Imperfectly Perfect Flaws
“One and only Madam HR!” I greeted.
“Please Wale, don’t tell me you’re leaving” She answered
“Happy Weekend Ma!” I said and stepped out of the office.
“But you’re still on duty” She said, and I stopped in my tracks and turned to face her, while also looking at the illuminated clock down the corridor.
“34, 35, 36…” I counted, and beckoned her to continue talking
“What are you counting? Please come and check my computer before you go” She said
“55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, and I am officially off duty! Once again, happy weekend Madam HR, I have a flight to catch to Abuja” I replied, winked and turned to leave. I had just lied about having a flight to Abuja, well it wasn’t a lie as such, it’s just that the flight was scheduled for the next morning.
“What’s happening in Abuja that is so important?” She asked
“Nothing ooo, I just want to go and chop the life of my head, rest my head on one fine lady’s laps, and enjoy every bit of the weekend, have a wonderful weekend Ma” I said and walked away
“What about my computer?” She called out
“Whatsapp me” I answered, and stepped into the reception
“Uncle IT, this your backpack is big oo” Chichi the CRM lady said.
“This Bros Wale can fine sha. Bros weekend don come o, shake body for your girl na” Amaka, the janitor added
“Amaka and Chichi, you both have started again, happy weekend oo” I told the ladies
“Oga leave story, drop something for your girls, make we use am see weekend na” Amaka replied
“Fine man Wale, baba for the girls” Chichi added. I took my wallet out, and was about to pull out a thousand naira note when I heard madam HR’s voice approaching. In my haste to leave before she would catch me there, I just pulled out some notes, dropped it on the counter and ran out of the building to where I parked. Less than a minute later, I was driving away from the office, straight to the hotel where I was going to party and spend the night with friends, and then off to Abuja the next morning to continue my weekend of just not doing anything work-related.
It was a bachelor’s eve celebration for one of my friends, and they hadn’t arrived at the hotel yet, so I just thought to begin my weekend early by checking in, and going to the bar for a few shots. As I sat at the counter, I thought about the life Gozie was about to get into, leaving the league of extraordinary and unserious bachelors for the married life “Can’t be me” I told myself. For a moment I put myself in Gozie’s shoes and laughed out loud at the thought of my getting married. I loved the idea of love, but marriage? No, I didn’t think I was emotionally mature to get on that relation ship, I also didn’t think I would ever be emotionally mature, yeah, my love emotion was experiencing stunted growth, and I was not even sorry.
“So this is the Abuja you were rushing to?” Madam HR’s voice said behind me. I choked on my drink as I turned around.
“Wha-what are yo-you doi-doing here?” I had suddenly become a stutterer
“I came here to plant corn Sir, I demand an explanation as to why you had to come up with a lame ass lie” Madam HR said.
“Taiwo, you smell nice” I said, trying to deviate from the accusation.
“Don’t patronize me young man, don’t be rude by trying to dodge the question”
“See, your computer wahala always takes hours to solve, and I was already off duty” I defended
“So why did you have to lie about an imaginary Abuja flight?” She asked
“It wasn’t really a lie as such, the truth just shifted a wee bit” I said, trying to indicate the wee bit with my thumb and index finger.
“You’re a pathetic liar” She replied
“I’m actually leaving for Abuja first thing tomorrow morning, it should have been today, but my guys fixed the bach eve for tonight” I added
“You’re still a liar”
“How about I make it up to you? First off I’m sorry I didn’t wait to attend to your computer, sorry I had to shift the truth a little, let me buy you a drink as my padi that you are” I said, with a smile
“Go away joo, padi that is always a sly” She said
“Madam HR..” I called her, and she shot me that look that said “I have warned you to stop calling me that outside”
“You know how people think so badly about the HR department, and you keep calling me that when we are outside the office environment, and I have warned you severally about it. You want me to get lynched?” She asked.
“No vex Madam Taiwo, so what brought you here? I know you didn’t track my phone to this place”
“Oh please, like you are so important” She answered.
