Tunde smiled at his phone as he read the message Dele sent. It wasn’t a particularly funny message, but Tunde still found himself smiling. Smiling at the thought that Dele spent a lot of time chatting with him. Smiling at the fact that they shared almost the same views about everything and liked mostly the same things. Smiling at the fact that Dele made him smile almost every time.

They had been talking for some weeks now, and almost every morning Tunde would wake up and grab his phone to see if Dele had woken too and sent a message. The object of their sexuality hadn’t come up. They sort of skirted around the subject. Tunde was 99.9% sure Dele was gay. How would you explain the calls and the texting and sometimes flirtatious message, the one that was making him smile at the moment?

“Has anyone ever told you your smile is just awesome?” Tunde heard a voice beside him say.

He started and turned to look at Kola.

“Who is that that is making you smile as if you’ve won a million dollars?” Kola bent down as he talked as he tried to peer at Tunde’s phone.

“None of your business, mofo,” Tunde said, laughing at his nosy colleague. For a dude, Kola could be quite nosy. He called it curiosity, others called it plain nosiness.

“I’m sure you’ll be the one to be checking your girlfriends’ phones instead of the other way around,” Tunde had joked on one of the occasions they had gone on lunch break together. They had a cordial friendship now, and Kola was quite the chatterbox. Not like Tunde minded.

“There is God o!” Kola said, feigning a hurt expression. “That’s how you turned down the handsome piece of male that is my brother and now someone is making you smile like you’ve won the lottery. I thought you said you were not looking for something serious.”

“I’m not, asshole,” Tunde said. “This isn’t serious. We are just talking.”

“Oh please! You think the office hasn’t seen how you keep glancing at your phone and smiling. Just the other day, I heard Lara say she envies the girl that has got your attention, because she has been trying to make you smile at her. I just laughed in my head. If only they knew…”

“Shut up joor,” Tunde said as he felt heat rising to his face. The office wasn’t a place to be talking about this. “Better get back to work. Didn’t I hear the boss say that if you miss a deadline one more time, you will be queried? If you didn’t spend all your time sticking your nose in people’s businesses, I’m sure you’d be up to par with your work.”

“Haba. Don’t bite me now,” Kola said. “You know I have to know what goes on. My curiosity needs to be satiated.”

“Well your curiosity won’t be satiated by me,” Tunde returned.

Kola raised his hands in resignation, and walked away, muttering something as he went. But Tunde was too busy trying to come up with something witty to reply Dele with to pay any attention to him.

***

Later that night, after dinner and a nice shower, Tunde lay in bed and picked up his phone. Yes! There was a ‘Hi’ from Dele.

Tunde: Hey you.

Dele: Finally! What took you so long?

Tunde: A man can’t eat again?

Dele: People were beginning to miss you.

Tunde smiled at that.

Tunde: 🙂 People like who?

Dele: Never mind about that.

Tunde: Tell me joor.

Dele: Never!

Tunde: Odé! I need to be going to bed soon. I can’t end up chatting with you late into the night like the last few nights. I’ve narrowly missed being late from work too many times.

Dele: So you don’t like our talks again then 🙁

Tunde: Abegi, shut up. You know that’s not what I mean.

Dele: lol. Okay. I’ll let you sleep, but before that there’s something I’ve been meaning to talk about.

Tunde raised an eyebrow at his phone. Was this the question now?

Dele: You there?

Tunde: Yes, I’m here. What do you want to talk about?

Dele: Well, here goes nothing.

Tunde: ….

Dele: Chatting with you the last few weeks have been very fun. We haven’t got to see each other since after the mall, but I still remember your face as much as I remember my own name. And that your smile, you’ve etched it to my memory. I practically think of it every night.

Tunde blushed. It was silly, but he felt his face heat up as a white man’s would with a blush.  Was he in some badly-made romance movie?

Dele: You still there? Have I chased you away?

Tunde: I’m here. I’m listening.

Dele: Well, what do you think of all I’ve said?

And suddenly, reacting to an instinct of devilry, Tunde decided to have a little fun. He typed: Dele, are you telling me you’re gay?

There was a pause, before Dele replied with: Well, I’m attracted to you.

Tunde didn’t say anything.

Dele: Say something please.

Tunde could imagine the nervous look on Dele’s face, just like when he had been asking for his contact details. And then, he typed with a wicked smile: I’m sorry, Dele. I’m not into that kind of thing. It’s abominable. I thought what we had was a budding bromance. Not gay ish! Gosh I can’t believe you’re a fag!

Dele: Who do you think you’re calling a fag?

Tunde: Isn’t that what you are?

The message didn’t deliver. There was a notification that he had been deleted. Deleted and blocked.

Shit!

He hastily switched to Whatsapp, trying to reach Dele. The messages didn’t deliver.

Then he started to call Dele’s number. The line rang, but Dele didn’t pick up.

Tunde was beginning to really panic now.

He tried the number again. It didn’t ring this time. It didn’t even connect. He just got that ever-so-annoying beep that gets more annoying when it’s urgent.

“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” Tunde cursed over and over again, pounding his fists into his pillow. “Why the fuck am I so fucking stupid?” He hit his face with his palms before resting it in them. Why did he have to start acting out. It had been a delicate situation, and he had played with it. And now, Dele was gone. He didn’t know where he lived or even where he worked. He just knew he was into telecommunications.

This wasn’t the first time he had overplayed something and made a situation worse, with what was supposed to be a joke. This was a disaster! He thought he had found something special, and now he had engineered its being wrenched away from his grasp.

And with these troubled thoughts, he managed to fall into a very uneasy sleep.

Written by James

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