WORLD OF A RECLUSE 6

We arrive at South Africa in good time; Tamuno and I are still not speaking to each other. I must confess, the airport is super beautiful and I can’t help but stare in awe. Not restraining myself, I start to take selfies, and I drag Tamuno for a few too, nobody knows me here after all.  We grin from ear to ear and go back to not speaking to each other after the pictures.
I’m drained by the time we got to our hotel; I lay on the bed as soon as we got to the room. Tamuno Is humming a song, she just wants to piss me off the more but I won’t let her rather I’ll focus on my new environment which is extremely gorgeous. She finally stops humming and sits down next to me; I’m not speaking to her till she apologizes.
“Hey, don’t ignore me while I’m trying to ignore you” she says while hitting my side.
“I’m tired T, stop hitting me” I try to stifle a yawn but it proved itself stronger than my jaws and lets its way out.
“I’m sorry boo, but mehn! You really shouldn’t have called Desmond though”
“I know babe, I know”
We are both quiet and I look at her, she is sound asleep already. I get up and adjust her so she’s laying right, then lay back and join her to sleep.
South Africa, the city of the sun as  they call it is as beautiful as the sun at dawn. Our tour guide Jon is handsome, tall, broad-shouldered, dark skin with perfect dentition.
“You should be a model” was the first thing Tamuno said to him, I seconded with a smile.
“Thank you very much” he said with a funny accent.
He takes us shopping first and as much as I try to restrain myself I still contact the shopping fever, we end up buying stuff that we probably don’t even need, you know when you go shopping and pick stuff because the store attendant tells you it’s cool and stuff, we both fall victims. We feel like queens as Jon takes us around even though I feel like a dwarf beside Tamuno and him.
The next day we go to the beach, it’s my first time at a beach and my dad should not hear of it, he keeps seeing me drown in his dreams, I find it ridiculous whenever he says it; but being at the beach today, I’m amazed at how scared and cautious I am. I don’t even go close to the water, a lot of guys stare at Tamuno;  she’s perfect like a mannequin, standing at above six feet tall, with perfect shape and perfect face. Anyone would notice her before realizing my presence, pretty as she is though she rarely noticed her admirers, she really didn’t care. We sit by at a corner together “sunbathing” but really we are just trying to feel among. We’ve had enough sun in Nigeria to last us five lifetimes, we apply sun screen and lay on our mats with our shades on, I get bored first and take out a novel.
“You don’t read at the beach Hun” a very deep voice from behind me said. I turn around and see this fabulous-looking man with a very gorgeous smile. I smile back at him and drop the book, he comes closer and sits beside me and I turn to face him.
“Hi, I’m Desmond”
Tamuno sneezes behind me, twice, idiot! But really, another Desmond, “I’m Mirabel” I say finally and extend my hand for a handshake, he takes but rather than shake it he kisses it, ok he is a flirt but today I choose to not care.
“Tourist?” he asks.
“Yes, how do you know?” I automatically start fiddling my weave with my finger
“Well you don’t look like you are from around here, where are you from?” he replies with a smile
“Nigeria, How do people from around here, where are you from?” he replies with a smile
“Nigeria, How do people from around here look?” I say with a smile too, playing along in the flirting game.
“Not as hot as you ma’am” he says with a wink.
As stupid as it sounded, I give him a wide grin. “Nice try brother, good luck on your next punch line” I say in my head but still holding my smile. I look towards Tamuno and say, “oh, meet my friend Tamuno, Tamuno this is Desmond”
She sits up and smiles at him; he returns the smile and kisses her hands when she extends it.
“Hey, you are new in town, I can show you two around” his jaw should be hurting from all the smiling already.
“No, we have everything planned, our tour guide is over there” I point towards Jon who is sitting at a stall sipping a margarita.
“We can hang out in the evening, come on let me have your number. In case you change your mind”
I look over at Tamuno, she shrugs and smiles at Desmond, I hand him my phone but he gives me his card so I take his phone, dial my number and hand it back to him.
He winks at me, “nice meting you Mirabel and Tamuno- which he pronounces as Teemuna- I’ll hit you up” he waves goodbye and heads back to his spot.
“Another Desmond, nice one” she laughs.
“Yeah whatever” I roll my eyes.
“He’s cute though” she winks at me.
“That doesn’t look good on you love, but yeah he is cute”
“You should hang out with him though, if he calls. He looks safe”
“Looks can be deceiving my friend, I’m not risking it, we are here to have fun and that’s it” I pick my book and flip through its pages. “Would you come too? Just to be safe”
“Tell him to bring a friend” she says smiling like a happy baby.
“What do we have planned tomorrow?”
“Safari!!!!!” she exclaims and start to giggle, I join in. we both have never been to a zoo all our lives, and are both really excited about our first visit. The fun is just starting, I look over and see Jon heading towards us, smile plastered on his face, walking towards us like he is on a runway, I smile at him too.
“Time to go ladies” he said smiling.
Tamuno and I both get up at the same time; “you really should consider modeling” I say with a wink  and catch myself, he smiles shyly, where did that come from? I shake it off and concentrate on tomorrow, safari!!!!!

