I apologize for an error in number from last week. The last episode was #10 and this is the new #11. Apologies to everyone who noticed………….
This week on Lies Women Tell
After waiting a few more minutes, she walks to the almost empty queue, presents her driver’s license, gets a nod and walks down the stairs to the waiting bus. It was a short distance to the aircraft. Other passengers were identifying their luggage beside the plane before it was loaded onto the conveyor and sent into the belly of the bird.
She identified her pink carryon with the cute bow she had allowed Dele tie on it last night when he had said ‘You will be shocked when you get to baggage claim and see five similar boxes like yours and you cant be sure which one of to pick’. Climbing the short stairwell into the plane, again she presented her boarding pass to the air hostess at the door and was told ‘Welcome to Arik air. Do have a pleasant flight. 13A on your right. Window seat”
“Thank you” came her automatic response. She just wanted to sit and reminisce on the past week especially, about Malik.
Luckily, nobody was in her window seat. Tapping the Lebanese young man with full hair to let her through, she finally settles down, belts herself in and proceeds to look casually around at other passengers. Her gaze returns to the Lebanese. He was reading the dailies – The Punch. She was not really interested unless it had a Lifestyle section. Trailing her gaze to his head, she wondered how he had managed to hold onto all his hair as most of the Lebanese she came across lose half of their hair by the time they had stayed in the country over a four year period. Perhaps, this was his first year in Nigeria she concludes.
Continuing her survey exercise, her eyes came to rest with envy on a young couple standing in the aisle – although they both looked Nigerian, the man was carrying the baby strapped to his front in a baby carrier. He also held his partner’s handbag while she just held an almost empty water-bottle. Lara smiled again explaining it to herself as a long sojourn in America or London which caused them to hold onto such quaint practices.
A couple more minutes, the last passengers straggled onto the plane and sat themselves in the Business-class section. The door hummed shut. Speakers cackled from somewhere in the cockpit as the pilot welcomed everyone aboard. Soon, safety emergency procedures were dramatized by the hostesses which never failed to amuse her. Smiling, she focused attentively on the short drama scene.
When it was over, “Please turn off all electronic devices and phones” a hostess was walking up and down the aisle making sure mobile phones were turned off. It reminded her slightly of her trip coming to Abuja and how she had met Malik. Settling back into her seat, Lara sighs, allowing herself to finally dwell on her date with Malik.
They had headed to a nameless hang-out which Malik swore was worth more than it’s weight in thatch. The place was almost totally designed with thatch making her wonder how it looked in the rainy seasons.
“Simple. They re-thatch” he replied like it was that simple
The place was dubbed ‘Hide-out’ by people for want of a name. Those who couldn’t find it on their own only need tell a taxi or Okada to take them to ‘Hide-out’ and ‘Viola!’. Anyway, they were there already so she decided to enjoy whatever magic Malik promised the place held. Soon enough, a waitress in Hawaiian styled extra short skirt comes up to their table to take their orders.She fancied if the waitress dropped something and bent to pick it, she could see her spanks…..if she was able to wear any under such a short skirt! She chuckled to herself with her shoulders shaking and Malik glanced at her questioningly. ‘Nothing’ she mouthed back over the slow jazz playing in the background. Once the waitress left though, he turned to her smiling “out with it. I know something really funny must have crossed your mind and am curious”
“It is nothing really. I just imagined if I bent pretending to pick something, I would be able to see under her short, short skirt and I couldn’t help but wonder if she was wearing spanks or something less comfortable” she told him making him throw his head back and laugh with abandon.
“You know, the first time I came here with my friends, I could not help but think the same thing and my silly friend actually dropped his phone on the floor expecting the girl would attempt to pick it up” his face lit up remembering
“Guess” he teased
“Oh! Tell me already. Did she bend to pick it for him?”
