood veneer inlay that beautifully accented its striking golden-brown tan colour. It was mahogany and doesn’t cost much, just $409, 000, Eighty Million Naira only. I stopped clapping when Toro continued to play. Something amused me about how she played, she looked so serious, grooved forehead, squeezed face and furrowed brows; she was very spirited, the same way I made my face while I write. The notes sounded familiar now, and I stood there with my calm arms crossed across my not so broad chest. I knew the name of that song and the composer, and when she struck the final note, she looked up to receive my accolades. I clapped, straight from the shoulder.

“Wow, that’s Schumann’s Arabeske of 1839, composed to express his longing for his girlfriend, Clara Wieck, right?”

Her eyes widened.

“Yes! How did you know?”
“I love piano songs, Toro. Mozart, Chopin, Beethoven, Schumann, Liszt and others. But until today, I never really heard any of these melodies played directly from unrecorded strings. Toro, you are marvelous!”
“Humph…” she gasped blushingly. “Thanks. It seems we’ve started the lesson already. Come over here.”
“Ah! Oh no, I never touched a piano key before. You’ll have to chase me and drag me down there to start.”
“Come on!” She stood from the duet bench and flounced across to me, grabbed my hand and led me to the bench. I felt absolutely at home but anxious and unwilling.
“Shouldn’t you teach me how to compose and read notes first?”
“You don’t know that?”
“I don’t.”
“Poor little you!” She chortled and I kept staring at her obsessively. “Okay then, when should we start? Maybe we should pick another day when you’ll not be hasty at all.”

I could not be as smart as Phillips but there were certain things I was good at, being resourceful on my own in Phillips’ absence. I knew this girl was lonely; she needed a friend desperately, and that was why I got to be invited so quickly. It was weakness on her part but I guess she was safe in my hands; I would never selfishly exploit the Achilles' heel.

“I’ll create time constantly,” I added.

Then the piercing silence, begging me to change direction! She just sat there, trying to pretend she was looking at something on the wall behind me. I turned my head to look, not even a painting or a photo frame was there; I looked back to find her eyes on me. At first, nothing happened until suddenly when nothing still happened and I was lost in the gape. My eyes stylishly went down to her fingers, and there they were, sweeping over the bench idly.

That was it, I swore, that was what Philips described!

“You’re beautiful,” I began spontaneously. “Stupid me! Beautiful is even an understatement but I just can’t find the word. You’re such a glowing hope, mending shattered dreams. You once said dating you is like playing with a sword, I would bleed. Well, what about loving you? I guess that’s like walking through an amusement park, isn’t it? You just go and go, wouldn’t know where to begin the fun. Toro… I love you so much.”

She said nothing and continued to look at me searchingly.

At some point later, she shook her head pitifully and said, “You talk too much,” and what followed was her right arm around my neck and her soft left palm on my right cheek. Her heart-shaped lips came up to me like lenient judgment and this great thing happened, it’s popularly called kissing; French kissing to be specific. The closest kissing to this kind of kissing slashed across my life history in just fifteen seconds like ten years before, ever since then, I’ve only dated girls who didn’t get the idea of what kissing was supposed to be, the girl I even ever loved most honestly in my life before I met Toro never allowed me to kiss her and I’ve been unconsciously hungry for it. This was kissing and a lot of tongue actions were involved; it was a rabid kissing and as my hand sailed across her viscera world in ninety days with my appendage out of control, I could not help but close my eyes to enjoy the nectar-sweet lips and digest this reality, that this girl whose nectar-sweet lips were in mine was the girl I met few days ago receiving a call by the banister of one of our balconies in school. A girl I so much prepared to meet at Saffron Spice in V.I., a girl who paid for the dinner; the Cadillac girl! I was conscious of the fact that it was happening too soon though, and being echoingly threatened by Teju’s words of a boyfriend who always comes back, I was afraid it would end too soon just the way it began too soon.

Another hemisphere of my mind however assured me that destiny determines fate, not pesky little proverbs, threats, speculations, and ex boyfriends. To our disappointment, the romantic scene was interrupted by an intruder who appeared at the door, clapping. Even after we bounced apart, he continued to clap with a crinkled forehead and puckered mouth. And there we were again, like this movie scene in the First Season of Vampire Diaries, Damon Salvatore bent on dissuading Elena Gilbert from dating his brother, Stefan Salvatore.

“Must you fuck everyone in this city? What’s wrong with you?” he screeched after our attentions were piqued. “I think I’ll have to call mum and have your ass dragged back to New York, I won’t tolerate this. This nonsense that you’re doing ends now. Mr. man, prepare to leave for your house please or else I’ll call the police.”
“You’re drunk.” Toro snapped.
“Indeed I am, and you’re ridiculous. I’ll sleep soon, my drunkenness will wear off and I’ll wake up sober but you’ll still be ridiculous.”

He dropped a brown envelope on the floor and jammed the door closed behind him as he rumbled down the stairs.

“It’s not true. I never brought any guy home before. I’m not fucking everyone in this… city.” The ‘city’ was pronounced in sobs after the ‘everyone’ came as a shrill screech, and she covered her face while she sank unto the floor, on her knees.

I rushed to her and pulled her up by her arms.

