Kalu Fortune 1 year ago
@Oscarmillzs 16 min read Write a comment #short-stories

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Every night I find myself negotiating with mosquitoes; this night is no exception. And though I understand the demands of these guys, they don’t seem to get mine.

All I want is a good night’s sleep; you guys can have all the blood you want, save some for the famine if you may but please, have your sips respectfully and don’t make that irritating noise around my ears. But here we are again, another night of negotiation. I speak English; what do you guys speak? What sort of enmity is this? Tiny things, so squashable yet unapologetically responsible for my sleepless nights. Heartbreak couldn’t do this to me, damn mosquitoes! It’s quite obvious that I’ll spend this night waving, clapping, slapping walls, throwing shirts, and catching the air.

There’s a white towel hanging on the door; a cable drops down to its right into a light switch. I’m guessing if you use a towel this long, it loses its whiteness. Red spots are all over this towel, my blood but not wiped off me. It has been an effective tool in killing these mosquitoes. Why all these mechanical approaches? You might ask, get an insecticide, bro! But you see, na werey wey never chop dey use last card buy sniper.

So today, Venice posted a photo of her perfectly rounded face, top-notch lips, sparkling eyes with a masterpiece of a nose. Only a few necks bear such glory. Beauty with brains! I seldom demand pictures, but I had to have this one. ‘You finally took a picture,’ I messaged her. She replied with a laughing emoji. ‘Beautiful.’ I added. She replied with a blushing emoji. ‘I’m learning from you.’ She added. ‘Don’t learn from me.’ I replied. ‘Why?’ She asked. ‘It’s not good for your health, anyway; send me that photo.’ I requested. She adds a price to it. ‘ How much will you pay?’ ‘Choose between my kidney and my heart…..?’ I responded, ‘Meaning?’ she asked. I felt I had just stated the obvious here, so I played smart, ‘I don’t have any money, but I can use my kidney or heart or even my liver. A kidney is valued at about 20 million. Do the maths!’ ‘It’s your heart I want then; nothing can replace it.’ She made her pick. ‘A heart for a picture. Not a fair trade, my dear.’ My response was right before she sent me the photo. 

Here’s the thing, I offered my heart for her picture, then went ahead to complain about the trade not being a fair one. But in truth, I was really offering my heart to her, but then I wasn’t so sure she decoded the message; maybe she did. The point of getting the picture was simply to have some connection to her. A connection I could speak to, saying I’m really attracted to your source. Let’s take baby steps first; I’ll shoot my shot of her photo, then, seeing how things go from there, I’ll approach her animated version. Pro breakfast might be my fear. But then I’m taking aback; she said she wanted my heart because nothing could replace it. 

I guess she stated the obvious too. She wants me just as I want her. Wait a minute! I think I left my consciousness in the sixth dimension. She was simply playing along; no need to get in over my head here. I’m quite aware I’m doing a very poor job at hiding my feelings; she must have picked it by now but still waits for me to open up. If that ever happens, I’ll have my cutleries ready. I don’t want to eat pro-breakfast with bare hands.

Alright then, there’s Paul and Silas squashed on the wall, James and John are still flying around, but I’ll get them soon. Negotiations have ended; I’ll sleep after the sun rises; the weekend is here. But tonight, I’ll kill as many of these guys as I can. Who knew that killing mosquitoes could be so good for the mind, and guess what? You also burn some calories while at it. The tides have turned, though, having played the advantage, the power has now seized, and there is no more illumination and rotating blades to my advantage. I could almost hear them say, it’s time to show me pepper. It’s going to be one very long night.

A few years ago, I frequently had myself in the arms of a spectacular lady. Fast forward to the present, I’ve pillows in my arms. I met a rare creature in 2012, and it didn’t take long before I was dying to have a conversation with her. But there’s a factory default I’m born with; I’m a beast on all fronts except communicating my feelings to a girl I really like. Luckily we got chatting on 2go, and fortunately for me, she took the initiative. She communicated her feelings for me, and I jumped through that window like Penaldo to shoot outs. We got talking, we got close, and her hugs became the last lesson every school day. And so I endured the pain of further mathematics because I knew Angel’s hug waited at the day’s end.

What was this fear I had with ladies? This fear of rejection? When growing up, I clearly had a disordered orientation every time I walked the street. I would frequently switch street sides until I got to my destination; the switching was all in a bid to avoid walking in close proximity to any girl. Hugs, handshakes, and any form of body contact with a girl were a no. And just to put it out there, Benita was the first girl I ever hugged or had any form of intimacy with, no matter how mild.

I was in dread of girls. But clearly, I was the issue, not them; they weren’t some vampires after my life. I was just insecure with very low self-esteem. I disliked myself, maybe because everyone around kept reminding me of how different I was from my brothers; fair, tall, and handsome guys, then there’s me, short, dark, and mocked by the mirror. Are you sure you aren’t adopted? A question I dealt with a couple of times. So who would have anything to do with me? What pretty damsel in her right senses would consciously look in my direction? So every time my heart did beat, I quenched it. From a distance, one would think of my behavior as being morally driven, but no, it wasn’t. I simply was saving these girls the burden of having me as a friend. Then Benita happened, and that relationship was a shock to me the entire time it lasted, and if anything good emerged from it, then it would be that she gave some energy boost to my self-esteem. 

