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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 3

My entire week goes slow, each day seemed to crawl by in snail motion, I wish I had a time machine at some point, funny thing is I never in any of these days get a call from Desmond, not even a text to check on me; he is probably busy.
The thing is I’m fresh out of school with no job and only a few friends; Tamuno is out of town for God knows what, so I’m all alone with no excitement to accelerate the speed of my week. I thought of calling Desmond a few times, but thought against it; I have a huge ego.
Sunday morning finally comes, bright and beautiful. I wake up with high spirit, singing and dancing while I made breakfast and lunch. My mum comes in the kitchen and eyes me; she is surprised at how excited I am. You see, I hated Sunday mornings, because I had to wake up as early as 5am to start breakfast and lunch which we make before going to church. My mum and I always made sure we didn’t leave the house without quarrelling, my whole family always anticipated our Sunday morning fights, it was either I spent too much time in the bathroom, on my make up or my outfits were not good enough, too good or my make up was way too much; bottom line she always had a reason to pick a fight with me. Today is different; I have my date with Desmond after service, yaay me!
Getting home after church service, I sit in front of the mirror for over 20minutes, changing lipsticks. I finally settle for the pepper red shade but still sit, admiring myself. Yes, I’m  a very pretty young lady; not just saying though, I really am pretty. My oval shaped face held nice features; perfect cheek bones, perfect deep set eyes, irresistible full lips and a pointed nose, that’s how Segun described me the first day we met. I’m not so tall though, some people called me small but really I am five feet and four inches tall, not so bad huh?
It’s 2:45pm now, and I’m all dressed up in ripped jeans and a lace top, ready, waiting for “Almighty Desmond’s” call, I’m starting to get upset. “You are not calling him today Mirabel”, I caution myself. The sound of my phone ringing wakes me up, its Desmond. I sit up and look at the time its 4:30pm, I pick his call prepared to lash at him. But hearing his voice I calmed down immediately, this guy must be , he apologizes and says he’ll pick me up in twenty minutes, I end the call smiling. I get up and touch my make up a little before heading for the sitting room to sit, fortunately everyone is asleep. It was our Sunday routine to come home, eat lunch, go to sleep and wake up late in the evening scavenging for food like hyenas.
Typical Desmond gets to my place 45minutes later; his car pulls up in front of me as I get out of the gate. Damn! He’s so pretty; dressed in a black t-shirt and blue jeans with black shoes to match, I start smiling sheepishly.
“Was sup?” I ask as I get into the car.
He smiles at me, making my heart skip two beats, he has dimples!! How can one person be so cute? He was definitely made on a Sunday.
He mumbles something uninteresting, I turn and look at him sharply, “it took you 45minutes to get ready and come pick me up?”
He smiles without looking at me; I roll my eyes starting to foresee boredom,” this might end up becoming the worst date of my life!!!” I scream in my head.
He takes me to this very pretty suite, we get down from the car together and I follow suit to a lounge. Desmond opens the door and walks in leaving me behind, I’m like wtf! I let it slide but then my footwear gets stuck to the foot mat, I try to no avail to get it loose. I look up to see Desmond walking unaware of my struggle, carrying himself like a peacock, I catch sight of this couple giving me the “eeyah” look. I want to scream at him instead I bend down, using my right hand I set my sandal loose. I catch up with him and sit on the leather sofa he was sitting in. Without looking at me, he gets up, take my hands beckoning me to stand up for a hug.
“Hell no, I’m not hugging you. Better sit down and respect yourself”, I’m actually upset at his actions, this guy has no manners. He sits down back and says how embarrassing that was. I look away from him; I should really learn to not be so expectant.
We start talking, well he asks the basic questions: my state of origin, age, siblings, occupation, and so on…..I didn’t feel like asking any questions, I had lost interest already. Then I remember and ask what he does for a living that makes him so busy, “I’m hustling”. He responds, I want to laugh but look at him and realize he is serious.
“What do you mean hustling?”
“I have a lot of things going for me, a little bit of this and that, here and there. I’m staring at him and I can tell from his expression that my facial expression is not helping, I don’t have a problem with my mouth, but my face definitely needs deliverance. “I’m not a yahoo boy though” he added.
“Yeah right, like a yahoo boy would admit he is one” he looks at me but says nothing.
