Those Awkward Moments (Episode 15)

Those Awkward Moments (Episode 15)

Previously on THE AWKWARD MOMENTS: So remember how Kevin got a lifetime opportunity to be the songwriter on the homecoming album of international singer, Demoniker Dawson? Well, that’s not exactly going well for him, because in just a week, he’s been forced to work with an ugly blast from the past and a hoe of a star. Yes! A childhood friend he hates is sharing studio space and oxygen with him. And Demoniker is hooking up in workplace closets with the almighty and very-married Chief Bassey.

And as if those are not enough for a young man his size, Samuel unexpectedly comes to Kevin’s workplace, distraught and on the verge of tears. It’s safe to say that there’s only one reason for this kind of visit that comes to mind – Jude!

*

“Kevin, are you okay?” Samuel asked, his voice low with a strong thread of concern. He was calmer now than he’d been minutes ago.

I stood before him. I looked calm, but within me, I’d gone fifty shades of fucked up!

I didn’t know how to react to what he had just told me – the news he’d imparted to me which kept replaying themselves in my head, like a soundtrack permanently placed on repeat, and I couldn’t make them stop or get them out.

Jude had a relapse this morning as a result of some kind of hemorrhage… The doctors had to induce him in a coma during surgery… When he will wake up is indefinite… They say the chance of him getting his memory back when that happens is one in ten thousand.

Shock swamped my insides as he talked, benumbing my nerve endings, and spreading like a malaise of lethargy throughout my system. I stood rooted to the spot, listening to my friend bring me tidings that was gradually snuffing out the various candle lights of hope that had stood burning in my heart.

Jude… Oh Jude…

I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream. I wanted to throw things, to swing at someone. But I couldn’t. I felt numbed, unable to muster even the faintest outward show of grief. I regarded Samuel with a flat expression as he asked again, “Kev, did you hear what I just said?”

I nodded.

“And?” he urged.

“And is that all?” I finally mustered the strength to ask, while I twirled the felt pen in my hands about my fingers, involuntarily fighting to maintain the wooden expression I was showing to Samuel.

He gave me a hard stare. “Yes…that’s –” He gave a confused shake of his head. “Are you sure you heard what I said?”

I didn’t blame him for his bewilderment. I was definitely out of character.

“I heard you,” I answered. “And I asked if that is all.”

Samuel paused for a brief moment, staring at me with total confusion, before finally replying, “Yes, that is all.”

“Good. I have to go now,” I said, my legs already set to head back into the studio.

“Really!” Samuel exclaimed, forcing me to turn back to face him. “That’s all you have to say? You have to go now? You don’t have anything else to say?” He stabbed me with a disbelieving look.

“Like what?”

“I don’t know, Kevin!” he lamented, his voice rising. “I just told you our friend is in a coma and will probably never get his memory back, and THAT’s the reaction I get?”

“What do you want me to do?” I fired back, exasperation the first emotion to colour my voice since I heard his news. My insides were now warring to hold my fabric together. “You want me to start displaying grief right here for everyone to see? What am I, a Yoruba mother?”

“I don’t know, Kevin! I expected something – anything but what you’re doing now!”

I looked at him for a while, before saying with complete emotionlessness, “I have to go, Samuel. I have work to do!” And without leaving even a single moment for him to respond, suspecting that the hold I had on my walled-up emotions may snap any moment, I hurried toward the elevator.

As I walked away, I could feel Samuel still standing there, looking at me, and waiting for me to turn around.

I didn’t.

I got into the elevator, and then turned to watch him watch me. We maintained eye contact until the elevator door shut him out of my sight.

***

I headed straight to the studio, where I saw Demoniker and Josh conversing.

“There he is!” Demoniker said out loud, once I walked in.

The smile I gave her was no smile at all. “Here I am,” I echoed.

“So,” Demoniker started, facing me, “I just showed Joshua a little bit of what we recorded…”

Did you also bring him up to speed that you’re shtupping his dad? Aloud, I said, “And?”

“And he loves it too!”

“Really?” I exclaimed, feigning surprise.

“Yes, really,” Josh interjected. “And I think my dad will too!”

Naturally, I’d have felt privileged by that statement, but for very obvious reasons, in that moment, Chief Bassey’s approval meant less than chicken shit to me.

“Cool,” I answered.

Beaming, Josh added, “See? I told you Beatz is a great producer. You guys have already been here – what, ten minutes! – and you’re already making very, very good music together.”

I started to grimace in response, but saw Demoniker turning an askance glance my way, and I quickly ironed my expression into a neutral one.

And speaking of the devil, the studio door was pulled open and Isaac walked in. he took one look at us and said, “Oh. Is this a bad time?”

