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When Apio Was Friend-Zoned

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As Apio walked on the path to juju man’s house, his heart began to pound heavier with every step he made. He touched his shirt’s pocket and felt the polythene rustle. In it contained the strands of hair the jujuman had asked him to bring as a sacrifice. The rain had thoroughly beaten him and that made him shiver uncontrollably. When he told the trotro driver where he’d alight, there was murmuring in the vehicle. Everyone wondered why a young man would alight at the middle of nowhere and especially when the scent of rain was so strong.

Apio wasn’t deterred however. He was on a mission to change his life and not even the imminence of a Noah kind of flood would put him off. The back of the trosky was still in his view when the rain started. The road to the jujuman’s house got wet and muddy. He had to jump puddles as he entered the bushes. On three occasions he had to ‘steady’ himself from falling on the slippery road. As the rain lashed down, he encouraged himself with the saying that, nothing good comes easy.

He came face to face with a big puddle that he had to jump. When he jumped, he felt his shoe skid as he landed. “Gbuuumm”,he landed backward in the puddle. A mouthful of the dirty water entered his mouth as he yelled in pain. He had fallen on his arm. He heard a tear under his trouser and water gushed into his ‘pendulum’ area. He took out his phone from his pocket hurriedly to check – it had already drowned.
But on he went, removing his shoes and walking without a care in the world. What was the worst that could happen?

He got to the house after walking for ten minutes. The compound was deserted and therefore decided to shout the juju man’s name.
“Gbigblitsagbli! Gbigblitasgbli!”.
There was no answer. He called louder.
“Helloooo, is there any human being at home”,he called again.
An angry voice responded,” No, its tsetseflies that are home, not human beings…forkin”. Gbigblitsagbli came out of his hut looking stern.
Apio recognising that he may have upset the medicine man tried to apologise.
“O opanyin, sorry oo. I didn’t see anybody so..so,i was just wondering, sorry o”.
The medicine man didn’t look amused. He had wrapped a cloth around his waist and he seemed a bit distracted. He pulled the curtain a little, looked into his room and said with a fake smile,”Baby,i’m coming okay, just a minute. O please please, don’t be angry, i beg you…gimme a smile eh, Baby Babyyyy, i’m coming eh”. He let go of the curtain and his stern face returned when he faced Apio.

“Eeiiii opanyin,is it your sister that’s in the room”,Apio asked with interest.
“No,its my grandmother!”, the medicine man replied, “don’t come and annoy me. You have truncated a very important thing i was doing.”
“I’m sorry opanyin, forgive me”,Apio apologised.
“I would have just turned you into a mouse if i was in my old days! And why are you looking like a dirty mad man? Is it the rain that has beaten you like that?”, the juju man asked. “No, it is the air!”,Apio answered sarcastically.
“So you think you can insult me now eh? I was just showing concern-seeing you are holding your arm. Is it broken?
Anyway, let’s get on with it. Did you bring what i asked?”

Apio enthusiastically responded in the affirmative and removed the polythene from his shirt pocket. The rain had subsided a little. The two of them walked and sat under a shed. Apio handed the polythene to the medicine man. He opened it held the hair strands in palm carefully. He uttered some strange words and spat into his palm. Gently lifting a calabash that was beside him, he placed the hair into it. His facial expression changed a bit. He started.
“Apio! Apio”
“Opanyin Gbigblitsagbli”.

The medicine man continued, “When you came here the first time, you told me there was a girl you were madly in love with, a girl you wanted to be with, a girl that was close to you but had friend-zoned you for about a year now. Is that not what you said?”

“Yes sir, yes sir Opanyin”, Apio responded, “is anything the matter?”

“Everything is the Mary, not the matter!”, the medicine man responded.
“Awww sir”,Apio tried to protest.

“And i told you to bring five strands of the girl’s hair, didn’t i?”,Gbigblitsagbli asked.

“Yes sir, and i did just that. I did my best to pluck out the hair when i was walking with her yesterday sir. And that’s it right there”,Apio answered, pointing to the strands in the calabash.

The medicine man heaved and enquired, “But you did not tell me the girl you are after is Brazilian. The gods tell me her name is Esmeralda”.

Apio tried to correct him, “No sir, her name is Akos from Tontokrom”.

“Apio, i’m sorry to tell you. You did not pluck her real hair. You have plucked Brazilian hair and now there’s a poor Brazilian girl who would be wondering why she keeps seeing your stupid face in her dreams!”, the juju man revealed.

Apio fainted. When we regained consciousness, he fainted again. Not because of the juju man’s revelation, but there was Akos, with only a cloth tied around her body, coming out of Gbigblitsagbli’s hut.

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