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The One. (Short Story- Throw Back).

Hublot wristwatch, check. Ralph Lauren shirt, check. Zara pants, check. Gucci loafers, check. Tom Ford cologne, splash-splash, check. Deji took a long, hard look at his reflection in the mirror and grinned in satisfaction. Thinking about what lay ahead that day, he smiled unabashedly. He had found 'The One'. Just as he was thinking it was about time he settled down but also worried that all the good girls were taken, he found the last one. 

Tessa was every man's dream. The kind of girl that made you want to be a better man, the kind who pushed you to succeed, with her words and prayers; yes, she had prayed with and for him a number of times over the phone. The kind that made you suddenly understand what Joe meant when he sang "don't wanna be a playa no more". The kind you pictured yourself holding hands with and mopping sweat off her face as she cried and screamed expletives at you and pushed forth your beautiful children into the world. The kind you immediately wanted to 'wife' before one other sharp guy snagged her. Yeah. Tessa was all that and more. He could not believe his good fortune in meeting her.

They met on a flight from Asaba to Lagos, he had gone for business and she'd gone to visit her parents. He was leaving for India the day after they met and for the next four months would be on assignments in different countries and won't be back in Lagos till he was done. That however was not an obstacle. 
      They talked everyday and had become a major part of each other's lives. Deji had just got back to Nigeria that morning and was meeting up with Tessa when she was done with work. Anyone could tell he was super excited. Tessa suggested they meet at Bungalow for dinner and take it from there, after all it was a Friday. As Deji got into his car he slotted in Omawumi's CD, Tessa's favorite, and hummed happily, making a mental note to suggest to her that they spend the next weekend in Ghana. 

         He was thirty minutes early and could barely sit still. He was finally going to kiss those lips. To wrap his hands around that slender waist that flared into the most perfect round hips, and who knew what else. He was so deep in anticipation that he did not notice her standing there, smiling at him. 

"Hello Deji" she said in a breathy voice.

He immediately stood, almost jumping up and wrapped her in his arms. Tessa held on to him tightly. The last four months culminated in this moment. As they clung tightly to each other, nothing and no one else existed, the music and voices were drowned out. It was almost like time stood still. 

"We better sit before someone hands us room keys" whispered Tessa and they both giggled as she reluctantly let go of him. 

It was a beautiful evening, Tessa though in her corporate clothes looked hotter than she did the day they met. There was not a dull moment as they both regaled each other with amusing tales. 
Deji took his last bite of fish fillet and he signaled to the waiter to approach them. 

"I hope you enjoyed the food. What do think about some red wine?" He asked Tessa. She nodded affirmatively. 

"Hello" she called out to the waiter just as he was walking away from the table. She hesitated as though she was unsure of what to say. In the seconds that followed different conversations she and Deji had had in the past few months ran through her mind, he said he loved her unconditionally. She told him she had a few habits she wasn't necessarily proud of, to which he dismissively said "well, don't we all". He followed it up by saying "babes you're not getting rid of me so easily. I love you in your entirety. Good or bad. So get it into your pretty skull that I'm not going anywhere". With this final recollection, Tessa, confident in Deji's love for her, placed her order with the waiter who was almost growing impatient.

Tessa gave it a second thought and wondered if she indeed needed it, her head said No, her body screamed YES! Besides, he would eventually know anyways. 

"Do you guys have Dunhill Lights please?" She asked in that soft voice of hers, the waiter nodded and Tessa asked for a pack. Deji was not sure of what was going on. He was about to ask, to gain some clarity, when her phone rang. 

"Oops. My boss. Please babe, I need to take this" she said to him apologetically. 

As she talked into her phone, the waiter came back with a pack of cigarettes and an ash tray. Deji was still trying to wrap his head around what was going on while he watched Tessa fish around for something in her bag, it turned out to be a gold plated B&H lighter. Resting the phone between her ear and her shoulder, she unsealed the packet and pulled out a stick. She placed it between her lips, lit it and took a long slow drag. Sinking back into her seat like the nicotine suddenly washed over and relaxed her, she parted those full moist lips and let out a steady stream of smoke. 

In a matter of seconds, she became someone else. In Deji's eyes she had transformed from his beautiful, decent, wife-to-be and mother of his children to an unattractive, uncouth cigarette-smoking street girl. 

"Sorry, my boss sometimes mistakes me for a baby sitter" she said as she placed the phone back on the table. She was about to say something when Deji suddenly grabbed his phone. 

"Oh no!" He exclaimed. He immediately signaled the waiter to bring the bill and he grabbed his car keys. 

"Sorry Tessa. One of our biggest clients just summoned me. I need to go now, but I'll call you" he said and struggled to his feet. 

He moved some steps away from the table and thrust a wad a 1000 naira notes at the approaching waiter, and with that he was gone, leaving a perplexed Tessa with her mouth hanging open with words that wouldn't come out. 

He frantically stumbled into his car, quickly shut the door and pinned down the knob as though he was being pursued by robbers. It was only after he securely shut his door that he relaxed in his seat and marveled at the extremely disappointing turn of events, 

"I could have sworn she was 'The One' ", he said under his breath and turned on the ignition. 
                                                               THE END. 

Although it's been a good long while since I last touched a stick I'm still confused about if and why smoking is such a big deal breaker for Nigerian men. As in, I would like to hear detailed rational reasons, not just opinions based on the perception that a woman that smokes must be wayward (which isn't always the case BTW). 

A while back I met a young medical doctor (a pediatrician) and she smokes like a Chimney, LOL. She was with her boo, a non-smoker. I wondered if he genuinely didn't mind or if one day he would evaporate into thin air just like the cigarette smoke, because of the cigarette smoke, like the men I used to know.....



