CHAPTER
X 
Tubosun
***
Having skimmed
through the newspaper, I concluded nothing out of the ordinary was happening in
the world: the semi-nude photo of a random attractive lady who believed MPs
should fight youth unemployment; doom and gloom in Syria; club transfer of some
soccer star; and more uninteresting stories. I dropped the newspaper and picked
my Tennis racket case, unzipped it and scanned its content for any fault.  
After a few mock
swings, I returned it to its case. It was in good condition. I anticipated
another set of losing streaks to Franklin my tennis partner but it should be
better than last week’s. He was a tall Indian dude with polished dark hair and
a slender build. We worked in the same department of the retail store. The
level I had attained in tennis was due to his tutelage. The line of our
relationship did not stretch beyond the sport and that was exactly how I wanted
it.  I glanced at the time on my mobile phone.
Two more hours to go, I thought. There was nothing to do at home except
involuntarily dwell on unwanted thoughts. Then I realized that there was a fun
fair in town and it wasn’t far from our rendezvous. A wander around the fun
fair would kill some time. 
From what I could
tell, there really wasn’t any distinction from the ones in Cambridge. Tourists
and residents alike had their happy and intrigue faces on, and kids were
squealing like happy piglets as they went up and down, or round and round, the
different rides. I stopped in my saunter and gazed longingly at the happy piglets
on the lifeless revolving horses of a ride. Watching their winsome little faces
reminded me of the good old days when I had no care in the world and the only
thing that worried me was getting my bottom whipped by mother for recalcitrant acts.
The sandy days of sand castles on the beach, replaying wrestling bouts with
siblings where I had lost my first tooth, waking up at the break of dawn to
watch Cad’s Breakfast Television against my parents’ instructions. The good old
days. I sighed, diverting from memory lane back to reality.  Life had changed. I had changed. Life had
changed me.
I continued my casual
unhurried walk around the park and halted a few paces away from an ice cream
truck, an amiable looking owner, and customers that were mostly kids. But that
wasn’t what made me stop. It was the sight of pregnant Ashley Kazembe, the same
lady I had given a piece of my mind many months ago for being rude. That could
have been my baby if she hadn’t been a bitch, I thought. She neither looked
fancy nor happy, only pregnant. Life had changed her, it appeared. 
Unfortunately seeing
her also carried the memory of Beatrice. As I made to leave, a black German
shepherd suddenly scooted past me and stopped at the feet of a nondescript
child, wagging its tail enthusiastically. The child held out his ice cream cone
to the dog; the canine readily lapped up all its content in one fell swoop. The
kid burst into tears and the dog kept wagging excitedly. Suddenly, a lady of
some African descent rushed to the scene, panting. Casually dressed with a
slender yet curvy physique, she was definitely attractive.  I figured the dog belonged to her. She went
down on one knee and was saying something to the boy.  I moved on.
The gaze of the sun
on my skin felt pleasantly warm when I tossed the plastic bottle of cold drinks
into a nearby wooden bin and fell into a nearby wooden bench. I checked my watch:
15 minutes to a game of lawn tennis. I looked around this extension of the park
for which there were no fun-fair activities. A few people were still going to
and fro, and a few more were just lying on the grass, chatting, reading, and
throwing Frisbees.  
Something nuzzled my
ankle, startling me. It was the same mischievous German shepherd I had seen at
the funfair. ‘Hello there’. I ruffled
the fur on its head and it barked in delight. Watching it begged the question:
where was the lady? I looked up from the dog as the question crossed my mind. And
there she was, hurrying in our direction. As she drew closer, it wasn’t hard to
tell that she was exhausted, most likely from the excessive exercise the dog
had put her through. Now, the animal was lying by my feet and sniffing at
something on the grass. 
She reached our
position, her face a picture of displeasure and apology. ‘Currie,’ she frowned at the dog, sighed and turned her attention to
me. She didn’t say anything for a moment and I caught a look that was almost
recognition but not quite. Then, she regained her composure but I could tell
her mind was working. ‘Accept my
apologies on Currie’s behalf. I’m sorry for the intrusion.’
No foul, no harm. I love dogs actually.’ I glanced at the dog
again.
‘Is
she always this friendly?’
‘You
have no idea,’
she said. 
I found myself
staring at this lady. And her gaze matched mine. Her smooth oval visage was
charming. I couldn’t quite say how I knew but there was something of
determination and ambition in her eyes. She was elegant and pretty but not
breathtaking. I had seen and been with ladies with far more physically
aesthetic qualities. Yet there was something magnetic about her. And then I
broke my gaze, shifting slightly on the bench. My veins were running with nervous
anxiety. I wanted to leave. Don’t be a pussy. She smiled and relaxation seemed
to flood her face. Her eyes caught my tennis racket. ‘I see you play tennis?
