Breathe in. Out.

In, out.

She slowly rested her back on the front door and slid down to the floor. She couldn’t remember how long she stayed that way; eyes closed, hands hugging her knees pulled close to her chest, trying with all her might to calm her rapidly beating heart with measured breathing.

She finally did it. No wait, did she really? Or was this just one of the many scenarios she had replayed in her mind of the day when she finally did what she just did?

She stared into the dimly lit corridor of her apartment. ‘You can never do better than me. you’re gonna regret this’. His last words to her before blurting out a whole tirade of profanities. She finally made her way to her bed and fell on it with– relief? liberation? happiness? She couldn’t tell. She just knew that whatever she was feeling was a good kind.

She had finally broken up with Esosa. For good this time.

Esosa was the first boy she had loved, or at least felt strong feelings for in her life. They met at a house birthday party for her cousin Nosa. Nosa wasn’t one of her favorite people or even relatives, heck she didn’t even like Nosa. But free food was a really persuasive reason to be there and what else was she doing on a Thursday night anyway? She’d probably have binged watched ‘The Mentalist’ again. So she went for the jollof not expecting to meet anybody knowing the kind of friends Nosa kept; boys that played girls like solitaire, smoked like chimneys and drank alcohol like it was living water. But Nosa promised this wasn’t going to be that kind of gathering. He was turning 25, he had grown up and gotten his priorities straight he said. She believed him. Her mum gave the go ahead because she was always one for family bonding and spending time with relatives since Oghosa was the only child and daughter. Poor Mum, she didn’t have a clue to the life Nosa led.

And there Oghosa met Esosa. He was someone whose pretty face gets noticed on the second look. That wasn’t even what got her hooked. It was his charm. He could be selling you mottled pig’s intestines and you still would have bought them for twice the price.

The party was at Nosa’s place, with the yard where canopies stood much bigger than the house itself. People were streaming in and out of the house to the yard and back having a good time. At first the party started off sane, decent Afrobeat music playing on the speakers, every one in groups chatting, laughing with a decent level of alcohol in their cups. Of course Nosa didn’t keep to his words and soon a dozen of his friends sat around a table trying really hard to be as high as a kite with a couple of drunk girls taking turns to shake what their mama gave ’em to the beat of the now ear deafening music.

She was sitting outside under one of the canopies hidden a bit from the festivities, playing with her half eaten plate of food. The jollof was mashed and had that burnt smell. She figured it was Nosa’s present girlfriend that attempted to cook the dish. Better luck next time Stella she thought.

‘I thought the rice was better played with than eaten too’.

She looked up to see Esosa smiling at her from under his face cap. She had seen him earlier with his jeans ripped at the knee, an obviously over sized plaid shirt worn atop a white T Shirt. She liked the face cap.

Now up front, his smile was like beautifully melted chocolate on an already perfect cake that was his face.

She smiled back, ‘So I’m not the only one’.

‘Mind if i join you?’

‘Be my guest’.

A month later, 3 weeks into their relationship, Oghosa wished she had stayed home that night and watched ‘The Mentalist’.

 

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