Dust and Dead Leaves 1.

When I returned to Ibadan, my compound was covered with dry leaves, and my house was filled with dust. Tamuno had packed every bag that belonged to her and had kept my keys under the doormat.

I met Tamuno at a Jazz bar in Lagos. She was dressed in a red bandage dress and sat alone, enjoying the music. I was there with Ronke, my partner at the time.

Every day we meet people, interact with them, and move on with our lives, but there are people who we meet that leave an indelible mark on us. People who possess such unique charm that keeps drawing us in, begging us to demystify them. That was how I felt the first day I saw Ronke. Braids neatly packed, sipping her Chapman in such a classy way, I wondered how drinking something could look so attractive; I wished I was the straw—or the drink.

I danced with Ronke for a while; she always liked slow dancing, and I loved to indulge her. My Ronke was beautiful, but Tamuno had a magnetic energy that kept drawing me in. Once Ronke needed to use the restroom, I went to Tamuno. I will never forget what she said to me. I had been straightforward, I told her I liked her and I wanted to get her number; she in turn responded, ‘Come alone and I’ll consider.’ And so I went there every evening for a week, and luckily she did come. It took her six days, but yes, she came and gave me her number.

My life felt different when I started talking to Tamuno. There was excitement, there was something—just something so special and different about her that I loved, and I could never get enough. And she liked me too, or so it seemed.

The right thing to do would have been to delete her number or just completely ignore it and not reach out to her, but I did. I knew I was going to pay dearly for this, but I wasn’t deterred. With each conversation we had, I was pulled in deeper. Soon, we would go to that jazz bar together while Ronke was on a trip, and in the bathroom of that jazz bar, she would kiss me for the first time and forever change the course of my life.

Over the next two months, my relationship with Tamuno strengthened. She knew I had another, but she didn’t mind. We had our own little world, and it was bliss.

One cold morning when I lay down with Tamuno wrapped in my arms, I heard a loud knock on the door. I was confused because it was quite early, and I wasn’t expecting anyone. I went to the door, took one look outside, and knew it was a day for trouble. Ronke was standing outside, wearing the saddest and angriest look I had ever seen. I knew it was going to be rough that day. Inhaling deeply, I let her in.

“She’s the one, isn’t she? Answer me, Osas!” Ronke had said, screaming. I stared deeply at her, begging myself to say something, willing myself to talk. “Ronke, you have to calm down, please,” I begged. But my speaking seemed to aggravate her further, and she ended up crying and yelling. I looked at Tamuno, and my heart sank; I had brought this embarrassment to her; she didn’t deserve it.

I bent my head in shame. What kind of person was I? A million questions ran through my head, and I realised what I needed to do. No sooner had I raised my head when Ronke came rushing at me and hitting me.Unsuspecting, I had fallen head to step; blacked out. 

When I woke up, ronke would be by my bedside crying, I would sigh deeply and turn my face, telling myself that this had to end.

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