© 2017 Kayode Odusanya
He had been in the office a lot in the last couple of months, but today he was in it alone. Professor Adelaja had stepped out to receive a call he suspected was from his mistress. Gregory looked up at the wooden book shelf from where he sat and wondered if the Professor ever read any of the old dusty looking books stacked up in there. He turned to the side to look at the small white refrigerator beside the couch he was sitting on and he got tempted to look in it. There had been rumors making rounds that the professor loved to take a few shots of whisky and wash it down with lemon water before coming to class. He wanted to know if that was where the Professor hid his liquor.
He got up and was hit with a blast of cold air from the old air conditioner fixed to the wall. He took a few steps back, and turned around. The glass door on the book shelf reflected his image back to him, and he walked towards it to check himself out. The new white and black check shirt he had one matched perfectly with the black jeans he was wearing. ‘You’re tall, dark, and good looking, but you still can’t get girls.’ He remembered his friend, James making fun of him in the hostel a few days back. He looked away and walked over to the refrigerator, with his eyes on the opened Apple laptop on the Professor’s desk, wondering whether if he should snoop around there too. He shrugged off the thought, took a crouching position and was about to open the refrigerator when he heard the professor’s croaky voice outside the door. He made it back to his seat just in time as the door opened.
With squinted eyes and his glasses a little lower than normal down his nose bridge, the short and chubby man in a grey Safari suit studied Gregory for a few seconds in silence. Then a message notification came in on Gregory’s Tecno Android phone, with a girl’s face on it. He grabbed the phone and put it in sleep mood as the man walked past him to his seat.
“So, you’re doing the online dating thing.” The man said as he took his seat. It caught Gregory off guard and he was dumbfounded. He just stared at the man with a sheepish smile on his face. “My son…”The professor was saying then stopped to look into space. He took off his glasses, put them on the table, and rested his head on his balled up fist. “Let’s talk about you dating life.”
After a chuckle, Gregory said, “Sir, I….I…” He stuttered a few times.
“The universe gives freely, but first you have to give something to the universe.” The man said all of a sudden. Gregory looked at him quizzically, wondering what he man was talking about. “The spiritual controls the physical. Whatever happens in the physical is just a reflection of what was planted in the spiritual; cause and effect.” He added with a smile. “Gregory, if you want a girlfriend, go and help someone get a girlfriend.”
“Sir…I…I don’t have a girlfriend…I don’t think I am in the best position to help someone else get a girlfriend.” He said with a chuckle.
“That’s where you are wrong my boy.” The man said very fast with his head cocked forward and he startled Greg. “Trust me; there is someone out there you can help get a girlfriend.”
“Okay.” Gregory said and waited for the man to say more.
“Yes. And don’t worry; you will sense it when it is time.”
“When it is time for what sir?” Greg said; looking at the man strangely.
“When it is time to help the universe do a little work.” He said and got off his seat to walk towards where Gregory was seated. “Now, go out and have fun. You’re young.” He added as he urged Greg out of his office.
“But sir, we haven’t…”
“Don’t worry; we’ll work on it tomorrow.” The man said before locking the door to his office.
Gregory stood outside the professor’s office door for a few seconds, wondering what just happened, and then he shrugged before walking off.
As he got out of the philosophy department’s new building, he saw her getting out of a campus cab. Toluwani Badmus was his secret crush. One whole semester almost gone, and he still hadn’t worked up the courage to step up to her. She was a skinny light skinned girl that knew what clothing best fit her size 4 figure, and stuck to it. She had great skin, and natural full sensual lips; even without makeup, she looked so mesmerizing. ‘What do you see in her? She has no boobs and ass.’ He could remember one of his course mates telling him.
He stood there, watching her cross the road, and walk towards the school bookshop as her full poofy black hair bounced here and there. She had a body fitting, arm-less blue Ankara dress on, with a brown satchel bag swung around her shoulder. Almost like she could feel his eyes on her, she turned around, and he quickly looked away. When he looked again, he got a last glimpse of her as she disappeared into an old brick building.
“Grego!!!” Some shouted out from a passing car and it startled him. When the car stopped, Gregory saw Emeka jumping out of the backseat. He was dressed corporate; white crisps long sleeve shirt, tucked into black slacks, with formal black lace up shoes on his feet. Emeka was Gregory’s childhood friend from his old neighborhood. He was in the Law faculty, and Greg wondered what he was doing on this side of the campus. “Thank God I found you. I don’t have a phone with me.” The muscular guy said as he came jogging up to meet Gregory. “My Mom said I am to collect an invitation card from you.” He said when he was a few inches away from his friend.
