I stood there and watched her cook as we talked.
First we talked about her cousin, my former colleague, Freddy and then we talked about work before our conversation moved to Lagos and the hustle, how it affects us all making it difficult for one to date or nurture a relationship.
As we spoke Carol cooked; boiling water and rinsing the basmati rice before putting it in the boiled water and then frying the chicken and passing me bits just like my mother used to do with my father many years ago.
I watched, big agile, talkative, smart and sexy. The dimples in her cheek appearing as if by magic every time she smiled and watching her I realised that this was a woman I could love, one I could commit to. Standing in that kitchen with her, brought upon me a surreal weight of domesticity I hadn’t felt before.
“So, tell me, do you have a girlfriend?” She asked looking up from the onion she was chopping.
“Nope,” I said as I took a sip.
“You said that as if it’s a taboo.”
“It’s not but it’s not what I do.”
“You don’t like women?”
“Sure, I do.”
“So, what do you do if you don’t date?” she asked spooning fried chicken into a bowl.
“I shag,” I said matter-of-factly and then when she looked up with questioning eyes, I said “Listen, let me explain. You said Lagos is tough and not very nurturing of relationships. I agree and I also think that I don’t have the emotional investment for a relationship and dating and all.”
“Emotional investment? I thought you are a PR man when did you become a banker?”
“Let me fill your glass,” I said ignoring the smile spread across her face as I took her glass.
I took opportunity of my trip to the living room to marshal my points.
“See, dating a girl is like building a house,” I told her when I got back. “Shagging is like building a fence. A house requires a piece of land, blocks, cement, rods, wood, finishing and it can take years. A fence is almost the same but it takes a while.”
Carol didn’t say a word after I was done. She sipped her drink, checked the rice then sat on the lone chair in the kitchen, the one positioned in front of the standing fan.
“So, be honest. As you drove home behind me what were you expecting; to build a house or a make a fence?”
“It’s not like that, you see…” I began but she cut me short.
“I said be honest.”
I took a sip of my drink, exhaled and said my mind.
Carol took a deep breath, looked at me for a heartbeat then turned to her cooking.
When she was done, she dished out the food, laid the table and invited me to eat.
The food was nice and even nicer when she popped open a bottle of this dry red French wine, Queen of Syrah.
Meal over, I helped her wash the dishes then I told her it was time to leave.
I kissed her chastely at the door then I got into my car and drove home, aware that girls like her were made not for shagging but for settling down.
And I, Oshoko Bushushu, was not ready yet.