WRITTEN BY: MIRIAM EHI-SULAIMAN

WORLD OF A RECLUSE 5

Tamuno spends nearly the whole week shopping, I don’t know but I find it weird and annoying. It’s Weird because we are meant to shop in South Africa and annoying because she is dragging me along on this miserable journey. I can recall her getting on my last nerve a hundred times. Somehow I try to understand her excitement but stop myself, no one should really understand Tamuno unless they need mental help, yes she’s my best friend but I choose sanity.
We finally conclude on our arrangements and are set to take off tomorrow. Truth be told I’m excited too, a little nervous, but mostly excited. Desmond hasn’t called me all week, so I read this meme earlier today that says “life is so simple, why complicate it” you miss someone: call them, love them: tell them and stuff like that, maybe I should follow this principle and take the bold step, I feel like I’m in front of a large audience and they are all encouraging me by shouting, “Go Mimi” so I do it, I pick up my phone and take a deep breath, “come on Mimi, it’s just Desmond” I tell myself. I take my phone and dial his number again, the lines connect and I tap my foot in unison with his ringer, it rings for a while then disconnects, he didn’t take the call, bad as I feel I console myself with the assumption that he is busy at the moment and would call back when he sees my missed call.
I drag myself downstairs to the sitting room, my dad is sitting in his favorite chair (the one facing the television directly) face buried in a newspaper he Is holding with both hands, i move closer and clear my throat, he looks up at me with a frown, his goggles are almost at the tip of his nose making him look like an old principle.  My dad is handsome, for his age and way too conscious of it, standing at six feet, two inches he carries himself with so much pride, I’m a perfect replica of him though I took my mommas height
“We are leaving tomorrow sir, we have finalized our arrangements”, I said with the  straightest face ever, standing at an “at ease” position, an outsider would think I’m an officer speaking to my superior. He sighs and closes his eyes while I roll mine; I’m definitely going to be here till midnight.  I look at the time; it reads 8:49pm, what is wrong with me? Why did I come so early? I’m used to his many sermons anyway.
“Sit down”, he says finally.
I take the chair opposite him, I’m certain at some point of this talk I would doze off and I really don’t want to get caught. As predicted, our monologue ends at some minutes past midnight, I would call it a dialogue but he did all the talking, my only inputs were, “yes, no, amen” so yeah, monologue it is and yaay! I didn’t doze off at any point probably because I made him three cups of tea while his sermon was going on, I’m glad it’s over though.
As the little children our parents still perceive us as, Tamuno and I are taken to the airport by our folks. After checking in our luggage we all sit together at an eatery and listen to our folks talk politics and religion. My phone beeps and I jump, it could be Desmond, but it’s not. It’s Tamuno, “when are they leaving, I’m bored #sadface” I smile at my phone and look over at her, she really looks bored and sleepy so I get up, excuse myself and drag her along with me. We head for the rest room, laughing all the way there, we get a few weird looks from fellow travelers but we don’t care. Finally we hear our boarding announcement and head back to our parents. After hugging them goodbye, I feel a tinge of sadness; I let it linger before shaking it off and boarding the aircraft. Tamuno and I sit by each other, her eyes are closed and both fists clenched, I reach out to them with  the aim of unclenching them, she’s not so comfortable flying.
“It’s ok to be nervous right?” she asks, giving me the puppy look.
“Yes baby, it is. We’ll get there safely, I promise”
“Oh please, you are not the pilot”, she rolls her eyes.
I laugh, “so much for trying to put you at ease”. She’s obviously still nervous and I think of what to do to ease hers anxiety a little, then it hits me, “I called Desmond yesterday”
She turns sharply and gives me a piercing look, “you did what?”
I really want to laugh this off and pretend it was a joke but who would I be fooling, I sigh and look down my laps.
“What did he say?” she asks maintaining the piercing look.
I force a laugh, “he didn’t take it, maybe he was busy or something”
She starts laughing hysterically, calling the attention of a few passengers on board; my cheeks are burning with embarrassment.
“Congrats on making almighty Desmond mightier, I never knew you were miss desperado”
“Hey it’s ok to like someone, care for them and also show them that you do”, I snap at her.
“But hasn’t he shown you it’s not mutual, ladies are meant to be chased by men and not other way round, and that was a desperate move desperado”
Her words sting so bad but I somehow manage to swallow them without spitting back venom, the plane is in motion now and the flight attendants start their description and demonstration of safety measures in case of a crash, I roll my eyes. If the plane crashes, only God can save us. I say a word of prayer, pop a gum in my mouth and listen as the plane slowly maneuvers its way through the runway and then takes off, beside me Tamuno has fallen asleep, so I take a novel out and start to read and in no time join her in dreamland.

WRITTEN BY: MIRIAM EHI-SULAIMAN