He orders a bottle of beer and I a bottle of water, I let the TV set in front of me take all my attention, I’m not alone. The both of us sat beside each other, eyes glued to theTV screen. He clears his throat after 10minutes, “we didn’t come here to watch TV now, we should move to the other part of the lounge” he picks up his glass and bottle and heads for the back; I follow at his heel and see my couple kissing, I should stone them with my sandal. I look forward and find him staring at me, a wide grin on his face. “What?” I ask.
“Its romantic, isn’t it?”
“Hell no, it’s disgusting, they should get a room”, I say out loud, hoping  they’d hear but they didn’t.
He looks at me closely and says, “You don’t look like you want a relationship, you just want to be rich”
I ignore his comment, what did he know?
I sit down with him and he looks at me and says, “You’ve got pretty eyes”.
I roll them and say, “Yeah, I get that a lot”. This makes him chuckle and I can’t help but smile.
“I really can’t believe you are sitting in front of me though, I thought this day would never come”
“Really? You are the one who always claims to be busy, hustling is a time consuming business I see”
I’m not sure he gets my sarcasm, because he merely smiles and takes a sip of his drink, “my imperfect gentleman”. I start to drum on the table then I spot the pepper and salt cans or whatever they call them, you know, those containers containing pepper and salt that restaurants put on tables. I go for them both and Desmond drags them from me almost immediately.
“No, I didn’t plan on losing my sight today” he says pulling on a serious face. I start laughing and he joins in. I’m a little relieved; it may not be so bad after all.
He looks deep into my eyes, leans forward and takes my right hand, “do you like me?” he asked.
“Yes I do, I think you are cool”, I reply with a hint of a smile.
He chuckles and I raise one eyebrow, “you answered like a hotel receptionist would when asked if there are available rooms.” He said.
“Oh, really? I’m supposed to go on on one knee and say yes with tears and mucus running down my face?”
He laughs hard, “its ok Hun”
Awwww, he called me Hun. He is still holding my hand; there is a ring on it. He takes it off and asks me to marry him! Don’t get your hopes up people, jokingly of course. I look him straight in the eye and say, “if you ever propose to me sitting down, I’ll give you back your ring and walk out the door.”
“Yeah, you are definitely that kind of girl”, he says seriously.
We start to talk about diverse topics, and guess what I find out? Desmond isn’t a dummy; in fact he turned out to be quite smart. In the next hour I learn a lot from and about him, he is not so bad after all. I would make a list but nah….It’s just a first date, I can’t be so sure. Three things he said that got my attention though were, “I always stand out, I like to keep it real and yeah, the punch line, “I’m hustling”.
Its 7:10pm now, my curfew is 6:30 and my phone starts to beep. His phone starts ringing too, he takes his call and I listen to his conversation. Apparently, he has a meeting at 7:30; meeting of the hustlers I think and hold down laughter. I don’t want him to go though, I don’t want to go home either, but I should go now if I still want a roof over my head and a surname.
He holds me back as I’m about to head for the door, he is so tall; he looks down at me and says, “You haven’t given me my hug yet”. I smile and he pulls me into a hug, gosh!I could die in his arms. He tries to kiss me too, but I duck it.
We get to the door, and like before he walks out leaving me behind, “get used to it Mirabel” I say to myself.
In the car now, he is taking me home and takes a wrong turn. I start to tell him but he puts a hand to my lips, “I know what I’m doing”, he says with a smile and then he stops the car.
A million thoughts race through my mind, “what is he doing?”
He stops finally, looks at me and says, “You are not going home without kissing me, a peck at least.”
I start laughing, this guy is crazy. I turn my face, thereby giving him my left cheek to peck. He chuckles again and declines it, saying he wants a peck on the lips.
Anyway, we did kiss. And guess what? It is the most awkward kiss I’ve ever had!! It is near terrible, I expected the world to stand still, see stars, you know the Hollywood kind of kiss, kisses you read about in novels but nope, it was a very awkward kiss. I break it off first and watch him clean my lipstick off his lips with his middle finger, he tries to hold my hand but I push it away, still disappointed in our kiss. We get to my house and we hug and say our goodnights, the hug is awkward too. The date went from bad to good, then good to awkward. I walk into the ompound, let myself in and sigh as I take the staircase to my room. I didn’t know what to make of my date with Desmond, I mean it was good but why didn’t I feel a connection when we kissed? I was supposed to yeah? I’m pretty sure I did with Segun. I try to put it out of my mind. I get to my room and sit on my bed, just then Desmond calls me, to check if I was safe at home, such a considerate fellow. We chat for a minute and few seconds before we say goodnigt.
I smile at my phone and lay on my bed, could this be the fire or just another flame?