“Oh well, I’m smart enough to see it’s like we have been invited to the same wedding, so I guess we are stuck with each other for the weekend, and I won’t allow you mess it up for me” Taiwo said.
“Damn! So I get to see your face all week, and even this weekend too? You mean you’re travelling to Abuja tomorrow morning too?” I asked
“Look at you! Like you’re not happy, don’t worry, about the resting your head on a fine lady’s laps you mentioned earlier, trust me I will interfere and cock-block anyone I see you with, I can’t have innocent ladies getting close to a liar like you” Taiwo added, as she pinched my cheek. At that moment, I was totally clueless about how my weekend was going to turn out.
“Madam T, I have dedicated twenty whole days of every month to doing your bidding for 3 years now, just this one weekend where I want to detox the stress in me, you want to be the stress?” I asked.
“If I see you’re really stressed, maybe, just maybe I could be the fine lady with laps better than you imagined…Just know this weekend, I own you, and I’m not letting you out of my sight. Let me go freshen up, I’ll be with you shortly, and don’t you dare leave this spot.” She said, winked and walked away. I was processing all she had said, and I really had no idea how to feel about the whole thing.
Taiwo or Madam HR as I fondly called her was the first and only HR personnel that I had ever enjoyed a good and healthy friendship with. Almost every other person at the office hated her department, so they were surprised and perhaps jealous at how well we got along. Prior to my joining the company, her car battery had messed up at a function, so I used mine to jumpstart hers, and no name or numbers were exchanged, we did not even have a conversation. The next day I had this interview, there she was on the panel, then I got the job the day after the interview, and boom, we became friends.
We were sensible about our friendship, and knew how to effortlessly switch between our office roles and off-duty roles, and we were well aware of the fact that office romance was one thing we did not want to get into, seeing as it did not work out well for Madam Procurement Officer and one of the company’s accountants, the gist was really intense at the time. Apparently, Madam Procurement Officer were in some friends-with-benefits arrangement, and a threesome happened that involved one buxom youth corps member that was doing her service at the company, oh! And the threesome stuff was a frequent occurrence; however, jealousy set in as Madam Procurement Officer discovered the accountant was constantly maintaining the NYSC lady’s engine. One thing led to another and boom! the whole story was out in the open, and it was not just the story, but there was a video too, a porn-standard video, I mean the video was so good I also helped distribute it to a couple of porn addicts I knew. At the end of it all, the scandal saw the two staff get the boot immediately, and the NYSC lady? She was the lucky one, she left when Madam Procurement Officer started blowing whistles and trying to destroy her reputation in the company, and just when Madam Procurement Officer taught she had won, the video was shared by the corper to the company’s WhatsApp group, and coincidentally I was the Admin of the group. I remember laughing my heart out at the reactions of colleagues when the video dropped, the comments were hilarious.
“I find it strange that you are staring at space and laughing so much” Taiwo said behind me.
“I just remembered something really funny” I answered
“Oh must have been really funny” Taiwo added
“Err Madam HR, but that’s what I just said- really funny!”
“Must you always be annoying?” Taiwo asked
“No Ma’am, I was just saying” I explained
“Okay what was the funny stuff?” She asked
“Well, I remembered when that video of Madam procurement officer and that accountant was dropped on the WhatsApp group, and the reactions of people” I answered
“Wow! You know I never saw the video” She added
“Really? That video is everything mehn”
“I don’t understand, how?” Taiwo asked
“Madam procurement officer was da bomb, that woman has moves ooo, accountant too was not having any of it, dude was drilling like his life depended on it” I explained.
“O-kay! Now that’s way too much info. If I ask you for the video, you’ll say you don’t have it, or give one lame excuse like that”
“You don’t even rate me at all, anyway I still have the video”
“Oh, please send it to me on WhatsApp” She requested
“I must warn you though”
“It’s not a video you watch without a partner” I answered
“Oga send the video first”
“I’ll send it when I get into my room, it’s on my cloud storage” I explained
“As usual, when it gets to my turn, it’s always excuses, I’m tired of you already” Taiwo said with a sigh.
