Head 2 – Habitual Drinking Spree
Being unemployed and single sounds like a curse, and it may be. So far, things aren’t looking pleasant from my point of view. I drank myself to sleep after failing another job interview and awoke with my brain whirling like a carousel. I’m not sure how much I drank last night at the singles’ party—yep, a party for only singles to mingle.
But with all the chitty-chatty bang-bang going on, one could only feel high, which is how I landed on the bartender’s counter, shrieking on top of my terrible voice, which could never make it through the first round of the American Idol competition even if no household witches were holding me back.
I recall yelling at a jerk and punching a sexist in the face. I eventually puked in the Uber driver’s backseat before making my way to my apartment on the second floor. I ran into an unfamiliar-looking gentleman in the elevator and marched right past him, yelling all the way to my room.
And here I was in the morning, seated in my underpants on the carpeted floor with a bottle of aspirin that lay beside me. I suppose it was the only way to get rid of the headache and get on with my day.
The sound was unmistakably from my neighbour’s end. It seemed that whoever was in there happened to be new because that place used to be completely silent.
Okay, I’ve had enough.
I walked over to my neighbour’s end and peered in only to catch a glimpse of a handsome young man busily driving a nail into the wall in his sweatpants. He was like a Greek deity, a sight to behold. And I liked what I was seeing. I let out a quiet sigh and turned around to tiptoe, hoping to make a better impression later. But…
Name: Gerald Wallington
Complexion: Fair (A mulatto with a black question mark tattoo on the left side of his neck)
Appearance: Looks decent and gentle.
Nationality: Liberian (with a cool accent)
Occupation: Commercial Model (Maybe! He looks like one though)
.. I heard his voice. And I turned around slowly to face him.
‘Hello? Did you miss your way?’ he asked.
‘Oooh! Not really. I was only checking out the new neighbour trying to wake everybody up this early Saturday morning. Welcome, yeah!’ I said.
‘I’m not surprised at all. I can understand, I mean with all the noise going on.’ I faked a pretty obvious smile.
‘I’m sorry if I disturbed your sleep.’
‘It’s fine. You already woke me up.’ I reached for my head. It seemed like the headache was resurfacing. ‘Ahh!’ I moaned softly.
‘Are you alright?’ he drew closer to where I stood. He smelled so good, even in his sweatpants.
‘Yeah, yeah. It does happen a lot.’ I whispered amidst the pain.
‘Sit. Let me help you with a bottle of soda. How often do you drink?’ He asked, helping me to a seat.
‘You came in pretty drunk last night. And you threw up on my favourite t-shirt in the elevator. Remember?’
He was making matters worse in this situation. Nobody likes to be embarrassed, especially in pain.
I paused and began to recall last night’s incident. ‘Shit!’ I whispered to myself.
‘It’s alright. I got it all cleaned up. It’s my lucky t-shirt.’ He handed me a bottle of soda. ‘Here you go.’
‘Thanks.’ I opened it and took a sip. It was refreshing! ‘I guess the t-shirt wasn’t lucky last night. I am so sorry.’ I sighed.
‘It’s fine. Nice underpants by the way.’ He tilted his head to get a better view of it.
Which word suits him best? A pervert or a flirt?
‘Thanks.’ I rose to my feet, ready to walk away, still feeling embarrassed.
‘Erm, could you show me around town? I am new here and I need to settle in nicely and make a couple of good friends too. I could use your help.’ He reached for my hand. It was electrifying. His hands might have been dipped in milk and honey and run through a special therapeutic session. It felt super soft, like a baby’s butt.
‘And then you begin to visit the clubs and chase women? Bring them into your apartment and disturb your neighbours all night? Hell no!’ I responded.
‘I was only asking for your assistance.’ He replied softly.
‘Oh, I’m so sorry. I was just recalling the life of the former tenant who took French leave.’
‘So, will you help me?’
‘Sorry, I’ve got to prepare for a job interview on Monday.’
‘So much to ask for throwing up in my favourite t-shirt.’ He sighed.
