“Hello”, Genesis said into the phone two weeks later. He’d finally summoned enough courage to call Yemisi after putting off for as long as possible for the fear of a rebuff. L was a Thursday evening and Yemisi was going Eniola and his friends were busy chasing one another in and out of the living room her lesson notes after a short siesta while Eniola and his friends were busy chasing one another in and out of the living room. She taught Chemistry at a private secondary school in town.
“It’s Genesis, Genesis Bad-”
“I know who you are,” she laughed. “You don’t have to introduce yourself every time.”
“Really? Her pleasantness reassured him.
“I’m surprised you’re calling though, how did you get my number?”
“Hmmm, he feigned thoughtfulness. Let’s just say I have my way of getting things”
“Oh please don’t give me that- excuse me a moment,” she went on to quiet the noisy kids. He could hear her back orders at them to march into their room as they were disturbing her call. Someone complained of hunger and she told him to get to the fridge.
“I’m so sorry about that,” she apologized.
“No problems,” he assured. “Sounds like a battalion in there”
“You can say that, four boys.”
“Yeah, Eniola and his friends.
“They had too much ice cream, that stuff makes them hyperactive each time and I keep buying it? God!”
“They’re kids, this is the time for them to be hyperactive, we all had our shots at hyperactivity.”
“Yeah we did,” she sighed. A brief silence ensued.
“So why are you calling me?”
“Well I just- I wanted to thank you for the other time. For organizing Bolu’s birthday party and-”
“Really?” She sniggered.
“Yeah. I’m sure you don’t know how grateful and indebted I am to you and-”
“Grateful? Welcome. Indebted? Not at all. Mother to one is mother to all.”
“Wow! He laughed. You’re- you’re a really great woman.”
“Hun”, she scorned. “Nobody’s beating up anybody okay!” She called out to the kids, who she could apparently hear threatening to beat up one another atop their voices.
“I’m sorry about that”, she excused herself again, ordered them out and sent them off to Mama’s to inquire what she’d have for dinner.
“Are they troubleshooting?”
“Not really. I can handle them.”
“I like the sound of that, the lady is in charge!”
She laughed. Silence.
“So, how are you?”
“I’m good. How are you too?”
“As good as I can be.”
“And how’s work? I’m guessing you’re less busy now.”
“Not exactly, but there’ll always be time to hear an angel’s voice.”
“You know that I-”
“I know, he preempted. There’s no harm in a honest complement, is there?”
“What exactly do you do by the way?”
“I run an advertising and brand consulting agency with a couple of friends. I was thinking your friends would have told you that.”
“Oh please, don’t overrate yourself. We’ve better things to talk about than bicker about you.”
“Wow! You really had to say that ?
“That’s the truth”
“And retort of the century. Are you always this uptight and harsh?”
“What? You think I’m uptight and harsh? Well, truth is bitter but I must tell it all the same ”
“…But I must tell it all the same,” they chorused and burst into laughter.
“Aanu’s doing a really great job on us,” he spoke first.
“Yes, she is,” she laughed some more. Silence.
“Hey, I was thinking, how about hooking up some time, maybe over dinner, just to get to know each other better, you know, asides what we’ve been told about each other.”
“Someone’s been talking to you about me?” She stressed the ‘you’.
“Oh you think you’re the only one who’s privy to-”
“Don’t even try to blackmail me.”
“I tell you, I’m not. Thank God we have mutual friends”
“So now you’re using my words against me? ”
“So, what do you say?”
” We’ve already talked about this”
“Hey, it’s not like I’m asking you to marry me or anything? Are you that scared?”
“Scared? You wish,” she snorted.
“I do believe I deserve my day in court, if not for anything to at least clear all the wrong impressions you have of me.”
She said nothing.
“Is that a yes? ”
“I should go, I have to start dinner”
“Alright then, but while you think about my proposition am I allowed to call you some other time?”
“If you so wish”
“Do take care of yourself. Happy cooking”
She chuckled. “Bye”
“So Genesis called me,” Yemisi declared out of the blues a few days later as she and Aanu stacked table cloths. They were at the Philips, where Yemisi often went with her son after work to relax and catch up. It was a Tuesday evening and they hadn’t seen each other for over a week.
After lunch, chit chatting and cleaning up in the kitchen, Aanu asked that they sorted some decor materials in the store. Her staff had done some cleaning and stacking over the weekend and what had to be sorted were table clothes newly brought in by the dry cleaners the day before. They began sorting by colour, Yemisi taking the royal blue and Aanu, the cyan coloured.
“Yes,” she tossed her a cyan coloured cloth. They were sorting by colours, Yemisi the royal blue clothes.
“He has your number?”
“Oh now I remember. I gave it to him so he could contact you as to the preparations for Bolu’s birthday. But he never did call, did he? ”
” Not until last week”
“I see.” Aanu tossed a royal blue cloth in her direction. “So, what did he say?”
“He was just calling to thank me again for the party and blah.. I think he might be showing interest in me, he probably thinks…” She stopped as their eyes met.
“Nothing. I didn’t say anything.”
“Of course not,” she picked up a cloth, “you’re only giving me that look of-”
“That judgmental look”
“I have a judgmental look?”
“You’re apparently the only one who does not know that, she rejoined. ”
“Whatever,” Aanu got up. She pulled out all the four drawers into which the clothes were going and passed two to Yemisi while she sat and began to fold clothes into the other two.
“What else did he say?” She let her curiousity get the better of her.
“Well he asked if he could call me some other time and I said he could if he wanted to.”
“I know what you’re thinking. And no, I’m not jumping unto the next available man. Not after being dumped in the manner in which Tony dumped me. I’m an adult,” she went on, “so I should know what to do and I do know what to do.”
“Of course you do,” Aanu stifled a laughter quite bemused at the way she’d been preempted.
“That wasn’t what I was thinking actually”, she said after some time.
“Oh really? What were you thinking or better still what were you planning on saying to me?” Her tone was defensive still.
“It doesn’t matter now.”
“Just forget it.”