Ike was dozing on the couch in front of the TV when I got home with the baby on his lap. He had a beatific smile on his face. Anna was pinching his nose and grinning at him. It seemed like this father daughter bonding thing was working real well. I watched them for a while and then went to the kitchen to make supper.
As I peeled the yams for my special yam pottage recipe, my thoughts went back to Titi and her elaborate schemes. I didn’t know it till much later but after my first meeting with Ike, she planned another one with him. The one where she told him that I was just a little girl who didn’t know anything and he should look for a real woman to be with; a woman like her. The one where he told her he wasn’t interested. Then she came back to me and told me that she had found out that Ike had asked five other girls out in our faculty and he just wanted to use me as his plaything seeing how innocent I was. I never thought to question her. I believed her totally and thanked her for saving me from potential heartbreak.
She told me not to worry, that she would get me a decent boyfriend. She actually introduced me to two guys but it was very awkward when we met. We literally had nothing to say to each other. I ignored Ike when we passed each other at the faculty. He called out to me several times but I never answered.
One night I was going to the classrooms to do some reading up when I saw a familiar figure in the shadows. I moved closer to see and sure enough it was Titi, talking to a guy. That wasn’t unusual. I had actually lost track of her boyfriends. She had so many of them. Then she put a hand on the boy’s arm and then he turned and I saw it was Ike. I felt sick. What were they both doing here in the middle of the night behind the classrooms? She leaned over to hug him and I hurried away, hoping they hadn’t seen me.
That night in class, I couldn’t read. I tried to analyze what I had seen. Surely it couldn’t be what I thought. She told me to stay away from Ike and I assumed she was staying away from him too. Was Titi really my friend or had she been deceiving me the whole time? There had to be an innocent explanation to all this. I debated whether to ask her or not. It was the first time I was beginning to doubt her.
I watched her for a few days before I finally decided to confront her. I hoped she would tell me something convincing. Something that would let me know she hadn’t been pretending to me for months. Then she said something like: “Look Chinelo, all I was doing was for your own good. You couldn’t have handled Ike. He’s the kind of guy who wants something casual but you want to go the whole nine yards. I just wanted a casual fling with him that’s all.”
It was then I realized how clueless I had been. I took one long look at her and I told her I never wanted to see or talk to her again. I do not know where my new found boldness came from but the next day I sought Ike out and told him I wanted to talk to him. It was one of the best decisions I had ever made.
I never heard from Titi and the last I knew she had left school to get married to one oil well guy. Never heard from her until now. I needed to tell Ike about her, I thought as I stirred my sauce on the cooker. Then I left it to simmer and went to the living room.
“I have something to tell you,” I said as I sat on the sofa beside him. I was surprised that his face looked ashen. There was also a look of consternation on his face.
“What is it?” I asked him.
“It was my office,” he said. “They just called and asked me to find myself a good lawyer.”
I opened my mouth in disbelief. A lawyer? Was he being criminally charged? My world was spinning around me again.