Short Prose: “One of His Catch” Joshua Oyenigbehin
I had been watching him closely now. He has been punching on his phone for hours now. This is not Shola I use to know. Is this the same guy who was obsessed with my face, who always to wanted a feel of my hair? The same person who will rather cuddle me than to pick a call from his mother. Now, I stand right in his presence as though I don’t exist. He smiles at his phone like a junky.
We met in the Church months back. He said he joined the ushering department because of my pretty face. “I am a church boy today because of you” he had said, as though it was a testimony worth sharing with the pastor. I scolded him for doing the work of God because of a lady’s “Pretty Face”. But I thought he was honest. I liked his confidence. At least he was not like some guys who will be crushing on you from afar. He was crazily different and bold.
Who could he be chatting with? What are they chatting about? These questions troubled my mind. I pretended I was watching the television, I was, in fact, staring curiously as he flashed his teeth regularly in a bright smile. I thought he said that he was fond of me, but he was now frolicking with somebody at the other end of the phone connection.
“Shola, your food is ready,” I said.
“Rose, Leave it on the table, I will come and get it”
“Who exactly are you talking to?” I was angry, but I did want to be a nag. I can accept being ignored, but not the food I spent my money and time to prepare.
“None of your business” he muttered, he didn’t even look at me.
I felt I was talking to a stranger, I have never met this Shola before. I fear that I might have done something to offend him. Maybe I didn’t use the toothpaste right, Pastor Matthew said that minor things like that can destroy a relationship.
I can never forget how he travelled down to Lagos from Sokoto, where he was servicing, to surprise me on my birthday. I felt he was crazy. He said he was in love and that crazy he was part of love.
I still wondered why the lunatic show of love. He made me lower my guide. I had told myself that I will not date a person younger than me or somebody who was not ready to get married within a year of courtship. Then I saw myself throwing these standards into the river. He pitched an idea of love I couldn’t reject.
The thought of his love weakens me. I felt intoxicated by it. Now I don’t fell in control. My love for him overwhelmed my fear for my father. Just last week, I spent the night at a clubhouse. I felt the face of my father haunting me as disco light illuminate the dark veil on the faces of those who were dancing like they don’t care. I didn’t care myself.
Shola started mounting pressure on me to let go of the cookie jar. He said our love will grow if I fed with it with the cookies.
“It’s not going to happen, I am a Christian. You should know better” I will say when he asked.
“It’s just a show of affection” He had said with his persuasive cat eyes
It’s not as if I had not let go of the cookie jar in time past, but I was determined not let a cookie escape this time until my nuptial night.
However, I compromised last night, I just wanted to spice our relationship. I felt one night with him won’t hurt. But I insisted he used protection. I had no reason to doubt his intentions. Moreover, Deedi had sex with the love of her life and they are happily married now. Our Love could work
Now I am worried that he’s acting up. I wondered if I was not what a real woman should be to a real man last Night. I wanted to know what was happening at least.
“What wrong with you Shola? Why are you acting like this?” I asked I tweaked my voice to be a little romantic. My mom does it a lot to daddy and it seemed to work.
“Rose, let me be. I am not in the mood”
“I really need to know what wrong”
“You know what, let me eat the food you prepared” He left without his phone, which was plugged.
I knew he was not the problem, his phone was. I took his phone. I knew his password, but he didn’t know that I knew. I was curious to know what the was giggling about. Then I saw the chat. It wasn’t as hilarious as I thought.
“I got her, I got her last Night”
“Bad guy, that your fiftieth, right?” Raymond responded. “This guy you are on the rampage despite your HIV status”
“Yeah, you can say that again. I am not stopping anytime soon”
“What about the church girl now”
“She is in the trash can”
I didn’t know when the phone slipped off my hand. Tears dripped from my eyes. I really felt trashy. I have been used and will be dumped. I am just one of his catch.