“I said this before and I’m going to say it again. I am only here to make sure you do not dress inappropriately for this date. ” Uju said from across the room bending next to window.
“Sure, Uju. I have asked you several times if wearing the white top is better than wearing the black. You still haven’t answered. He’d be here any minute.” Elizabeth replied.
“Not soon enough,” Uju murmured and straightened. “You can never go wrong with black.”
Elizabeth was happy Uju was around; it helped to talk to her as she had been nervous the day before.
“I don’t think you should use much makeup, maybe shape your brows, use foundation, get that smokey eye and then the red lipstick” Uju said as she opened her huge makeup box
“Don’t come near me with your tools of torture. Moreover, I doubt he’d like that”
Uncharacteristically, Uju didn’t press the issue. She closed her box and resumed her position at the window impatiently waiting for Donald. She paced occasionally with a speed that showed she was nervous. To an onlooker she could easily be mistaken for the lady going on a date with a man she has so deeply fallen heads over heels in love with.
Donald felt nervous, the lower parts of his stomach had a twinge as he neared her apartment, he was aware he had reduced his speed and had begun to sweat regardless of his air conditioning unit. He touched the flowers he had gotten her and smiled to himself, he had gotten it for her regardless of how cliché it was. He imagined they’d also make her smile. He stepped on the gas and soon he acknowledged that the twinges he felt in his stomach were just butterflies. He was stupidly and utterly in love with Elizabeth.
Before getting out of his car he caught the quick movement at her window and smiled, with his right hand he picked and hid the flowers behind him as he walked to her door.
“Oh my God! He looks yummy, all chocolatey and stuff. And he’s taller than he looks in his pictures.” Uju squealed and covered her mouth.
“His pictures? What pictures?” Elizabeth queried
“I kinda found his Instagram account.”
“You still find ways to surprise me, Uju. Tell me, how do I look?”
The knock was soft. Elizabeth cussed as she had intended to install an alarm system after things had ended with Jacob. She walked quickly to the door and met his smile.
“I got these for you.” He said as he handed the flowers to her.
“Thanks. Roses are my favorite, come in”
He got into her living room and drank in its aesthetic. It was a large space with large canvasses and beautiful African paintings. On her dining table was a little sculpture of a naked lady next to a bowl of roses. The room was painted purple and blue. He never knew those colors worked.
“Hi! I’m Uju.”
“Oh. Hi, Donald”
“We’d be on our way now” Elizabeth said and saved all three of them from the awkwardness.
The drive to National museum, Onikan was quick but it was quarter past one. They had just two hours till the museum closed.
“I’ve been here twice, I could show you around.” Elizabeth said
Elizabeth knew a guide would willingly take them on the tour, she had one take her on her previous visits but she needed to enjoy this moment alone with him. To assuage their fears they dropped their phones and began the tour.
Walking through the main court yard of the museum their gazes lingered on the pictures of colorful ladies in what seemed like posters. They were pictures taken at a display of lace materials in Lagos. Beside those were pictures of some monuments in Nigeria like the Benin moats and the Gidan Makama in Kano.
They walked through a hall which was filled with portraits of Nigerian leaders past and present from Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa to the current President, Muhammad Buhari. As they walked towards the car where General Murtala Mohammed was assassinated Donald hesitated. The windshield and body of the black Mercedes Benz were pierced with several bullets. Averting his gaze from the car he saw the picture of the coup leader, Lieutenant Colonel Dimka sandwiched between officers that arrested him.
They walked through the different sections of the museum hand in hand. At the section where fertility and birth artifacts were displayed Elizabeth smiled at the wooden gong, the black pot and opa ifa.
“One wonders if these are still being used to help women with fertility.” Elizabeth remarked
“Would you rather go to a priest than a doctor?” Donald asked
“No, I wouldn’t but I am curious as to how traditionalists go about it. People go to doctors for several years and get no results. I would like to know if those results would differ if they visited traditional doctors instead. Personally, I would not dare.”
“Doesn’t this seem a bit weird to you? Sort of fetish?” He asked as they looked through objects that show the entire life of a child from its naming to its adulthood and even death.
“Most people say that, but it really isn’t. Nigerians also believe in deities, we tend to forget that”
“Alright, which part of the museum is your favorite?”
“Walk with me.”
Taking the stairs they got to a room filled with pots made from clay and several other moldings.
“The women who made these are extinct. Aren’t they pretty?” she asked running her fingers along the pots.
Donald watched her, saw the glint in her eyes as she looked at them. He turned to hold her face in his hands and kissed her deeply, she reciprocated with an equal intensity. Taking her hands off the pots she took his and closed every distance between them so that their bodies collided.
“I’ve wanted to do that since I sat next to you at the bar.” he said
“I’m glad you did.”
Still holding his hands she kissed him again then turned to leave the room.
“It’s almost three thirty we should leave.” Elizabeth said
“Are you hungry? I could use some food right now.”
“Yes, very hungry. There’s a mall close, we could eat there.”
The lunch lasted for over three hours. They talked about everything, from childhood experiences to youth service experience, they talked about their favorite TV shows, movies, music bands.
“We should leave” she said after checking her wristwatch.
He walked her to her door and kissed her goodnight. Watching him drive off she blew him a kiss and searched her bag for the keys to her door. She inserted her key and saw that the door was unlocked.
Did I close the door? Or did Uju leave after me? She thought to herself as she opened the door and walked in. On her sofa was Jacob with a coy smile.
“So, Donald.” He said.
“What are you doing in here?” she asked angrily.
“I still love you, Liz. Regardless, I am not here to beg you or ask you to leave your lover for me. How well do you know him?” Jacob asked
“Well enough, you should leave. I am exhausted and would like to shower.” she said
He reached for the TV remote control as though he didn’t hear what she said
“I have something you should watch, and I suggest you sit for this.”
“What is it?” she asked
“I told you my mother was shot by robbers four year ago, this is the video feed from the CCTV installed in the living room. Your lover was one of the robbers,” he tapped the sofa for her to sit “You really need to watch this.”