“Nope” at her look of surprise, he laughed again “she just walked away. Don’t tell me you actually expect one of them to fall for such a trick! Look at these girls properly…..”pausing to allow her take a second look at the girls walking between tables
“You think they have not been in plenty ugly situations already, that they would actually fall for such a juvenile trick!” he shrugs following her gaze “Unless she fancies the guy and just wants to play flirt. Perhaps”
Within her, Lara had to agree with him. She now noticed the hard looks, pursed lips and blank stares of some of the waitresses then she began to wonder why there were only waitresses and no waiters. Same way she had wondered when they stopped at Jeveniks in Maitama the first day, there had only been waiters, no waitresses.Was ‘single-sex-workplace’ system the hot new trend in Abuja! Life hasn’t been fair to most of these ladies.
Remembering something her dad always told her when she travelled in his company ‘Anybody could be on the streets. Don’t look down on them because you are only lucky, not privileged to not be in their shoes. If you had been born into their situation, would you have hitched a ride to heaven to sue God’ he added when she was going to launch into an argument on the topic. She had gone silent afterwards thinking hard on his words. This subsequently formed part of her worldview because each time she saw someone in a less privileged position, her dad’s words would ring in her head again like it was just yesterday.
As always, her time with Malik had not been boring even for a minute. He was attentive, funny and chatty. He made her laugh a lot trying to make her sample the cow-leg because she had said it looked silly eating an animal’s leg when other parts of the body hadn’t disappeared.
“I notice most men love cow leg like it is a delicacy. Cow tail, I can understand a bit but the leg, that is like fighting a war and it isn’t even meaty! What’s the point?” she attacked him which only made him try harder to feed her the cow-leg he was eating until she begged him to stop.
They suddenly stopped laughing, staring across the tiny table at each other as if they were meeting for the first time and didn’t know what to say. She was lost in his eyes. They looked unnaturally white.
Usually, when she sat across from a guy, his eyes looked a funny bloodshot color or brownish and she came to believe it was the normal eye color for young men. Malik’s eyes looked healthy, his teeth were neatly arranged in his mouth. They were even and white making his lips more inviting. He had the kind of lips that always made her cut out those perfume models from GQ. Unconsciously, she leaned forward, a phone rang somewhere between them. The magic was dispelled. Wondering what the jarring sound was, Lara reaches into her bag to retrieve her phone, while Malik raises his phone to his ear, simultaneously pushing his chair back to move to a less noisy place.
He soon returned “I have to leave Lara. My mum just woke up and she is asking after me” he told her looking distraught
“Mommy’s boy! I understand. I’m jealous she sees more of you but you should go now” she teased
“Thank you for being so sweet” he sounded relieved
“Oh! You can count on me being your sweet-tooth. Ha-ha” patting him on the back, he pulls her into a tight embrace squeezing like his life depended on it before whispering something in her ears that made her eyes pop. Then he released her.
“Do you really mean that?” she asked going very still
“I do” he replied simply
“Then, I guess i’ll see more of you the next time I visit Abuja”
“When will that be? Do you know?” he asked eagerly
“Nope. Not yet but hopefully, it will be soon”
“Not to worry though. If I miss you too much, I’ll buy a roundtrip ticket” he laughs
“You will be welcome anytime you wanna visit” she assures him as they walk back to his car
“You really mean what you said though?” she asked again
“Why is it such a surprise Lara? You think I make a habit of spending most of my time with ladies I meet on aircrafts?” he threw back at her
“Pardon my surprise. I just didn’t see that one coming and usually, I like to think I see everything that is coming to me” she informs him
“I like you a lot already and every time I spend with you reinforces it for me. I suppose I could assume the same of you?” he pauses
At her vigorous nod, he continues “So, I would like to see you whenever you are in town or when am in Lagos if your boyfriend don’t mind” waiting for her assurance that she was a single lady
“Boyfriend? What boyfriend? If I had a boyfriend, would I have so much time to spend with you?” she sidesteps neatly “I should be the one worried about all your girlfriends instead”
“Girlfriends? What girlfriends? I only have one right now….”deliberately letting the pause lengthen until her brow kept climbing higher and he couldn’t hold the tease any longer “…..and she is you” he finishes making Lara sigh with relief.