“Nonsense, of course not,” Josh said. “I was just telling them how much I like what I’ve heard so far. Great sound.” He nodded approvingly at Isaac.

“It’s what I do,” the producer said with a benign smile.

A brief moment of silence passed, and then Josh broke it by saying, as he made for the door, “Okay, I’ll leave you guys to it then. I can sense when I’m being a distraction.”

And so, he walked out of the studio, muttering “This Is going to be the best album ever” in a singsong voice.

I wanted to smile, but he was leaving me alone with Isaac and Demoniker once again. I really wished to leave with him. Anywhere but right here would have been great.

I turned my head, and clashed my gaze with Isaac’s. He’d been looking at me, a slightly forlorn expression on his face. My face hardened, as I stood unaffected by his silent plea.

“Well, you heard him, boys!” Demoniker exclaimed, waving her hands in the air. “So let’s get on with it!”

***

The production processes continued swiftly, even smoother than I’d imagined it would be. I kept my distance from Isaac, and only communicated with him when it was absolutely necessary, and even then, most of the communication was non-verbal.

I wrote my songs, and he made his beats. As far as I was concerned, he wasn’t even in the studio.

But I should have known this wouldn’t have lasted long, because an hour into the session met us in a heated argument, with Demoniker stuck in the middle.

“Uh-Uh!” I protested. “There’s no way I’m letting you do that!”

“Do what?” Demoniker asked from inside the recording booth. Apparently we’d left the microphone on.

“He wants to change the whole sequence of the song,” I complained.

“Just a little tweak,” Isaac defended sharply. “So it goes smoother with my beat, that’s all.”

“Why don’t you change your beats instead,” I suggested sardonically. “I’m not letting you ruin an already perfect song.”

“Isn’t there a way that you can do that without having to alter Kevin’s lyrics?” Demoniker asked, conscious of my incessant irritation at the producer.

“It’ll mean I’d have to start all over again,” Isaac replied, “and that’s going to take time that we don’t exactly have.”

The word ‘time’ seemed to get to Demoniker, because she looked at me next, as if to say ‘Sorry!’

“Whatever,” I sighed. “It’s your album.”

And just as I was about to take a seat on one of the couches, I felt a queasiness in my stomach, an explosion of discomfort in fact. I knew it wasn’t hunger. I’d only just eaten. I tried to ignore it, but within moments, my stomach was roiling to the point that I felt a wave of nausea sweep through me, accompanied by the upward surge of my lunch. I clasped my hand over my mouth, hiccupping in panic.

“Kevin, are you okay?” Demoniker yelled then, as she took off her earphones, her concerned gaze on me through the booth’s glass partition.

Isaac turned to look at me as well.

“Yeah…” I managed to mumble through my hand as I got to my feet and made staggeringly for the door. “I just need to…”

Quickly, I ran as fast as I could to the men’s room, and then straight into one of the stalls. Once in there, I released my mouth and leaned over the toilet bowl. With one violent contraction, the congealed contents of her stomach emerged in the afternoon light, nothing digested since my last meal. For a few moments, I retched over the bowl. When I felt nothing could come out of me anymore, I wiped my mouth, turned the flush, and fell on the tiled toilet floor in relief.

“Kevin, are you okay?” I heard a voice ask from the stall next to mine. It sounded like Josh’s.

“Yea, I’m fine.”

“No, you’re not.” I heard him leave his stall and head for the sink, probably to wash his hands. “You’ve not been yourself all day.”

“Really?” I asked, faking obliviousness.

“Yes, really.” I could now hear him using the hand-dryer “And I think I know why. It’s the workload my dad put on you, right?”

I hadn’t even thought of that, but it was true. That adulterer had given me us only a week to come up with three tracks. Almost like he thought music came out of me like carbon dioxide.

“Kinda,” I answered.

“Well, don’t let it get to you,” Josh said.

I could now hear his footsteps approaching the stall I was in. I contemplated cleaning myself up, but I was sitting next to a toilet bowl; no amount of cleaning up was going to make his sight of me any less unpleasant.

Josh opened the stall’s door, glanced at me, and said, “Like I always tell my employees. Look at the big picture.”

“And what’s that?”

“You’re getting to write literally half the entire songs on Demoniker’s album.”

I smiled, though that didn’t last long, because the nausea hit me again, and my head was back over the toilet bowl.

“Oh wow! You’re a mess!” Josh chuckled.

This was the first thing he had said all day that actually made sense to me, but I still couldn’t help but laugh.

“Yes, yes I am.”

“You can’t work like this.”

