That afternoon, I remember it was a Tuesday and I had just returned from that yeye bank interview in the Island, when boyfriend buzzed me.
‘Lover boy..’ I gasped
‘Eeya. Ndo. The bank people wanto kill my baby for me, abi?’
He has this strange sense of humour – it works for me. All the time.
He told me there was this vacant editorial position in Ibadan. I didn’t study English but I know when words are not in their right places. My father is a lover of books, old Warri Lawyer. He loves Shakespeare and Wordsworth and had all of their major books in his library.
Boyfriend sent me the details and the week after, I was in Ibadan for the interview.
After the written exam, about five of us, we were interviewed by a tall dark cute guy, should be in his forties but looked thirty-something.
He asked me several questions from my favourite books to my experience as a book editor. I answered him to the best of my knowledge.
19 days later, I got a call from the Ibadan publishing house to resume as an associate editor. Coming into Ibadan was a new journey and boyfriend asked if I was sure I wanted to leave Lagos for a one-off gig. The way he said one-off gig like as if it was a one night stand. The bar attendant asked if I would take the usual but I ignored him.
After minutes of silence, I picked my bag and walked out of the bar. Abi, what else should I do? Boyfriend never called for weeks, so did I. I sought consolation in my busy schedule at work, learnt how to typeset a book with Adobe In Design and mastered patience when reading the final galley of works going to the press.
‘Who is Uncle Lakin?’ I asked the girls. Both looked at me and returned to their desks as if nothing had been said. As if I was going mad and had the liberty to speak to myself all alone.
It was in the third week of my resumption that I realized why Uncle Lakin was in every girl’s tongue. That morning, I came into office wet and freezing cold. You know one of those strange August rainy days that won’t stop, and the daughter of man has to go to work. Lucky me, my house was just a block away from Kajola junction and I had this cute umbrella that can save the day. I got to the junction and waited for ten minutes before one of those Keke Napep alighted in front of me almost full. By the time I got to University of Ibadan, everywhere was messed up with mud and all sorts. Mehn! I got to the office about 10 minutes late and ran straight to the kitchen to make a cup of hot tea when I saw the tall dark cute looking man that interviewed me weeks ago. For minutes, my tongue was stuck as I continued to stare. Apparently, he was cold as he continued to sip from his cup of tea unaware a daughter of eve was at his back. I immediately turned back to go as I didn’t want him to meet me in this state.
‘Betty, right?’ I heard the voice.
I turned to look at the man all suited up like Prince Harry’s best man.
‘You are cold. You need some warmth,’ he took off his suit jacket and came towards me. I couldn’t say no. I could perceive his strong Cologne a few steps away.
‘I am Lakin. You can have it till the cold subsides. Please make some tea,’
I didn’t say a word. I just stared on at the way his lips moved.
‘Uncle, the MD wants to meet with you now.’ It was Shade, the Science editor that always wear heavy make up as if it is her wedding day. Yeye dey smell. Why would she come in now?
‘Please excuse me. Be good.’ I nodded. His words shivered through my bones.
By 12 noon the sun had come up but I still had his jacket on. I loved his cologne.