Three weeks gone, the house seemed to have regained its normality, though Frank and I are still on the denial and one word answer game. He made it a task to avoid me, a task he would never fail because someone superior would punish him severely. So many times I tried, made an awkward and weird attempt to kick off a discussion, at least talk about what happened but he bluntly stated his unwillingness to have anything to do with me ever again: a gay guy who he is scared of falling in love with him, if he hasn’t already. Eric and Ken noticed, demanded an explanation but Frank told them we were cool. I remembered him tapping my shoulder that night and calling me his buddy for life. I was a bit shocked at his reaction but I managed not to make a show of it. I smiled back, nodded and lost my appetite for the dinner of yam and egg sauce; my second best food. I left the table, went inside the room and cried. When I remerged, he was in the kitchen. I tried talking to him. He shut me off and walked out on me. I chuckled, turned off my emotions and went cold towards him.
So that morning I woke up to make a sandwich for our breakfast. It was Eric’s birthday and I wanted to surprise him, which undoubtedly would include everyone. 6am I was in the kitchen, done with the sandwich and the juice. I was cleaning up, getting ready for the birthday breakfast when my phone rang. At first, I wanted to snub whoever it was, but on a second thought, I ambled to the shelf where I kept it, using it as an Mp3 player. My eyes on the screen, I gaped. Ahmed has no business calling me, not even that early hour of the day. The last time he called me was days after Amanda tipped me of their secret relationship, in a sweet but unknown manner, which I wholly have gotten over. I recalled telling him over the phone that he should never call me again, that he should delete my number from his phone and maybe make Amanda forget me totally. I had told him same day that I’d appreciate really if he could do just the last one. I stared at the phone wondering why he was calling. I sighed, definitely not going to answer it. I stared till the call drop and replayed my songs. I picked the dirty bowl to the sink, began washing. The phone started ringing again. I shook my head and continued singing the song the call had interrupted, when the call dropped, i rejoined the artist.
“Alright, it’s birthday breakfast, wake up sleepy heads!” I yelled from the dinning.
After minutes of my ranting, Eric was seated as I and Frank recited the popular birthday to him, cheerfully like nothing has ever happened.
“What the hell is Ken doing inside?” I asked.
“He went out for a jog.” Frank replied, mouthful of sandwich. “This is delicious. One of these days, you’d have to teach me how you make such delicious sandwiches.”
“If you want to learn how to make sandwiches, go to a catering school. I am not teaching you.” My face wore a smile but my tone was mean. He saw beyond my smile, he knew that I meant what I said, but he smiled back. Eric found it hilarious as he didn’t think any man would ever want to learn how to make sandwiches amongst other important things like how to fix the sink and bed lamp. We sat, enjoying the breakfast, until Ahmed interrupted through his persistent phone calls. I quickly did a face down on the phone.
“Why is Ahmed calling you?” Eric asked, he probably must have seen his name before.
“Who is Ahmed?” Frank asked. With the look in his eyes, he needed to know and I was so pleased to see him hunger for an information I was not willing to share.
“He is nobody,” I quickly answered; shutting off Eric whose mouth was already opened to speak. Eric glanced at me, I shrugged at him. He sighed and I knew he got my back. “Enjoy you sandwich.” I told Frank, took my phone and left for my room, confident that no matter how persistent he went on Eric, he would not tell him anything. For the three weeks, we have been roommates; I have come to trust him more than I trusted Frank and I regretted no telling him the truth when he asked for it. My phone started vibrating again.
“You need to stop disturbing me okay?” I yelled into the phone.
“I am sorry Thony,” Ahmed’s baritone voice graced my phone speakers. “For the past three weeks, I haven’t been myself; I regret ever going behind you to ask Amanda out, but the truth is she came to me and I was only trying to…”
“Get on me. Yeah!” I cut in. “You said all these the last time you called. And I also told you never to call back. You got what you wanted, so stay away from me.”
“I can’t. And for what is worth, I didn’t get what I want.”
“Well I guess I am the lucky one. I finally got what I want,” I was bold and excited. “My life is finally on the track, I have made up for my missed classes and assignments and I am no more scared of my GP. I can finally talk to my parents confidently about it.”
“No, you don’t need to beg me. I am the one to beg you. Please, exams are coming up next week and you need to forget I have a phone because the last thing I need is an emotional disruption. Can you do that for me?”
“My regards to Amanda and please, tell her to also stay away from me,” I chuckled gaily, hung up on him feeling satisfied; I walked back to the dinning. Ken was seated, sweating, hands on the plate and mouth filled up.
“Common!” I yelled. “Get you silly ass up and take a shower. You are full of disease.”
They cracked. Ken childishly obeyed. I glanced at Eric, then at Frank, he was laughing, but it was not from his heart. He was still hung up on the question about who Ahmed was; a question I or Eric wasn’t ready to answer just yet.
“I have a class by 7,” I said packing the empty plates. “Where is the party going to be?”
“Oh,” I gaped. A strong nostalgic feeling gripped me. I quickly flashed back to my momentary unpronounced date with Amanda at the same place. It was a start of what I thought would end in praise, it failed, I moved on, sooner than I did when I broke up with Ahmed. I wasn’t surprised, she was a girl and my feelings for girls were still on the weaker side. But each time I rode past that longue, I remember every detail, the warm hug and the chats, like it was yesterday. And now, I would have to enter inside and maybe sit on the very seat I sat that day. I wished Eric had told me before making the arrangement; I would have talked him out of it. But on a second thought, I saw that as opportunity to finally face my fears and get totally over it. “That’s nice. The place is cool.” I said and moved away, not wanting to entertain any question on how and when I found out about the coolness of the lounge.
….the story continues…