I know what you are thinking, is this Presley’s desperate move to appeal to his readers by relating his piece to the now-popular Nico and Vinz’s hitsong? Well, I assure you, it isn’t. This exodus is jes plain ol’ me, putting pen to paper to describe the genesis and revelation of a certain act that occurred in the chronicles of my life – see what I did there?
Like I said, I have done something; something of which’s status I’m not sure about but I’m hoping you could help me with. No, am not talking about me accidentally giving my piece the same title as Nico and Vinz’s song – believe me it was accidental – rather, it’s something else that happened about 2 years ago but is fresh in my head like it happened yesterday.
I’d had a fair day in school, so I wasn’t the usual tired self I always was almost everyday after going through the daily routine of a University of Ilorin undergraduate. It was a Friday, so the thought of the next day and the day after being weekend days was enough to put me on a high high.
Mikky Ekko’s ‘Pull Me Down’ was slowly playing in my eardrums even as the evening breeze blew on my face and somehow reduced the migraine that was threatening to develop beneath my 1980 sized Afro. I was heading home, the one place in all of Ilorin where everything made sense, where I could do whatever on earth I wanted, however way I wanted it and whenever I deemed it fit to. It was the one place where the world was alright.
The cab I’d boarded stopped suddenly, sending me forward with so much force; I almost hit my head on the driver seat from behind. I cursed under my breath, wondering what on God’s green earth had made the driver stop so suddenly, didn’t he realize there was a human being in his cab and did he not see that I – the human being – was counting the seconds till I got home?
A female hand reached for the door knob from outside and a light-skinned lady stepped into the vehicle. She looked ‘early twenty-ish’, very attractive and slim, She had long well toned legs that ensured you gave her a second glance and the faded blue mini-jean-skirt she wore fitted and outlined them so perfectly. She had on and over-sized looking blouse that left her one shoulder bare with the inscription “I love cartoons”. Her face was round and she had beautiful full lips. She looked at me and said ‘Good afternoon’. I nodded in reply.
The cab moved again and I went back to be with Mikky, only for a short while though, as in a bit I was on my way to doing something I hadn’t done in all my approximately 8,500 days on planet earth. Even though I was risking receiving a titanic disappointment from a certain fair skinned lady tapping away happily on her blackberry, I resolved to do it anyway. What can I say? I was on a high.
I pressed the pause button on my music player, composed a message on my phone and handed it to the lady. She shot me a glance to which I smiled a very innocent smile, and then she collected my phone, read the message and smiled too. She then typed something and returned my phone to me.
“I honestly don’t mean to be a bother and I know this might strike you as odd but I have this huge conviction I know you from somewhere”
Those were the words I had typed when I handed her my phone. She replied with just a smiley – the smiley face.
“D’you by chance have family in Lagos or is your surname Shittu?”
I typed again for she did look like a certain Shittu I know in Lagos.
“No, I don’t but I guess it’s normal that you think I look like someone you’ve met. You know how they say, we are all made in twos, besides, it really is a small world”. She replied without opening her mouth.
Now, you’d probably be wondering why we didn’t just talk to one another like normal folks would. Well don’t get ahead of the story just yet.
“Well, you do and I assure you this isn’t me trying to hit on you neither is it a pick up line”. I smiled as I handed her the phone yet again, this time however, she didn’t collect it from me – as if her ebola conscious mind had just kicked in, only that there was no ebola virus around here then – instead she turned and spoke directly to my face.
“You know you’d save both of us a lot of work if you just talk to me directly, I don’t bite people I meet in cabs and I don’t think the driver would mind if we spoke to one another”. She gave this amazingly beautiful smile that just blew me away.
I exhaled deeply, more out of knowledge of what I was about to do than what she thought was surprise from me hearing her speak for the first time. I shifted in my position to make sure I was sitting sideways and facing her, all the while maintaining eye contact even as the cab sped past the many one storey buildings that populated Taiwo road, Ilorin.
I pointed to my chest, wagged my fingers in a zigzag manner as if to say “don’t do that” to a little child, and then I pointed to my mouth. I went on to point to her mouth and then my chest again, and then my ear after which I ended with the zigzag thing again. Finally, I raised my phone, picked hers and made to exchange it, then I smiled returning it to her lap where she placed it before I took it.
After all the hand drama I’d performed without making any sound, the message was sent. She thought I couldn’t speak nor hear – I can’t say, she thought I was deaf and dumb, that phrase is too negative abeg. Now she took her phone and punched a few buttons, then she handed me her Blackberry Torch 1. The screen read –
“I’m sorry about your disability, I didn’t mean to …. I wish I knew …. I’m really sorry.”