My self-esteem issues were only with respect to ladies. Never did I feel intimidated by people. A friend and I once walked into a gang of thieves, and he didn’t struggle with them, he calmly let them rob him of his valuables, but I didn’t. I had my phone with me and a thousand naira in my pocket; my entire net worth at the time and the rest of my treasures are in heaven. These guys bounced on me from all sides, but their manhandling of me didn’t yield any breakthrough. Clearly, brutality wasn’t working, so one of them pulled out a gun, and the whole game changed; suddenly, the advantage was on their side. I went home that day with blood-stained clothes, shaking teeth, bleeding skin, and zero net worth. The point of the story is simply to say; I’m a beast until a girl is involved and guns also.

Take a leap with me, one giant step, a few years after Benita happened, and you’ll find a girl pinned to the wall with her legs wrapped around my back and our lips interlocked. This time around, low self-esteem and morality have failed in holding me back; desire fully controls the wheels, and I could sense my destiny peeping through the window, fully aware that if clothes begin to come off, then it’s game over. Here’s how the progression went: first, we sat chairs apart, and soon we were on the same chair; it’s just incredible the distance we covered in a few minutes. Next up, I became the chair, a chair with animated hands moving to and fro. Rationality had left me at this point now, I was simply dancing to biological beats, and a few minutes later, the wall had other uses. My destiny saw an opening and quickly sent some sense my way; luckily, I picked it. After she left, I found myself standing in front of a mirror, making a mental list of all the people I had just failed. The mirror still mocked me; this time, it wasn’t the content of my physique but the content of my character.

Taking inventory, that’s one for love, and that’s one for lust. There you’ve it, Benita and Spider-Girl, each supplying a point each. But wait! There’s Lotachi, Danielle, Flakes, and Kena, all providing three points each for love at first sight. That thing called crush has really crushed me. Speaking of crush and crushed things, a friend of mine is currently downcast. His downward slide had begun a few months ago when what started as an ordinary day ended with life’s sunset in sight. Now, he misses the rose but sees only the thorns. He takes for granted the sun’s warmth but is gaze-fixed at the storm’s rage. He ignores the sound of life in the nursery but focuses only on the sound of sirens responding to an emergency. He has dismissed the marvel of marriage but fixed his gaze on the terror of heartbreak and broken marriages. Since his cancer diagnosis, he often declares, ‘that’s life. Disappointment and heartache seem to him the sum total of this existence.

Unfortunately for him, I’m no optimist. So each day we meet, I remind him of his impending death as well as beg him to give his fortunes to me. Call me selfish but come on, he’s got no siblings, he’s got no family except me. He doesn’t keep the afro anymore, his hair is all gone, and his muscles are all sagged, such a poor sight to behold. But here’s something incredible about Jonathan: he still smiles! It takes courage to muster up a smile in such a condition, or maybe he’s lost control over his muscles, and they do whatever they like now. Each time I see Jonathan, I can’t help but see the image of a skinned Chicken. 

So what gives? Someone told me there’s a beautiful tapestry being woven in my life. It’s hilarious, to think the least, or maybe I’m missing something; maybe there’s something I just can’t get hold of. What makes people so optimistic? I dropped optimism a long time ago; the way I see it, it’s better to be surprised than disappointed. I’ve had enough disappointments, and two of those ring very loudly in my memory; for all the years I topped the class in primary school, I never got the bicycle my father had promised me. And for all the time I Invested in Tara, what did I get in return? Being treated like a stranger! So yea, I’ll be a fool to be optimistic about life anymore, and that doesn’t shut down the possibility of good things coming my way; it simply means I don’t get disappointed when they don’t come because I don’t even expect them to.

It’s halfway through the night, and I’m staring out the window. Kunle’s apartment looks at me in the face. Kunle is proudly gay, and I don’t care much except for his blatant hypocrisy. The pride matches! Chanting I was born this way! Let’s give you that permit but wait a minute; the other day, Kunle led a protest against pedophiles. Who is to say that the pedophile wasn’t born that way? We should give you the permit but not them. Where’s the justice? I guess before we ask for a wall to be pulled down, we should critically study why it was put there in the first place. 

With blood-stained hands, I rub my face, life! The pain and the joy, 8 billion people roaming this spherical object, and yet people still think it wise to procreate. Why add to this messed-up world? What’s the lasting Joy anyone sees in this world, so much so as to want to bring a child into this catastrophe? Sometimes, I think of never getting married, then would I avoid the pressure of bearing children. Somebody should give me some Loud; I need to leave reality behind. We’re born to die, but I heard from the beginning it wasn’t so, and someday, a restoration would come. 

Grace tells me I’ll make a good husband. I doubt it. I’m the guy with so many internal crises I wake up daily feeling disinterested in life. I’ve frequently talked to God, demanding my curtain roll. They tell me my life counts, but please count me out. I’ve been borne by many fathers, but I’m unbearable. I derive pleasure in poisoning my body, a smoove today or Fanta tomorrow; it’s all color, water, and sugar, and please forget their nutritional content, 100g of poison, and that’s all it is.

Alright then, Venice, you can have my heart but don’t make the mistake of giving me yours; precious things don’t last under my care. When I wake, place a hug on me and a kiss on my lips, thrust a dart through my chest, and let me bleed out in your arms with hip-hop playing in the background. This system is about to crash anyways; every now and then, error messages pop all around this syntax. 

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