“How do you know Kachi?”
I lied to him and shrugged when he asked me this, even though I knew, I knew from the first time Jachike looked at me how stupidly easy it was to fall in love.
The Saturday I met Jachike I was incredibly sad, the truth is I cannot recall why exactly but I know I was. It is the only reasonable explanation for my sitting at my window and drawing scribbles at 7am. This is how I saw him come out of his Uber. He took his things from the boot in a quiet haste and walked towards the building, it was only then I remembered Mummy Jovita said a man was moving into the flat next to mine today.
I couldn’t see much from my poorly cleaned window but I could see enough. Chike was incredibly handsome, I liked everything about him instantly even though there was not much to go by — he was tall, dark skin and kind. I thought he was kind because I assumed he told the driver ‘thank you’ as he walked away and did a little wave. It’s a far stretch seeing as I could not hear him or even see him well but I like to think I was accurate.
Before I could think I was outside my door waiting for him to come up, I was excited to have a new neighbor, a new friend, a new love interest. My tummy was tingling with many feelings. I wondered what I was going to tell him first. First impressions matter the most. But I didn’t want him to think I was waiting for him and so I held my phone to my ear, making an imaginary call to my mother. “Yes mummy”, “I’ve eaten mummy.” I said over and over again to my Bolt app. I leaned on my door, one leg up? No, too cliché. Arm on my head? Too stiff. I finally chose to lean on the door and cross my arms in a nonchalant way, like I didn’t almost try to google ‘Best positions to stand in’.
Before I could blink he was up the stairs, facing his back to me. I kept at my imaginary call — “Work is fine mummy.” I whispered as he turned towards me. He looked at the doors, obviously trying to find his flat number, he seemed flustered, it was hard to tell from his dark skin but easy to tell from his scrunched brows and ever squinting eyes. Does he need glasses? I want to pull him to his door by myself at this point.
After taking a minute to read the numbers on each door, he was finally next to me. I laughed on the phone as he struggled for his keys, he was holding a single box, backpack and a laptop bag. I remembered I actually wanted to speak to him and gave a heartfelt goodbye to my ‘mother’ on the phone so I could.
“Hello” I said, tilted towards him. Mind you, I thought about this part too, I agreed with myself that ‘Hi’ was easy to mess up, what if my tone was too high and I seemed overly excited, it would destroy the composed image I have started to paint of myself and ‘Hey’ felt too informal like I was begging him to get into my bed, I mean I would be doing that but it was not going to be today. ‘Hello’ seemed easy on the ears, well worded, quick but still friendly, I liked Hello.
“Hello” he said back to me without looking up from his bag, I got annoyed but still lingered outside for a bit, just to make sure he saw me and everything I had to offer before he said “I think I’ve misplaced my keys.” It was a whisper but I felt like responding “You can get the universal one downstairs with the gateman and then ask Mummy Jovita for a new key.” I felt intelligent and helpful in that moment and I hoped he could tell. He thanked me curtly and I entered back into my flat, I will swear to myself and wonder why I didn’t ask his name without knowing that in just 9 hours, we’d sit outside the building and I’d find out his name, state of origin and why he doesn’t like Akara in a single conversation.
And 23 days after this conversation I will admit to myself that I am in love with this stupid Chike. It will be a fast and swift process as if I’ve actually always loved him but I was simply lying to myself all this time. The thing is I will also watch him bring a brigade of girls, that look nothing like me, over every Tuesday, who goes to the club every Tuesday anyway? Only this stupid Chike. I will watch one or two break his heart here and there and be present enough to mend him back properly, telling him affirmations I’ve crammed online as he falls asleep on my shoulders.
And when the red-haired and kind of funny Ifunaya breaks up with him, in like 9 months and 2 days from now, we will insult her and laugh. And then he will kiss me. He will kiss my mouth, neck and every where else he pleases and finally we will have sex, very good sex too.
In the morning he will say that he’s “sorry” and that he didn’t mean to do “that”, he will say it without looking at me and walk back to his flat shirtless. I will wonder for 5 minutes what Mummy Jovita would say if she saw him coming out of my flat shirtless then I will decide that I do not even care and cry myself to sleep.
Two days after “that” we’ll go back to being best friends, we will pretend that nothing happened so well that I will start doubt the quick flashbacks I have and eventually forget it even happened.
And finally in a year, 4 months and exactly 2 weeks, Chike will tell me he wants to marry the red-haired and kind of funny Ifunaya and in a second I will recall that we had sex when they broke up and in that same second I will purposely forget again so I don’t end up crying in front of this stupid Chike.
“I’m not sure if I’m in love with her though Kachi, Do you think I’m in love with her?” I will feel like slapping him in that very moment, what a silly question to ask me. However I will tell him “You can learn to love her as time goes by.” It sounds like an affirmation I read somewhere. Sitting in loud silence I will add that “Falling in love is easy Chike.”
I know because it was easy with you.