Tuesday, 29 January 2019

I met HIM


I’d been gushing about visiting the cinema since the beginning of the week. It would be my first time to experience the fun of sitting in a dark-lit room and watching a movie on a large screen. The same scene that I’d imagined while reading books and watching movies. I would be sitting with widened eyes, holding a pack of popcorn and squealing in excitement while staring at the screen.

I would be sitting beside a man…but he wouldn’t be the love of my life. Contrary to what the novels portray, I wouldn’t be resting on his shoulders nor shielding my face in his chest when watching a gory scene. I wouldn’t be holding his hand or smiling because of his intense gaze of admiration on me.  I would be going to the cinema with a male friend…with no emotional attachment.

“I know you’re a bad planner, Mujibah but you have to get to Ojota by 1:00 pm.” Ibrahim said over the phone in a loud tone.

I could hear the sound of the busy road and the blaring sound of car horns; cars that struggled to drive past the busy road.

I wore my favourite orange-coloured gown and veil as I watched my sisters stare at me in awe and admiration.

“Make sure you bring ice cream and pizza when you’re coming oo!” My younger sister smiled delightfully.

“And say yes to that bobo na. You friendzoned him in a very painful way,” My elder sister continued, scrunching up her face into a fake disgust.

“Don’t worry, I’m not ready for love now. And besides, I do not like him. I’ll buy bottles of yoghurt when I’m coming abeg. My money no carry ice cream. Bye girls!” I waved at them as I held my bag and walked out of the room.

I felt a sweet rush of cool air trickling my skin. Since the beginning of the long holiday, I had not stepped my foot out of the gate. Finally, I would go on an outing and see the over-hyped ‘King of Boys.’ While some people gushed that it was the best movie they have ever seen, others insisted that movie was not captivating. I was eager to know which group I’d belong.

Two hours later, I had met Ibrahim and we were buying our tickets to watch the movie. While he was paying for the tickets, I decided to glance around and if possible, take some pictures.

Then…I met him. Our eyes locked and we both looked away immediately. I spent a minute, staring at the ground and fighting the urge to glance at him again.

I couldn’t resist it. I raised my eyes and my heart juddered in my chest as our eyes met again. He was tall, dark and handsome. Black, thick beards covered the lower part of his face and his forehead had a plastered dark mark. He was different…different from other men that were standing beside him. He was putting on a white caftan and his hands were fixed into his pocket.

I turned towards his right and noticed the young lady standing beside him. Petite, dressed in a black gown and blue hijab, mouth fixed in straw as she was holding a bottle of cold Pepsi. On the other hand was a telephone gadget she was deeply engrossed with.

I swallowed hard and faced the counter again. Ibrahim was looking at me with a shrewd look, his eyebrows furrowed in confusion.

“Are you okay, Mujibah?”

“I’m perfect!” I grinned at him, striving to prove that I was fine.

“Great. Let’s get going.”

I never knew that Ibrahim could concentrate that well while watching a movie. He had made it clear that he only fancied video games and sports. Coming to the cinema was a way to kill boredom. I wondered why his eyes were plastered to the screen.

I really wanted to watch the movie but I could not. My thoughts were riveted to the man who would be sitting somewhere in the dark room…beside the petite lady. His powerful eyes, captivating smile and shy look. He looked like the Nigerian-Muslim version of Trevante Rhodes, the man I had crushed on when I watched the movie ‘Bird Box.’

I spent my time wondering what to tell my sisters. They would be eager to hear my review of King of Boys…but I could hardly watch a quarter of the movie.

What do I say? That Adesua acted excellently and Sharon Ooja was pretty as usual? That Shola Sobowale’s acting killed the movie and Reminisce didn’t act like it was his first movie?

What do I say? I wondered, rubbing my forehead in confusion.

“What do you think? I think this movie is fantastic.” Ibrahim smiled at me enthusiastically.

“Err…it was nice.”

“Just nice?” his forehead creased into a frown.

“Really nice. Can we leave now?”

Surprisingly, seconds had turned into minutes and minutes into hours. I had never felt that way before…such strange feeling that almost made me jump out of my skin.

“Are you sure you’re okay? You’ve been acting really weird since we came here. You didn’t enjoy your time here?” Ibrahim stared at me with knitted brows.

Suddenly, I wished that I acted properly. Seeing the disappointment on his face made me wish that I had done better to appreciate him for taking me out.

“I’m very fine.”

“Okay…I want to collect my change from the recharge card’s seller. I’ll be back in a sec.” Ibrahim schlepped out of the area and I folded my arms around my chest…my thoughts clogged with the face of the man.

Ibrahim arrived some few minutes later and he walked me to the bus stop. I didn’t set eyes on the dark-complexioned man again until I left the building.

‘Love is nothing but fantasy. It is not real…I cannot afford to get heartbroken…besides, he’s with someone else.’ I muttered, consoling myself as I stared out of the window in the danfo bus.

Fast forward to a month later when someone shockingly appeared at my workplace. He was the one. Knowing my workplace still remains a mystery to me. Shuaib never confessed how he learnt so much about me.

I was scared…scared to fall in love again. I was scared to give my heart to someone else. I was scared that my heart may be shattered into pieces.

Shuaib assured me that my heart will be secured with him. It was hard to trust again. He never relented. He spent months trying to win my heart.

“Nothing is impossible. You can open your heart to love again. You can do this, Mujibah.” He would say.

I accepted Shuaib’s proposal a few weeks later and since then, I’ve been the happiest woman on earth.

I met HIM and my life changed forever!

Photo Credit: Google: Trevante Rhodes.

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