“What?” Greg said; looking lost before adding, “Oh! Shoot! I totally forgot.” They greeted with a pound hug.
“What’s up bro! It’s been a while.” Emeka said enthusiastically.
“You don’t hang-out at the arena anymore.” The arena was a place boys went to listen to amateur student rappers do their thing.
“Well, exams are coming up and all.”
“Hmm! Is it because of that or because of the girls? I heard a lot about you Art boys.” He said and winked at Gregory.
He chuckled before saying, “We need to go to the art building. My bag is back there, and the invitation cards are in it.”
“Okay. So…Vicky is really getting married?” Emeka asked with his hand around his friend as they walked out of the parking lot. They talked about how Gegory’s sister, who was only two years older than him, was getting married to a man eight years her senior. At twenty one, she was already done with school and working as a Youth Corper at a bank on the Island. Their parents had said no to the whole thing initially, but after months and months of pressure, they gave in.
The lecture theatre was scanty, with little cluster of people here and there. There next class wasn’t until 3pm, and it was just noon. Still talking to his friend, Gregory was walking up to the back of the lecture hall where he usually kept his bag when a tall dark skinned girl called out his name excitedly. She had on a white spaghetti top, with navy blue flare skirt. “Gregory, please come.” She said as she walked up to him and grabbed him by the arm. She casually flashed Emeka a smile in greeting, as she pulled Gregory over to where she and her friends were arguing about something. “Drake or Kendrick Lamar; who is the better rapper?” She asked and stood with her hands at akimbo as she focused on Gregory.
“Of course, Kendrick Lamar.” Gregory said and there was uproar within the girls. She gave him a hug and thanked him before continuing the argument with her friends. Greg smiled as he walked back to his friend, and apologized before walking off to get his bag. At the top of the hall, he pulled out a bunch of keys from his pocket, opened the top compartment of a metallic grey bench locker by the wall, and brought out a black backpack. He rummaged through it for a few seconds and pulled out a small cream colored rectangular shaped envelope. “Yep! That’s it.” He said as he handed the envelope to Emeka.
Emeka took the envelope from him, and looked around to make sure no one could hear him before saying, “Dude, I like that girl. Can you call her over?”
“What girl?” Gregory said with his head down, still going though his bag.
“The tall girl that pulled you to the side earlier…the Kendrick Lamar girl.”
“Sandra?” He said and looked down at where she was. Just at the same time she looked his way, and waved. He waved back with a smile, and then turned to Emeka. “Hmm! You like her?”
“Yes. Was I speaking Chinese before?” He said and Gregory chuckled. “I’d like to meet her.”
“Hmm! I don’t think…” He was about to look for something to say to discourage his friend, then he remembered his discussion with the professor earlier in the day, and he smiled. “You know what? Why don’t you let me talk to her first.”
“I don’t understand.” Emeka said with a curious look on his face.
“Let me bring you up in a conversation with her, make you look like a cool dude, then I’ll introduce you afterwards. That way, things will go smoother.”
“My man!” Emeka said enthusiastically as he gave his friend a hi-five. “So, till when?”
“Her hostel is actually next to mine. You can come and see me in the evening after lectures, and we’ll go and see her together.”
“Cool. That’s cool.” Emeka said with his eyes on Sandra. She was full of energy, and had a smile on her face the whole time she engaged her friends in a discussion. “Okay. Let me bounce. I got a class by 1.”
“Okay. I’ll walk you out.” He said and stuffed his bag back in the locker, locked it and started the decent down the hall with his friend.
When they got to the hall entrance, Emeka turned around and said, “No need to stress yourself bro; I’ll be alright from here.” He shook his friend before adding, “So, we see around…6pm later today?”
“Umm! Let’s make it like 7pm.”
“That’s even better.”Emeka said with a smile as he saluted his friend, before walking off excitedly. Gregory stepped back into the lecture theatre and sat on one of the seats on the front row of the hall. He pulled out his phone and was about to navigate his way to the dating app, Badoo, but shook his head and put the phone back in his pocket. He looked up at the white board in front of him and his eyes zoomed in on a quote written in green marker that read, “Love finds you when you stop looking.” He smiled. He knew his course mate, Wale was fond of writing stuff like that on the board, but still, it felt like the universe was passing a message along to him.
From the corner of his eye, he saw someone approaching him. He turned to look and saw it was Sandra. She packed her flared skirt together, sat next to him and crossed her legs. As he was thinking of how to start the conversation, she said, “Who was that guy you were with earlier?”