Dammit! Did he just trap me with some guilt?
‘Fine, I’ll show you around, and after this, I don’t owe you. Since it is Saturday, I’m returning to bed, so 4 pm should be fine for a tour.’
‘Alright, it’s a date then. I’ll be ready. Oh, I didn’t get your name.’ He said, trying to recall as if I’d mentioned it earlier.
‘It’s Funke Obianuju Neita.’ I said.
‘Beautiful! I love local names. I wish I had one. Anyway, I am Gerald Wallington.’ He stretched out his hand for a handshake.
‘That explains a lot. I’m sure your white dad or mum didn’t want any name struggles.’ I giggled.
Unfortunately, he shot me a weird look, as if trying to make sense of what I had just said.
‘Oh sorry. It was meant to be a joke.’
‘It’s fine. See you at 4 pm then.’ He nodded and returned to screwing nails into the wall.
Somehow, the headache left, and I leaped out of bed right into the bathroom to freshen up for the ‘date’, because he said so. It’s an official date!
Look at me staring at my beautiful reflection in the mirror. I was hoping the interaction between Gerald and I would be the start of a beautiful relationship. And I needed to look perfect for the date. Does this sound awkward? Maybe. I had already fantasized about us walking down the aisle. Then I became pregnant a couple of months later with our first child. It felt so good!
Tonight, I intended to take him around the neighbourhood and show him all the places where the less pretty girls hang out. Yes, I mean, beautiful women fascinate men, and they will always prefer the gorgeous over the ugly. Even beauty triumphs over intellect sometimes, because men are moved by what they see before they dig deeper to discover more. So, there you have it. I’m not desperate. Or perhaps I am. Well, just a smidgeon. And seeing Gerald reminded me that not all hope was lost. Even though I was his next-door neighbour, he considered me more than a friend.
I was still daydreaming while staring back at my image in the mirror. Who knew being single could drive a lady to this level of desperation? I didn’t feel whole, and whenever I saw postings from friends who got married, I felt unhappy (not for them), but I covered it up by snapping delectable photos with captions intending that I was having a good time. Lies!
So now, let me remind you that ninety percent of what is shared on social media is probably lies, five percent is truth, and the other five percent I have no idea about. For instance, after failing a job interview, I shared a photo of myself with an unfamiliar gentleman dressed in an expensive tuxedo. I had just met him after the interview. Guess what? I captioned the picture, “New boss, new life, greater heights.” But I knew I was still unemployed despite the numerous congratulatory messages I received. Lies!!
I was dressed to the nines in a lovely red dress that accentuated my curves and was complemented by a matching bag. My black wavy hair was carefully pulled back into a ponytail. So, with this attractive gentleman who had become my newest distraction, I was ready to take the stage as a tour guide, and even more. Meow!
He’s here! I ran over to the door and yanked it open. He stood there in his new black sweatpants, his manly physique embracing the clothes. His well-built abs were so visible, I mean, I could immediately jump on those peaks and valleys. What a whoop! His cologne was like a magnet, drawing me right into his arms before he could even say hello. What was going on with me? Geez!
‘Oh wow!’ He seemed surprised about the hug. He probably wasn’t expecting it.
‘I’m sorry.’ I pulled back quickly, realizing his discomfort. ‘You look great.’
‘Thank you. I love your outfit. You look lovely,’ he replied, taking a better look at it.
‘Thank you. Shall we?’ I smiled.
‘Absolutely. Lead the way, my lady!’ he gestured dramatically.
We roamed all night in East Legon. From bars to restaurants, we paid our respects to an old church building and then ended up in a “mini-ghetto,” where we were unceremoniously kicked out. We went back to a club that was 50 meters from our house and ordered a box of pizza to take home.
‘Erm, I’ve got red wine in my fridge.’ I said as we made our way back to the apartment.
‘Oh, that’s nice. I love red wine.’ Gerald replied.
‘We could eat at my place and, you know, spend the night getting to know each other.’ I suggested it, hoping he’d show interest.