“I know what he’s trying to do. He wants to scare me away and I’m not a type who gets scared easily. I know you’re a decent soul, all you care about is exploring your talents and making the world a better place.” That was a good hype. “Any sensible brother would do what Teju is doing to protect you from bad boys of Lagos. I’m here, just look at me—look at me, come here. It’s okay ehn, yes, good, that’s okay. I love you.”

I housed her in my arms and we remained like that for like two minutes before she finally stopped sobbing. I loved that I was lucky to play that role even though it was a troubled time.

She went forward to pick the envelope Teju had dropped on the floor the other time. It was mailed to her from the United States. She unsealed it and dipped her hand to withdraw a piece of scented paper and a disc. I read the paper in her hand as: “I could’ve emailed this but I want to be traditional now, like you’ve always wanted. The song is composed for you. Kevin.”

I wanted to ask who Kevin was but I held it to myself.

We went to her room, and she pushed a button on the wall, really, all the walls suddenly closed up as if they were just strung up before, and the previously white room with nothing but the bed changed to a brown room with joinery made of imported mahogany. There was a TV bolted to the wall and a Samsung home theatre, a lot of teddy bears, pictures of her graduation and kiddy days on the wall. I looked at them admirably and let her knew I admired them. She went on to play the disc anyway and I had to turn to her direction when a familiar sound came up; she was sitting on the bed then.

“Toro, I am humble, finally I understand, your precious heart was never meant to be treated this way. You suffered great injustice, from my guilty careless hands. I tender an apology and one long overdue.
“I am sorry, Toro I am sorry, hear my song, I know I sing the truth. Although we were both the cause, I reach for kindness in your heart tonight. And if you can forgive, and if you can forget, love can truly live. And if you can forgive, and if you can forget, love can truly live,” followed by a lot of captivating sound works and then the second verse.
“Toro, I am frightened, but I’ll use my final breath, to tell you that I’m sorry, let us end this dance of pride, an eternity of loneliness, that to my heart I’ve sent, here I am now with my amends, the pointless conflict ends.
“I am sorry, Toro I am sorry, hear my song, I know I sing the truth. Although we were both the cause, I reach for kindness in your heart tonight. And if you can forgive, and if you can forgive, love can truly live. And if you can forgive, and if you can forget, love… love will truly live.”

I was aced.

If you did not hear the song and the kind of underground instrumentals that accompanied it, not to mention the sweet voice, you would never be able to imagine how impressively compelling the song was. Toro was crying again and I looked totally out of date. Of course that was Kevin, the boyfriend who always comes back, and his intentions to come back were clearly expressed then. I knew she still loved him and perhaps she was truly on rebound. Holy shit! My own story was only beginning, how could it be heading to an end so quickly? It began too soon, so, must it end too soon? It better not!

I surged down to her, sat beside her and cuddled her in my arms again. As we sat quietly there, I tried to figure out how that song came to sound familiar. Then it came to me like a great avalanche. The original version of that song was titled Apology and it was composed by Diego Luna and Gustavo Santaolalla, used in a bullfighters Cartoon film titled Book of Life. I saw the film on Ibrahim’s laptop like a year before. Damn it, that guy restructured the lyrics so perfectly and I was sure he got the idea from the fact that Toro was also the first word in that song too, onlythat Toro was not a beautiful girl but an angry giant hell-spawn bull. Who was this Kevin for God’s sake!

“Tunde!” that was Teju calling my name from downstairs. “What game can you play?”
“Ignore him,” mumbled Toro angrily, wiping her face. I had not an idea of the remarks to pass on the song we just played. For the first time in that place, I was uncomfortable, I wanted to go home.

Teju pushed the door open slowly and there he was again. I was worried he finally brought his police.

“Tunde, leave that girl, look at her, mtcheewww, pretentious little bitch.”

At that point, I wanted to be Toro’s champion and stand up for her but she was in action herself, flung two pillows at Teju at once. One hit him in the face, the other hit the door, and she pushed him back and slammed the door in his face; latched it after then. Teju only laughed.

“I only wanted to borrow your new boyfriend, that’s all,” he was saying behind the door. “Tunde, don’t you like Chess? I also have Monopoly, Risk, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, Othello, Backgammon, Checkers and numerous video games. You can’t choose that girl over those, man!”

He descended the stairs when he received no response.

“Kevin is my ex,” said Toro finally. “He’s Teju’s friend. He was too proud and dominating for my liking. I don’t want to return to him.”
“Then don’t. You’re a smart girl, you’ll overcome his tricks.” I nestled her.

Two things were spoilt that day; my first chance of sex which could have enhanced my chances and establishment in her life, and her good mood. She was the one who asked when I was leaving and since I already wanted to go home, I said I just remembered that I’ve got some assignments to do at home. So I was seen to the door, and Teju didn’t even respond to my parting pleasantry when I passed by the living room, he was busy tapping on the pads. I hated that guy, if I said I didn’t, that would be a lie, but it was unfortunately my responsibility to not show it.

On the bus back home, I phoned Phillips.

“How’s it going?” he asked.
“I’m on my way back home,” I replied jadedly.
“So, how was it?” he asked suspiciously.
“We have a problem, buddy.” I told him regretfully and ended the call.

....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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