I usher Kelvin and someone else into the house in the mild confusion that comes with finding out that someone you know knows someone else that you know (and have something of a crush on).
Then Ebube came out of the kitchen and kissed him and laughed. I guess that answers my question. Then she hugs the someone else while Kelvin comes to shake my hand.
Within minutes we’re seated at the table sipping the peppersoup. Ebube is laughing at something Kelvin says while the someone else is talking to my father about his job. I’m left alone, glaring into my peppersoup.
With the coming of Kelvin and Tolani came a change in the breezy atmosphere. Now, Boma was frowning at his food and giving monosyllabic responses when we tried to draw him into conversation, Tolani was polarizing Boma’s father in conversation and pointedly ignoring the rest of us, Kelvin had a mischievous look on his face and Boma’s father was barely touching his peppersoup.
I debate whether to call Tolani or Boma into the kitchen with me, before I decide not to bother. I’m not sure what caused the sudden change in the atmosphere but I suspect that commenting on it will do more harm than good. So instead, I call the old man into the kitchen with me. When we get into the kitchen, he uses a finger to wipe his remarkably non sweaty brow and rolls his eyes heavenward. And once again, the both of us look at each other’s face and start laughing.
When we leave Ebube’s house, it is a scant couple of minutes till 6pm. We had spent over 5 hours in the company of someone we hardly knew. But my dad is smiling and looks peaceful in a way I haven’t seen him look since my mom died. When we leave, Ebube, Kelvin and Tolani (the someone else) come out to wave goodbye. My dad collected her number and she collected his. This was not the direction I’d hoped for. But then again, my dad is smiling. That counts for something.
I reverse the car, and before I drive off, I look in the rear view mirror and I see Ebube in Kelvin’s arms. It has been a very weird day.
We get inside the house. Kelvin and his family moved out about 4 years ago and we hadn’t seen each other in about 7 months. I understand, since he brought Tolani that the flirtation I’d witnessed at my mom’s wedding had blossomed into a relationship and I’m truly happy for them. I used to have a crush on Kelvin, true, but in recent years I’ve lived in fear that Kelvin will develop a crush on me. I have so few friends left and I refuse to stake one of my closest friendships on the altar of a relationship that will probably fail. In many ways, Kelvin and I are too much alike to be compatible and way too different from each other to be stable. Our friendship on the other hand is tried, tested and secure. And I may be a coward, but I need that security.
Kelvin pulls Tolani onto his lap and I start packing up plates to take to the kitchen, ignoring the ache I suddenly feel. I’m not lonely. I refuse to be.
Plates all packed, Kelvin aims a smile at me. “When we came in, I saw chin- chin. Where is my share?”
“When you came in, two hours late, there was chin- chin. It has finished”
“I know you’re hiding it. Do you want me to start searching for it?”
“I’ll make a deal with you.”
“Wash all the plates, cups and spoons, forks and knives and I’ll give you chin- chin and cake to go with”
“Okay, but you have to keep me company”
So we go to the kitchen and Tolani follows us although she’s busy with her phone. And we start talking. Then the conversation shifts to our guests.
“You know he has a crush on you, shebi?” Kelvin says.
STAND TO END RAPE (S. T. E. R)
As lifted from their press statement found on http://www.ekekeee.com:
The #Give2STER Campaign Promotes an End to Sexual Violence and Abuse.
Stand to End Rape (S.T.E.R) Initiative works to end all forms of rape through education, supporting victims of rape and changing community perceptions towards sexual violence and abuse. STER provides awareness seminars, sexual violence and abuse education, peer mentoring, therapy and promotes sexual and reproductive rights.
The “#Give2STER” campaign is an opportunity for everyone to say no to sexual violence and abuse in our communities, and take a pledge to support the campaign. The campaign is aimed at starting a free self-defense class for children and young adults, visit schools to distribute preventive materials on sexual violence and also to have a rape intervention centre in Lagos (and across Nigeria).
Throughout the coming weeks, STER will be sharing information on how you can do your part to promote the campaign.
Follow STER’s Twitter handle, @standtoendrape for campaign updates, ways to donate and opportunities to join the campaign.
The #Give2STER campaign, which is STER’s first official fundraiser culminates today and will end on October 4th from 8 p.m.
You can donate to STER’s bank account:
Account Name: Stand To End Rape Initiative
Account Number: 0157148304 (Corporate Account).
This post was promised for yesterday. I’m sorry. I fell into a wonderful sleep at 7:21pm.