The Men She Loved (1)


Lola could hear it but she hadn’t spotted it yet and she wouldn’t be satisfied until its blood was on her hands. She leaned on the edge of her seat, poised and ready to attack. The mosquito flew into her line on vision and she clapped it between her palms. Temi looked at her, amused.

“Can we eat now?” she smiled at his sarcastic tone and met his gaze with a bold one of her own

“Be my guest,” he dug in, but she hesitated. It was the first time he was eating a meal of hers and he seemed such a traditional sort of guy. She suspected it would matter to him if she wasn’t able to cook. Normally, she wouldn’t have cared what anyone thought of her cooking; after all, she fed herself and she hadn’t died yet. But she wanted to please Temi. “Do you like it?” He glanced up at her.

“You haven’t touched your food.”

“I wanted to know if you liked it,” he smiled at her and his dimples lit up his face.

“I do.” She returned the smile, “Now will you eat?” she picked up her fork and scooped a few grains of rice and stew, she felt his eyes on her as she put in her mouth. They ate in silence and her thoughts vibrated inside her head until she felt a headache coming. How she wished he would talk!

They sat on the porch of her home. A home given to her by her grandmother in her will. She had dragged the table to the porch with the help of Ada, to give it a romantic feel but Temi was yet to comment on it. He hadn’t commented on the candle either, perhaps he suspected there was no light. He had told her she looked pretty; but she had circled her eyes with kohl eyeliner and her lips were blood red, she wore the quintessential black mini dress and she knew ‘pretty’ didn’t begin to describe how she looked.

The wind blew her hair into her face. It was a lovely night, she couldn’t have hoped for a better one; and the estate was quiet as though there had been an estate meeting and they had conspired to stay out of her way. Temi leaned forward and brushed the strand from her face. She hoped he would kiss her.

“I’ve got to go. I have a meeting this evening,” her hope died. “Should I help you clear up?”

“No. It’s fine. It won’t take me long,” she kissed him on the cheek and waved him off.

As she watched him disappear into the darkness she thought about how she fluttered about him like a butterfly, hoping that he would anchor her, suspecting that he couldn’t.

He didn’t even realise that she wanted him to save her; so oblivious was he to her needs and her desires.  She had drawn him a clear map to her heart and he still lost his way. She was beginning to realise that sheer longing to reach a destination did not preclude the arrival at the destination. She was beginning to believe that he would never find his way.


Her phone rang and she picked it up breaking out of her reverie. Ada’s name flashed on the screen


“Dayo is back in town!” her heart skipped a beat and she felt her mouth go dry. Words, images, sounds, smells crowded her mind and she felt herself swoon. “Did you hear me?”

“I think so.”

“What will you do?” What would she do indeed? She could leave the city, the state, the country but unless she left the planet, she would merely be exerting useless energy.  “Lola! Snap out of it! What will you do?”

“I don’t know,”

“Does Temi know about him?”


“Let’s keep it that way,” Ordinarily, Lola was an advocate for full disclosure, but as the years had passed, she had found herself speaking less and less about Dayo. What was there to say? It must have been at least a year since she had spoken his name at all. She wondered what he would look like now, if he had changed. She recalled the last time she had seen him. They had been sitting across the table from each other; his eyes had been sad and grateful. They spoke as though they were alone, even as guards milled around. She had promised him she would return. She hadn’t. “Earth to Lola!”


“I really hate it when you blank out on me. I was saying, if you see him, just cross the road or whatever. Do not talk to him under any circumstance. He should get the message. Understand?” She smiled at her friend’s protectiveness.

“I understand,”


About the author

Oyinkan Braithwaite


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May 2019
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