I know that if I told you he has a face that looks like a painter’s final work it would come off as cliché but I swear to God, there’s something worryingly perfect about his face. His eyes are set in innocent mode; big and beautiful and demanding for attention in a way that makes you incoherent for a full second. There’s a softness about him that chips away at my resolve. You would think this softness manifests in every aspect of his life, but he’s a deliberate beast in bed. And when we walk down Osika street, the woman who sells boli for 200 naira as if every bite is supposed to be communion that absolves me of all my sins, tells us that we are perfect together in such a wistful way that it makes me forget what my life was like before him.
They’ve been best friends since uni. She and Umar. She has a bum like a round boat and laughs with such abandon if she wasn’t in my way I wouldn’t mind being proper friends with her. She is beautiful in a way that is not all in your face, but hard for you to overlook. Her father wants her to marry a Muslim but all the boys she wants to hear moan are cheating Christian bastards. In a parallel universe Fatimah and I would be old friends who hangout every three months to catch up on our lives. But when she called Umar the first time she got high and was getting head from the same boy who supplied her with the weed to describe the experience to him, I knew she had to go.
What I fear
It is okay to have friends of the opposite sex. Life is not a prison for us to be communicating with only a group of people. But best friend is a spot reserved for the one you plan on sharing your genitals with for the rest of your life. Besfrien besfrien then you’re sharing too much with her. Besfrien besfrien then penis will mistakenly enter vagina.
Moment of awareness
I am aware of everything; every excuse that rolls off his tongue, like last Friday when he said the reason he went to escort Fatimah to go pee was because, I Aisha, looked like I didn’t want to interact with another human being. I am aware of how she’s the one person he speaks to whenever we quarrel. I am aware of his affection, how it crawls through my body like a cold. I am aware of how she hugs me with disregard like I’m her best friend too. I am aware of how uncomfortably the existence of their bond sits in my throat like a tight knot.
And so, after years of going from expressing my discomfort, to befriending the devil, to throwing tantrums, I decided to kuku take the horse to the river and make it fucking drink it. So I promoted Big Joe from friend to best friend, from talking once a week to talking every day, and to hit the hammer on the nail, to casually mentioning that Joe and I were going to a night beach jazz show, in hopes that the spirit of jealousy will bring Umar to the beach and to his senses. But after 45 minutes of digging holes with our feet in the sand and finishing a bottle of red wine, a wolf spider that must have been crawling underneath the wooden chair Joe is sitting on crawls into his pants, and suddenly he’s screaming, and I’m screaming too, and he tries to take his shorts off, and I’m helping him pull them down, and he starts laughing hysterically because we see the spider scurrying off 5 steps away, and still holding on to one leg of his pants, I join in the laughter. And that’s how Umar finds us on the beach; Joe with his pants down, laughing, me on my knees, -holding on to his left leg and facing his crotch.