Written by @dj_fleau
As I drove home after work that evening I thought of how I was going to crash so hard into my bed considering how fatigued I was. I was not even sure of where I was going to get the energy to entertain Andrew who was going to drop by for a few minutes as I figured he might want to stay a bit longer to celebrate my birthday.
Despite the over time I had done over the weekend I had resumed today to have my head dug into more files. At one point during the day it felt like my brain was going to blow off, it was then I stopped to rest my mind, and then it occurred to me that today truly was my birthday. For a minute I reminisced over my birthday from the previous year especially the part where Lanre had given me a car.
Tears formed at the corner of my eyes as I thought of Lanre. It had been a while since I had thought about him in a tearful manner. I guess I had somewhat come to terms with my loss or maybe the Andrew factor had made it a bit less painful. I imagined Lanre surprising me today, I imagined what he would have given me this year, maybe a ring or a trip to Vienna just like we had always planned.
And then I remembered I hadn’t thanked Bola for the gift she dropped in front of my room with a note that said “Happy birthday darling now kindly throw away that your worn out Nike Air Max” Apparently she had gotten me a new pair of basketball shoes. What a darling. I sent her a text saying “thanks for delivering that Nike Air Max from my hand”
It was half day when the receptionist called me saying I had some guests in the waiting room. I walked into the waiting room to see Andrew and a young man with a guitar and a lady with a violin, The guitarist sang me a birthday song while the violinist simply just played along. Andrew walked over to my side and tried to get me to dance. I simply shrugged and said “it would have been nice if you actually did the singing yourself”
He laughed and said “You just want to embarrass me”
I could see some of my colleagues on the corridor oohing away to how sweet and romantic they thought his gesture was. The guitar man went on to play me something that sounded like a personal song of his. I thought he was a fine singer, he reminded me of John Legend, soulful. At the end of the performance I gave him a hug.
Andrew gave me a jewelry box after which he said “I was going to bring all your gifts here but I really didn’t want to stress you with all that load
I replied with “Did you buy me a house, or what is so big that would be a burden for me to carry?”
He laughed and said “ You’ll see when you get home”
I smiled as I opened the little box. It had a bracelet in it. It was one of the most beautiful things I had seen in a long time. It had my initials crested at the side.
“Well, madam let me allow you get back to work, would drop the gifts by your house later on” He said as he gave me a hug before heading for the door.
I walked into my office to see Seyi who had brought me my birthday cake. A cake she immediately started to share to everyone in the office. The girl was just crazy. Isaac seemed scarce the whole day and that I was happy about.
I drove home that day really exhausted. Andrew called to ask where I was. I told him I was on my way home.
As I dropped the call I remembered I didn’t have any drink or food at home as I had spent my whole weekend at work, unable to shop for some food stuff for the house although I still had some of the cake Seyi gave me I figured I could get a drink to go with it. I stopped by the super market on my street to pick up a bottle of wine. I also stopped by the suya man’s place to get some chicken suya. I was hoping we could munch off this. What a way to spend my birthday.
I drove into the compound to see Andrew’s car already parked, did the man fly? I thought to myself. I also saw Seyi’s car at the other end. I wondered what she was doing here. I struggled to carry what was left of the cake Seyi gave me with the wine and suya into house.
I walked into my apartment to hear people scream “Surprise!!!!”
My entire office was in my apartment as well as my neighbours. I could see my office manager, the receptionist, Andrew was seated in a corner, he wore a polo shirt, he looked sharp and dapper.
My guests sang me a happy birthday song as I tried to thank as many people as I could, it was then I noticed Isaac at a corner of the room. What on earth was he doing here I thought to myself? I knew for sure Seyi had invited him, I wondered what was wrong with the girl. I guess she must have invited him seeing that she had invited almost everyone at work.
Bola walked towards me to help with the items I was carrying. As she collected the cake I said, “who’s idea was this?”
She pointed at Seyi who was at the other end of the room ordering the ushers she had hired
Andrew signaled for me to come over, he pulled me into my room, on my bed where all sorts of boxes, The man had literally gotten me an entire store. He had really gone all out for this, I could see some boxes of chocolates, perfume, a wristwatch, about 3 boxes of shoe. The man really went shopping.
