MUSE – DANIEL
‘’Dude you are late!’’ Larry grumbles I walk into his dorm room. He is slipping on his well ironed shirt. I am too psyched about what I just went through to yell back him that I was just few minutes late. I am dying to tell him about the strangest girl I have ever met. I slump on the wooden chair beside his reading table filled with books. He had been studying.
‘’You cannot imagine what I went through today” I said pulling off my shirt. I already had my outfit for the dinner at his place for a while now. Right now, I look like a mess. Quickly, I remove my glasses and place it on the table.
‘’Where have you been? Amaka has been calling non-stop. You know how she can be” Larry says, walking towards the mirror hung on the wall.
‘’I am so sorry dude. It wasn’t my fault. I just had the craziest day of my life’’ I squeal as I peeled off my sweaty shirt from my chest.
‘’Well, technically today is your birthday, you are supposed to have the craziest day. But I am sensing it was crazier than usual’’ He says, sitting to wear his pair of shoes.
‘’Oh you have no idea!’’
I on the other hand, am too hyped to even coordinate my nerves right now. It is not every day you meet someone like that…someone who makes you feel exhilarating.
Quickly, I get dressed and keep everything to myself for now. We both know how rude it is to leave two girls alone in a restaurant. When I finally have my outfit on, Larry is relieved.
‘’Now I can listen to anything you want to say’’ he says, smiling.
‘’After I left the Café in the afternoon, I ran into a girl. Actually, running into is the understatement of the world.’’ I say, recollecting the really weird way Amma and I met.
‘’Really? So finally you find a girl who swept off your feet. Pun intended!’’ Larry smirks.
‘’Dude, I am serious!’’ I frown.
‘’Okay, I promise to hear everything else later. But not now’’ he says, laughing it off.
‘’Fine’’ I grumble as I follow him out of the door.
‘’One more thing, don’t mention this during the dinner. Your Amaka would freak. You know how she gets when you talk about another girl’’ Larry warns.
‘’She is not my Amaka. You know we are not together anymore’’ I reply, glowering.
‘’Whatever Dude. Just drive’’ he teases, tossing me my car key.
The drive to the restaurant is brief. But I am glad we were there. The restaurant is located at the heart of the city-one of the most expensive. We walk in through the front door. We spot a waitress and ask about our usual reservation. She directs us up the stairs into a private large room.
The room is filled with everyone I know: My family, friends, few family friends and colleagues from the student magazine team. They are with warm smiles and some are whooping. I couldn’t believe it. No wonder Larry was in such a hurry.
I walk up to my mother; she is in a beautiful dress. She pulls me into a quick hug.
‘’Happy birthday my boy’’ she says warmly and said few prayer points in Yoruba. No matter how old I become, my Mother wouldn’t stop being my ‘’Mum’’. I love her so much.
Quickly, I share hugs with my Father and my twin sisters.
‘’Thank you all for coming. I was indeed surprised’’ I say to everyone else. The birthday dinner went on and few birthday gifts were shared. I am talking to one of my colleagues and I feel a hand on my shoulder. I turn around to Amaka. She is holding two champagne glasses.
‘’Happy birthday stranger’’ she says in her quirky voice. She is looking beautiful as ever in a black dress. I excuse the friend I was chatting with, one of my colleague in the editorial board of the student magazine. I walk Amaka to a quiet spot around the crowd of people sharing small talks and having cocktails.
‘’I am sorry I showed up late’’ I say immediately before she can say anything. She rolls her eyes and offers me a glass of champagne.
‘’No worries. You showed up eventually.’’ She shrugs.
‘’So whose idea was this dinner anyway?’’ I ask, sipping the champagne.
‘’Uhmm, mine actually. Then I told your Mum and sisters. Then Chima and I planned it’’ she says, smiling.
I breathe heavily and pocket my hands.
‘’Ooh, don’t you like it?’’ she asks, looking crushed.
The last thing I want was a big party. I prefer my intimate dinner with just my three best friends. But I know Amaka; I can’t say this to her face.
‘’Of course I do. But I thought you know how I loved the intimate dinner’’ I say slowly like I am safe-guarding my choice of words not to hurt her.
‘’I do Daniel. I am sorry if I spoilt your night’’ her voice is beginning to crack. Crap!
‘’No, I love it. You didn’t ruin it. Come on, don’t be like that. I am sorry, okay?’’ I say, giving her a hug.
