NightOut By Abimbola Abayomi

Its a Wednesday night, and as I turn around in front of my mirror for the umpteenth time, I double tap my mobile screen, checking to ensure I’m still within my time limit and not going to be late for the hang out with my friends. We had agreed that the last one in, pays the bill for the first round of drinks- solo. I do another 180 to ensure my butt looks perfect in my midnight blue mini bandage dress; this last check is more because the guys are coming.  When I say guys, my mind pictures Bankole, Sandra’s brother, designated driver, super responsible, duper cute, maxi sexy and everything in between; my year long crush… more like 3yrs now. For as long as I’ve had Sandy as a friend, Bankole has had my late night infatuation and daylight fantasy slots booked to the T.

A final double check and a dab of gloss and I rush for the door, checking the time again and glad it looks like I’m not going to be paying for Sandra’s expensive taste or Boma’s adventurous one. In the back seat of my Uber ride, I remember not too long ago when a night like this was beyond even my imagination. I never used to be one to fit into a group. Never been one of the hit crowd; miss popular, miss trendy, the IT peeps, mean girl, not even a geek. I never had a label and was one of those who, five years down the line, you would not recognize me if I were in your high school year book (no one would have noticed if I totally missed picture day too), I was that invincible. But all that changed when I met crazy Boma and feisty Sandra, a girl can’t ask for better friends. It looked like I was destined to remain invincible until those two came along, pulled me out of my shell and as they say, find the tale in the history books.

“For your mind you are sharp bah, no calls and you thought u would get here before us?”

Boma screams at me from the bar above the car park, as I alight from the cab.

“Get out, don’t tell me Sandra is here already! You guys always get here like …10 mins from now”

I whine.

“Not when Bankole is driving. Tola and Chucks are here too!”
“Ahgrww, its a cash ride, I would be right up”

The night is definitely not going as I planned. But one good thing is I get to make an entrance with everyone watching. Meaning Bankole again. I give myself a mental smack and head up to meet my girls and guy pals, it is what it is.

Not only are they here earlier, looks like the party already started without me. Every one nursing a drink or two, definitely a beer night as I count five bottles of “33” lager and one sparkling water. I put on a smile, say my hellos and do the calculations in my head, then I smile genuinely, the first round on me is secure when I order my bottle of water, at this rate I can afford two rounds. Even though I’m not a “33” girl or any beer girl at all.

I sit and realize the only free seat is right next to Bankole and I’m positioned in a way that makes it seem I’m caught in a corner with the big bad wolf looming above. His friends, Tola and Chucks in a heated conversation about politics and my girls dancing like its a Friday night, the night could only get better. Apart from my heart racing a million miles a minute, obviously because of my proximity to crush, I couldn’t be any happier. This is my circle, my own crowd, people who get me and know me, and are happy with me as I am and also journey with me as I evolve. I find myself smiling and wishing nothing ever changes with us. At that moment I catch Bankole’s eyes. Eyes it seem, that have been trailing on me all night long.

“What’s up, have I grown a beard?”

I ask.

“Nahhhh, not a beard, not a beard at all… You’ve just grown. And that smile says you are ready for
something I’ve been meaning to ask you”

He says.

“Really?”

I scoff out as sarcastic as I can, because there was a glint in his eyes I didn’t want to read but making me itch at the same time.

“Yes, really!”
“And that would be?”

I ask.

“I’ll just show you…”

In the next instant I am pulled out of my seat and led down the stairs to a private lounge. Now I want to know what has come over him but I can’t ask him anything as his mouth is fastened fast against mine and I can taste on his lips the “33” lager, making me think I could most definitely be a “33” girl.

“I’ve been meaning to do that for a while”

Bankole whispers in my ears.

“Are you sure you are not drunk, or high on something?”

I ask him with my hands fastened on his shirt.

“Trust me, its not the beer talking. It however makes it easier to say what needs saying.”
“(laugh) courage to shoot your shot?”

I teasingly ask.

“Yes. That’s what it is. Its been a while I’ve been thinking you ain’t my sister Bim. How about you be
my girl?”.

I was wrong earlier, I did want something to change and now it has and in this moment, I couldn’t be
possibly happier. I sigh in content. Nothing like a night out with friends, and a crush!

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