THE VALLEY

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Damn this Lagos traffic!

I cursed out loud while banging hard on the steering wheel of my car… My brand new Mercedes Benz, the latest Eclass, the E350… Boy I loved this car! It was the stuff dreams were made of…it was like driving a mini five star hotel suite on four wheels… I smiled to myself, thinking about how far I’d come. From hopping on okadas and moluwes, to driving a rotten, weather beaten Peugeot 504. Kai, that 504 sha, had brought me so much shame and embarrassment on numerous occasions.

But that 504 was special to me for a reason…Because I was driving it the day I met the love of my life…Kikelomo, or kiki as I got used to calling her with time.

I still remember, I was driving out of Ogudu G.R.A, heading out of my aunt’s estate. I had gone to visit her and her new born set of twins. Those twins were the cutest things I had ever seen…well, until I spotted something, sorry, someone way cuter. I was driving at top speed, well the fastest that thing of a car could go was about forty kph, not that the speedometer was working sef, or the A/C for that matter. I was hurrying to beat what looked like a thunderstorm…with the sky already grey and light drops of rain already splattering on my windscreen.

I can’t afford to get caught in this rain o…chai! I said out loud…I knew my wipers were not working, and so I’d have to park the car if the rain started, and this one looked pretty heavy… And there she was, standing there! By the side of the road, a frantic look of worry on her face. Trying to clutch her bag with one hand and hail a bus at the same time. Obviously hoping and praying to get one before the rain got really heavy.

Even from a fair distance, she looked beautiful…Her long dark hair being blown backwards by the heavy wind…Looking smart and sexy in a black, fitted skirt suit, the skirt the perfect length…Just above her knees revealing long, nice legs enhanced even further by a lovely set of black heels.

Without even processing my thoughts, I had parked in front of her, not minding the fact that my car looked like something from a scrap yard…By this time the rain had gone from a drizzle and was starting to fall slightly heavily.

I didn’t really know what to say, being the shy type. I wasn’t used to approaching women, or giving them lifts for that matter, which I guess was why I was still single at the time… “Would you like me to help you?” I asked, leaning sideways in her direction…She looked slightly surprised as she leaned forward. She hesitated before replying…”errr…no thank you, I’ll be fine, I’ll just wait for a bus”…the rain was getting heavier…What was I expecting?  That she’d be excited and jump into my poor excuse for a car? But at this point I realised she was going to get drenched if she didn’t hop in, so I made another offer…

“Can I help you out, so the rain doesn’t beat you…”?

At this point she heaved a helpless sigh and tried to open the door…but she couldn’t. The door handle, like ninety percent of the things in the 504 weren’t working. I had to get down and run over to her side of the door, getting more than my fair feel of the rain in the process.  I managed to use my skill to get the door open and held it for her as she got in…I caught a whiff of her perfume and my…it was intoxicating, in a wonderful way.

I got back into the car and guess what? It wouldn’t start! I gave her a sheepish smile and tried to turn the keys again. The engine moaned and grunted but just wouldn’t come to life…By this time the rain had really started pouring heavily.

I heaved a deep sigh…letting out a mixture of shame and embarrassment. My car had disgraced me again…My noble steed had let me down in front of this damsel. I was sure if I was white my entire face would have turned red.

“I’m really sorry about this” I turned to tell her…Gosh! She was beautiful…I looked at her properly for the first time. She had the most lovely eyes, and the most beautiful face I’d ever seen. And then, she smiled, and I was in dreamland. She had a lovely, white set of teeth and… dimples! I was a sucker for dimples…even on an average looking woman. But on someone like this, I was gone!

I tried to take in as much of her as I could without making it look obvious…She looked slightly over six feet, without the heels, a guess!…had nice curves…and her skirt had moved slightly upwards, revealing nice looking laps…the perfect sneak peek.

She refused to accept my apology…rather she said “Sorry? You don’t have to be sorry…I should be the one apologising, because I’m sure if you hadn’t come down to rescue me from the rain, you wouldn’t have turned off your car. Thanks so much and sorry for the inconvenience…”

I had never believed in love at first sight up till that point, but I was about to be converted. Her voice…something about the way she spoke and the fact she was being really sweet and polite, made my heart beat faster than I wanted to admit.

