I stopped by Abigail’s house on my way for rehearsal. She had insisted that I come pick her up. It was the second month since I joined the crew. I was still getting used to the quick routines and the head choreographer’s habit of pushing me to learn twice as fast as the others. Either way, I appreciated Kelvin’s efforts. It had been a long time since I was in a crew; being in school certainly had its ups and downs. Truth be told, I was grateful for the long vacation and determined to make the best use of it.
Abigail was plump, petite, light-skinned girl and nice to a fault. I had never seen her lose her cool, even when I couldn’t keep it together. I always thought it was because she was more mature, especially since she was two years older. Abigail was also a girl of few words. We said very little on our way to rehearsals; it did not bother me, I was used to the long silences between us. She and I had come a long way from secondary school days when silences between us used to be awkward.
Rehearsal was fun today. As usual, most of the guys fell over themselves trying to impress Abigail. Everyone was getting used to having her around but the boys still liked to be silly. Except Tayo and Kelvin. Tayo had taken a special liking to her the first day she came with me for rehearsal and he showed it. Kelvin on his part was the boss, so he tried to keep a straight face amidst the whole drama, but it wasn’t easy for someone with his crazy sense of humor.
We left in the same cab – Abigail and I, with Kelvin. He lived not so far away from me so we often shared cabs home. He looked stressed today. Kelvin was a hard worker, juggling work and dance, and he was doing pretty well for a twenty-eight year old bachelor living alone in Abuja. Even though he could often be very annoying, he was a good friend.
“Driver abeg enter this street.” I had been to his place enough times to find my way in the dark.
“Backstreet boys!” Kelvin sneered from the back. He had a habit of using the last words in people’s remarks to coin popular names. I shook my head at him. Abigail laughed.
Kelvin alighted but couldn’t resist putting on his Star wars character.
“May the force be with you,” he said and then smiled playfully. We waved at him and told the cab driver to drive away.
I was so exhausted, I longed for a shower and a long sleep but Abigail was with me. So we ate and watched a movie until her brothers came to pick her up. They were overprotective of her even though she just turned 21. They made me wish I had older brothers too.
I watched their car speed away, then I went in to warm soup and make some garri. Just before bed, I remembered I hadn’t replied my chats and proceeded to do so – Kelvin, Abigail, Dance crew group chat … I was tired already. Kelvin’s message sounded urgent so I replied him first. He said he needed to talk.
I was sure it was about his ex. They had broken up a few months before I met him but she still called. She wanted them to get back together but he wouldn’t hear of it. He said she had hurt him but he wouldn’t say how. I never wanted to know more than he was willing to share anyway. I was just fine being there for him whenever he needed me, like that time he was sick and needed help getting drugs from the pharmacy. I laughed as I remembered that morning. He had sounded like he was dying and so I dashed out of the house wearing bathroom slippers and no bra. When I got there, the clown was watching a movie in front of a table overflowing with sweets and snacks. I almost killed him.
Tonight was different though. He didn’t want to talk about his ex. He wanted to talk about us. I didn’t understand what he meant and so I asked. He said he had feelings for me and had had them for a while. I freaked out; Kelvin was my friend, the head of my dance crew and although he was tall and handsome with a wonderful personality, I didn’t see him that way. It just never occurred to me. I tried to be subtle about it but he insisted that I tell him my mind and that he would kill the feeling if it wasn’t mutual. So I told him he was my friend and that was all. He agreed to move past it and we changed topics quickly. I still sensed an air of awkwardness and wished we had talked about his Ex instead.
My phone rang, interrupting the chat. Abigail. Shoot! I had forgotten to reply her message.
“Hey Kaitlyn. Thank God you’re still up. I need to talk to you.”
Hmm … was I Doctor Phil today or something?
She told me she was distant today and I deserved to know why. She did not want to come for rehearsals with me anymore. I was surprised; she loved coming for rehearsals with me. I asked why and she said she did not know how to deal with the drama. I still couldn’t wrap my fingers around this one so I asked her to explain what the problem was. She told me about Tayo’s apparent feelings for her. I reminded her that I knew
“That’s not the only problem,” she said, “the thing is … I have feelings for Kelvin.”
To be Continued…
Written by Keren-Happuch Odinenu