I am not sure which is worse, a guy that plays the grandmother card or mother card. I didn’t dwell on that too long, in my line of work many men hit on me and just a few of them are sincere and when I looked into Sam’s the first night I met him I knew he was. Even when he used all those smooth lines, I heard the undertone of shyness of a person out of his comfort zone.
Right after the concert that night, I began a one month long tour with my band across Nigeria. I played hard to get with Sam when he called for the first week of the tour, giving him one line answers and shutting down all his attempts to get to know me.
The tour was in Abuja that week, I was lost in the lyrics of the song I was singing when I saw him, standing right in front, his big square framed glasses hanging on the bridge of his nose. We went for drinks after the show that night.
‘’Pam, why are you shutting me down?’’ he asked with a smile. I didn’t have any good answer for him. ‘’Will you let me take you on a date when you get back to Lagos?’’
I nodded, I couldn’t find my voice, everything about him sent me into overdrive and I could hear the words to a new song forming,
You are going ahead of yourself Pam, I tried to caution myself, but I knew it was half hearted.
We talked till 1 am that night.
‘’I should go, I have long rehearsals in the morning’’ I said, but I didn’t make any move to stand up.
He didn’t either.
‘’Will you be at the show tomorrow?’’ I asked
‘’No I am going back to Lagos with the first flight.’’ he said
‘’Okay, so I have three weeks to look forward to our date then.’’
He walked me to where the cabs were packed, I got into one and watched his retreating figure and wished I could talk with him till daybreak.
Sam and I fell into a routine that worked, he knew all my rehearsal times, the time for all my shows. He knew when to call and we texted constantly, I made him download snapchat so I could share all the beautiful places across Nigeria I was visiting.
With the end of the tour looming, I was worried about seeing him, what if the date was a mess, what if he really wasn’t interested. I had an endless list of ‘what if’ questions to keep me company on my flight back to Lagos.
He picked Ocean Basket for the date, he sounded so excited about it so I didn’t have the heart to tell him I hate seafood. I changed about five times that evening and I roped my sister into helping me get ready, but in reality she wasn’t helping. She was insulting all my choices and running down all my clothes. I sent her packing when she seemed to me making me more nervous. I looked at the heap of clothes on my bed and decided on what tells a good story of all my many parts.
So I wore a buba made out of Ankara, black leggings, flat sandals and a simple side bag. I looked in the mirror and I loved what I saw.
I told Sam I would meet him at the restaurant. Even after three weeks of talking and letting my walls down, I was still in doubt. I needed the drive alone to calm my nerves and work on my gift of saying inappropriate things.
I got the the restaurant and texted Sam. After ten minutes of waiting with no responses, I called him but there was no answer. I sent another text. The other shoe had dropped I thought to myself. I left my car to get a drink to go. My phone was on silent mode, fortunately the cashier called my attention to my ringing phone. I saw the caller ID and I took a deep breath to help with the anger.
‘’I am so sorry Pam, It is my grandmother, I was ready at the door when she went into a coughing fit’’ He paused and took deep breaths.
‘’Sorry.” I said.
‘’So I had to rush her to the hospital.’’ he finished.
I know how much his grandmother means to him, we haven’t had one conversation where her name hasn’t come up.
‘’Text me the address of the hospital.’’ I said.
‘’You don’t have to come, I don’t want you to stress yourself.’’
‘’Sam just text the address and I will see you soon.’’
I ended the call before he objected again and collected my drink. I followed the direction in the text and after a few wrong turns, I arrived at the hospital.
Sam was sitting in the lobby, looking at his shoes, he looked lost and really sad. He looked up as I made my way to take the seat beside him, he smiled faintly at me.
‘’This wasn’t how I pictured our first date’’ he said and I smiled back at him
‘’How is she?’’
‘’The doctors haven’t said anything’’
I handed him my untouched drink from the restaurant. I didn’t know what to do or say to make him feel better.
He told me about his Grandma; how annoying she could be, how she pushed him to be better. I sat, listened, laughed at all the right moments and didn’t point out the fact that I already knew all these things.
‘’There is a supermarket on the next street.’’ Sam said getting up.
‘’What if the doctor comes looking for you.’’
‘’I need the walk and biscuits wouldn’t be bad.’’
I got up and he led the way to the supermarket.
‘’I know she can’t live forever, but if she goes now I don’t have any family.’’
‘’You can’t afford to think like that.’’
He shrugged. ‘’New topic, how is that song coming along?’’
‘’Still that first line, I have worked on other songs, ‘Sincere Eyes’ just isn’t coming full circle’’
‘’It will eventually’’ he said with a smile but it was lopsided, laced with worry.
We arrived at the supermarket, picked up biscuits, chocolate bars and drinks.
I don’t know what took over me but I told him about my dress choice stress, my evil sister and getting angry at him at the restaurant parking lot when I thought he ditched me and my fears about the other shoe dropping.
Sam was laughing when I finished talking; he pulled me into a side hug and said.
‘’No other shoe is dropping.’’ And in that moment I believed him.
The nurse called out to us when as we walked back into the hospital.
‘’Sam Aderemi?’’ Sam nodded in response. “The doctor was just here to give you an update, I will tell him you are back’’
We walked back to the sitting area and a few short minutes later the doctor appeared.
‘’Sam Aderemi?’’ The doctor said. I sat while he went to talk with the doctor, I tried to make out what they were saying but my lip reading skills were non-existent.
‘’Aren’t you coming?’’ Sam asked me when he was done talking with the doctor.
I got up and covered the short distance to where he was and he took my hand in his and led the way to his grandmother’s room.
She was hooked up to a quite a number of tubes, and she looked peaceful as she slept, with her grayhair framed like a halo on the pillow where her head rested. Sam sat beside her bed and held her hands in his, I lingered by the door not sure what to do.
‘’What have I told you about touching me with sweaty palms?’’ His grandmother said in a barely audible voice.
She was awake. He smiled and I couldn’t help but smile too.
Sam walked me back to my car. We had visited with his grandmother for a few minutes, she went back to sleep almost immediately after her comment about his sweaty palms.
We arrived at the car and he stopped and looked at me.
‘’No need for one, this was just perfect’’ I said.