“You were right all these gifts would have stressed me if I had to bring them home myself”
I thanked him before asking why he hadn’t come with his girlfriend
“First of all she is not my girlfriend, she is my ex” he said
“If you say so”
“I think she is jealous of you” he said
“Jealous ke” I replied
“Well she thinks we have something going”
“I really don’t know but she thinks we are more than friends”
“Are we more than friends” I asked
He looked at me. He seemed taken aback by the question
“Temi, you mean the world to me, and I am sure you know that what we have goes beyond being just friends, but you know the timing isn’t right for us now”
I looked away, although I was happy I wasn’t just a friend to him but I felt hurt that he wasn’t willing to try. But I guess he was doing the right thing and it was only right for me to respect that considering the fact that he was trying to fix his relationship. I took off my shoes and walked over to my shoe rack to pick up a pair of slippers before saying
“We should step out before the guests starts to look for me” I said
“Thanks a lot for all this” I said to him as we stepped out
“What is that idiot doing here?” Andrew asked. I knew he was talking about Isaac.
“Seyi must have invited him, just ignore him abeg” I said.
Seyi had planned the program for the evening. She had always been a good party planner right from our university days. She had always been the life of a party. The dj was doing a great job with his music, as I could see guests dancing away. Isaac and Bola seemed to be having a conversation. I found it funny that they were even talking to each other.
Some of my colleagues walked over to me and gave me their gifts as they prepared to leave, my manager was the first to leave, he gave me a cheque, I thought it nice of him.
My stomach rumbled as I sat there I was really hungry as I had not eaten anything all day. Most of the guests had left, the ushers were clearing up the place. Only people left in the room where Seyi, Andrew, Bola, Isaac, 2 of my colleagues from work, a neighbour and the dj who was already packing up his equipments.
I tried to cut some cake for myself but I couldn’t find the knife, so I carried the cake to the kitchen, Andrew walked behind me as I walked towards the kitchen
“Men!!!! I am so hungry” he said behind me
“Why didn’t you eat anything at the party?” I asked
“I just didn’t feel like eating anything then” he replied
I wanted to cut us some cake but then I saw the small chops that the ushers had dropped in the kitchen. Andrew picked up two of the disposable plates before saying
“Please forget the cake, let’s eat the small chops”
“I was thinking about the same thing” I said as I giggled
I served us both and then I remembered the wine I bought
“I have a bottle of wine I bought on my way home”
“Go and bring the wine now” Andrew said
I went over to the sitting room to get the wine that was beside bola alongside the suya. She seemed to be having a good time talking to Isaac as she kept laughing at whatever it was he was saying to her. I wanted to tell her about the beast who she found funny, but I thought it was just a waste of my time. As I approached the table he raised his head, like he could immediately tell I was in his radar, with the sudden way he rose his head up I could have sworn he had a tracking device on me that made him know when I was within his radar.
He wished me happy birthday. I thanked him for it. And then he tried to start off what seem like a conversation with me, I acted like I didn’t hear anything as I picked the wine and walked back to the kitchen.
Andrew was seated on one of the kitchen stools nibbling on the small chops
“You must really be hungry” I said to him
I handed the wine to him while I got the glass cups, he popped it open after which he said “Happy birthday dear, this is to us having more things to celebrate together”
I imagined us together, I imagined myself in the arms of this man, I imagined a life with Andrew, me having his children. His smile was peaceful, he was breath taking, he looked just like the kind of man my mother always prayed I get married to..
“What? He asked
“What is what?
“You have been smiling and staring at me” he said
“How did you see me” I replied before we both bust out laughing
As I walked Andrew to the door that night I didn’t feel so tired anymore rather, I felt hopeful about the possibilities of us happening following what he had said to me this evening. I thought to myself maybe all he needed was a little push to make his move on me
I walked Andrew to his car after which he gave me a hug and then I decided to take the risk by leaning forward to plant a kiss on his lips, I could smell him, he lips felt fresh and soft, and for some reason it smelt like strawberry or something like apple. He himself smelt pretty well, I had never being this close to him, I wanted to chew him or maybe eat on him. As I kissed him I felt his hand behind me as he pulled me closer, he kissed me back which I found surprising, I could nearly taste the strawberry in my throat. I pulled back from the embrace
“I am sorry about this” I said shyly
“What was that for” he asked
“I just wanted to say thank you” I said
“Well, that’s a great way to say thank you I would say”
“I am sorry I shouldn’t have kissed you” I apologized
“It’s okay I understand, I apologise for kissing you back. But you know we can’t do this Temi, I love you but we can’t do this “ he said with a shaky voice
I felt a little bit embarrassed by my action. I hadn’t thought about doing this, I just saw an open window and thought to go for it.
He got into his car and drove away. I turned around to see Isaac standing with Seyi. I guess they were about to leave
I thought you said he had a girlfriend” Seyi asked
“Well” I stammered
Isaac gave me a judging look
“What are you staring at? I asked
“What the hell are you doing here anyway? I asked
“Seyi Invited me”
“Really, how convenient?”
“Look I don’t want you around me, mr man”
“What is this about” Seyi asked
“Ask the idiot beside you ” I said as I stormed into the apartment