Realizing how ‘not-okay’ I was, Josh suggested I take the rest of the day off, adding that he would ask one of the company cars to drop me off at home. As much as I didn’t enjoy the thought of leaving Isaac alone with Demoniker to treat my songs however he deemed fit, a comfortable, air-conditioned and free ride home after the day I had sounded way more inviting.

And it felt better too!

***

Stepping down from the sleek black Jeep with the ‘Highland Records’ print on its side, I said goodbye to the driver and walked into my compound. I got to my front door, brought the keys out of my pocket, and proceeded to unlock the door. Once that was achieved, I paused for a moment to brace myself ready for what I imagined was going to be an unpleasant conversation with my mother. After hearing what Amaka had to say about the state of Mother’s marriage to our father, she and I simply had to talk.

I pushed the door open, and there she was, on the couch, almost like she’d been waiting for me to come back and see her like that.

I shut the door, waited a beat, and then started slowly toward her. Not a word was exchanged between us, but we maintained eye contact.

Eventually, I got to where she was seated and stood in front of her.

She got to her feet, opened her arms and pulled me into an embrace.

And that was when the control I’d had over my emotions all day snapped. I couldn’t hold anything in anymore. Whatever feelings I’d been suppressing all day long came bursting out in the form of endless tears. I hunched over my mother’s shoulder and my body shook with sobs. I cried because all along, since the day of the robbery incident with Jude, I’d been waiting patiently for God to show me a sign – any kind of sign – so I’d know whether to move on or not. I cried because finally, that sign had come and it wasn’t what I’d hoped for. I cried because I could now see that this was the universe telling me that there was no chance for me and Jude again, and that I should get on with my life. But mostly, I cried because I didn’t want to!

“It’s okay…” Mother said, patting me on the back. “It’s going to be okay, my son…”

“It’s not…” I said brokenly through my sobs.

“It will, you have to believe, my son…”

“I lied, mum…”

“What do you mean?” she asked, with me still in her arms.

“I told everyone and the police that Jude came here to collect some game CDs…”

“Yes?” Mother pulled back from me so she could gaze up at my face.

“But…but, the truth is, he came here to tell me how he felt…how he felt about me. And now, he’ll never remember what we shared…”

There was a moment of silence, during which I expected Mother to withdraw completely from me, to have something unpleasant to say. She stood still next to me for about three seconds after my revelation, and then hugged me back to her, before say gently to me, “Oh honey, you have got to have faith.”

There was a thread of misery in her voice, and I wondered fleetingly how much of that encouragement was actually meant for me. In that moment, I didn’t care about Amaka’s phone call. I didn’t care that Mother hadn’t told me what was going on between her and my father, and the real reason she came to Nigeria. I would eventually want the answers to the questions I had. But right then, all I cared about was that she was here for me when I needed her the most.

And that was all that mattered.

Written by Reverend Hot

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16 Comments

  1. Khaleesi
    September 29, 06:59 Reply

    Great price as always!! #FirstToComment

  2. Dennis Macaulay
    September 29, 07:06 Reply

    Biko can we skip to the part where Kelvin and Isaac will have crazy animalistic sex in the elevator?

    BTW I am a huge fan of this series

  3. Mitch
    September 29, 07:15 Reply

    Kai! How the heart pants for the love it might never have…………..

  4. Sheldon Cooper
    September 29, 07:58 Reply

    My best series here. Like, I literally abandon anything I’m doing once I get the notification.

  5. Mandy
    September 29, 08:09 Reply

    This one is quite the emotional episode. I felt myself tearing up a bit at that ending.
    Sometimes, I find myself drawing parallels between Kevin and Declan. Both searching for something, for love. But Kevin clearly has found the object of his own desire. Only, the universe won’t let him have it.

  6. Deola
    September 29, 08:25 Reply

    “What am I a yoruba mother?”

    LMAO.

  7. Ruby
    September 29, 12:12 Reply

    Wow!!!!!
    Such a Powerful Piece!

  8. PP's bae
    September 29, 13:54 Reply

    just wanna say how much i love this series…btw this is my first time commenting here

  9. Lothario
    September 29, 13:56 Reply

    Yoruba mothers everywhere will cry about that line…. Lmao!

    Lovely piece as always!

  10. Slim Emmanuel
    September 29, 14:59 Reply

    Rev Hot, Your Talent is exceptional…. Great piece. I look forward to this every week.

  11. JOJOARMANI
    September 30, 07:58 Reply

    pp’s bae? Like i read it right? Pp as in Pinky panther? Nn..nn..nnnn

  12. PP's bae
    September 30, 18:44 Reply

    you read it right…pp is mine now…sorry ya’ll missed the wedding….we sorta eloped

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