Later that day, Dotun gave her the list of the women on her train and Demi created the group. As Dotun had promised, they were all warm and they all promised they would send their measurements as soon as they could. Perhaps she had overreacted about the whole bridesmaid business. Dotun was her colleague and they had gotten along very well in the past. Perhaps she hadn’t meant to fall in love with Tosin? After all, who could really stop love?
Since she had met Yomi, her mind had been a little less concerned with the yellow, youthful looking accountant and more interested in the tall, chocolate man whose laughter tickled her core. She wanted to call Jameelah and tell her about him but she didn’t have his number. She grabbed her phone:
Girls can ask guys for their number, right?
Jameelah quickly replied:
Sure. We aren’t in the stone ages anymore.
Demi could almost her friend stress the words ‘stone’, ‘ages’ and ‘anymore’. Her phone vibrated again.
Hey! Who do you want to ask?
She wanted to tell her, but then if she asked and it didn’t work out, she would also have to share the news of the rejection. And fortunately, lying was easy when it wasn’t done verbally.
A debate is going on in the office.
Jameelah didn’t bother to respond. She had lost interest.
“I’m not asking for much am I?”
Her mother had caught her with one foot out the door. She wanted to go to the gym again, after all, the more frequently she went, the more likely it became that she would bump into him. She had gone four times already, but he was yet to appear.
The last time she went, she asked one of the trainers when he was most likely to come.
“Does he know you are expecting im, ma?”
“I’m…I’m not expecting him.”
“E is not a trainer, ma.”
“I know that.”
“It is ees sister that does private.”
“Yes ma, the oga.”
“His sister is the owner of Lllit?!” It was no surprise he had been unmoved by her bouncing on the ball, when his flesh and blood was exercise personified. She had seen pictures of Lola in magazines and knew that Lola didn’t just own the gym, she lived it.
“Ok…but when does he usually come?”
“I don’t know ma. But when I see im, I will tell im you were looking for im.”
“No! No, don’t do that. I was just…a little curious.”
Just thinking of the exchange again gave her goose bumps.
“Mum, it’s not as though there is a website I can go to, to order a man and have him sent to me via express delivery – or I would have tried. Cross my heart and hope to die, I would have tried.”
“That’s ok. Because I have found the perfect man for you.”
The milk went down the wrong channel and resulted in Demi coughing and spluttering. Her mum maintained her posture and waited for Demi to calm down, which eventually, she did. Mrs Adegboyega was a woman with a purpose, and nothing, not even Demi’s near choking to death, could divert her attention.
“He is tall,” she continued, satisfied that her daughter had survived the choking incident, “Six feet. Smart – he got a first class in university and he is a doctor.”
Her mum ended there, slapping her palms against her hips triumphantly, announcing the obvious conclusion of the conversation. What more could her daughter want?
But does he have a sense of humour? Will he rub my feet if I’m tired? Will he defend me when necessary?
But Demi knew better than to ask those questions out loud. Her mum would just narrow her eyes and hiss. She sighed.
“He sounds great.”
“He is. I went to secondary school with his mother. He comes from a very good family.”
“Exactly! So you’ll meet him?”
They both knew she didn’t have a choice. If you were single and over the age of 30, which Demi was, you were not allowed to say no to blind dates. If you did, they would take you to church and pray for you. Her best friend Joy had said no to such an offer; Demi had no idea what the pastor did or said to Joy but she had come out of her intervention a different woman. Now she was married with three toddlers.
Demi did not want to be brainwashed. She would meet this tall, smart doctor and if she didn’t like him, she would say so. She picked up an apple from the fruit bowl and rinsed it.
“Great. I told his mum you were free tomorrow.”
The apple paused halfway to her mouth.
“But…I’m not free tomorrow.”
“What are you doing? Meeting with those single girls? They are a bad influence on you.”
“Why? Cuz they are single?”
“I’m not in the mood to argue Bidemi. He will come and pick you at 8pm. Ok?”
“Sure! That’s exactly what I planned to do tomorrow!”
“If you take that tone with me again, I will call your father.”
Her mum took the apple out of her hand and took a bite out of it. Then she grabbed her handbag and walked out. Demi groaned freely and bumped her head against the refrigerator.
She was hankering after a man that was handsome enough to turn a model’s head and who also happened to have the fittest woman in Lagos for a sister. She had never really stood a chance. Her mother’s hook-up was probably the closest she was going to get to a boyfriend.
I don’t have measurements from any of you yet.
The sooner you send them to me, the sooner the tailor can get started on our dresses.
She sent it a second before she changed her mind about the woohoo. The tailor had already called her several times and so she eventually stopped picking the calls – she had nothing new to tell the woman. She wondered what would happen when she started asking for deposits – each of the dresses was going to cost a cool N35,000.
Having lost the desire to exercise she entered the living room, where her father was seated with his eyes glued to the screen. He leaned forward, his arms resting on his thighs, one hand held the remote control, as if protecting it from all who might thick of making use of it. He was wearing a danshiki – his outfit of choice at home.
“Good morning, sir.”
She knelt for him briefly and he grunted something that sounded somewhat like good morning. She sat beside him.
“I’m up for a promotion at work.”
“Yes. But I am running against Dotun.”
“She is the one who just got engaged.”
“Ah.” He patted her on the back, as though aware that she needed comfort, but his eyes did not leave the screen – CNN was monitoring the US 2016 elections – and no-one in the house had had the liberty to change the channel for weeks.