‘Sounds like you got this date all planned.’ He said.
‘Planning, organizing, and executing are my specialties.’ I smiled with so much pride.
‘That’s impressive! But how come you’re still unemployed?’
‘Hey, I never said that.’ I rolled my eyes playfully.
You mentioned that you have an interview for a job opening on Monday.’
‘Yes, that.’ He nodded. He appeared quite youthful and nice, but also concerned. It was difficult to take my gaze off of him as he strolled right next to me. I wanted to look flawless before him. And I was hoping he’d notice.
‘I quit my former job. It was stressful.’ I lied.
‘I understand. I’ve been there before.’ He nodded and smiled.
My room isn’t the perfect sleeping spot. But it’s a modest and intimate space. It appears to be tailor-made for me and is the epitome of cuteness. Purple was the hue that brought it to life. Nobody needed to guess that this room belonged to a lady because teddy bears lay over the bed and my makeup kit occupied the stand in front of the mirror.
‘You’ve got yourself a beautiful place. It’s homey. I like it.’ His eyes traveled around my room. And when he nodded in approval, I felt so proud of myself.
‘Thanks. Make yourself comfortable. I’ll be with you soon.’ I dashed into my bathroom to hurriedly clean up, only to return and find him thumbing through my photo album.
‘You used to live in Jamaica?’ he asked, looking up at me. He froze.
I showed up in cute lingerie.
‘Yeah, I went to school there.’ I answered.
‘I see. I thought you were Nigerian. And why did you move to Ghana?’ He flipped to the next picture, trying not to be distracted by what I was wearing. He was doing pretty well at that.
‘I’m not Nigerian. My parents divorced and I returned with my mum to Ghana.’ I explained.
‘I visited a friend once in Jamaica. But I have been in Liberia for years thanks to work. I just got transferred here. And I like this country already.’ He smiled and closed the album.
I stood there watching as he rose to his feet and approached me with a sly grin.
‘What are you up to?’ He held my waist gently and spoke in hushed tones into my ear.
‘Nothing.’ I tip-toed with my breast crushed against his belly region. He was pretty tall, and I could feel his heartbeat.
‘Your actions scream louder than your words,’ he added.
‘And I’m betting you like it.’ I winked at him.
‘Nope. It’s our first meeting, and you’re selling yourself too cheap.’
‘You’re a nice lady. But you need to put on a little dignity. I mean, have some self-respect.’ He whispered again and pulled away.
I frowned. Did he just insult me?
‘I don’t get you.’ I replied.
‘You brought me to your apartment and offered me a seat. And then you excused yourself and returned in captivating lingerie. One that’s very revealing. Do you go to bed with every guy you meet, especially on the first night?’ He gave me a questionable look.
What in the world?! Did he just insult me?
‘Did you just insult me?!’ I asked in shock.
‘I can tell a lady who is desperate for love. And you’re one.’
‘You are rude, very rude!’ I grabbed a teddy bear and threw it in his direction. ‘Get out!’
‘Relax, I’ll be on my way.’
‘You are a fool. Get out! And to think I was being nice to you.’ I threw another object at him. This time, it hit him on the forehead and gave him a cut.
‘Yeah, serves you right. Leave!!’ I opened the door and pushed him out.
Sunday arrived far too quickly, like a private ambulance rushing a patient to the hospital. Of course, I missed church. I was in a bad mood. And I didn’t want to be bothered by Pastor Sam’s concerns about why I was still single. In my opinion, it was nobody’s business. So I spent the entire day in bed. A dull Sunday!
Monday Morning. I gave myself a great make-over in the mirror and rehearsed for the last time. The interview was scheduled for today. They’d have to pick me and no one else because I am attractive, trendy, and confident. The ideal candidate for the job.
When I came face-to-face with Gerald on my way out, I froze. After Saturday’s event, we hadn’t communicated again. We remained silent in the elevator until we reached the last floor, where we parted in different directions. I saw the mark on his forehead. The cut was rather deep, and I felt terrible about it. Perhaps I should make amends with him. I wanted to, but my pride wouldn’t let me. He’d made me feel degraded.
