“Excuse me, please.” The woman in front of me beckoned downwards. I caught a flash of black rolling in the aisle and picked it up. “Thank you,” she said, reapplying the tube of lipstick to her already-flawless lips.
The seatbelt sign went off and through the curtain behind me; I could hear the scrabbling as the Economy passengers gathered their effects in preparation for disembarking.
“Please remain seated until the doors have opened,” a stewardess said. The commotion told me nobody was listening. Someone hissed.
On the tarmac, I slipped on my sunglasses and unbuttoned the top two buttons on my shirt before stepping onto the bus bound for the arrival hall of the Nnamdi Azikiwe airport. I watched the handlers load our stuff onto the back of their vehicle for transport to the baggage claim carousel.
“They could just bring our luggage straight here. Or let us claim it on the tarmac,” the man who spoke had a ‘money bag’ tucked under his armpit. I smiled. “You know what I am saying?” the man insisted.
“Yes. But I suppose it wouldn’t be orderly,” I said. I switched on my phone. The man leaned backwards, stealing a glance at my bottom. There was a smack and he jumped. The last I saw of him, he was being forced to march behind a fair-skinned woman striding like a soldier. I bit my tongue to stop from laughing.
Outside the airport, people rushed to waiting vehicles in groups and singles. I looked around at the scenes of reunion around me and checked my watch. “Bloody Greg. Always late,” I said under my breath. I took my sunglasses off, wiped across the bridge of my nose and put them back on. My phone buzzed. ‘I can still read lips you know’, the message read. My head whipped around. ‘Fat ass,” came another message. ‘Still crap at finding things under your nose.’
“Greg you piss, poo-poo head,” I mouthed, tilting my neck up to make sure my mouth was visible.
“God, such filth,” said a man climbing out of a car to my left. “I will tell your mummy.”
“Greg?! Ahhhhhh!” I flew into his arms and he gripped me tightly, spinning me around. The minute he put me down, I punched him in the arm.
“Ow! What was that for?”
“I do not have a fat ass!” I watched myself pointing in his mirrored aviators.
“Yes you do but…ow! Stop it Otito! Ow!”
“Don’t call me that!”
“Sorry, geez. You’re still uncultured. What was the point of going away?”
“To get away from you, Egregious.”
Greg nodded. “Surely you mean ‘Gregarious’.
“Stop correcting me. I mean what I mean,” I swatted Greg’s hand away as he tried to pinch my nose. “I see you learned to dress,” I said, indicating his stone-coloured slacks and white linen shirt combo. “Baa baa black sheep….”
“Shut up. Get in the car. I’ll grab your stuff.” Greg clicked open the boot of his car.
“There’s a lot of it. Are you sure you can…” The question died in my throat as he extended the handles of my suitcases and put his arms through them, lifting them both. He repeated the process with the other two and my carry-on case.
“Blacky, you got fit,” I squeezed an arm. “What’s going on? Are you like attractive among your sub-human group or something?”
“Yeah, your mother certainly thinks so,” said Greg pulling away. I punched him again and he immediately braked, causing the car behind us to honk sharply. “If you punch me again, I will punch you in the boob.”
“You wouldn’t!” I crossed my palms over my chest.
“I will, I’ve done it before,” said Greg. He waved at the car behind and wound up the window again.
“You said that was an accident!”
“It was. I was lying just now.” Greg’s shoulders shook. “Com’on. We were nine. Aren’t you going to forget that?”
“I will never trust you again,” I said, listening to his raspy laugh. “Stupid boy.”
“I am not a boy.”
“You are a boy. A boy who punches women in the boob. Shame on you. I will tell your mother. How is she?”
“You know. She has good days and bad days.” He turned into the expressway. “Are you hungry?”
“I could take it or leave it.” I puffed out my cheeks and held my hands out to my side.
Greg eyed me. “Don’t be silly. I cooked. You’ll eat, Otito.” I raised a fist. “Abby,” he corrected.
I nodded. “Ok. Greg, how are you?”
“I am fine, thanks. How are you?”
“No, I meant…”
“I know what you meant. I got your email at the time. I am fine.”
“Ok, I’ll drop it.”