She told me to forget trying to check what was wrong with the car until the rain was over…So I didn’t, we sat in the car for over an hour…till the rain stopped. That one hour, was the best sixty minutes of my life. We laughed and chatted and got to know each other.

I found out her name was Kikelomo and she worked at the Zenith Bank just down the road…She was the first daughter in a family of four girls, lived with her parents in Ikeja and had graduated with a second class upper from the University of Lagos three years ago. And…she was single! Her last boyfriend had dumped her for her best friend over a year ago and since then she hadn’t dated anyone. She jokingly said she was even considering dating women to avoid further heartbreaks.

I told her I was the second child from a family of three. I had an older and younger sister. Being an only son, I had never known my father because he left my mother when I was only five years old. I had studied Petroleum Engineering and had graduated more than five years ago, but hadn’t been able to get any job after my NYSC…till date. I was open and honest to her about everything she asked me…and for some reason, I felt so comfortable about it.

She was Yoruba, and honestly, I have absolutely nothing against Yoruba people but I had always avoided Yoruba girls…I don’t know why, I just had never been fond of them. But when she told me her name, kikelomo, and that she was from Osun state, for some reason, I didn’t mind. I couldn’t care where she was from…I knew something already, I was in love.

It was as if we’d known each other for years…We shared jokes and talked about everything and asked each other questions about our lives. We were so free with each other…She was charming, carefree and down to earth, laughed a lot, smiled at almost everything I said and even punched me playfully on the arm once or twice…All this time, the rain kept falling…and I prayed it wouldn’t stop.

Two weeks later, we went on our first date…It was amazing. I refused to call it a date because it was a local bukka around my house in Surulere. But she insisted it was a date…so a date we called it.

We could hardly go more than a day without seeing each other…She couldn’t receive calls at work so we were constantly texting each other until she closed.  We spent hours on phone talking to each other and even when I had no airtime, she’d call me for hours on end. It was like something out of a high school movie, and I loved every second of it.

I can still remember our first kiss…It was pure heaven…It was right outside the movie theatre, in front of the passing crowd…But we didn’t care…we were two people madly in love with each other, so we couldn’t care less what anyone thought.

We made love for the first time about five months from the day we met…It was the most magical moment of my life. I was something of an amateur at pleasing a woman so it was somewhat awkward…but blissful none the less. She had an amazing body…her breasts were not too big but they were the perfect size and well rounded…with nice, perky nipples to match. I can still remember her giggling and teasing at the expression on my face when i took off her bra…”you look like a little kid who’s been given lollipop for the first time”, she joked…

We had been dating for three…happy, wonderful years….UNTIL…

The driver in the car behind me honked his horn so loud, bringing me back to reality…He cursed at me in Yoruba…urging me to press on in the traffic…something that sounded like ori e buruku…these Lagos drivers…

Anyway, I was going to pick up someone from the salon…I heaved a deep sigh…What was I doing? I had been faithful to Kike for the three years we had been dating. It had never even crossed my mind to have an affair with any other woman. She meant the world to me. She had been with me through all my tears, frustration and hardship. She had been a real blessing to me, always encouraging and motivating me to make progress.

I had never thought twice about another woman…until I met her, last year….Her name was Amina.

Walking out of the supermarket in my neighbourhood one evening at about 7pm, I saw a young lady standing beside her car in the parking lot. She seemed frustrated and was trying to place a phone call. I heard her speaking Hausa to whoever was on the other end of the line. The engine hood was open. I did my NYSC in Kano so I happened to pick up a little Hausa from there…She was saying in Hausa on the phone…”my car isn’t starting, and I’m tired of trying”.

The good knight in me decided to walk up to her. She was really pretty but I didn’t really notice it at the time. I just wanted to help her. I asked her what was wrong. She said the car wasn’t starting. Hmmmm, I was really impressed with her car. It was a BMW 7 series, a 2011 model. “She must be the daughter of some really filthy rich dude” I thought to myself. I quickly checked one or two things, got into the car and tried the ignition…It didn’t respond. I was able to figure out  what the problem was. Her battery had run down , because she left her headlights on when she went in to shop. I told her not to worry. I went to my Honda Babyboy, which was the car I was using at the time, removed my battery and used it to start her own car…

She was so grateful and gave me her complimentary card. She asked me to give her a call and then made another phone call, speaking in Hausa again to the person on the other line. I translated what she said to mean…”Don’t bother to bring me another car…this one is working now.”