He turned to her with a curious look on his face before saying, “My friend. My friend Emeka from the law faculty.”
“Okay.” She said and looked away. But it seemed like she still wanted to say something, so he kept quiet. “Can you…”She was saying then stopped to clear her throat before continuing with, “I’d like to meet him.”
“Okay.” Gregory said, wondering if he was hearing right.
She smiled sheepishly as she said, “I don’t know what is happening to me…I’ve never felt like this before.”
“Like having an instantaneous attraction towards someone.” She said and smiled at Gregory. “Don’t tell him I said so.”
“Of course I won’t” Gregory said with a smile.
“So…tell me about him.”
“Well…He’s actually coming to see me later today, maybe we can all hang out.”
“That would be great.” She said as her eyes lit up.
Later that day, at about 6:45 pm, Emeka came over to Gregory’s hostel room, and they both went over to see Sandra. Greg didn’t have to do much after introducing them, as the attraction was mutual, and they kicked it off immediately. Of course he made sure not to reveal to either one of them what the other had told him in private. He just let things flow naturally.
Now he was sitting on a concrete bench, outside the female hostel. His feet rested on where his butt was meant to be, and his butt was on the top of the bench. The chemistry between Sandra and Emeka was so electrifying to watch as they shared small talk by the Suya stand a few meters away from him. He couldn’t believe he had helped make this happen.
The parking lot area outside the female hostel was brightly lit with street lights everywhere. This was a new development after the rape incident a couple of months ago. The place was livelier now, with people coming and going without fear. Cars drove past at low speed, with guys in them, checking out girls; trees making swishing sounds from the sea breeze that came in with a rush intermittently. He sat there, with a book in his hand. Sandra had given it to him to read earlier on when they had been in her room, gushing on and on about the author. He usually didn’t read fiction, but didn’t want to turn it down because he knew she was nervous at the time, and he didn’t want to make her more uneasy.
He held up the black book in the bright light and read the white writing on it. Kayode Odusanya was written in bold white letters at the top, and All in One Night was written in italics at the bottom. He found it odd that the author name was more pronounced than the title of the book. The first page had the usual copyright formal writings, and as he turned to the next page, the first line of the first chapter caught his attention, and then he read the next, and the next, till he was turning pages.
He was too engrossed in reading to notice someone had stopped in front of him, till she said, “Hello” In a soft voice.
He looked up from the book, and there she was, standing in front of him, in her lovely designed blue Ankara gown, with an angelic smile on her face.
“Hi.”He responded and put the book away.
She looked at him closer before saying, “We are in the same department, right?”
“Yea, I guessed as much.” She said with a smile. “I’m Toluwani…Toluwani Badmus.” She added.
“Wait, so your surname is Ory?” She said and they both laughed.
After the laughter came an uncomfortable silence, and then she said “listen, umm! The book you are reading, where did you get it?”
Gregory examined the book’s front and back before saying, “Oh, my friend gave it to me.”
“Really? I have been looking for it all week. I even went to the bookshop earlier today to see if they had gotten it.”
“Yea. I’m a fan of the author. I…Umm! Can I read after you’re done?”
“Cool. Umm! So, I guess I’ll see you around?” She said with an outstretched hand. He shook it and their eyes locked for a few seconds, before she slowly withdrew her hand and walked away. He was thinking of jumping off the bench and following her when she stopped, turned around and started walking back to him. “So…like when do you think you will be done with the book?”
“Well… I don’t know. Maybe like three days.”
“Okay. I’ll come looking for you in three days then.” She said with a laugh and walked off again. She hadn’t taken more than five steps when she suddenly stopped, walked back to him and said, “Can you read a bit faster? Kayode Odusanya books are usually not that long. I’m sure you can finish it in a day.”
He smiled before saying, “Okay, for you, I’ll finish by tomorrow afternoon.”
“Great.” She said, but didn’t move away. Then she got up and sat next to him on the bench before saying, “You know what, maybe you can let me read just a tiny bit of the book first.” And they both laughed. He handed her the book, and she put it next to her chest and smiled at him.
“You’ll have it for me in the morning?”
“Most definitely.” She said and looked at him for a few seconds before adding, “It’s funny how…” She was saying and stopped to look up at the sky. A shooting star had just whistled across the night sky. “Did you wish for anything?”
“What?”He said and leaned in to hear her better.
“That was a shooting star…Did you make a wish?”
“Well…nope, I didn’t.” He said with a smile. “My wish already got answered.”