The ceiling fan’s laconic twirling seemed to be holding the attention of the middle aged woman sitting on the red plastic chair, she’d probably been staring at it for at least ten minutes. It was clear that she didn’t want to initiate or receive eye contact from anyone, everyone in that room was happy to oblige her. The man with long and pointy beard was watching the ceiling too, his face seemed calm but his left foot was drawing an interesting pattern on the ground.
Beside him was a woman wearing a body length hijab, she was looking at him with hatred dancing in her eyes. Whenever she turned her face towards others in the room, they all avoided her eyes. Perhaps they thought she wanted to scorch them with the rage that she couldn’t pour on the man beside her.
“Mr. Ayodele come with me” The nurse’s voice echoed in the room.
It was a potbellied, tall and very dark man who rose to follow her and the others in the room had a mixture of relief and dread flowing in their arteries, struggling for space with their blood. The teenage girl was rolling her rosary bead and moving her lips while the woman beside her whose close resemblance to the girl marked her as her mother sat beside her and awkwardly tried to pat her shoulder every minute before letting her hands fall away.
There were other people in the room, all of them seemed to be hiding ghosts behind their eyes yet they couldn’t help looking at the handsome young man who sat at the left corner of the room. He looked like RMD did in Checkmate although none of the women there found him attractive, they had bigger things on their minds but they couldn’t stop looking at him.
Names were ricocheting in his head as he clenched and unclenched his fist, he didn’t need to close his eyes to see the images that fit those names, each one was seared in his brain. He was wearing a pair of black bell bottom trousers, the kind his friends called Fela trousers. Almost no one had seen a pair of those trousers in the last ten years but he had given his tailor a picture of his father wearing those trousers and a short sleeve shirt set off with aviator glasses and told him to make the trousers. Oga Bello might not have made one in the last ten years but like the old woman who forgets her age when her favourite tune comes on, the deft lines and cuts that made the trousers were still in his fingers.
It wasn’t his trousers that captured his attention even as he thought of the women in his life, it was the pair of Italian leather loafers that his father had bought for him just before he died. Perhaps it was because it was the last tangible reminder he had of the man who had given him everything he wanted plus more or because the lines and colour of the shoes were a visual feast for the eyes.
It was when his father died that his life changed, his father’s estate got tied up in a probate court and his father’s other wives were contesting the will. He had to find his way in the world and he managed as best as he could, he promptly stopped his woman chasing ways and tried to be responsible and that was what led him to this point.
The job he applied for at Cotovo Ltd seemed promising, he was at the last stage of tests and interview and his medical results was going to be the deciding factor. He could hear his heart beat as he waited for his name to be called for his results, he knew that he had high chances of being HIV positive.
Women had always been his weakness, it was Risikatu who taught him that his penis wasn’t just for urinating. They had both been twelve years old and she was the daughter of his father’s security guard, they liked to wrestle and jump on each other because they were the only children in the big compound. One day she’d held his waist band to hold him down during one of their wrestling bout and somehow her hands slipped down. He found that he enjoyed the feeling of having her fingers wrapped around his penis but it was when he watched an adult film in his friend’s house that he finally knew what to do…
While he was in secondary school he had other girls but Risikatu was his main girl, he wept a little when at the age of sixteen she was married off to a man she hadn’t even met. He was quickly consoled by Pamela, Joy, Basira and Awele who were on constant rotation on his bed. Getting to the university was like being given the key to a gold mine, the girls and women of the university were simply living and breathing pawns on his chess board.
He liked the taste and feel of women, the thrill of not having one woman spend two nights in his bed. He was a god among university friends, the guy who could get any girl he wanted. There was a time someone spread a rumour about him using charms and other jazz methods to get girls, no one really believed it because he was too smooth to resort to diabolical methods.
When they called his name, he jumped up and literally ran to the office door. He found that he had to use all his courage to push the doorknob. The lady he saw seated behind the desk was very fair and seemed to have big boobs, in the old days she would have been a target for his smooth tongue and his big eyes. He was only thinking of his result when he pushed back the chair and sat down.
“Good afternoon Sir, my name is Patricia James and I’m the counsellor assigned to you” the beautiful lady almost sang the words, she had a lovely voice too.
“Please cut the long talk and tell me my results jare, in short just skip to the HIV result”
“But that’s not proper procedure Sir” she said with a slight edge in her voice
“Just tell me” he snapped.
“Ok Sir, you’re HIV…” he fainted before she could finish.