What a queue?! I anticipated being the first person in line for the interview. It was a quarter to 7 a.m., and there were eight people already in the room. I was curious as to whether they had slept the night at the company’s premises. There were several ladies in line, and most of them were single.
It seems this generation is made up of about 45% singles, 5% married, 15% cohabitating/side-chicking, and 35% divorced.
‘Miss Funke Obianuju Neita?’
‘Yes’? I waved at the secretary and stood up. I couldn’t bring myself to smile, but I had no choice if I wanted to get this job.
‘Come with me,’ She stated, leading me inside an auditorium with a solemn-looking panel.
I needed to make an impression on them. I sat directly in front of the panel and smiled warmly. And then there was the most amazing surprise of my life. Gerald walked into the room and took the middle seat. My heartbeat took an unannounced leave for minutes.
As I gazed intently at the neatly tiled floor, beads of sweat dribbled down my cheeks.
‘Should we increase the temperature of the AC?’ The secretary drew closer and whispered to me, sensing my discomfort.
‘No, thanks,’ I replied. I was visibly shaking as I came face to face with the gentleman I had disrespected days ago. Could the earth please open up and swallow me? Gerald looked in my direction and smiled.
I knew I wasn’t going to get the job by the time I walked out. And I knew he would know my work history – the fact that I had no prior work experience for the job. I needed to come up with a new survival method. And, more significantly, I needed to make up to him for my rudeness.
After the interview, I rushed home and lay on my bed in tears. I felt it was time to apologize. So I pulled out my phone and sent him a text:
“Hey, Gerald. I’m sorry for what happened the other night. Yes, you were right; I felt desperate after being single for years. I’m sorry for the cut as well; if you don’t mind, I could come over and help you nurse it. I like you and I hope we can be more than neighbours. Please get back to me asap!”
I still hadn’t heard from him as the evening wore on. I was concerned about his well-being, so I dressed in shorts and a tank top, applied some make-up, and headed over to his place. Perhaps he wanted me to apologize in person. What was to be expected? We might get coiled together on his couch. My face brightened with hope.
The door swung open, and there stood a beautiful young woman dressed in Gerald’s favorite t-shirt, the t-shirt I puked on. Her face wore a gorgeous expression.
‘Hi.’ She said,
‘Hi.’ I replied, looking astonished.
‘Are you looking for someone here?’ she asked, still smiling.
‘Is Gerald home?’
‘Yes. But he’s washing down at the moment. You could come in and wait.’
‘Oh, no thanks. I – I – I should probably be on my way now.’
‘Are you sure?’ she asked kindly.
‘It’s not that important.’ I forced a smile.
‘Alright. Your name, please? I’ll inform him that you came around.’
‘I am Funke, his neighbour. And you are?’
‘Firyali. His wife. Ouch!’ she said proudly and groaned, reaching for her belly.
‘Oh, you’re pregnant? Congratulations.’ My heart skipped a beat.
Gerald was MARRIED?! And his wife was PREGNANT?!!
‘He keeps kicking. I don’t know if he wants to be a footballer.’ She laughed.
‘Maybe he does.’ I gasped. ‘I’ll be on my way now.’ I walked away briskly without looking back.
The worst weekend of my life! I cried myself to sleep, burying my face in my pillow and staining it with makeup. My heart acknowledged it. Gerald seemed to be the perfect fit for me. Maybe I needed to stop appearing so desperate and start taking small steps. I was so focused on his looks and lost in my world of fantasy so much that I missed the ring on his finger.
Did I act too desperate? Did I play too cheap? Was I wrong in asking him out?
Gerald was a kind soul and a dependable companion. He had every opportunity to cheat on his pregnant wife, yet he decided to remain faithful. And he hit me with the undiluted truth right in my face – that I needed to stop acting desperate.
I’ll always hold him in high regard.