As you walked to Mama Zeenat’s cafeteria, Hassan ate off your ears with lavish words for Grace. His reaction surprised you because it was not his way of talking about ladies. Usually, Hassan would be concerned with a lady’s looks. He would comment on how well endowed she was or what she had to offer. But Grace was different for him, as she was for you. Though you were unsure if you liked her more than he did, you were willing to take your chances. ‘So help me, God’, you submitted within yourself.
“Wait o, Boss,” you interrupted Hassan.
And you caught his attention.
“Hope no be say you day plan to snatch my babe,” you added casually – a deliberate attempt to awaken your comrade’s consciousness that he was not the only one interested in Grace.
“Which babe? Grace? Guy, no vex me o!” he warned.
“Wait o! You even get her number?” he asked and burst into laughter.
“It’s not like you’ve got her number either,” you confessed, sensing how foolish you were to fight over a lady you could neither reach nor were you sure to see again.
“I get doings, man. You know I can get her digits within a few minutes,” he boasted, and you knew him – he could do it.
“Yeah, whatever. But in the end, it’s her choice to make,” you raised a defence with a wry grin.
“True talk, bro. May the best man win!” Hassan agreed, emphasizing the ‘best’ with an air of confidence.
You could tell he felt he was better a man than you were.
‘The best man is out of place in that sentence, ‘lucky’ man makes more sense,’ you thought. Besides, you did not want to think losing Grace to him was proof that he was better than you.
However, you were concerned that you could lose Grace to Hassan: He was ahead of you in every way you knew of, except in height. Anyone could tell you were a little taller than he was – Bolaji once joked that you looked like the bodyguard whenever you stood beside Hassan, whose physique matched the ‘bouncer’ profile. And Fati had inferred from her boyfriend’s extrapolation that you were the “bouncer’s bodyguard”.
As you downed the plate of Amala you ordered upon arriving at the well-sought students’ restaurant, you consoled yourself with the thought that Saleemah felt you were the better man and prayed that Grace did the same. You had some emotional attachment to Saleemah, one that you knew was out of place because she was a married woman. But you felt something greater for Grace that made you feel like you’ve found your woman.
A week later, you still did not find any information about Grace. You could not broach it with Hassan lest he would get ahead of you. So you kept mum – you could not risk him remembering about her. ‘She is either mine or for neither of us’, you assured yourself.
to be continued…
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P.S: This work is purely fictional. Any semblance to actual persons (living or late), places, or events are merely figments of the writer’s attempt at keeping in touch with reality.