  1. Smokers are liable to die young. Even a guy that smokes wudn't want a smoker for a wifey I bet u Thelma. Wht kinda kids wud they raise?

    1. You see it that way because you may have concluded that it's irresponsible to smoke. But if we most put smoking in the responsibility chart I bet you drinking would be way higher, yet a lot of drinkers *breed* well mannered kids. How much more the smokers? My dad used to smoke till I was three. All my uncles (paternal and maternal) smoke(d). My mum's immediate elder sister is quite a chimney but she's the sweetest aunty yet. So smoking isn't necessarily synonymous with irresponsibility. We should just try and help them quit because of the health risk.

    2. *drinking would be way lower* I mean.

  2. Her being a smoker doesn't mean she can never quit, if he really felt anything for her he would have told her that she'll have to quit before they start a family. My mum used to smoke before she got married and so did my sisters. It didn't affect their ability to have healthy children and be loving mothers.

  3. Exactly Steele. Most this our.generation.just say we love another without having any iota of.idea what that word means.For me, it means not bailing out at the first sign of imperfection.

  4. OK, i'll be brutally honest. & pls, it's MY opinion.
    I'll NEVER have a smoker for a friend, both male & female let alone date one, mbanu! Life isn't that critical.... Meaning I wouldn't know U smoke & still go close to U. As a Biochemist, I know all the chemical effects of smoking on all our organs & wouldn't want to be around a smoker cos I VALUE my life way too much. The fact that a chain smoker died at 300yrs from malaria & NOT smoking doesn't mean i'll survive 20yrs as a result of proxy smoking.
    BUT, if I already LOVE U *as this post implies* i'll do EVERYTHING to make u stop smoking, over a reasonable period of time, but if u don't, ama bounce in the basket like the Lakers winning a game. #DropsMic

  5. To be honest,I love the smell of cigarette in A/C. I have nothing for or againSt a smoker just don't be irresponsible and or a chimney while at it...

  6. I won't date a guy who smokes. I do not like the smell. No matter how hard people try to eliminate that cigarette smell... It still lingers around. I have friends who smoke and they have that smell, especially during the winter period. So yea, I can't date a smoker.

  7. I think if Deji really loved her he would have tried to work with her to break the habit.

    1. *because nobody is perfect. He may not be a smoker but he had he's own flaws too. Nice story T.

  8. IMO twas more deji's loss than tessa's. Narrow minded people like dat eventually make U miserable if U don't conform to their expectations. I for one have a non addictive relationship with nicotine dats threatening d one I have with boo, who by d way doesn't smoke. He just can't deal with the image it presents of me, no matter dat he knows d image doesn't become me.
    Most Nig guys view it mostly from d moral point, very few are concerned about the health risks really. B!

  9. I don't care if anybody smokes as long as you don't do it around me, my system cannot handle the smoke at all.
    I wont condemn Deji for running, maybe his imperfection will be worsen by a partner that smokes. There must be trouble in a community where the king sells weed and the wife sells "paraga".

  10. I think its all a psychological thing, the look a smoker has while at it appears irresponsible and dats d msg the eyes sends to d brain once it sees it, d human mind works with what it sees, just d same way u ll see a nun in dt thr outfit and presume she ll be holy and totally sin free, if u see the same nun in a bikini dancing by d pool, u ll never presume she is holy. It takes smone dat is non judgemental and a rational thinker not to judge or conclude a smoker is irresponsible if he sees her in d act, its just dt look that is d problem. Imagine if ur hubby to be lights cigar on d day of ur intro in d presence of ur parents n starts smoking away, they ll immediately tag him irresponsible. In d scenario above, if i was Tessa i would ve told d man even before our first date that i am struggling with smoking addiction so he ll expect it, springing it up on him (the act) like that wld not ve bn easy for him to digest. To all the smokers on this blog, try n drop d habit for the sake of the negatives associated with smoking.

  11. Thelma, its all about the perception. I am a guy, and I would not want my male friends smoking in the presence of my parents, much less my girlfriend or fiancee (don't even bother asking about wife).

    For a woman, the general perception is that for her to have picked up such a habit, she must have had a wild or rough past, or was close friends with those that had. Either way, not something everyone wants to get associated with because most times, you dont get a second chance to correct a first impression.

    We are a people who value perception a lot, and the opinions of family. If a man can leave his gf (or vice versa) over things like the family view of tribe, how much more for a reason that points to a character flaw (however flawed that very reasoning is).

    Summary: it is not a good look for anyone. Women have been made out to be angelic, motherly creatures, so smoking is even more so, not a good look for them. I have had female friends that smoke and I have realised this perception is not always true, in fact they have been some of the most dependable people I know. Would I marry one though? Well.. I didn't. And that's my point.

  12. Feels like you've written this story before but in a different way.

    1. I've posted it before. It's the first story I wrote on the blog that's why I added "Throw Back". Guess I just wanted to discuss smoking this time around so I used the story again.

  13. I remember this post! N jst like back then, I still don't get y it's such a taboo especially in relationships in 9ja. Is it a bad habit? Yes. Would I love to quit? Yes n have a couple of times. Does it have any bearing on who n what I am? Absolutely not! So y would someone decide that I'm not worth their time cos of it? Not trying to promote smoking for those that don't but I have to be realistic, there has been times when a cigarette was what saved me from crazy situations that may have had different disastrous endings; d day my ex went off n got married with me in the house we shopped for n fixed up together oblivious to what was going on, d night my crazy cousins interrupted my dad's brain surgery, d night my dad died, d nights I would have bashed my cousin's head in for making my mom cry days to her husband's funeral.... all ended with me, a cigarette n much needed calm. It has nothing to say on my upbringing n def nothing on my morality n the one who feels it does can ask those that know me well enough; ur d one missing out.


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