The two copies of the picture were brought back by the photographer after five minutes of uncomfortable silence since taking them – in my view at least.
In the picture, I stared at Eno’s flush skin and then mine. I dug my hand into my purse and brought out a crumpled five hundred naira note and paid the fair-complexioned photographer. He was so fair: he reminded me of those that were referred to as “over ripe paw paw” while we were in primary school.
I noticed him before Eno did. He wouldn’t heed my dismissal of him, as though he already knew Eno was the one who could really decide. Eno saw him and agreed to have a photo taken with me.
Eno beckoned to him to return the five hundred naira I just paid him, she tucked it my purse and paid herself. The man claimed he had no hundred naira change. Irritated, I hissed. He however got two fifty naira notes from the woman selling ofada rice. And as we walked on in the dusk, he settled down to eat ofada rice.
Something about him irritated me. Maybe he wasn’t the one who irritated me, I knew he wasn’t. Eno flagged down a taxi. She then turned to me, gave a small smile which reached her eyes and hugged me. My body felt like stiff starched adire against hers. She held on for so long. Never one to cry, she looked at me, expecting tears. I’m the one to cry. I cry. It is what I do. That day, there were no tears. I always cried a river with each loss but no more.
The taxi driver busied himself adjusting the radio volume. It was completely like Eno to stop a taxi in Nigeria, then have him wait. She eased herself into the back seat before telling him she was going to the airport. His rough voice asked to confirm if it was drop and she nodded. One thousand naira he told her, seven hundred she said. He changed gear. The vehicle was moving.
The further it moved, the further I felt myself slip away from intimate human relationships.
Stometimes, it hurts.