WHORE Of BABYLON (Episode 18)

WHORE Of BABYLON (Episode 18)

Previously on WHORE OF BABYLON

*

I pay the cute-if-only-he-would-take-his-hygiene-more-seriously keke driver and trek the remaining distance into the God is Good Park, looking around at the people coming and going with disinterest. It is almost 6 pm, and the evening has brought with it a reprieve from the afternoon’s heat. I take in a few deep lungful breaths of the cool air, noting how the atmosphere is markedly chilly, as though a downpour is happening somewhere not far away.

Someone suddenly pulls me back with a little more force than I think is necessary. I whip around to lash out at whoever the unfortunate person is. And I stop short when I see my friend beaming at me.

“Kenny!” I exclaim, immediately forgetting my annoyance.

He doesn’t look bad. With his grey-coloured joggers, a blue-and-white-striped tank top, a beanie and white all-stars to complete the look, he looks a lot like he just stepped off an airplane coming in from the States than a bus coming in from Lagos.

“Just because you look like a thug doesn’t mean you get to act like one, duckling!” I say with a laugh, even though a feigned expression of annoyance is on my face.

He smiles at me and then envelopes me in a hug. “Oh Sizi, I’ve missed you o!”

This time, when he breaks the embrace, he is the one who gives me the onceover. He gives me that look of his, like he’s an overbearing aunt who has refused to come to terms with the fact that her nephew is no longer a child.

“You have changed o,” he says with a smile. “I mean, for one, you’re covered up. I didn’t think you owned any loose jeans.”

I aim a swat at his head, one which he easily moves aside to dodge.

“Some of us have to cover up in shame when we come to a public park in Enugu, expecting to see a Nigerian and instead what we get is someone who looks like he was deported from America,” I retort.

He bursts out into an uninhibited laugh at that, a sound that is so uniquely his, I find myself suddenly getting filed with a rush of love and warmth for him. I am so glad to be reconnecting with my long time buddy, my bestie, the one who has been there from the beginning.

I am glad for the other friends I have made. However, there is something not quite as fulfilling as when you’re with your childhood best friend.

“He is here!” Kenny suddenly yelps, causing me to startle. He sounds very excited as he looks past me into our crowded environment.

“Who is?” I look behind me, craning my head this way and that. “Where is this he na?” All I see milling about are people coming and going. People are leaving with their loved ones and others are arriving to welcome waiting passengers.

Amongst those emerging into the park is –

Oh no! No! No!

I see him even before Kenny pinches me, instantly knowing that he is not just here of all places on some random assignment. Knowing that he is the one Kenny is expecting.

The universe must be getting a kick out of this.

I watch him approach with a mix of riotous emotions: fresh outrage, anxiety and lust. My God, I feel a resurgence of lust for him as I take in how he is clad in something much more casual, more breezy and effortless than he was putting on yesterday when we met.

A complete jersey and a pair of leather sandals shouldn’t look so good on a person!

I stifle the lust and fan the flames of my anger as he makes his way to where we are standing. A stir beside me alerts me to Kenny rushing forward.

“Jide, you’re here!” he squeals moments before launching himself into the arms of the man who fucked me yesterday and then called me a slut.

Yes, that’s right, Sizi. You keep remembering that he called you a slut and it won’t matter how sexy he presently looks.

I feel the burning urge to give in to the drama queen simmering inside me, to march right up to where he is busy hugging Kenny, yank my friend away from him, spit “You sonofabitch!” in his face, and then strike that same face with an openhanded slap.

But we are in public and I have come to finally accept that Francis is dwelling in me more than I’ll ever need him to be.

Peace. Tranquility. Be calm, Sizi.

But this Kenny is an idiot sha. This is why they slut-shame us. Why did he not let the fool get to us? Show a bit of restraint. Receive him a coolness and class that will certainly guarantee his respect – instead of rushing to go and hug him like some thirsty hoe.

Make him think you’re not all that ecstatic and maybe, just maybe he’ll respect you more.

I swear under my breath when they are done with their greeting and turn in my direction, where I am standing with Kenny’s bags at my feet. It is then Jide sees me, and he stops short, a look of surprise flitting across his face. I cross my arms and tighten my face, pinning him with a glare. Kenny moves toward me, basically dragging him forward. Behind Kenny, he looks very wary.

That’s right, you bastard! You better be afraid. You better be very, very afraid.

I’m not going to even entertain the thought that I evidently shagged my best friend’s boyfriend the day before he got in. the guilt from knowing that nibbles at my mind, but I tamp down on it. I had no way of knowing. If anything, the person with the responsibility of trust is Jide. He is the one with a boyfriend he should’ve thought about.

The fact that he is the reason I feel bad over possibly betraying my best friend compounds my anger, a rush of emotion that darkens my glare.

He must have noticed, because when they get to me, he starts speaking before Kenny can talk.

“Hey, um, Sizi –”

“You try making that statement complete and it may very well be the last thing you say, you sniveling, ungrateful piece of wasted space! I hate you! I ha–”

“What in God’s name!” Kenny cuts off my diatribe. Astonishment is etched on his face. “Jeez, Ikem!”

It speaks to how startled Kenny is by my behaviour that he said my actual name, something he would never normally do. He knows about my petty reservations regarding my tribal identity.

“Ask your boyfriend na! Ask him… Shey Jide is your name?” I whip my blazing eyes back to Jide. “Or is that the name you give out when you’re cruising the streets of Enugu for sluts to fuck?”

He looked taken aback by my attack, a countenance of befuddlement that infuriates me the more. Like he doesn’t understand my anger. What’s next, he’s going to probably deny that we ever shagged?

I have had it, and I whirl around to stomp out of the park. But Jide snatches my arm and jerks my flight to a stop.

His expression is earnest and confused as he says, “Kenny is not my boyfriend. His boyfriend is my uncle, the one that owns the car I picked you up with yesterday. I was the one who linked them up though. What really is the matter with you?”

I stare at him, feeling my face burn, no longer from anger but from mounting mortification. I turn to Kenny, and he nods in response to my unasked question.

“Yeah, Mister Sexy over there is just my in-law.” He flashes a smile, his eyes contemplative as he says, “But by all means, don’t let’s get distracted by my story. What I want to know is about you two. Whatever happened between the both of you? Why so angry, Sizi?”

And I turned to look back at Jide looking at me.

Written by Delle

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