“Calm down, it’s not something I’ll have on my phone, what if my phone gets missing and all that”
“Okay Sir, I hear you ooo, meanwhile, what even made you remember that incident?” She asked
“Nothing serious, just thoughts about office romance and how they usually end up badly” I answered.
“Oh wow! You could not think of stocks, real estate investment, agriculture, and all of that, it’s how people were kpanshing each other abi” She added
“Wait! What? What’s kpanshing? Girl you are razz!”
“Oh Please, apart from being a liar that’s always giving excuses you’re a perv too” Taiwo said.
“Okay, I think hanging with you is not healthy for me, you’re toxic, so I’ll just leave you be”
“Don’t you dare leave me here by myself!” She commanded.
“Watch me!” I said as I got up to leave.
“Small play oo, okay! I’m sorry, please stay with me a while longer” She pleaded.
Taiwo did most of the talking, while I did the listening, she talked about her life, growing up, the struggles, the happy moments, the pains, etc. I was not sure whether she was the one talking or the alcohol was taking its toll on her.
“Okay I think that’s enough alcohol for today”
“Errr, why?” She asked
“You’re saying too much already” I answered
“Oh I actually thought we were connecting at some point, you know the whole becoming real friends stuff. I’m sorry, now I feel so stupid. Do have a lovely evening Wale” She said and got up to leave. I held her hand.
“I’m sorry, I misjudged you, I didn’t think you were the type to talk about your personal life with people, please, I’m sorry” I pleaded. She sat down and looked at me with intent, and then asked
“Wale what do you really think about me? Be honest, I know we are friends or acquaintances, but how do you judge me?”
“I think you are very reserved, and that could be naturally, or as a result of hurtful experiences. You shut people out and no one gets in” I answered.
“Wow! So you have understudied me” She replied
“I do that with anyone I have to work with or intend to have long-term dealings with, it helps me understand how to relate with the effectively, and also lessens the likelihood of conflicts. That is why you and I can function well at work where others hate the HR department” I answered.
“That’s some deep emotional intelligence stuff” She said
“You gorrit” I replied, and sipped my fruit wine
“Well, there’s something about you that’s making me want to let you in” Taiwo said. I stopped sipping and looked at her.
“Hold up! You mean with all you already told me, there’s more? Like I’m not in already? Wow!” I said.
“Hahaha, we barely touched the surface, I haven’t told you about my dark past, and chances are if I do, you may act like the others and leave, they always leave, even the guys I tried to date in the past, they all ran after hearing about my past” She said.
“Taiwo, what’s up? Are you loving me?” I asked
“What? Hell no! it’s friendship, you know all this office romance stuff never ends well, why would you even think that anyway?” She asked
“All this opening up talk, I just wanted to be sure, so I would know how to respond” I answered.
“Tell me about you Wale” She said. That question always had a way of throwing me off balance, because I was never sure how to respond.
“What would you like to know?” I asked
“Every damn thing” She said
I had barely begun to tell her about myself when my friends and every other person connected to the event began to show up. I had to suspend my discussions with Taiwo as we switched into our groovy mode. Later that night, while seated at the VIP corner of the lounge, I noticed there was some unspoken communication going on between 4 of my friends about Taiwo, and I could tell from the frequent glances, laughs, and most importantly Taiwo’s tensed look.
“Are you okay?” I whispered in her ears
“I don’t think so” She answered
“Haaa Taiwo! Abi guys no be our Taiwo be this?” A fifth friend that just joined us said. I was confused
“I talk am, she come dey do like say she no sabi us” One of my friends said
“Wale, you sef wan sign in there? E good jare, make e be say na 6 of us don mark register for her toto, she sweet die, she sabi ehnnn, if you don do finish, send am come my side, or we fit gather do am as we dey do am before when you no dey around. Taiwo Tai…” I didn’t let him finish, before I punched him in the face, pulled a weeping and quivering Taiwo up and walked away.
Taiwo could barely control the tears, and I was livid, not at her though, but at the irresponsible guys I called friends, who had no respect for women. I walked Taiwo to her room, and she ran inside and locked the door. I could hear her bawling, and wished she would let me in to console her.