“So, why didn’t you tell me you were in Abuja now?”
“Err…you never asked. Why should I just volunteer the information like that?”
“Because we’re friends! We talk about everything.” I turned in my seat to face him. Greg turned the AC on full blast, making me sputter. I turned the slats away from me.
“Aren’t you hot? I was only helping.”
“It didn’t look like it. You’ll dry out my skin,” I said. Greg smiled as if to say he knew exactly what he was doing. “What are you doing in Abuja anyway?”
“This and that. You know me.”
“Don’t you want to leave the country? There’s an awful lot of the world to see. And who knows, while you’re doing that, you could find your calling in life.” Greg was still nodding. “I know how you act when you don’t want to listen you know.”
“Who says I’m not listening?”
“What did I say then?”
“Blah, blah, blah, blah.”
I raised my hand again. Greg blocked the blow. “Boob. That is all,” he said.
“Where’d you get the car? Did you steal it?”
“Maybe my flatmate?” He honked when a car cut him off. “What’s with all the questions, now?”
“Your flatmate trusts you with their car? Wow. I wouldn’t trust you with mine and this one is much plusher.” I slipped my feet out of my sandals and smoothed out my dress. “First I don’t ask questions, now you’re accusing me of asking too many. Make up your mind, Greg.”
“Cars, jobs, is there anything you want to ask me about me?”
“You won’t answer what I do want to know.”
“Not if it’s…”
“ How are you?”
“I am fine, I keep telling you. What else do you expect me to say?”
I took off my seat belt. “What are you doing?” asked Greg. “Put that back on before the Federal Road Safety guys pull me over. Otito…Abby…whatever..what the hell are you…ey! Ey! Stop it. Do you want to kill us?”
I straddled Greg and held his face between my hands. “I have money in my bag. Pounds. I will bribe my way out of this. And I don’t live in this country, don’t forget. Now answer the question.”
“Did you lose your mind in London? Sit down you crazy woman,” Grey twisted around me to see the road.
“You’d better stop the car.”
“No, bite me,” he said. I obliged, chomping down on his shoulder. “Ow! You barbarian!” Greg screamed. I felt his muscles bunch in my mouth. The car slowed down. “Please stop biting me.”
“I know, I know. You will stop biting me when I answer you honestly. But I can’t answer while all I’m thinking about is you taking off my flesh. Ok, ok!” Greg raised his hands when I bit harder. His Adam’s apple bobbed up and down. “I am fine now, but for a long while it was hard. Money was hard, waking up was hard, looking for a job was hard. And not having my best friend around through it all was the hardest of all.”
I let go of his shoulder, wiping the saliva off my chin. “Greg. I am really sorry about your dad.”
“I know. I read the email.”
“I keep feeling that you’re pissed about the email. It’s just I couldn’t…I couldn’t…”
“I know. You couldn’t. You’ve said that too. Many, many times.” Greg took off his sunglasses. “So, now you know how I am. Could you please get off me now? I feel my chances of ever begetting children getting slimmer with every second.”
I got off, and fastened my seatbelt. There was silence in the car when it started moving again. “I’m back now,” I said eventually.
“Yes, and everything is hunky-dory. Thanks, friend.”
“It’s a word.”
“Nobody uses it who isn’t…wait, are you channelling your character again? The one who dreams of sex?”
“Who said that was a character?” asked Greg as he pulled in front of some nondescript black gates.
“Is your flatmate male or female?”
“Male. Why?” Greg gave me a look.
“I think you need to introduce me. He seems like my kind of person,” I looked around the compound.
Greg held his hands in his head while I laughed, taking the opportunity to punch him in the shoulder.
“Congratulations on your new job,” said Greg clinking glasses with me.
“Thanks. You know, I don’t think I’ll be able to move after that meal.”
“Then don’t. You can sleep here if you want. I’m sure my flatmate won’t mind.”
“Where is he anyway? I thought he would be joining us for dinner.”
“Oh, he’s a very important man. You know I say I’m his flatmate but it’s more like, I’m his freeloader. I pay next to nothing for living here. I mean,” Greg shrugged. “Abuja is expensive. You know?”
