TOUCH

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So like I mentioned in my last post, I got my revenge here on my friend TJ. Next time, he’ll know not to cast me in such a mischievous way in his stories. I swear I shivered when I saw what he did so it’s nice to get one over him.  By the way, this was inspired by one very correct music video… No prizes for guessing right but I’ll love to see anyone try.

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TJ looked at Sabre as she stared at the newspaper in her hands. Then he heard the spattering sound of tears hitting the paper before she flung it on the table in frustration. She didn’t look at him. She now knew what had happened and it would be hard to take. He understood. It would be difficult for not to react like she was reacting now.So far, it’s been hopeless. She wasn’t even acting like he was there, the sadness, anger and misery was all consuming so he just sat there and watched her go through the emotions ravaging her.

Sabre has always been expressive anyway, he’s the contained one. Thinking about it now, he chuckled upon the realisation that he’s never called her Tolu; or any name other than Sabre. That was the name he got when they met online. The name struck him because it reminded him of Diego, the tiger character in Ice Age and this was the only reason he added her as a friend. Once she accepted the request, she noticed his really cynical personal post and asked him what got him so pissed.

“Hey.”

“Hi.”

“Added you from NaijaPings just in case you’re gonna go all ‘where did you get my PIN?’ on me”

“LOL! Nah that’s okay, I know.I’m not that type.”

“Good, saves me energy. I’m lazy like that.”

“Thanks for the heads up. I bet you’re an angry one tho, going by your last post. Is there anyone you wanna kick to the curb?”

“Hahaha, no. I just get to think of random stuff sometimes and I put it all up. By the way, what’s behind your Sabre name, hope you don’t bite?”

So he sat at his desk in the office smiling at his phone (like an idiot) for an hour while chatting with a complete stranger.  They talked about Sabre-toothed tigers, Diego and Ice Age cartoons, and a ton of stuff he probably won’t be talking about with just anyone, much less for an hour up till the point when Sabre asked, “Hold up TJ, what the hell are we?”

“I have no idea kitty; I guess there’s a lot of time to find out.”

And find out they did, that they’re what people would readily call soul mates. It was all so wonderful till what happened threatened to destroy everything they had come through. He was still trying to go through the events when he heard the sound of a briefcase snap shut.

She was leaving.

“Don’t go. Please!”

She didn’t even look back.

He didn’t say anything else but kept repeating the same three words as he followed her down three floors.

“Don’t go. Please…”

Still there was no answer other than Sabre’s losing struggle to muffle her sobs and stop herself from shaking. She put her luggage in the trunk and got in the driver’s seat. There was no way she’ll be staying inside that house, not after what she saw inside the paper.TJ told her he was travelling to Ibadan and would call her when he got there.He didn’t call and she didn’t hear from him. She wouldn’t have known what happened if she didn’t see that newspaper. After seeing it, she wished the vendor didn’t come around that day. She’d prefer living in ignorant bliss and since that had been taken away, she felt her only remaining choice was to getaway from the pain.

People deal with pain differently; some go through it by connecting themselves to whatever remains of pleasant memories while others try to get themselves away from anything that would remind them of the pain. She didn’t want to see her pencil-drawn portrait on the wall – TJ drew it. Neither did she want to go anywhere near the kitchen because they cooked together. She’d smear his shirt just so he’d take it off and he’d do the same. It was where they played the silliest games. The couch would be untouchable because they cuddled there while occasionally wrestling for the TV remote.

Sabre wanted no memory, no reminder of what was, and definitely didn’t want to stay where she’ll be surrounded by memorabilia; she was better off leaving.

It’s a futile enterprise and she knew it. You can’t leave pain behind, especially not by vacating a location. It follows like a stray dog stalking a stranger.

“Don’t go…Please!”

She still didn’t act like she heard him.

Banishing those thoughts from to the innermost recesses of her mind for the time being, she pulled out into the street in Ogba and headed for Ojodu. As for her actual destination, she had no idea. Perhaps she’ll drive around for a bit before deciding. Go back home or stay a while with her best friend, Dotun? Another decision she put on hold.

Sabre was off now, and to stop her TJ ran after the car as fast as he could. If he can overtake her before she entered a major road, she’ll stop – except if she didn’t mind running him over.

He was too late.

She was wiping tears off her face while looking into the rear view mirror when she ran a red light at the intersection in front of Excellence Hotel. An oncoming truck hit the car broadside and didn’t stop for another ten metres. TJ screamed. In seconds a crowd had gathered to help pull the victim out of the wreckage. To the amazement of her rescuers, save for a small bruise on her forehead, Sabre was fine. A policeman motioned for her to follow him into the Area G Divisional Headquarters which was a stone throw away from the site of the accident.

That was when she saw him.

