TEN STORIES (VI) YÉMISÍ

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‘Heyy!’ Someone jumped on Genesis from behind as he came out of the cinema hall with his girlfriend that Saturday noon. He turned round to face a young, fair complexioned scantily clad girl of average height.
‘Tuna!’ He was quite surprised.
‘Yeah baby,’ she hugged him again. ‘It’s been ages or what?’ She held on to him excitedly. ‘Look at you,’ she stroked his beard.
‘Come on,’ he took off her hand gently.
‘Quite a surprise! Where did you appear from? Oh pardon my manners,’ he said all at once,’ this is Yemi,’ he introduced his companion who’d merely stood watching the exchange of pleasantries between the duo.
‘Hi Yemi, I’m Tuna,’ she extended a hand.
‘Tuna?’ She took her hand. ‘That’s fascinating’
‘I know right?’ She swiveled from side to side excitedly as she spoke. ‘My friends gave me the name because I know just happen to know my way around the male folk, you know what I’m saying?’ She did a Short suggestive dance.  ‘I’m really very smart and swift with them,’ she giggled wildly.
‘Oh I see,’ Yemisi tried to take it all in.
‘Yeah right. How have you been?’ She turned to Genesis and  began to stroke his cheeks playfully.
‘I’m good,’ he was quite embarrassed. ‘Actually Yemi and I are together, he ventured.’
‘Oh really? Together as in…’ she gestured mischievously.
She turned to Yemi. ‘Lucky girl,’ she laughed. ‘Wow.’ She regarded the two of them for a moment. ‘Cool. But Tuna’s always available so, better keep an eye on your man,’ she nudged Yemi teasingly. ‘I mean who would’a thought he was a one woman man, eh?’
‘What’re you doing around here?’ Genesis tried a diversion.
‘Oh I’m here with some friends, you know, business as usual.’
‘I see.’
‘Yeah, so you still stay at that place you-‘
‘We were on our way out actually,’ he cut her short and reached for Yemi’s hand.
‘Okay,’ she laughed none the less, ‘see you around boy,’ she blew him a kiss and danced off, backwards.
‘Wow.’ Genesis heaved. They debated heading off into the fun park to which the movie house was annexed or heading out to a restaurant to eat. Yemisi decided she wasn’t hungry and would rather loaf around the park for a while so off they went.  The park was bustling with people that noon. The hotness of the sun distilled seamlessly into the harmattan chill creating a humid atmosphere. Fun lovers young and old, male and female were all over, basking in the December sun. Kids were chasing each other up and down and different folks littered the park in clusters, playing games and wining and dining. There were different fun sports to play. First they went riding automated cars, and then lawn bowling, then they went to get some ice cream.
‘Let’s go over there,’ Yemisi said after sometime, pointing at a hanging wooden bridge standing over the artificial river brimming with amateur swimmers who were either clinging clumsily to life jackets while being taunted by their friends who stood along the banks; or simply lounged on rubber tires rocked to and fro by the wind.  A few couples stood on the bridge leaning against the railings while chatting idly or just taking pictures. They stopped at the centre of the bridge. Yemisi leaned against the railings and began to eat her cream as the bridge swayed gently. Genesis faced the other side and watched the swimmers for a while. He hadn’t got over the Tuna episode and even though he’d managed not to wear it on his face and have fun while they played, he still felt the need to clear the air. Tuna was one of the numerous women he’d been with- before he met Yemisi of course. He’d been very open about his past with Yemisi but he hadn’t imagined Tuna, or in fact any woman from thence would suddenly pop up into a fun filled pleasurable day he was having with his girlfriend, his first and only girlfriend. He wanted to say something but wasn’t sure what or how.
‘Look at that!’ She called his attention to a young boy doing some acrobatics on a tire on her side of the river.
‘Wow,’ he turned disinterestedly.
‘That is so cool, I wish I brought Eniola,’ she referred to her son. They were both single parents, from previous non marital relationships.
He said nothing.
‘What’s wrong?’ She elbowed him playfully.
‘Nothing,’ he smiled at her, trying to decipher the tiniest jot of annoyance from the Tuna encounter. He saw none.
‘Tuna,’ she said out of the blues and laughed, turning to his side of the river, resting her arms fully on the railings and dancing slowly to the sway of the bridge.
‘What?’ He turned after her, glad for the opening.
‘The name’s just funny, I mean why would anyone in the world think to be named after a fish?’
‘You know I never really expected her to show up like that,’ he started his penance. ‘I mean it’s been- I can’t even remember, probably before Bolu…’ Bolu was his daughter.
‘These things happen,’ she said offhandedly
‘And it’s not like we had anything serious, I don’t even remember-‘
‘You called out her name immediately?’
‘Yeah, I just remembered because of its peculiarity and-‘
‘You even remembered her face-‘
‘It was all a happenstance. I can’t even believe I still re-‘
‘Relax,’ she tugged at his shoulder. ‘I’m only pulling your legs.’
‘Yemi.’
She burst into laughter. He took some cream, as if to calm his nerves.
‘But really,’ he spoke when she’d stopped laughing, ‘there was nothing serious between us I promise.’ She licked her cream nonchalantly.
‘You’re the only serious thing that has happened to me- in terms of a relationship.’ He was reflective.
‘And I really want to see this work, I’m trying so hard, putting in all my best because I just want you to believe and trust me when I say that I love you.’
‘Genesis,’ she turned at this.
‘I mean it.’ He was genuine
‘Okay,’ she gave a warning nod and returned to her view.
‘Maybe I never used those exact words before because it’s all new stuff for me but I like the way it feels. And I like the way things have been between us. I wouldn’t give this up for anything. I know she talked about me not being a one woman-‘
‘I wasn’t even paying attention to her.’
‘Maybe she’s right. But that was then. I’m a changed person, you changed me’
‘Did I,’ she scoffed.
‘Yemi,’ he reached for her hand.
‘What?’
He turned her to himself.
‘Look at me.’ She obliged.
‘I love you.’
‘Yeah-‘
‘And I want to show that as much as I can.’
‘I know.’
‘Perhaps there are still so many Tunas out there-‘
‘Of course, the world’s an ocean.’
‘Wha-‘ He was cracked up.
‘I could be salmon or herring or goldfish or-‘
‘Stop,’ he couldn’t stop laughing.
‘Or beam or carp or anything but Tuna.’
‘Yemi-‘
‘Look I don’t care what Tuna said or did not. I believe you, and I’m learning to trust you. You know how it’s been with me and men? I’m going to need some time,’ she explained gently.
‘I can wait.’
‘Of course you can,’ she slipped her hand out of his and turned back to the river. He regarded her lovingly and traced her gaze unto the river.
‘But it’s actually cool you put those words on record,’ she shrugged after sometime. ‘I mean if it took Tuna to get those three words out finally, let’s have more Tunas’
‘Yemi!’

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