I nodded. “I can’t stay. I have to check into our hotel.” I rubbed my hands together. “I do like our hotel. And they’d have a suite for me….”
“Yaaahhhhh” Greg put his hands in his ears.
“You’re just jealous because you don’t have a job you like. When you find it, you’ll understand how I feel.”
“So, tell me about this Sarah-Jane.”
“What? I’m just curious.”
“Just because you’ve built a few muscles, you think you’re in her league eh?” Greg shrugged. “Dreamer. Dream on.” A key rattled in the front door. Greg was out of his seat like a shot. “What? Oh God. Is he a difficult flatmate?”
“Oh hello S…”
“…Shithead. Hello yourself,” said Greg. “This is my friend Abby I was telling you about.”
The man who entered twirled his keys in his hand, looking from me to Greg and back again. Then he walked forward. “Hi. I’m Eke. Welcome to our home. It’s nice to meet you.”
“It’s a pity you can’t join us, I was just about to drive her to her hotel,” said Greg, pulling out my chair. “She’s tired and all.”
“Nonsense. I’m sure you can join us for a drink,” I said. “Please. We won’t take up too much of your time.”
Eke, looked from me back to Greg. “Why not? Pour me a glass. Ah, we’re drinking the good wine I see. Oh Greg. Such excellent taste for my stuff, right?”
I frowned. “I am sure he more than makes up for it in other ways.”
“Enough about him,” Eke waved his hand. “Tell me about yourself, Abby. You’re so fine.”
“Thank you. Maybe some other time, Eke. I am quite tired after all.” I yawned, “Greg, maybe you could drive me back now?” Eke looked towards Greg again. I waggled my eyebrows at Greg.
“Yes, yes,” Greg pulled his thumbnail out of his mouth. “Yes, let’s go.”
“Bye dear. Maybe we’ll meet again soon,” Eke said.
“Don’t count on it,” I said under my breath.
“I’m going to borrow the car again if that’s okay,” said Greg.
“Eh.” Eke shrugged. “What am I supposed to do? Say no?” asked Eke looking at me. He shook his head as if he was exasperated and traipsed off.
“You should punch him in the boob,” I said to Greg once we were outside.
“Oh, com’on. He’s not that bad,” said Greg. The corners of his mouth twitched.
“He is. If you don’t punch him in the boob, I will.”
“You know, there is one thing I have been meaning to ask you,” said Greg, sticking his tongue between his teeth as he reversed the car.
“Under what circumstances did you grow that ass of yours?”
12 comments On Sexy Times with Nnenna Marcia: Friends and Frenemies (Pt1)
Eke and Greg are in a relationship?
Eke is….hmm… annoying. i wonder what their story is.
Eke and Gred are totally doing it. He was going to call him “Sexy”. Greg is going to pay for calling him “shithead” with many sexual favors. I can feel it.
*yawn*yawn*.why do I find this post very uninteresting ?not comparing but I really do think Malaka’s own was the ‘ish’.this one:zzzzzzzz,there’s something about it &the inconsistency of it all just doesn’t do it for me.
@Abena – Do you want to try writing your own story then? Lets see how you do with interesting and consistency
Oh well, you can’t win ’em all! 🙂
What inconsistencies did you find?
Awwww Nana, let Abena kvetch small… clearly the story is going somewhere, but this segment is about tension-building more than it is about anything.. I find it fascinating, but as Nnenna puts it ‘you can’t win ’em all’ and you shouldn’t try to… My small opinion…
@Kofi – Did I try to win anyone over? Your small opinions are always welcome 😛
I’m 99.99% sure Eke was going to say “sir.” Greg’s made a name for himself while Abby has been away but he’s being coy. I loved the banter…it made me miss a couple of my ride or die male friends : ( Great, great writing Nnenna… U brought me out of lurkitude…
Thank you so much, Epiphany. I’m doing the next bit for you guys (and always, for Ozohu who I sense is VERY DISPLEASED). I hope that does it for you as well.
hahahahaha ozohu is learning to be very understanding. i’m consoled by the fact that i will own a book by nnena in the near future… hopefully.
I am still trying to make it up to you though. Hopefully one weekend they’ll be like THREE stories back-to-back!