Yes.’ I couldn’t help but return the smile. I liked her smile and I
didn’t want to. This wasn’t good. I looked at my watch and then scanned the
premises. Thank goodness. I could catch the distant figure of my tennis partner
approaching. My attention returned to the lady and I stood up, grabbing my
tennis racket too. As if she belonged to me, Currie got on all paws. ‘I have a match due any moment from now.
Here comes my partner – tennis partner,
’ I said, glancing at Franklin. Why
the need for clarity? I asked myself.  She
chuckled, and extended a hand. ‘My name
is Sumbo.’
I was about to give her my name when Beatrice’s face flashed
across my mind, fueling me with the need to get out of here as soon as
possible. I accepted the handshake, ‘It
is been a pleasure but I have to be on my way.
’ I caught a hint of surprise
mingled with disapproval in her eyes as I withdrew my hand.  I hurried off to meet my tennis partner.
Sumbo
***
Cool breeze sailed
through my hair, my chest was thumping so loudly I could hear them clearly as I
would the morning bells of a catholic church. I slumped into the bench once
occupied by the stranger. I felt Currie whining and nudging my legs with her
nose but my attention was elsewhere. Could he be the man in my dream -of my
dreams? There were a few inconsistencies though: He wasn’t the same guy and I
wasn’t the same woman in my dream, but every other scene was similar. Anyways,
this guy had got me in less than it took to say Jack Robinson.  He had been beautiful to look at. He had the
prettiest eye lashes on his sad brown eyes, I had ever seen, even on a woman.
And when he spoke, the tenderness of his slightly effeminate, tenor voice
warmed my core so much so that I could listen to him for a whole day, nonstop.
My ideal man would have been muscular, huge and at least three inches taller than
me but I found myself attracted to his slender, polished, somewhat athletic
physique. The fact that he was scarcely an inch taller was inconsequential.
Perhaps this was what they called chemistry.
But he didn’t tell me
his name. I found that annoying. Who does that? My heartbeats slowed back to
normal but I was still excited, and there was one person I wanted to share this
with immediately. I patted Currie’s head and said: ‘Time to go home.
 When Currie and I entered the living room,
Edna was settling a half empty tea cup on a saucer, her face mirroring one that
was lost in thought. Her furry companions lay by her feet, giving me a steady,
wary gaze; they did not even acknowledge Currie. Currie let out a joyous bark
and bounded towards her mistress.  Her
cheerful smile welcomed me as she ruffled Currie’s fur. A box of tissues sat on
the long couch she sat on. Beside it was a silver bin. She still looked as
tired as I had left her. I took the small sofa opposite hers, wary of any
sudden movements from the dogs.
Patience, my dear. They’ll warm up to you in due time. It took a while
before they acknowledged Adrien as part of the household.
’ I doubted the
possibility of that happening but inclined my head all the same. ‘So how do you feel?
Nasty little thing, hay fever. But I’ll be honky-dory in no time.
She stopped playing with Currie’s fur and relaxed into the sofa. 
Honky what?’ I asked.
Edna chuckled. ‘It means fine. Now someone looks like she’s
got some juicy news for old Edna,’
she teased.  I relayed the events of how we met and how
the encounter ended.
He didn’t even give me a name,’ I finished.
Edna was beaming. ‘This is delightful news,’ she
replied. 
But the chances of running into him again –’ I trailed off
disconcertedly.  Edna shook her head, smiling,
and gave me the look a mother would give a daughter who knew nothing about the
ways of the world. ‘You’d be surprised
how small earth is.
’ With that she heaved herself out of the chair. ‘I can do with a bit of sunlight. Join me,
will you?
’ 

Kreate
is a budding Nigerian writer with a flair for fiction. Writing for him
began sometime in secondary school where he dabbled in poetry and plays.
He has authored two self-published short novels.
He is a banker and lives in Surulere.

Oluwole Olusanya
Oluwole Olusanya is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of one of the fastest-growing lifestyle and entertainment website in the country. He is a banker, writer, blogger, public affairs analyst and a tax consultant. He anchors Trending Topics on SHEFFA where he shares his thoughts and opinions on trending issues. He is currently studying for a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at the University of South Wales, Wales, United Kingdom. He has diplomas in Banking and Finance, Investigative Journalism, Creative Writing, and Linguistics from Lagos State Polytechnic, Isolo, Lagos, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland and The Open University, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.