TJ stood on the other side of the road. He was still wearing the same shirt he wore when he left home. The silly smile she had become so used to was on his face. After her near death experience all she wanted to do was hug him so she ran into his open arms.Still in his arms, he finally said what he’d wanted to say all the time she ignored him back at the apartment.

“I’ll always love you, never forget that.”

“I know.”

The policeman, puzzled as to why the young lady stood motionless on the sidewalk, walked back and urged her on.In his hand was that morning’s newspaper with a short headline and passport photo of TJ at the bottom corner:

“MAN, 29, DIES IN AUTO CRASH ON LAGOS-IBADAN EXPRESSWAY.”

RUBBER BAND VOWS

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There I was on a lazy weekend when I saw the red blinking LED light on my phone, it was a Facebook notification. A writer friend of mine Tarfa ‘TJ’ Benson just sent me a message: “So here’s the thing, I find people’s trouble, here’s your turn..lol.” So here it is, I do hope you enjoy it. Plus I got my revenge a few days ago. Would publish that one next.

“You can’t break up with me…” he said, reclining in boxer-shorts on the sofa.

“I can.” she said, strutting half naked to where he sat, bending down to kiss him. Her lips moved over his, easy and familiar. When his hands reached for her waist, she sprung up and rubbed her forehead like she was suffering a migraine. “It’s been a blast.” She declared to the ceiling like it held a screen that replayed summer. “But the training and workshop is over so…”

“Well like I said, you can’t just break up with me.”

“Why?” She turned to the mirror and fixed her earrings. “Because you think you are a god in bed?”

He ran a hand into his scalp. “No, because we are married.” He held up his index finger which had a rubber band wound round it. She stopped packing, covered her mouth to stifle a laugh. “My God you’re still with that thing!”

“I did say till death do us part you know.”

She shook her head and smiled a sad smile at her reflection in the mirror as she drew an identical arc on the lips of each eyelid. “And what will you tell your pastor papa when you get back to Nigeria? That you have been living in sin?”

“No.” he stood up to his full height and her breath seized for some seconds as he loped to her with the calm grace of a tiger, his cross eyes dancing at her in her negligee. His eyes always gave her a delicious sense of suffocation, free from binocular vision they probed different parts of her at the same time. “I’ll tell him that he has a daughter in-law, the child of his best friend.” He pecked her cheek. “He’d be the happiest father in-law on earth.”

She zipped her traveling bag. “So we were-” he bit her earlobe “-okay ARE attracted to ourselves and we didn’t want to break our promises to God to keep ourselves till marriage, and so we did a phony exchange of vows as our clothes fell to the ground, I wonder if we even finished reciting them sef.”

“I remember reciting the most important part, till death do us part.”

“Jesus Christ Deoye! What if we are different people at the end of the day? What if we can’t stand each other, you know attraction is not enough to build a lasting relationship.”

“We’re just ordinary people…” he sang in a mock John Legend voice. “…Maybe we should take it slow…”

She shook her head and sighed. “I just knew coming for this summer training with you will land me into trouble, I knew it!”

“You knew it was long coming.”

“And i encouraged it.” she was pacing the room now, no more in amusement. “I told myself sharing a room with you will make us look good to the company, saving lodging costs and all that.” she stopped at the center of the room and regarded him on the bed, with a scowl. “You know the only reason MD let us share a room was because we grew up together, because we are family friends.”

“It was God at work.”

She ignored his opinion. “Now that we’ve made the mistake let’s correct ourselves before we offend God again, by divorcing.”

“We didn’t make any mistake.” Deoye corrected. “We are in love, we exchanged marital vows.”

“Yes, and rubber bands.” She pulled on a dress. Then she turned sideways at him on the bed, her hands pulling her braids into a bun on top of her head. “And who will you say officiated the matrimony? Who was the priest?”

He shrugged lazily on the bed. “Jesus Christ.”

“WHAT!”

“Hebrew  says Jesus is the everlasting High Priest, Hebrews 8 verse 1 says so…” she was stunned, there was something wrong about the guy who’d worked fireworks in her body lying half-naked and seriously quoting the Holy scriptures. “More so, Mathew 18 verses 18 and 19 tell us that whatever we agree on earth will be done in heaven.”

She just watched in awe as he said these things, she couldn’t move if it would save her life.

The door flew open.

“Oops, I’m sorry…” the African-American maid was embarrassed, her glances shuttling from her to Deoye on the bed. “Just that…your boss waits for you in the lobby.” The woman disappeared back into the hallway.

She picked up her travelling kit and pulled it out of the room, as quickly as she could, before Deoye could say something again.

“So you…” he said casually, not worried that the boss waited for them in the lobby.  “What will you do when you get back to Nigeria? Will you be able to just leave everything here and continue your life?”

She shrugged slightly at the door before shutting it behind her, “Well I’m catholic; I’ll just go for a Friday confession.”