Amina turned out to be the daughter of Senator Usman Tukur, representing one of the constituencies in Katsina State. Her father was supposedly one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the country. We became friends, and began hanging out from time to time. I told my girlfriend, Kike about her, but I never told her anytime I was going on a date with Amina. I wasn’t doing anything wrong but for some reason just didn’t feel comfortable telling her. Amina always said she just really liked me as a person. That I was handsome, treated her like a real gentleman and she loved my company.

She was fun to be with too, and she always teased my Hausa which was very terrible. She said she didn’t mind that I had a girlfriend, and just wanted us to be good friends. I still don’t know why, but anytime she called me in front of Kike I just couldn’t pick her calls. Our phone conversations were a bit too friendly, and she called me all sorts of pet names when on the phone with me.

One day from out of the blues, she called and told me her father had three employment slots in Chevron to give out. Chevron is one of the biggest oil companies in the world, and she said he was one of their biggest shareholders in Nigeria. So they asked him if he had three people he would like them to employ.

She said she told him she had a friend who wanted a job and he had asked her for my C.V. I gave it to her, thinking it was just Amina being nice and helpful as usual…Until out of the blues, I was called by the Human Resources Manager at the Lagos Office to come and pick up my appointment letter! I couldn’t believe it! I immediately called Amina to inform her of the good news and she said we should celebrate by going out together that evening…I agreed. I immediately called Kike and told her about my new employment too. She jumped and screamed and also suggested we celebrate it later that evening…I remembered I had already promised to go out with Amina that evening, so I made up some lame excuse about having a meeting or something after work that day. After all I owed my new job to her, right?

I don’t know how or why it happened….but I ended up making love to Amina that night…

Back to the present, I’m at the Salon where I promised to pick Amina up….she’s having her nails done. So I turn off my Mercedes E350…and lay my head back on the chair to gather my thoughts.

For the past few months, Amina practically owned me…I began cancelling dates and appointments with my fiancée,( yes! I proposed to her some weeks ago)…just to see her. It all feels so wrong! I like her, a lot…and I know she’s been an amazing friend. Especially after helping me secure a job with an oil company, practically making me a big boy overnight. Plus all the times she bailed me out financially when I was broke or in need.

But the problem is…I am in love with Kike…and it’s all so wrong…I mean, this evening she begged me to come pick her up after work and take her to the salon to retouch her hair. I had to lie that i wasn’t feeling well and had to drive straight home after work. Most young guys wouldn’t feel even a twinge of guilt about cheating on their girlfriends, especially with a lady of Amina’s class and status. But I’m not like that. I wish I could rewind time.

I felt so guilty, I really love her and lying to her has become something of a habit, all because of another woman… The sad part is, Amina has literally become a ‘friend with benefits’…

God help me…how do I get out of this mess?

I come out of the car, shut the door…I begin walking towards the door of the salon, two beautiful ladies walk past me and one of them waves, I wave back. I smile to myself, because ladies waving or smiling at me has become quite a regular occurrence since I got my new car.

I walk into the salon…my eyes searching for Amina, who has already sent an angry text saying she’s done and is waiting for me…Suddenly I freeze! My eyes wide open in shock and horror…and unmistakable expression of guilt on my face…

Kike, or Kiki…doesn’t matter now, is seated in the salon, staring at me…a look of surprise on her face…She says…

“Chris, what are you doing here…!”

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3 thoughts on “THE VALLEY

  1. Hmmn! I thot he was an Ashawo in disguiz until I placed masef in his shoes as I read through.Nywayz,frend wit benefits(Amina) has cum wit a momentary symbiotic relatnship&will go in d end like a wind.Kike,her innocence&faithfulness will fight for her… as I await d sequel. Job well done A.D.O.T.God bless ur fountain.

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