Pleasure and Pain (Episode 2)

After the call to Chidimma, I planned to call Anita around 9 p.m to give her ample time to get settled down after her day. But first things first, a shower! Boy I really need one. To calm my already hyperactive nerves. As I showered, I thought of things to discuss with her; things I wanted to know about her. They were numerous.

Shower ended around a quarter to eight. Plenty of time left. What to do? Then Ebuka and another friend of mine, Justin came in with a laptop. Football game. Splendid! Nothing eats up time than that. As usual, I played with Ebuka but shockingly for them... and not so for me, he thrashed me five goals to nil. What happened? Easy to explain– Anita. What else? I mean, they know it's hard to beat me in soccer game let alone wallop me like that. They also noticed that I wasn't into the game. And they wanted to know what the problem was.

“Hey man, what's up? Why aren't you concentrating on your game?”, Justin inquired. “Is anything the matter?”

“Eh? Uhmmm... Not really,” I said, coming back to the real world. He gave me the look that said “try harder with the lie.”

I debated with myself. Should I seek for their opinion? Or should I just keep quiet? If there were any two heads I need in times of trouble, it's theirs but now I didn't even know the nature of the problem. I couldn't even explain it to myself. How then do I explain it to others?

“It's really nothing,” I lied. Just as Ebuka was about to say something, my phone rang. Anita! It seemed that my thinking about her projected her to my phone. Useless and a totally ridiculous thought.

I picked up. My heart was hammering. Beads of sweat were forming on my temples. Funny right? It's just a girl, I told myself. But it didn't help a bit.

“Hello, Anita what's up?”

“Hi dear”, she said. Her voice was so sweet, so calm. The beads were now tiny rivulets and were trickling down past my cheeks towards my jaw. “I'm fine. Hope you're fine. Of course you are!  What would happen to you just this few hours?”

If only she knew what I was passing through. Luckily, none of my tension showed in my voice. “I'm perfectly fine. How was your day?” I hoped that wasn't a stupid question. Her answer said it wasn't.

“It was superb. Thanks for asking. I was actually expecting your call but I couldn't wait and I decided to call. Moreover you've paid for some of my bills today so now is my turn. Your airtime will be saved!”

“Alright then, if you say so,” I said. How do you go about this again? What do I say?

“I say so. Anyway, I'm inviting you to my birthday party at the Love Lounge in two weeks. I expect you to attend with my gift.”

Goodness gracious! Someone should tell me I'm hearing her well. I've been invited to her party. My chest felt like it would explode. I had to actually hold my chest for fear it would burst open. My friends were looking quizzically at me but I signalled to them that I would tell them all about it later. “Thanks dear, I'm honoured. Of course I would attend and with your gift,” I said, highly euphoric.

“Alright then. Good night dear. I want to rest now. I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow”, she informed me, muffling a yawn.

“OK. Good night Anita”, I replied.

As I dropped my phone, I pumped my fists in the air. My friends were all over me. A barrage of questions followed. Who is she? What are you attending? Where? Where did you guys meet? Exasperated, I calmly answered the ones I could, omitting the fact that I was falling headfirst in love with her. But they knew I wasn't telling them everything and they probably figured out why.

That night's sleep was the best ever. Dreams of her every where. I woke up in the morning beaming like I had won the American Lottery. I had an eight o'clock lecture and I hurriedly prepared. As I pounded down the stairs of my lodge, I started whistling. Perhaps I'll finally let go of the notion that love is a superstition. I mean, look at me. I've been caught in its webs. I now laugh and smile at the most mundane of things.

Inside the school, I boarded a bus and put on my earpiece, and settled to listen to John Legend. About a minute later, someone tapped me to adjust. It was her! Jeez! Was this fate? It had to be! I immediately adjusted and removed the earpiece from my ears and said:

“Oh! Hi Anita. What a coincidence!”, I almost shouted.

“Yeah. But I thought they said nothing is a coincidence? So it's either you're following me or I am following you”, she said beaming her glorious smile on me.

“Following you? Now that is what I call a ludicrous thought. I came in before you remember? So, it's you who is following me”. I couldn't believe I was maintaining a conversation without actually saying something foolish.

“Well, I for one am not following you. That leaves the option of fate”. As she said that she gave me a look I could not fathom. It sent ripples of warmth and anticipation through me. We later scheduled to meet at Ma Benz, a popular restaurant inside the school.

During lectures I could hardly concentrate. My mind kept diving to my “date” in the afternoon. I kept envisioning what I would say but as with previous encounters, I hardly said them. Then:

“Ben!”, thundered the lecturer, Dr. Okezie. Am I not talking to you? Or have you lost your hearing capacity?”

I stood up not knowing what else to do. I said, “Sorry sir, I didn't hear you. Can you rephrase your question?”

“So you mean all this while I've been calling your name you weren't here? Where was your mind? Thinking about how to feed your family perhaps?”. Hoots of laughter erupted all around me. I felt foolish. Well, I am foolish. Why would I allow my mind to jump away at will? Is the mind not ours to control?

“Nothing of that sort, sir. It's just that I'm not feeling too fine. I'm having stomach incontinence. Probably from what I ate last night,”I lied, trying very hard to remedy the situation at hand. Ebuka looked sharply at me and muffled another burst of laughter.

“If that's the case, sit down and answer this question. What is the mechanism of the above reaction?”. On a very good day, I would have answered the question but that was as far away from a good day as Pluto is far from the Sun.
“Ehmmmm.... I... I don't know sir,” I managed to finish what I was saying before the lecturer bellowed, “Didn't I ask you before where your mind went to? Now, a very simple thing I normally wouldn't have asked you, you couldn't even make an attempt. This is how it starts. Better be careful”.

I hung my head. Ben, better resolve whatever it is you have for this girl before it starts eating you up. As I said this to myself, little did I know that it was prophetic. Around 2 p.m, lectures finished for the day. I quickly packed my stuff and rushed out. To my date. When I reached Ma Benz, she was already there. I stopped short. Her beauty was making me mad. I had to swallow my saliva three times before I could muster the courage to go forward. She saw me and waved.

When I reached her, we hugged. It was as if electric wires were channeled into my body. I had to clamp my tongue in order to be able to stay on ground. She told me about her day. And I did the same. Omitting the horrible encounter with the lecturer. We ordered the same thing, jollof rice with Coke. She insisted on paying. I felt on top of the world. She obvious likes me, I mused. If not, why would she be paying for me?

As we were waiting for the food to arrive, I noticed that she had unbuttoned the top two buttons of her shirt and her breasts were glaring at me. I tried prying my eyes off them but they seemed to have a will of their own. They were so fine, so perfect. You know guys have a funny notion that girls are hardly aware when they are staring at them. I used to believe so too until she said:

“Stop ogling at me. It's not as if you can do anything if given the chance to do what you have in mind”. Badabing badaboom! I've been caught.

“So, how do you know what I have in mind?”, I said as low as I can.

“Suffice it to say that I've seen guys do that a lot”, she said signalling that our orders have arrived. We ate in silence.

After eating, as we were about to go, he further surprised me. “Why not come to my place?"

Did I have an option? Yes. Simply decline. But have you ever seen us doing what our instincts tell us most times?

“Why yes I'll come”, I said. Feeling like D'Banj, on top of the world.

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