I could tell she felt pity for me, even the way she looked at me had changed but instead of give in and confess I was just been restless, I felt I was beginning to like the act, so I kept it up wondering where this new adventure would lead me.
“It’s no biggie ma, it happens every now and again, plus, I’ve gotten used to it”
“Awww, still can’t believe it, you’re so cute, it shouldn’t be someone like you”
“You’re so nice ma but could we please talk about something else?”
“I want to, but unfortunately, the next stop is where I drop. Text me sometime 0706*******, I have a lot of questions. My name is Darasimi. PS: I think I like you.”
She dropped from the cab and waved a quick goodbye. As the driver eased the cab into gear and moved the vehicle again, I turned and caught her stare at her phone and blush.
I’d replied “I like you too. Text me sometime 0703*******”.
I was beaming with smiles the moment I settled back into the back-seat of the cab. I caught my image in the driver’s centre mirror, he looked giddy like a schoolboy who just won a scholarship – pfff, Imagine the irony. I strolled home from the bus-stop, undressed, showered, ate the now lukewarm meal my brother had prepared and hit the sheets, happy with myself, so much that the world saw I was excited but had no clue as to why.
Beep. I heard my phone sing, it woke me up from a deep sleep. It was 12:22 am. Who could this be?
I took a glance at the screen and saw I had a Whatsapp message from a certain Darasimi – for a short moment, I couldn’t remember who it was, then it struck me and a knowing smile creased my face.
Her message read. “Hi there, fine boy”
“Hi back, fine girl” I replied.”
“I love your Profile Pix.”
“I love your profile pix too.”
“That’s a lie, you’re pulling my legs.”
“No its not, why would you think that?”
“Did you even enlarge it to see?”
“Sure I did, some moments ago”. It was true.
“So how was your day after we parted?”
“Cool. I got home, ate and slept. Your message woke me”.
“Awww, I’m really sorry I woke you”
“It’s alright, I’m not a legendary sleeper anyways”
“I could let you go back to sleep, if you want”
“Could You? Do you want to?”
“No, I don’t”
“I thought so too”
“I’uno, maybe something you said sometime ago”
“And what would that be?”
“You said you liked me”
“Oh that. I meant it too. You know what I think? I think you’ve got swag and I love it”
“I’m smiling right now”
“Really? I wish I could see you or best still be with you”. I sighed.
“So tell me about your condition”. Finally She asked. Oops, what to say.
“Whatchu wanna know?” I replied, half hoping she’d say nothing.
“I dunno, everything. You said you can’t hear or speak. How then do you do anything? How do you go out or communicate?”
“Firstly, I am not totally deaf, I just have an impairment but its better with my hearing aids on. Without them, I try reading people’s lips when they speak”.
“Kk. No wonder”
“No wonder what?”
“There’s a way you stare at people, like you can see beneath their skin”
“I get that a lot”
“So how do you talk, I mean communicate your thoughts?”
“I don’t, unless I really need to, in which case I send a message via my phone, like I did you”
“You don’t? That has to be frustratingly sad, keeping mute all the time”
“Story of my life darling”
“Awww, I really wish I was with you right now. I wanna hold you in my arms and let you know everything is okay.”
“Many thanks D. honestly, the fact that you think it, is enough comfort for me”
“Uhm…You said you don’t communicate unless you really have to”
“Yup, unless I really have to”
“When I joined you in the cab, did you really have to talk to me?”
“I’m glad you did”
“plus, you’re really handsome”
“You speak Yoruba?”
“Are you Yoruba?”
“You look Hausa”
“I have Fulani roots”
“You don’t say. You just keep getting more and more interesting.
What’s your name? I just realized I don’t know”
“Royalty and Wealth”
“My name, that’s what it means” “I asked for your name and not its meaning”
“My name is Demola”
Ok. Ademola. I like your name, cute name for a fine brilliant guy.
“You know, if you continue flattering me at this rate, I’d develop an enormous ego that’ll eventually piss you off”
“I doubt it. The soul I saw beneath your beautiful eyes would never get that far.”
“Wow, no human has called me all this fantastic things since I was born.”
“You just met me since you were born”
“Hold up. What then did you save my number as?”
“It looks like you’re growing on me D, I’m smiling again.
“You have a hold on me too D, and am smiling too.
And so began my chat-tionship with Miss Darasimi. In the months that followed, I got to know she was the last girl and child in a family of five; her parents lived separately even though they were not divorced. She was no longer a virgin but she didn’t regret it ‘cause it had made her a strong and better person. She is most comfortable without her clothes on, has appeared in about 20 music videos, had done a couple of modeling jobs and was studying Mass Communication at the University of Lagos.
