He was the only child of his parents, the Omotayos, who were not particularly rich nor poor, but they always made sure he had everything he needed at his disposal. Perhaps his intelligence was the assurance they needed to spur them on or the bitter acceptance of the grim knowledge that his mother couldn’t bear another child. She had undergone an operation for fibroid and the family had duly decided she wasn’t to get pregnant again to avoid any further complications. Everything had changed though as soon as he had begun his tertiary education away from the eagle eyes of his parents; he finally had the freedom he had always craved and didn’t fall to utilize it. His handsome features meant he never stopped receiving attention from members of the opposite sex and even though he didn’t show commitment to anyone, they never stopped coming. In his second year in the institution, he won the award for the Most Handsome Law Student and this brought him further into the spotlight.
However Kelechi was tired of being the center of attraction. He was tired of being on the receiving end of inviting smiles and sensual gestures, he wanted more difficult adventures, ladies who would play hard and that was what had drawn him to Pearl the moment their parts crossed. Pearl had rebuffed his attempts to begin a conversation on numerous occasions. In one instance she had even vowed to trace him and do weird things to him if he didn’t steer clear. But this only further fueled Kelechi’s interest, he had found a worthy challenge and he didn’t plan to lose, at least not yet. He kept hounding after her until she finally conceded defeat and gave him a chance. Since then he hadn’t looked back and now they were as close as ever, all that was left was meeting her in person which he was going to complete soon.
In less than twenty-five minutes he was at the bus stop, finding shelter under the roof of an electronics store. The rain was still pouring and one part of him wanted it to continue that way as it would afford him the opportunity to sleep over at Pearl’s home. He licked his lips at the thought of several possible scenarios, none involved him going back to campus that night. He decided to call his host then to inform her of his arrival. “Hello P. I’m at the bus stop now.” He shouted into the receiver as soon as she’d picked. “Oh no! I had been trying your number to tell you not to bother coming since the weather was getting really unfriendly.” He impatiently grumbled something incoherent into the receiver as she paused briefly. “I wouldn’t want you being uncomfortable on our first date. Hold on though, I’ll be there with an umbrella soon.” She concluded, ending the connection before he even had a chance to say anything. He shivered, aware that he might be battling a cold shortly. Soon enough though, he saw a figure smiling and waving at him from across the street. He was stunned at what he was seeing but recovered in time to close his parted lips and return the smile as he ran out to meet her.
She was a total opposite of what he had envisaged, he realized, as he made silent curses on whoever had invented photo editing applications. The sexy, curvaceous Pearl he had stayed late into the night chatting with and had spent hours talking with on the phone was totally different from the gargoyle smiling at him. This one had red eyes with a short scar just close to her left ear. He gaped, shocked at the realization that It looked like something she might have gotten during a bottle fight. Her legs were very tiny while her hitherto full hips looked nonexistent, even her face that had shone so brightly in her pictures had numerous black spots and her complexion reeked of shoddy skin-lightening products; she needed to take classes on proper skin bleaching procedures, he thought. Her palms were also very strong, like someone who had been weightlifting and to crown it all, she had the tattoo of a scorpion on her left arm. He felt instantly uneasy and wished he had listened to Sarah and stayed behind.
“I’m really sorry to see you experience this. Follow me, let’s get to my home, it’s just at the corner,” Pearl offered. But Kelechi was lost in thoughts. Why on earth hadn’t he asked for her full pictures, he thought, as it dawned on him all her pictures he had seen were selfie shots. He was going to be sharing the next hours with an imp. He shook his head slightly, that noun was even less descriptive, she was as amorphous as anyone could imagine. He sighed again, not knowing which word would better qualify her, and this time his sigh was loud, he didn’t bother hiding his discontent. “Oh, are you cold? Awwn! Alright come closer, let me hold you. We’ll be home soon.” She volunteered sincerely as she intertwined her left arm around his, wrapping them closer while using her right hand to handle the tiny umbrella.
“Never mind, I’m okay.” Kelechi ruefully replied. He was going to make sure he left when the slightest opportunity presented itself, whenever that would be. What would his roommates be thinking now? Perhaps he was cuddled close to pretty Pearl, or they were both sat on her couch, legs folded, skimming through her photo album or he was probably getting himself lost in intimate sessions with her. He cursed himself again, gritting his teeth. He had definitely used every means to flaunt his latest online catch to them, and hadn’t even listened when Waheed his religiously-inclined bunkmate had suggested he thread cautiously by first seeing a natural picture of her. His other roommate, Philip, was more socially active, or so he had thought, after all Philip was the most sought after in his department, The Department of Dentistry, under the School of Medicine. Philip had been the one to suggest he visited Pearl this late so that if things eventually went smoothly he could have her name written boldly in the long list of ladies he’d conquered. He wished the rain had started before he even found a bus, he wished her phone call to him had gone through and their plans had been cancelled, he wished the test which was previously scheduled to hold that evening before being moved to the next day had held, but those were just few of the many wishes he would be
They walked in silence as Pearl led the way, trying with little success to avoid the squishy parts of the narrow road. They went past a dilapidated secondary school that had the look of a cemetery before crossing over to join some school boys who were waiting their turn to use the lone bridge across a canal. The tiny wood that served as the footpath over the canal was nothing near sturdy. It was termite-ridden and perilously bent in several places and as they meticulously navigated their way past, the bridge creaked in obvious agony. Kelechi couldn’t help but wonder to himself how many people would have been buried under the black unpleasant waters below, the place could metaphorically pass as a junction of death. He exhaled deeply as soon as their feet touched solid ground, using the back of his hand to wipe the beads of perspiration that had come to settle on his forehead, at that point he wasn’t sure whether it was sweat or droplets of water from the rain.
To be continued