July 17th, 2008
I had expected to wait for much longer, but about thirty minutes after our conversation, Solape waddled into the café. Even though I had excused myself from the friends I was dining with, I could tell they had seen her walk in, and were watching us keenly.
It’s amazing what difference a week could make. Last week, I had met a proud and saucy, designer clad, arrogant woman, but today, I saw more of the person I thought I knew. The pride and arrogance had been replaced by a timidity and nervousness that were almost uncharacteristic of her, and it was obvious she had thrown on the faded jeans, oversized t-shirt, and Grandma scarf in a hurry.
I stared curiously at the small travel bag she held. “Where’s the rest of your stuff?”
She plopped in the seat in front of me. “This is all I need,” she responded, the fatigue she felt evident in her voice.
“Solape…what’s this all about? What’s this merry go round you’re taking everyone on? Just last week, you didn’t even want to hear anything about Ugo. You seemed so happy and comfortable the way you were. What’s changed in just a week?”
She didn’t respond immediately, and instead looked around nervously. She caught sight of Kome and the girls, watching us and giggling.
“Aren’t those your friends?” she asked.
“Don’t try to change the topic!” I snapped, quite fed up of everything. “You are the reason two people dropped everything, hopped on a plane, and travelled halfway across the world. Enough of these your games!”
She kept quiet for a few minutes, before looking up tearfully. “I was so scared of living in penury. You know that’s the reason I didn’t want to be committed to Ugo in the first place. And when Mom brought me back here…” she exhaled deeply. “When Mom brought me back to Nigeria, she gave me a long lecture about the foolishness of bringing up a child with, in her words, a ‘poor man’ and proceeded to shower me with every luxury imaginable, just so that I would know what I would be missing, if I chose to do that…”
“And obviously, it worked.” I remarked sarcastically.
“I got carried away…I actually started believing that it was what I needed…money. Mom’s money…”
I was getting impatient with this sob tale. “But the Lord touched your heart, and now you’ve seen the light!”
She glared at me. “No need to be sarcastic, Tayo. I know I messed up, but I don’t expect you to rub it in my face!”
“Well, you haven’t convinced me, that’s why!” I exclaimed. “You have been swinging like a pendulum for almost the entirety of your pregnancy! Go today, come tomorrow. Hello today, bye bye tomorrow! Kilode! Na only you?!”
“I realized that I will be my Mom’s slave for the rest of my life, if I continue this way!” she wailed.
From the window, I spotted Ugo walking across the car park. “If I were you, I’d come up with a better story than that, to tell Ugo…because this one won’t fly!”
As he walked up to us, he didn’t even look my way for a second. His eyes were fixed on Solape the whole time, and I could see that, forget all the gra gra, he is still head over heels in love with her.
Solape smiled, when he walked up to us, and rose to her feet to greet him.
“Wow!” he exclaimed, when he saw the size of her stomach.
“I know, right!” she responded, smiling and rubbing it happily.
I coughed. “I’ll just…I’ll just give you guys a bit of time…”
“Tayo…where are my manners?!” Ugo exclaimed apologetically, hugging me. “Thank you so much for this.”
I smiled stiffly. “It’s no problem at all.” I answered. “So…should I wait, or….?”
Ugo looked at Solape, and smiled. “Don’t worry, I’ve got it from here. I’ll take her home with me.”
I was stunned. Even without hearing any explanation, all was forgiven. I guess it’s true what they say about love meaning never having to say you’re sorry.
All through the drive home, I wondered why I was so pinched about the outcome of the evening. Why was their reconciliation making me upset? Yes, I admit feeling mildly attracted to Ugo, but not enough to want him for myself. The love I have for my Javier more than outweighs any nonsensical crush. No, I knew that wasn’t the reason.
As I lay in bed that night, I realized it was because I still don’t trust that girl. These last few months have proved her to be flimsy and opportunistic.
Somehow, I have this feeling she has more up her sleeve.