“Hey! Taiwo, please let me in” I said at the door
“Go away!” She replied and continued wailing.
“I’m sorry about what happened, I’ll be in my room, if you need to talk” I said, but there was no reply, other than her wails.
I went to my room and thought about how everything had switched up so fast, I thought about what the guys had said, I thought about so many things, I remembered 5 years ago when the guys talked about a Taiwo and how she was a cheerful giver, but damn that was 5 long years ago. I picked my phone up and as expected the group chat created for those of us who were members of my friend’s wedding committee, was active.
“Wale fvck up” One person said.
“Guy I shock when I see that babe, I dey tell Boyo say na Taiwo be that” Another said
“He blow me for face because of wasted pussy” The guy I punched said
“You sef too talk” Another responded.
“Abegi, the babe no be hoe?” Another said
“I swear if say Wale no be our person, I for treat him fvck up big time” the guy I punched said again.
“You lot were cultists, drug pushers, swindlers, killers and thieves 5 years ago…” I started typing.
“fvck off joo, na bros before hoes, forget all that story” the guy I punched said.
“You fat fool, I have killed people before, you were a target but I spared your life, don’t make yourself a target again, this time I will kill you and do it slowly, cut your body to bits and send the pieces to your family members, and then turn myself in. If you doubt I can do anything to you, watch what happens tomorrow when the whole world knows you have been raping and threatening your closest friend’s Wife and her Sister, in fact I have already sent the info your friend, he’ll do the job of getting you off the face of the earth. Simpleton!” I threatened
“What? His closest friend’s Wife and Sister? Haaaaa, we know that closest friend. Damn!” One said
“Hey Boss man, that’s too much, there’s no need reminding us about our pasts, it’s so unnecessary” One group member said
“But you can remind a lady about her past? Is that the standard? Y’all are a pathetic bunch” I said, and quit the group.
Next thing I knew was my phone getting different calls from the guys on the group, I was so done with them and didn’t want to have anything to do with them ever again. I thought about the threat I made on the group, well, it was not like I intended to go back to my past life as a hitman, but the second part of the threat was true, and if I was still in the foul mood I was, I would make the scandal known.
I called Taiwo, and surprisingly, she picked.
“Hello Taiwo” I said
“Hey” She answered
“Are you better?” I asked
“Yeah, I guess” She replied
“Alright, I just called to check, get some sleep, we’ll leave for Abuja together tomorrow” I said.
“I-I don’t think I’ll be going to Abuja again tomorrow”
“hell yeah! You’re going”
“I’ll feel embarrassed, considering the wedding and all, I can’t deal” she said
“What wedding?” I asked
“Your friend’s? isn’t it a wedding?” She asked
“Did I tell you I wanted to go to Abuja for a wedding? It was just one of the many side attractions, I just want to go and rest there for the weekend”
“oh! So you want to ditch your friend’s wedding?” She asked
“I already left their WhatsApp group after dropping some bombs, attending the wedding and seeing those bastards may cause some trouble, and I do not want to disrupt my friend’s wedding since he’s unaware of what happened tonight” I explained.
“Oh, I don’t know what to say. Meanwhile, I’m so sorry I locked you out, and thank you for standing up for me, even if you didn’t have to, I’m really grateful”
“Sorry you had to experience that” I replied
“Okay, let me get some sleep, hopefully I’ll be much better tomorrow, and decide whether I want to go to Abuja or not” She said.
“You would be letting me out of your sight if you don’t, remember what you said earlier” I added.
“hahaha! Okay, good night Wale, and thanks once again”
“good night Madam HR”
It was already midnight, and in no time, sleep came and took over. As my body was accustomed to doing, by 5am, I was up, did my pushups, and by 6am I was ready for the day. I saw missed calls and texts from my ex-friends, but I was not interested in whatever they had to say. I called Taiwo, and she picked at the first ring.
“Good morning Madam T” I greeted
“Good morning Sir, see when you are waking up” She responded.
“I’ve been up since 5am, how are you? Did you get some sleep?” I asked
“Oh, I did. Thank you. If we intend to get to the airport on time, I suggest we leave now” She said.
