© Folakemi Emem-Akpan
You can hear your biological clock ticking. And it’s going so fast the sound almost deafens you, so you do what most desperate women do.
You go clubbing.
The first night, there are more women than men, women who are in the exact same shoes as you’re in. All but two of you spent the first dozen years of your matured lives building careers, then you spent the next five unseating your directors and taking over their corporate seats. Just last year, all but two of you realised you were alone.
All but two of you are desperate.
The men would not bite. They circle the lot of you warily, chat up the prettiest amongst you, and promptly retire into dark corners with the best of the best amongst you. You return home unattached.
The second night, the gender disparity is minimal. A guy in coke-bottle glasses chats you up but when he gets a closer look at the fine network of wrinkles at the sides of your eyes, he excuses himself.
The third night, you get lucky.
He is handsome in the way only male models can be. He has close-cropped hair, liquid black eyes, full lips a girl would die for, and a six foot frame that bears up his body weight quite nicely. He makes a beeline for you, offers to buy you a drink, and tells you you’re the prettiest thing he ever laid eyes on. You’re not sure you believe him, but it feels nice anyway.
The next morning, he wakes up next to you on your bed, in your room, in your six bedroom house. You remember vaguely that he told you something about forwarding and clearing, but the last thing on your mind is what he does for a living.
Three months to the day, your room has become his, your home his, your cars his. He hardly goes to work, prefers to sit in your living room, watch your cable TV, have his fill of meals made by your house help.
One night, you return home to dinner by candle light and soft music. He treats you like no one has ever done, pulls out your chair, slips a rose petal into your hair. Then he goes on one knee and produces a ring. Would you marry him?
You are ecstatic. The gods must be smiling down at you at last. Tearfully, you say yes. Yes, yes, yes. The night would have been a lovely one, one you would never forget if not that sorrow suddenly seems to engulf him. When he sits beside you on the sofa later that night, he confesses to you that his business is not doing well. He’s had a bit of a challenge with Customs. Several of his containers have been seized for no just reason and he needs some money urgently. If you would be kind enough to loan him. Not so much, just three million Naira. And not for long, two months tops.
You say yes. You don’t care if he ever returns the money. Love is all about sharing and you love him so much your stomach aches just thinking about him, about the future, about the cute litter of children the two of you would produce.
You hand him the cheque the following day. His smile is breathtaking and the lovemaking that night is fantastic.
For the next four days, he’s absolutely attentive. He loves you with his body, and he brings you breakfast in bed afterward.
He doesn’t come home the fifth day. When you call him, he tells you he’s busy at the port, he’d try to see you soon.
Soon turns out to be eight days. Then off he goes again.
You’ve not seen him in eight weeks. And when you call him, you get no connection. Something tells you he’s blocked your line.
You’re back where you started.
Your biological clock is ticking.