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“You have to let him go. I warned you about that Bobby guy but you wouldn’t listen. Now, see how he’s screwed up.” In between Uju’s words and the ensuing silence , she knew, Jael was deeply hurt and sobbing. She wished it was just this moment on the phone that separated them , and she could hang up and rush over to her place but she was in Faraway Bayelsa negotiating a deal for her company in supplies and staff maintenance.
“Jael..hello, are you there?”
“Yeah, I am Uju. Sorry, I was silent. My head’s a blur.”
“Hmm, baby girl. So, did you even hear any of my words at all?”
“Oh, I did. And I accept that it’s all my fault. I wish I listened to you but that’s by the way now. Water over the bridge. So, tell me, babes. How’s Yenagoa? Jael’s switch up game was instant. If they hadn’t been friends for over 10 years right from secondary school, even Uju would have struggled to come to terms with her sudden clear-headed reaction like she hadn’t been at the point of tears when she had called.
“Well, Yenagoa has been great, babe. You would have loved the sanity here. Great Metro too and the people are a happy bunch. Nobody pushing and kicking or cussing. Life in these parts is a lot cooler, my dear.”
“Wow, seems like my girl is mixing business and pleasure well,” Jael teased. Knowing her friend and her love for thrilling vanities. She wouldn’t put it past her to have had some roll in the hay already.
“Wetin woman go do now.” They both laugh to this explicit suggestion of naughtiness. “Well, hmm, I met a man. A hunk with the Junk and damn. His prick put me in my place.” And as expected, there was another round of laughter. Uju never hesitated to regale her with her locker-room narratives, detailed in lust and sensuality. She knew a steamy description would follow soon. She only hoped, it doesn’t trigger some of hers in anyway. Even the thought of that possibility was embarrassing.
“I know you sure wanna hear all the juice. Something to lift you away from your despair. Ashewo.”
“I learnt Ashewo excellence from you sweetie.” It felt so good that they could share everything about their personal lives with each other . And laugh about it without worrying who’s going to rat out the other. Theirs was a bond steeped in unconditional trust. She was grateful for having Uju in her corner.
“Alright. I will gist you but that’s gonna be tonight. Gotta meet with one of the governor’s trusted aides. Since it’s a back channel contract, these governors don’t like to get involved cos of future prosecution so they use mules and conduits. To cover their tracks. Smart sinners.”
“No be small thing. This Nigeria ain’t getting better in 50 years.”
“Scratch that. This country ain’t getting better in forever. The top guys who benefit from corruption ain’t gonna watch anybody pour sand in their pepper soup. And as long as I am benefitting too, I can’t complain.”
“Even you sef na criminal. Well, I can’t wait to hear your story tonight.”
When she knocked on his door, she didn’t know what the hell she was looking for but she had to talk to him. No matter what the future held for them. It was just some minutes past 3am and surprisingly he wasn’t bringing down the roof in his usual chaotic snoring. When she knocked on the door again for the umpteenth time, she pushed it open gently and saw Bobby awake and sitting by his tech corner. He was staring blankly into the luminous blue and red bulbs draped across the tiled ceiling. She was sure he wasn’t even aware she had stepped in.
“Bobby, are you okay? …. If you don’t want to talk or ain’t in the mood to even behold my presence, I’ll understand and go away. I’m sorry this even happened.” Her voice tailed off as soon as he came to the realization that someone else had invaded his space. His eyes were misty and it seemed without a doubt that he had been crying and for Bobby, this was a first.
“No, don’t leave Jass. Stay with me. I – I surely nee–ed you now cos I seem so lost and alone.” Those words may have been forced and incoherent but coming from her best friend, she had a rock come off. This was cheering news. Something she needed to hear lest she breaks down herself.
She walked gingerly now to where he sat and cupped his face in her hands, what happened next has been recorded in the secret vaults of passion located in the naked hills of Clitoritz.
The night had been slow and she had barely found sleep as thoughts of Bobby flashed through. The sound of his laughter and impressionable smile had left an impression but his wit and quick fingers in the bathtub still evoked such sensations that made her squirm. She had fiddled with these thoughts in the shower and her phone when she got out. A thousand other voices told her not to call him. He wasn’t even worth a thought but who are they question a stricken woman. She needed to forget about him and fast. How she would achieve that given the fondness he had driven into her worried her but she had to find a way… A way to be free.
She eases into her bedroom slip-on and hurried out into the kitchen. Maybe a steamy cup of coffee spiced with garlic could set her up for a few hours of rest before she embraced the reality of dawn and an 8am resumption at work.