The speaker burst into life somewhere in the cabin announcing their aproach and subsequent descent into Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos. The Lebanese beside her brought his chair to an upright position as the hostess walked through the aisle to ensure everyone was in the right position for the descent.
Walking through the corridor to find baggage claim, she smiled again to herself wishing something would make her see Malik again very soon promising herself something better change the next time they met. Soon, her pink box with the ridiculous pink bow tied conspicously to the handle comes floating down the rotating platform.
“Hey girl! I’m in Lagos and you are the first person am calling”
“Yea. Thank God for a safe flight. Ok, get off my phone now so I can talk to other people too”
“LOL Sandra, do you ever think of anything else? No. Malik did not come with me. Neither did Mofe. Although I won’t have minded if one of them was waiting here right now to pick me up” laughing as she walks out into the humid Lagos weather.
“Yea. I’ll talk to you later. Bye” they both hang up as her phone begins to ring again
“I called you thrice already” the voice accuses “Didn’t you see my call? You put me on call waiting”
Rolling her eyes elaborately, “Yes, I had a safe flight thank you. Hope your day has been going smoothly too.?” she replies instead
A deep sigh. “I’m sorry. I suppose you were on another call. I was merely anxious”
“Well, don’t be anxious father-hen. I’m fine. I just left baggage claim. I was speaking to Sandra to let her know I arrived and you know how she likes to hug calls” Lara finally explains
“What! Sandra beat me to it? She called?” mock incredulity
“Ha-ha! Mind yourself o. What do you mean she called me? My friend actually uses her credit to call other people o contrary to your belief and yes, she was the one that called me that was why the call was even that short” covering her friend
“Hmmn! You both wish! Sandra, uses her credit to actually call! She’ll flash instead” he laughs
“Are you getting a taxi?” he inquires
“Well, I don’t see your driver here to pick me. I suppose I have to stoop to taking a taxi” she drawled
“Yea. All that stooping will end very soon” he promises
“I can’t wait. Hold on baby lemme talk to the taxi man” she says to him “Isaac John. No. 5. How much?”
“3,500” the taxi driver spits out
“Why? 2 k” she bites back
“2,500” he returns
“Okay” opening the back door, she dumps her handbag while he pops the trunk open for her to leave her luggage “let’s go” she tells him after settling in the backseat.
“Hello? Dele? Hello?” she said into the empty line. He had hung up. Sometimes, Dele was so unpredictable she mused angrily. If she had told him to hang-up and call back when she wanted to hail a taxi, he may have misconstrued it and said something they may both regret and now she had told him to hang-on so she could get a taxi, he had hung up. It had taken all of 3 minutes to complete the bargain! She decided she wasn’t going to call him back. Let him call when he wanted to.
Bringing out her phone this time, she smiled when she saw the name flashing across the screen.
“Hey! I know I said I was going to call you but I just got into a taxi to take me home. I was just going to dial your number as a matter of fact” she appeased
“Phew! Yes, I know. It will be too soon to forget you already.”
“I won’t forget. Yes, I miss you too Malik. Alright. Talk to you soon.”
“Bye” she replied
Then her phone rings again. Oh dear! This one is gonna be a sulk party she thought to herself.
“Hi Mofe. Am so sorry I have not called you yet. No. I am just stepping out of the airport doors trying to get a taxi. I was going to dial you as soon as I sat down in the taxi.”
“I’m sorry naa. Ok. I’m sorry. Yea, I’ll call you when I get home”
“Oh! You miss me already? Am flattered”
“ha-ha! What do you want me to say naa? Alright, I miss you too……..small”
“Okay. Later” she hangs up for the fourth time that morning, drops the device, finally able to breathe and look around at familiar sights as the taxi sped towards LASUTH junction under the Ikeja bridge.
She made a mental note to come visit her friend that works at LASUTH next week…perhaps. The last time she visited him, he had lifted up her dress even though he had just announced his wedding was a fortnight away. Perhaps, she wasn’t going to visit him afterall.