TYPING: What's... not... to... love... about the real Us?
I close my copy of Jane Green's Jemima J, recline on the sofa at my hostel's study room and eye my laptop sitting dejected on the glass table. Something is boggling my mind. And it's not because I found out my grandma has the strangest fetish——
Me: (speaks over the phone) What do you mean by you are getting married to a priest again?
Grandma: Things would be better this time around, Kobs.
Me: (slightly irritated) How can you be so sure?
Grandma: Because it's a fetish priest this time. So, would you be holding up my grass skirt at the wedding?
(I haven't given her an answer yet. Aaarrgh!!)——
I cast my mind to what's bringing me this minor torment...
It all began when Raymond decided he could make a huge biz out of me being 'KNUST's no. 1 Hitch.' Against my consent, he put up posters of the service I (didn't know I) had been rendering. So you can imagine my surprise as I walked past a poster, laughing. It read:
Matchmaker On Call. Give Him Yr Heart, and He wld Help U Find It's Drummer. Call...
And there was my personal phone number staring back at me with a Smiley face attached to it.———
"You have gots to be kidding me, Ray." I busted into our room panting.
"Jeffrey," my roommate got up to make an introduction of an albino boy who sat on my bed. "Meet, Kobby, KNUST's no. 1 Hitch at Your Service." Jeffrey stood up and hugged me in the only way that could pass as a man-tackle. I gave Raymond the stink eye over this guy's shoulder. I was about to burst his bubble, claiming I was no KNUST whateverdafuck, when he pulled away... and said, "Thank God, there are admirable people like you to help hopeless ones like me find love." Oh Fuck. He'd used that word. All my life, if there were two people I couldn't refuse, they were the hopeful and the hopeless. And couldn't he have been none of them?!
So there I was, offering my services to Jeffrey in my consultation room (—Ray had improvised by placing a snow globe on our study and putting a turban on my head which I threw off—). Everything was moving smoothly, the whole consultation, till Jeff asked——
"Can I not tell a teensy-weensy lie to gain the girl?"
I stared in puzzlement. "Elaborate."
"That I have amazing skin?"
"You have amazing skin."
"He doesn't." I shot Raymond a glare.
"Really, be honest with me here," he pleaded. "Would any girl like a guy with my skin pigmentation?"
I thought back to my Grandma. You'd be surprised at the fetishes some people have, I wanted to say, but reconsidered. "Of course."
"A-hu. A-hu. A-hu—" I jabbed my elbow in Raymond's stomach to cut his sick laughter off. ——
"Want my honest opinion?" Raymond asked after Jeffrey had left thanking us for promising him we'd find him the right girl in two days(!!). (After which Raymond had read out to him some consultation charge bull and he settled it).
"No. Want my honest opinion? You put me into this mess. I can't let the poor guy down. Get him a girl in two days."
"Err... this might sound racist, but if I knew a girl who would fuck an albino, I wouldn't fuck her in the first place."
"I really do not care how you would do it."
"Jeffrey. Six feet. Amazing manners. Nice Body Odor and Caucasian."
"You won't dare!" I barked at him.
"It's a little lie, Kobs. Everyone tells one too many to gain the girl. See, I put that poster up, and everyone would want to go out on a date with Jeffery. Even me, if I didn't know the truth."
"This is preposterous! No relationship can be built on lies."
"Hey, I am doing it my way like you suggested. Else, I'd have to bring in Maya."
Maya was a girl who'd do anything to be in my roommate’s bed. Even pretend to be in love with an albino.
"You just disappoint me, Ray!" I stormed out of my room—
Really, is everyone telling a white, giant, little lie about themselves in order to get that boy or girl? I asked myself in deep thought.
"Oh, yes, we all are." Freda said on the other end. "It's just for The One’s own good. Withholding some information about yourself would sure get you the guy you want. Let's face it, we are all humans and have imperfections..."
"Freda, I can't believe you are saying this. I'm not surprised you've been in and out of relationships this year. Was it because they found out the truth about you? In the first place what lie did you tell?"
"It was nothing big... it's just, well, before I meet a guy I make him know I have a huge backside."
"You do have a huge backside."
"It's called a push-up g-string."
I really shouldn't be knowing this. ——
"C'mon, Kobs." Ida, my Danish friend was next on my list. "You really do think people who have Happily-Ever-Afters put up all the truth by the tenth date?"
"Oh no, they don't?"