“Yay! Weekend getaway to Abuja with the one and only Madam HR” I answered excitedly.
“Be fast, before I change my mind” She said
“I’m on my way to the lobby already” I replied
“Well, I am at the lobby already” She answered.
The trip to Abuja was a smooth one, and our stay at Abuja was so many shades of fun, one time, while chilling at a restaurant, someone tapped my shoulder.
“Wale, the ex who shagged me till my womb shifted, hello cousin Taiwo” The familiar feminine voice behind me said, and I choked on the water I was sipping. The look on Taiwo’s face was one of bewilderment. I knew the voice, I knew the person, but connecting the person with Taiwo was beyond me.
“Ermm hello, Tina” I greeted
“You two know each other?” Taiwo asked
“Oh! My dear, we know each other too well” Tina answered
“It’s been what, 6, 8 years?” I asked.
“10 actually, but I still remember that last night like it happened yesterday, I’ve never gotten that awesome pounding since then” Tina explained while winking at Wale
“I’m lost here, Tina, I didn’t think I’ll find you in Abuja” Taiwo said
“Cousin dearest, I came with my hubby to attend one Jarfar’s wedding. You look good babe, wow! See those curves, my ex here must be doing a good job in, on and with you dear” Tina said with a smile.
“Wale is your ex?” Taiwo asked
“Not really” I answered
“Not really?” Taiwo asked
“He wanted us to date, I wasn’t ready for a serious relationship at the time, but I had needs, and he was just the perfect person to meet those needs, till he broke my heart and said he couldn’t continue because he wanted something solid with me” Tina explained.
“oh okay, and by the way, there’s nothing between him and me, we are just friends and colleagues” Taiwo explained.
“You forgot to add yet, there’s nothing yet, because I’m pretty sure you’re sensible enough not to let a good man out of your sight, it’s difficult to find one man that is smart, intelligent, handsome, a communicator, and knows how to use his body to work wonders on your body, they are rare, even my Husband isn’t up to him, but I love him still, with his flaws and all” Tina explained, and I could feel the minions in my head jumping for joy at the review. Taiwo shot me a glance with a smile I did not understand, and I looked away.
“Thanks for the review, Tina” I said.
“Anytime baby boy, and if my cousin here refuses to accept you, give me a call, I don’t mind cheating on my marriage to get some of that sugar” Tina added.
“Okay! Tina, it’s been nice running into you, we’ve got to go now” Taiwo said.
“What? Did I say anything bad? You know I’m not like you that hides feelings up and down till you hurt yourself, I say it the way I feel it” Tina added.
“Thank you, do have a nice day, send my regards to your Husband” Taiwo added, as she pulled me away.
“Wait!” Tina said.
“What again?” Taiwo asked.
“Won’t you hug your dear cousin” Tina asked, with a cocky smile.
“Urrgh! You’re so impossible” Taiwo answered as she made to hug Tina
“There you go, your boobs are so big, they are not letting your mind see how much you’re missing the good life, loosen up Sis, or you will get lost in the maze your mind has created to hide you from real life” Tina responded.
While spending the weekend with Taiwo, she took me through the labyrinth of her dark past, and I was able to see her in a new light, I saw an Amazon, a warrior who had seen the best of both worlds, she had slept with men and women for money, she had gone abroad to continue, she had done drugs, but what’s important, is she had stepped out of the darkness and into light, she had used her past and her flaws as tools to help her become a better person. After telling me everything, I saw no reason to leave her, rather I saw more reasons to get closer to her, I wanted to be that one person she could always reach out to. Perhaps I felt that way because I had a dark past too, and I told her everything, and held back nothing.
“Wow!” She said.
“Yeah! Wow” I responded
Anyway, that is that about that, I thought I was never going to be emotionally ready to get married, but less than a month after the Abuja getaway, Taiwo and I walked down the aisle, and we are a happy couple. We have our fights, we have our moments, but we never pay attention to or bother about our imperfections or flaws, rather we capitalize on our good, to help each other be better people to ourselves, and to our society.