She sniffles and nods quickly. She can be the sweetest girl in the world and I like her for that. But I don’t want her to think I am leading her on and then hurt her. She believes we could still be together but I don’t want that from her.
‘’Okay then’’ she says and then gives me a quick kiss on my cheek.
‘’Happy birthday Dan!’’
No argument, that was Chima. A ray of sunshine. Always happy. Larry’s longtime heartrob and my good friend. She is looking beautiful and edgy as ever. She is a sucker for braids and dreadlocks. Her dreadlocks fall beautifully on her shoulders and a statement necklace to complement her dashing long bohemian dress and a cream blazier. Larry is beside her, holding her hands.
She pulls me to a quick hug.
‘’Thanks guys for planning this’’ I say as she releases me.
‘’Its nothing. Its Amaka you should thank. She pulled all these off’’ she says grinning from ear to ear. I stare at Amaka and she had a small smile on her face.
‘’Okay picture time. This party is officially going on my blog. Its way too expensive not to be publicised’’ she yells, pulling me towards the crowd. I groan inwardly. When it comes to taking pictures, you cant argue with Chima. She wouldn’t listen. She always had her camera with her.
Larry scoffs and gives me a I-know-how-she-can-be shrug.
So for the next twenty minutes, I am taking pictures with everyone in the large room. Not that I don’t like taking pictures. I have been told that I look good looking(I’m not bragging) Especially with my glasses. I can’t go anywhere without it. Well, basically because I cant see without it.
Finally, I blow the candles on my birthday cake shaped in a glossy magazine and everyone sings for me. Everyone is having the night of their lives. Dancing and talking. I stand in front of the glass window looking into the dark sky. I can’t stop thinking about Amma..just Amma. I really want to talk to her again.
She is the definition of fresh air to my mind. I laugh as I remember her smart mouth. She called me Dora the Explorer. What the heck did she even mean?
‘’Dude, you don’t seem like you are having fun on your birthday’’
Larry’s voice startles me. He stood beside me and stares at the Ibadan night.
‘’I am actually. I just can’t stop thinking about her…’’
‘’Woah! Who is this girl? Now, I am officially interested in her story’’ Larry says, folding his arms.
I chuckle and face him. I adjust my glasses and breathe in some fresh air.
‘’She fell over me along the narrow path and we swaped backpacks. At first, she was so mean and very aggressive. But then she saved me from being robbed’’ I say in rush.
‘’Woah! This evening?You almost got robbed?! Dude are you okay?’’
‘’Yeah, I am fine. Thanks to her.’’
‘’How did she do that. She fought them?’’ Larry asks, visibly surprised.
‘’Dude, I am talking about real combat. She seems like out of this world. I couldn’t believe my eyes’’ I say, I can’t contain the excitement.
‘’Wow! Did you ask her out on a date or what?’’
I scoff. ‘’She wasn’t up for that. She was in a hurry to leave. It was like a Cinderella-forgot-her- glass-slipper moment. She only told me her name’’
‘’What’s her name?’’
‘’Amma… just Amma’’ I state, placating with my hands, slowly recalling her very voice. It warms my heart.
‘’Amma? Is that Igbo or what?’’ Larry asks.
‘’I don’t know.’’ I shrug.
‘’’Nice name. So do you want to see her again?’’
‘’Baje! I have her number already. I will call her tomorrow’’ I reply.
‘’Dude, you are sure about this?’’ Larry asks, his face laced with worry.
‘’Yes, I really do’’ I reply, ‘’I really mean it. I want to know more about her.’’
‘’Fine, then call her. Its not that late to give her a call’’ Larry says.
I nod and pull out my phone. I dial her number. It rang for a while but she didn’t pick up.
‘’Perhaps she is sleeping’’ I shrug.
‘’Okay, so lets go on with your birthday party. Try and have fun or at least pretend to’’
‘’You knew about the big party and you didn’t tell me.’’ I say quickly to him.
‘’Hey, you know how difficult the ladies in our lives can be when they want something, I told Amaka you wouldn’t like I but she insisted and I cannot stand her chatter.’’ Larry say, holding up his hand dismissively.
I sigh and shrug. He is right. I could imagine what he went to through to keep his mouth shut about the birthday surprise.
The party went on and I tried to get Amma off my mind till I got back home in my bed.
It didn’t work…
Love is in the air…or is it obsession? What do you think will happen if Daniel finds out the real dark truth about Amma’s life? I’m up for a debate really! Thank you for reading.