"I once lied to this guy that I was Danish royalty, so he'd even go out with me."
"You are Danish royalty, you told me that back in school."
"Um, you were the guy?" She hang up before I could yell——
I decided to limit my queries to people who have successful relationships.
Caleb, one of my close friends who chipped my tooth after greeting his ex, is rumoured to be going out with this one pretty girl for some months now.
"Haha, Kobs. You really did think she'd have taken me in her arms and decided to spend the rest of her life with me if she knew I have anger issues?"
"What's the whole point of lying if you want a relationship based on truth?"
"It's simple. As human beings we wouldn't want to know the love of our lives would break the neck of the first guy who stares at you for more than a second."
"That's savage. Sooner or later she'd find out you have the worst temper."
"She did find out. In bed. It's every girl's dream to be slapped around in bed."
It's every Domina's dream to meet a guy who pleasures in slapping girls around. In bed.——
"So all Caleb was saying was, bringing on the table all your flaws might just scare your prospect off." That's Nana Ama, my best friend since Junior High who's been in a relationship with Michael, who's also been my best friend since JHS.
"Is there any spell you might have casted on Mike to make him think you are the fairest of them all?" I demanded with disgust laced with shock.
"I told him I hated kids."
That explained everything. Michael liked sex.——
I decided to ambush the couple who'd been together for over twenty years.
"Oh, it's you." I could envisage my mum rolling her eyes that minute. "If only I'd stored your number, I'd have blocked it." My mum really wasn't a guru at expressing her real feelings. Or hiding them.
"Mom, I need to ask if dad ever told you a lie when he was courting you." Silence on her end for more than a minute. "I really do not have airtime."
"I know. I just need extra feet and hands to count those."
I inhaled deeply.
"OK. Here it is, your dad told me owns a diary."
Wow. Why would anyone say such a thing to get a lady?
"Kobs, it's your old boy." My dad might have snatched the phone. "I thought women loved stuff like that." He said defensively.
"—Yeah, I thought it was sweet too." Mum had snatched her phone again. "Until I found out this diary he was talking about was a book he kept a daily account of his life in."
I looked at my surroundings for inspiration. "Um, you were expecting...?"
"Cows, milk, farmhands. A dairy farm! Remind me how much we are spending on your fees!" She disconnected. ———
So here I am, at the study room wondering why Jemima J would lie to the man she thinks is the guy of her dreams in order to gain him. Everyone is lying. My friends are doing it. My parents did it. And aren't they getting their happily-ever-afters?
I take my laptop, and slide it onto my laps.
TYPING: Perhaps we are scared in telling the truth about us, we might not end up being loved for who we are———
"Kobs," Raymond breaks into the study room to disrupt my writing. "A girl sent in her details, and I forwarded it over to Jeff. He's super excited. At this moment, they are meeting at the Parade Grounds."
I scan the pic Jeffrey shows me of a beautiful light-skinned girl. "She doesn't know he's albino."
"Well, she'd find out soon that's why we must be there." ————
Minutes later, we reach the Parade Grounds, and stayed at a distance as we watched Jeffrey hold a giant bouquet of plastic flowers, appearing nervous.
I just hope he really doesn't get his heart broken thanks to a prank by Raymond.
Jeffrey takes out his phone. Raymond nods at me signalling it’s the girl calling. Jeffrey looks around in excitement. His eyes fall on a girl who's nearing him, also with a phone in her hand. Raymond and I exchange a horrid look. Jeffrey drops his bouquet.
"Hmm... very beautiful and light-skinned, isn't she?" I say teasingly at Raymond who has a deep eleven etched between his brows.
"She's... beautiful alright." He answers in the midst of perspiring.
"But you didn't expect she'd pull the wool over your eyes, did you?"
"Not my eyes!" Exactly like someone who's been scorned. "It's Jeffrey who says he'd like to have amazing skin in his profile, not me. So it really isn't my fault this..." He points at the girl, and his voice trails off noticing his finger is directing not just the girl, but a couple.
We exchange shocked expressions seeing Jeffrey entwining his hands into that of the albino girl's.
"Might she have bewitched him?" Ray demands, making an attempt to approach the newly-coupled, but I stop him.
I am suffused by so much warmth, I can’t help the smile that tugs the corner of my lips. Tipping my head to one side, I say with a slight grin, "I think he's loved her for who she is."
TYPING: ... But in a world filled with a billion of us, there's always someone out there who would just want to be with the real us. After all, love lies within.