WRITTEN BY: MIRIAM EHIS SULAIMAN

WORLD OF A RECLUSE 2

Eight months after my failed relationship with Segun, I start to put the pieces of my life’s puzzle and I’m still on the single train; I’m starting to get bothered now because I’m a little lonely, I miss Segun so much but he is married now with a child. It’s amazing how I can still bear to talk to him after his betrayal but I loved him though.
At this moment I get a call from Tamuno, my bestie; there was a party. I wasn’t thrilled at the news, this girl knew I had an early curfew but always wanted me conscious of everything I was missing out on, meanie! I try to hush her but she is so excited and keeps feeding me with unwanted details, I love her so much and official is going to be there”, I hear her scream from the phone, this brought me out of my thoughts, “yaay!” I shout back while rolling my eyes.
“You know I can’t come, so what’s the relevance of this information biko?
“L-O-L, I know. You want me to talk to daddy on your behalf sweetie?” She asked her voice laced with sarcasm.
For a second I wished she was standing right in front of me so I could spank her tiny bottom. She was such an idiot, never seen an individual who used L-O-L while talking. She was silly but I loved her anyway.
“Have a great time love, kisses to Tekno official, tell him Mimi says hi”, I say this hoping she’d get the message, I wasn’t in the best mood tonight, I had a lot on my mind and Tamuno wasn’t serious enough to have a serious conversation. With this I hang up and put my phone down on the dresser. I hear my phone ring twice, it was definitely Tamuno again. I ignore it and went on to write my to-do list for Saturday.
What was the time? I look at my bedroom clock, the stupid thing had packed up again, I hiss and pick up my phone. Unconsciously, I open to see my missed calls. It wasn’t Tamuno, it was Desmond!!! Desmond my crush for a year, six months and fifteen days, yeah I’m good with figures. I jumped up and started shoki-ing, the only dance I wasn’t so terrible at. I met him last year, on my sisters’ birthday at a store, I was very upset that day but meeting him changed that. He was tall, dark, fresh and very handsome.

I dialed his number, smiling and dancing to the ringer. From the way I was dancing, one would think “shoki” were his caller tune. He picks up at the fifth ring and said, “Hi, let me call you back” then hung up before I could stop him.
“Such a considerate fellow”, I say wistfully.
His call comes in and I dance to my ringtone for ten seconds before clearing my throat and answering it.
“Hi”, I say with a frown, hoping it would reflect in my voice.

“Hey, good afternoon”
“Afternoon, what’s up with you?”
“I’m alright, you?”
“I’m good”
Truth be told, Des as I called him didn’t sound as good as he looked. Sometimes he talked like he was a straight dummy. But his looks made up for his empty head, or so I thought. I liked my men smart though, but with his looks, I was ready to make an exception.
We talked for approximately four minutes, there wasn’t much to say though, and it wasn’t so easy talking to him without rolling my eyes and stifling laughter. He sounded confused a lot. Anyway, I had a date the next day with Des. I started to picture a kiss already, “oh Mirabel, get your mind out of the gutter!” I caution myself. My to-do list! I pick up my diary; there were a lot of corrections I had to make. I blow a kiss to my broken clock and looked at the time on my phone before sitting back to work on my list. Tomorrow is going to be great indeed…
Saturday morning, I rush to the salon to get my hair done; Desmond had never seen me on weaves, just braids. Braids didn’t fit me well enough, so I decided to fix a weave on.
I was done before noon after which I went home to prepare my outfit for my “date”.
1pm, 2pm, 3pm, 4pm, it was now 4:30pm and I gave up and called him. He didn’t take the call, I sigh; So much for all my joy huh? Yeah whatever. My phone battery was so low; I turned it off and placed it on charge.I had developed a cold already, it was the stress. 30 minutes later, it had worsened; I changed my outfit, wiped my make up off and head out for the pharmacy. On my way, I keep hoping I’d see Desmond’s car or something but I didn’t.
When I got home, I switch on my phone and first thing I got was a message from Des. He was apologizing and asking if we could see at that moment, shit! That was 30 minutes ago. I hit myself, why did I turn the stupid phone off? Just then his call came in, I pick it up and he starts apologizing, saying he was busy and asking if we could still see each other. I explain I have an early curfew and he asks for a reschedule, we plan on meeting the next week after which he gives another apology. Mad as I was, I gave him the benefit of doubt, maybe he was indeed busy. I sigh and lay in bed, feeling less enthusiasm. I take the pills and in no time I was off….

WRITTEN BY: MIRIAM EHIS SULAIMAN