A month later as I was coming back from work, I thought of her. Even if our first meeting was unpleasant, I still couldn’t get her out of my head. She had left a mark and that Friday evening, I remembered her. It was 8:30 at night, and I knew I had to see her one more time maybe to clear my head. I made a U-turn to her place. I didn’t know what I wanted to say to her but I knew I needed to see her. I parked my car a few blocks away from her house. I walked the remaining way to her place. Her front lights were on, and as I drew closer to the house I noticed someone was sitting outside.
“Good evening mama.” I said. The woman raised her head up to take a good look at me.
“Oh… oh… oh… Young man, have we met before?” Since the last time she last saw me which was that brief morning, a lot of things had changed. This evening I was wearing a suit. I was a man who knew where he was coming from and where he was heading to, but I was still the same man.
“Yes ma. I am the young man your daughter helped some time ago.” Oh her smile, it was as if she had been anticipating my return. She removed the tray that was on her lap to the floor.
“I told her not to worry that you will return.” I returned her welcoming smile.
“Is she in?” I pointed to their front door.
“She left since without me knowing. You know I keep warning her about her late night movements but…” she sighed.
“Don’t worry mama, I will bring her home.” I bided my good bye and rushed off.
I drove to the same bus stop where we first met. Somehow, I knew she would be there and there she was. In those high heels, she stood. She looked ever beautiful, and I knew why I came back for her. Her bus arrived and she moved to get in.
“Daniella…” I said softly, almost to myself. She didn’t hear me. The crowd who was pushing to get on the same bus was in my favor. She was about stepping her into the bus when I quickly held her hands back.
“Leave me joor! What’s all this? Don’t you see I’m…” she hushed.
“Madam you wan enter or not?” The conductor asked.
“No thank you.” I answered. I went into my pocket and brought out my wallet. I gave the conductor 500 naira. He thanked me and the bus was on its way.
“I can’t believe this, what are you doing here?” I smiled.
“Answer me joor.”
“As you can see, I came looking for you, like you always knew I would.” The noise at the bus station was too loud for our reunion. I asked her for her hands. She hesitated.
“Wait, where are we going to?”
“To my car…” I answered. She laughed. Of course she wouldn’t believe I actually had a car. I couldn’t wait to let her in on the rest of the things she didn’t know about me.
“You… you have a car? Please stop this joke na, it’s not going to be funny anytime soon.”
I asked her for her hands again. This time, the seriousness she saw in my face made her change her mind. She simply placed her little fingers into my palms. I raised her hands up to my chest, that little area where something was beating.
“Do you feel that?”
“What are you trying to do?” she asked. It was either she still didn’t understand where I was driving at or she wanted to play dumb; make me beg for it. She allowed me to take her to where my car was parked.
“So victor, what else have you not told me about yourself?” She asked as I opened the front seat of the car for her to get in.
“What do you want to know?”
She looked at me and smiled. “Start from everything.”
I told her all about the craziness of the past few years. I gave her the bad and saved the good for the end. I didn’t want her sorry so I asked,
“Where were you going to?”
“Where were you coming from?”
“Work…” She turned her face away from me. Her shoulders became stiff, tensed. I wanted to let her know that she can relax and tell me anything.
“Where do you work?”
“Haba! Why all these questions na?”
She turned to face me. “If you must know, some of us don’t have rich fathers that will offer us his million naira company after we come back from jail…” She said in anger. She took a deep breath before speaking again.
“I’m sorry.” She sighed. “I didn’t mean for it to come out that way.”
“Oh no, its fine. I shouldn’t be dashing into your personal life like that.” I started the car and headed somewhere away from her place.
“I work… at a night club.” She had my attention. “But I am not a prostitute. I repeat I am not a prostitute.” I laughed; she settled her back into her seat a little bit more.
“So what happened to her?”
“Who?” I asked.
“She’s where she needs to be.” 10 minutes later, none of us said a thing. I felt I should have given her a bit more than what I told her about Cynthia but all that was in the past. The future was seating right there with me.
“So… you’re like 10 years older than me or what?” She turned to look at the horrid look on my face.
“My dear, you wound me…” I placed my left hand on my chest. She took that same hand and placed it on her chest.
“Do you hear that?” I was spellbound, I nodded.
“That’s the sound of fear that’s beating from what my mother might do to me if you don’t take me home right now.”
“Yeye girl…” I chuckled, and she dropped my hands gently.
“Don’t worry; I have taken care of her. The night is ours. Anywhere, say it, I will take you there. If not tonight, then first thing in the morning.”
“Yes, your place…”
“My place?” I asked again just to annoy her…
“Yes naa…” She was dead serious.
“No, you too small. Let’s settle for this for now…” I brought the car to an end. We were in the middle of nowhere, just the two of us but I knew we would get there.
4 years later, as she walked down that stage to accept her degree, I prepared myself to do it. After the graduation ceremony was over, she ran down to where I was. The happiness in her face was enough to wipe off all the hard years I had ever had to face.
“Daniella…” I said. She was so distracted by everything around her. Her friends were calling for her attention. Iffy and Jason, my son was standing next to Mrs. Ada. I went down on both knees and gave the woman who I couldn’t live a day without my world.