Part 8: Twice Shy

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Peter Daniels – Managing Director, Chevron Oil Company.

Him? A Managing Director? But he seemed so young to be the managing director of an oil company. I had danced with him briefly after Dan and I went back into the club. He must have been keeping his eye on him long enough to know he wouldn’t get good time with me to ignite a conversation so he dropped his business card in my jeans back pocket. I left he touched me but when I looked at him, he raised his hands like it was an innocent mistake. I wouldn’t have guessed if I didn’t have to empty the pockets to give out my club clothes to the dormitory laundry woman. They smelled out cigarette smoke.

I was curious to know his story and journey to success at such a young age. If I were to call him and say my name, would he remember me, I thought. Or perhaps I’d say the girl from the club the other night? That would be silly. He must be clubbing on a regular basis and would have tons of girls he deposits his complimentary cards in their pockets. Smooth. It was pointless, I concluded. Then it occurred to me that I was thinking about something that wasn’t worth my time. I couldn’t relate my thoughts of Dan to this stranger. I had started out thinking of Dan and how we connected emotionally at the club but I found myself curious about Peter. I shouldn’t be thinking him. For the first time in a while, I looked forward to going home the next day. Mother would be pleased to have me at home for the weekend. It had been about three weeks since I last went home. Perhaps, all the excitement was beginning to get too much for me. Going home would be a breath of fresh air.

“I’ll be going home for the weekend”, I announced, not exactly sounding excited about it.

“Why? Is everything ok?” Funmi asked. She had not been home since the beginning of the semester which was unlike her.

“I just think it’s necessary after such a long time. I’m beginning to miss home”, I said.

“Omolade, I’ll come with you. You can drop me off home as well. I haven’t been home at all. I should visit home too”, Tolani said. It was unlike her but I was glad she thought it reasonable to visit her parents.

“Your mom would be delighted to have you visit, I’m sure”, I beamed. “I’ll come with you and see her too. It’s been quite a long time I saw her”. It was always a pleasure to visit Tolani’s mother. Being that Tolani is her only child, she always welcomed me and treated like I was the other child she didn’t have.

“Don’t you miss home, Funmi?” I asked after a moment of silence, turning to face Funmi who was painting her fingernails while she chewed gum loudly.

“Leave me out of your sentiments about going home every now and again. My parents and I have an understanding which works well for everyone”, Funmi snapped. I hadn’t realised how hostile she had become. I noticed she rolled with other girls on campus more than she preferred hanging out with Tolani and I but I assumed it was only natural since she was a level ahead of me at the Uni.

“Nevertheless, I’m sure it will be a pleasant surprise if you visit some time too”, Tolani said, looking with disappointment at Funmi.

“I’m sure it will. I’ll give it a thought”, Funmi responded in sarcasm. Tolani and I looked at each other, perhaps wondering when Funmi became so detached from them. It was as though we were now living with a total stranger.

“By the way, I know you might probably say no but I want you to give it a thought”, Funmi started again. “There’s a party tonight and I’ve been invited but I don’t want to go there alone. It’s a bachelor’s eve and it’s holding at the Kuramo club on the Island”, she said.

“Isn’t that like a strip party? I’ve heard of those kind of parties” Tolani was irritated by the thought of attending one.

“No. This is Nigeria. Girls don’t do that here. At least that’s not what the bachelor’s eve is intended at. Strip parties happen at a proper strip club Tolani, don’t be difficult. And you probably think that because you see it happen in the American movies too. Besides, you don’t have to do anything, just sit if you want or get up and dance if you fancy the music. It’s just like any other party really but it’s partying with the upper class, if you know what I mean”, Funmi winked. My fear exactly. “So what do you say?” she concluded, searching both our faces.

“Sounds fun. I’ll go,” I said without giving it much thought then I remember someone said to me after my last invite to a bachelor’s eve that bad things happen to good girls too, otherwise, I shouldn’t have had a nasty welcome experience into campus. I was beginning to drift into that thought when Funmi snapped her fingers in my face.

“You okay?” she asked.

“Hmm”, I said inaudibly.

“Don’t worry about it. You’re safe with me”, she assured.

“Is it going to be dangerous there?” Tolani asked, confused about what we were insinuating.

“Of course not”, Funmi said. “Omolade just has a bad habit of going into trance whenever she hears a bachelor’s eve party”.

“Have you been to one before?” Tolani asked.

“No but I hear its fun so we should go”, I said, coming back to myself.

“It’s settled then”, Funmi snapped her fingers. “The guys who are picking us will be here soon. It’s getting late already”, Funmi insisted. I glanced over to the wall clock. It was half past eight. “Tolani?” Funmi checked.

“I really don’t know. I have to go home tomorrow, you know”, Tolani replied reluctantly.

“Yes Funmi. We had both just said we intend to go home this weekend. We tried to talk you to do the same and here you are talking about partying all night”, I emphasized.

“Guys please, I already agreed to go to the party and the guys will be here soon to fetch me. I’ve never been to a party without you guys and I don’t want to do that tonight. For old time sakes, you can’t afford to leave me hanging. We can come back as soon as you feel sleepy. Then you can get enough sleep before you go home”, Funmi begged.

I couldn’t turn her down even though I had my fears. “On one condition though”, I conceded reluctantly.

“What?” Funmi asked.

“That I go in my car”.

“I think it’ll be more fun if we all went with the guys”, Funmi said, wondering why I would want to do that late in the night.

“I want to ride in my car,” I repeated firmly.

“Fine, as you wish. Tolani?” Funmi asked again with a pleading face.

“If I must, I’ll ride with Omolade too”, Tolani said, conceding unenthusiastically.

“Fine, then the issue is settled. We should probably start getting dressed”, Funmi was happy.

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