Dara turned out to be a darling over time. I woke up looking forward to her messages and went to bed with her words on my heart and phone screen. Many times I’d reload our chat history and read all over again the fantastic words she used to describe me to everyone she knew. Never before had I met anyone who thought I was so much of a genius, but she did and much more, what’s worse, her words were deeply sincere and true, then it got to a certain point I knew I couldn’t keep up with the disability ruse much longer, for I was becoming overwhelmed by her nice words that I thought her knowing I wasn’t actually disabled would break her heart.
Her sincere spirit had met a devious one. All the words her spirit had come up with to describe the beautiful creature she’d encountered was all based on a lie, I was the devil she’d been told about to be wary of but she realized it not, until I stripped her of her innocence for my own selfish desire. I took advantage of her and cheated her over and over again, my guilty conscience wouldn’t let me be and finally I knew I had to do something about the situation.
“Demola, I’m returning to school in a week. Lectures have begun in full blast and I’ve run out of excuses to still be here in Ilorin, but I can’t leave this town without seeing you. It’s been 3 months now and I need no one to tell me I’ve fallen hard for you. I know you are a very protective person due to your condition, which is why you put up that wall around yourself in self-defense but I promise not to ever hurt you, I just want to see you again. Give me the chance to see you again love. I want to hold you in my arms and by that let you know you’re not alone and that it’s okay to still be in this world. I want to kiss your lips and make you realize you’re nothing short of a complete man, if anything, you’re an extra-ordinarily special being. Demola, I love you and I want to be with you. Please honey, give me the chance to show you things could be a lot different with me. Send me your address.
It was a text and I read it 5 times over to be certain I read right. I’d knew it was gonna come to this. 3 months ago, I honestly didn’t plan for it to go past 15 minutes but after all this time, I knew. ASUU had called off the nation-wide strike some weeks ago and I’d known she would be returning to school soon. It was supposed to be good news for me but I feared otherwise because the amazing lady I’d come to know was not gonna leave Ilorin without seeing me again.
Many times in the past, I’d declined her request to meet somewhere and after a while and countless trials she suggested visiting me at my place – I think she must have heard the Mohammad and Rock tale somewhere. Oh, how I wanted her over too, I pined with every fiber in my body to see her again and live out the wild fantasies I’d had with her in my dreams, but I declined. I gave countless excuses to dissuade Dara, at a point even I knew I was been too harsh but through it all, she never broke. She’d still send me texts and chat messages. She remained an angel to my supposedly challenged being even though I wasn’t returning the favor. The time had come and this time there was no chickening out, no excuse was gonna cut it either. I felt like I could hear her thoughts saying “even if you have a heart of stone, am sure the thought of me leaving for school would be enough reason to invite me over. To her – and oddly my – disappointment, she was wrong.
I wasn’t ready to risk breaking Darasimi’s heart, if she found out I hadn’t been sincere with her all along, I was certain I couldn’t live with myself – more out of my losing her than her not wanting to associate with someone who played on her intelligence for so long. My inner self kept telling me it was possible she forgive me, look beyond the lie and see the gifted mind she fell and was still head over heels for, however, I wasn’t ready to see things go the other way.
So I turned off my phone for approximately 2 months – 2 times more than I do when writing exams – and severed every tie I had to Darasimi. No, I didn’t try to reach her and after 2 months and more, I guess she just gave up. I’d succeeded in using and dumping a human being. I’d played with her and now tossed her to my recycle bin. She was no longer of use to me or my cravings.
It’s been two years now and I still haven’t tried reaching Dara, I haven’t heard from her either but I swear I miss her. Of course I do, what kind of human would I be if I didn’t or didn’t admit it, after all, Darasimi was “good to me”. Many times in the 2 years that have passed I just wonder what kind of cursed human I must be to have let her go the way I did.
I know a lot of folks would think me heartless for what I’ve done but I need you to understand this, am a huge believer in karma and I didn’t want her coming back to bite me in the ass, it’s why I did what I did. One thought still eats at my heart though, and it’s “if I’d be at peace if I’d just enjoyed the ride home that fateful day. Would we still be together if I’d just told her I lied about myself from the very beginning? Why did I say I was deaf and dumb in the first place sef? And most importantly, if I didn’t want to break her heart ‘cause I thought we had no future together, Am I Wrong to have let Dara go the way I did?
By ADEWALE PRESLEY ADEMOLA
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