Shola was a makeup junkie.
The creams, the powders, the blushes, the glosses-they all intoxicated her. They were her magic potions and she was the Beauty Witch. Makeup was her armour.
Unfortunately, she did not have this armour on when she bumped into Joe; she was, in her mind, annoyingly ‘fresh-faced’.
Shola felt very exposed and this threw her slightly off balance.
‘Oh. Errrm…Hi Joe! What brings you here today?’ she asked with a voice which sounded croaky in her ears.
‘I came to buy sanitary pads, just like you’ Joe said teasingly, gesturing at her shopping basket. She smiled reluctantly; she had forgotten how silly he could be.
And how good looking he was.
And how deep his voice was.
Shola gave herself a mental shake. ‘Well, it was nice seeing you again-take care’ she said as she tried to squeeze past him.
‘Wait-you really think that I’m going to just let you go, now that I’ve finally seen you? It’s been ages’, said Joe, blocking her path.
‘Well…you didn’t keep in touch’ said Shola.
‘You told me not to call you and you stopped taking my calls’, countered Joe.
Before Shola could come up with a follow-up argument, Joe took her basket from her hand, turned and walked towards the check-out section. Shola felt slightly dazed. She followed him, as she remembered when they had first met.
‘It would be a disaster for such a heavenly beauty to go unappreciated! Let me delve in your depths and explore your light!’ said the man wearing a black muscle shirt and bright orange trousers to her. Shola almost burst out with laughter until she realized that he was being very serious.
She wished she could stop attracting weirdos.
‘Hmm’ was all she could come up with, for lack of a polite response.
‘Would you excuse me please?’ Shola said with what she hoped was a regretful look on her face.She quickly made her way from the party which was now in full swing in her parents’ garden and into the house, safely away from ‘The Poet’.
The party was more mellow in the house, with cool Jazz music playing as people sat or stood in small groups, chatting, smiling and drinking.
Shola looked around for a familiar face, and locked eyes with Joe.
He smiled and walked up to her with a calm and confident gait. He wore brown loafers, blue jeans and a black polo shirt, which was stretched satisfactorily across his broad chest. He had clean, chiselled features, a neat hair cut and kind eyes. As he stopped in front of her, Shola could smell his perfume. It smelt like heaven.
‘So, I finally meet the famous Shola’ Joe said, smiling. Shola smiled in response, and offered her hand to him for a handshake. He gave her a strong handshake, which made her happy; she hated when men had weak handshakes.
She knew about Joe from Ade’s numerous tales of their escapades in Secondary School (though Shola was certain that the stories were heavily censored for her benefit). They had never met before now, and they struck up conversation which they mutually enjoyed.
Shola and Joe spent a lot of time together after the party over the next few months. She was intrigued by him, and he seemed absolutely smitten with her. However, after they spent the night together, Shola had to come clean with him: she was not in a ‘relationship state of mind’.
‘What does that even mean?’ Joe asked, looking slightly baffled.’Is it that you don’t want to date me or that you don’t want to date anyone?’
Shola was quiet for a while. ‘I’m a mess right now. My last relationship was awful. I just don’t feel like dating anyone right now’.
‘Besides’ she added, as she got up from his couch, ready to leave his flat, ‘you’re moving to the states soon, so there’s no point having this conversation’.
‘We could try long dis…’Joe began, but Shola cut him off. ‘No, I don’t do long distance relationships’.
They stared at each other for a moment. ‘Are you sure I can’t change your mind?’ Joe asked. ‘I’m sure. Look, I have to go’ and she turned to open the front door.
He held her back, and drew her close to give her a gentle kiss on her lips. She pulled away from his embrace, ran her hand across the side of his face, and then went home.
Joe called Shola a few times afterwards but she had not picked his calls. Sometimes she felt slightly guilty about how abrupt she had been with him, but Shola knew herself well enough to know that at that point in time, she would have been a terrible girlfriend.
Joe paid for Shola’s purchases and handed the carrier bag with them over to her, which she collected from him quietly.
They walked out of the supermarket together, not speaking until they stepped out into the sunshine.
‘Well, it was great seeing you’ Shola started to say, to which Joe responded with ‘Are you ready to date me now?’
‘What?’ She stared at Joe. ‘What are you talking about? You haven’t seen me in ages’.
He shrugged. ‘True. But the feelings are still intact’.
Shola was trying to come up with a sarcastic response when Joe pulled her close to him in a gentle embrace, not minding the curious looks of customers who had to walk around them to get to the supermarket’s entrance.
She was surprised at first, and initially resisted the embrace. But he smelled so wonderful…and she found herself melting into his embrace as she rested her head on his chest.
‘Well, well, well, what do we have here?’ asked a voice, piercing through her foggy mind.
‘Oh no’ Shola thought. ‘I know that voice’.
She stepped away from Joe’s embrace, and turned to see her brother, Ade, looking at them with mischief-filled eyes.
©Ivie M. Eke 2016.