Sotonye turned around and started walking away. I shoved Tinu out of the way and started following her. Tinu dragged me back by my elbow and I shot her an acidic look.
“Oh, so that’s how it is? You’re leaving all of this for your boyfriend. Bros over hoes isn’t it?” She said, anger smoking from her eyes, hands clenched at her sides.
“She’s not my boyfriend. She’s a GIRL”
“yeah, right. If you think she’s a girl, you’re [email protected]#king gay, bitch. I can’t believe I’m even having this conversation”. She walked into her apartment and slammed the door.
I’ve always read in books about the Long Walk Back Home- when a student fails an exam, when a man loses his Job, when a football team loses an away game. But this was new to me- when your not-girlfriend catches you kissing another not-girlfriend. Honestly my life was becoming very unreal- drama in the morning, drama this afternoon, and certainly more drama when I made it into my house.
I expected to see Soso sitting at my doorstep. But my door hung slightly ajar. Did I leave my door open? I opened the door slowly, expecting a flying shoe, or a flurry of blows to land on my face. Soso never really hid her anger. Instead I saw that she was sprawled across my bed. Her face was once again turned to the wall so I couldn’t even see her expression.
She didn’t answer me. Instead a small gasp escaped her lips, and her body started shaking.
The gasping became a little regular and it occurred to me that she was crying. Dear God- crying twice in one day!!!!
“I know this sounds cliché but it isn’t what it looked like at all”
She didn’t respond. I walked over to the bed, knelt beside her and flipped her over, preparing to deal with a weeping soul.
She burst out laughing.
“Dude you should have seen your face when that girl tried to swallow you whole”
“wait- you saw it?”
“yeah. I met your door open, heard your voice coming from your girlfriend’s room. When I heard you say ‘how can I thank you’ I knew you were walking into trouble. So I came to save you. You owe me 500 glu credits for that”
Relief washed over me like a 40-foot wave on the beach. I almost hugged Soso but she would only kick me away. No one ever got hugs from her. Not even me.
“That girl is pure evil”
“what, because she kissed you. Ekene you’re really twisted”
“She called me gay. And she called you my boyfriend”
“SHE CALLED ME WHAT?!!!!! BURN THAT BITCH ALIVE!”
With that, we bumped knuckles and she got up.
“So you summoned me to the Royal Palace, Your highness”
“Yes, my Eunuchs shall now conduct you to the beautifying chamber”.
She smiled. A sotonye Smile could be quite dazzling. If only she would smile more often.
“Okay, seriously. Soso. I’m not a girl, I can’t really tell you HOW to be beautiful. I can only tell you what I can see in a girl that’ll make me stop to say hi”
“you mean all the things I’ve not been doing”
“can you just put that attitude aside?”
“I told you earlier. Guys are attracted to what they can see. And they hunger for what they can’t see without some work on their part”
Soso sank into the chair. MY chair. She knows how I’m particular about the chair. I remember when we started watching Season 1 of The Big Bang Theory, and Sheldon gave Penny the speech about the chair. She shouted ‘guy that’s you, I swear”. Second time in one day she was sitting in the chair…any way, I would deal with that later.
“The main thing you have to work on is your appearance. If you like, have a heart of gold, nobody will even look at you if your outward appearance is discouraging. And don’t take this the wrong way, but the way you dress, nobody will even glance at you except they’re gay”.
Soso flinched when she heard that. She was going to say something in response, but she swallowed it and kept shut.
“So. The appearance. It starts from your face”
“I thought guys look at the boobs first”
“That’s only when the face catches their attention; or as a consolation prize when the face is ugly. The face is the first thing we look at. So that’s where we’re gonna start working from”.
I walked over to my laptop and woke it up. The Chad Thornton video had finished loading and I played it for her to watch. She looked keenly at the screen, silent and childlike. Honestly I began to wonder why Soso didn’t look this way all the time. The softness of her face could be disarming if only she let people see her like that.
When the video finished, I said, “so, are you ready to begin?”
“dude, there’s NO WAY I’m putting all that stuff on my face”.
“were you paying attention at all? Before we start any make-up, We have to let your skin breathe”
“Since when does skin ‘breathe’? I think you need to get a Rabies injection. It’s like that girl sent you mental with just one kiss”
“We have to clear your skin of all that grime that’s accumulated. I’m very sure you don’t exfoliate”. I said ‘Exfoliate’ with a haughty grin on my face.
“exfoliate. Ekene You suddenly sound like one of those hypocrites on E! one more word like that and I’m breaking your Age of Empire Blu-Ray”
“Dude…if you try it, you’re DEAD”.
She laughed, a beautiful sound like soft rain mixed with a Nollywood witch’s cackle.
“So come with me. We’re starting now”.
I pulled her up from the chair and dragged her to the bathroom. She resisted as though I was gonna smear poop all over her face.
“Relax. I do this everyday” I said, picking up a bottle of facial cleanser and a pack of cotton balls. The cleanser was just about halfway gone.
I held her still in front of the mirror and she closed her eyes. I started to feel like all those mothers that took their little sons to barbing salons- they had to hold the terrified little boys as they jerked away from the frightening sound of electrical clippers.
I squirted some cleanser onto a ball of cotton and swiped her cheek. It instantly turned black. I gasped in surprise and dropped it onto the sink. Her eyes flipped open and she said “what?” with a hint of irritation. She looked at me and I pointed to the sink. She released a similar gasp.
“that came out of my face?”
“you see why I say your skin needs to breathe?”
She sighed and closed her eyes, her signal for me to continue the work. I worked from the forehead downwards till I got to her neck. And then my bottle of cleanser ran out. The cotton balls had gone from black to brown, to cream and finally to white. But I wasn’t done. I picked up a tube of apricot scrub an ex-girlfriend had left the last time she slept over and attacked her face with it. After some minutes I let her continue…After all she’d be the one handling it after now.
When she finished, I let her rinse off her face and pat dry, while I tossed the used cotton pads, empty cleanser bottle and Apricot scrub.
My phone buzzed and I checked. Message from “Tinu Neighbour”
“I guess now you have ‘something major’ to write about me, huh?”
“Tomorrow, we have work to do”
“what? I was sure this was the last thing on the list. My face feels raw”
“well we’re going jogging”
“Jogging. You’re joking right? How does that make me attractive?”
“first, it improves your circulation. Your skin breathes easier and it glows better. And then you have to lose some weight”
Just then my stomach rumbled loudly.
“are you that hungry?” she asked
“well,I haven’t eaten anything since that tomato salad in the morning”
“well I was researching. On how to make a girl look more attractive”
She looked at me in the eye, her face softened as though she had the power to switch it on and off.
“you gave up food for me, Ekene?”
Next thing I knew, I was in the middle of a very awkward hug.