“ACCORDING TO CHRIS”
Running became one of my favorite things to do while growing up in Volgograd, I did it for survival. Walking between places used to seem like a deathtrap because of the cold, so I
On my first visit back to Nigeria in 2016 I fell in love with the lekki-ikoyi link bridge, I would run on Saturday mornings and soak in the conundrum that is Lagos. I began to take particular notice of the bridge regulars as time wore on: the three Asian men who practiced some weird form of meditation that involved heavy sneezing, the four inexperienced and carefree cyclists in their snapbacks, the three light skinned girls in brightly colored sneakers and extremely snugly wear who jogged ever so delightfully, the fitfam who always looked like they were preparing for war. We became comrades of sorts, all of us in motion, searching for different things.
Today as I ran past the three light skinned girls, red sneakers said to pink sneakers “but it is not fair…”,I mentally replied “nothing in life is fair.”, trust me I should know.
I gave up on the world being fair a long time ago. I gave up when I lost my mum at the age of nine (9); any little hope I had in life was quelled when I got sent off to cold-ass Russia for high school and university, хуйня́, and trust life to prove me right – I got married to Alina a few weeks before I met Tee.
So today I was running from myself. I was becoming, or I had become something that I had always promised myself that I would never become – a cheating husband, a horrible father to be. The one thing I can remember of my mum, is the grownup advice she would give me as a child, she seemed to be preparing me for adulthood before she prepared me for childhood. I could remember her saying to me in Yoruba: “ebun pataki ti o le fun awon omo e ni ko se dada si iya won ni gbogbo igba” meaning “the most important gift you can give a child is to be good to their mother always.”
I can only imagine her now, looking down at me in disappointment. A man cheating on his pregnant wife.
I remember the first time I spoke to Tee, I had gotten married to Alina a few weeks before. Tee and I connected quickly after our social media tete a tete – and so I decided to call her. The moment I heard her voice I knew there was trouble, it was music to my ears, her laughter, her warmth, her innocence. I tried many times to tell her I was married, but the words never came. I was enjoying it too much – Alina had just gotten a new promotion at work so she was too distracted and she believed that any black person I was talking to was a Nigerian cousin of mine, she could not care less.
I remember one conversation with Tee in particular:
“How goes it?”
“It is all very well”
“Life is good in mother Russia?”
“Yes Tee, life is good here, even though we wouldn’t mind if God turned up the heat a little”
“How is it in the mother land?”
“It is great, at least we aren’t complaining about cold here”
“LOL. Tee, let me ask you a question.”
“What would you do if you found out I was married.”
“Hahahaha, LMAO, LOL! You, married? Please…”
“LOL, I was just playing with you.”
“Of course you were, and talking about marriage, I want to talk to you about Dan.”
“Oh yeah, what about him?”
And the conversation moved on from there, I never got the nerve to bring up marriage again. I liked her, I knew I always wanted her but there was the Dan boy to think about; her close to perfect boyfriend. There was also my pregnant wife to think about.
The night before it happened, the night of our last sleepover. I had stayed up all night long watching her sleep, I wanted to touch her, plant a kiss on her lips, feel under her dress, and hold her close to me. But I was too afraid, what if she said no, what if she pushed me away – what would I say to her? How would I look her in the eyes the next morning?
Watching her make breakfast in my t-shirt was the straw that broke the camel’s back, I knew that I had to have her, so I kissed her.
“Chris what are we doing? We should stop”
“I am so sorry Tee. I am really sorry. I think you should leave before things get out of hand.”
I knew she wouldn’t leave, I knew we wouldn’t stop, I could see it in her eyes.
Not much has changed, I still have a pregnant wife and I am still obsessed with having Tee in my life and I just resolved that nothing would change: Tee would never find out about Alina and one way or another Tee will be mine.
My running is over, I had gotten to the end of the bridge.
COLUMNISTS NOTE: I have no doubt that you loved this piece as much as I did when I first read it. I wanted to change things a bit and add a different style to my short stories, so I asked Ejiro to help out with handling the role of Chris. Ejiro is one of my favorite story writers and I felt honored when he agreed to do this. You should totally check his blog thestorytellerng.wordpress.com. I am looking forward to where this series will take us to, wish I could just put up all the episodes I have at the moment but I can’t chief editor’s rules. Also, it isn’t Ejiro’s style to leave questions at the end of the story and he insisted he doesn’t want to put any so I’m going to leave it that way but I would totally love comments and discussion on this. If you haven’t read the first part, you should do that too. Thank you for reading my stories and overall visiting this site.