Read the daily, non-fictional tales of a young, unmarried Nigerian woman who lives in Lagos at this time.
A gift arrived at my doorstep today. I opened the door and there it was sitting pretty - and I mean that literally - in a red bow tie.
I stood dazed, staring at it for what might have been an eternity. I could not remember the last time anyone gave me anything, let alone something this cute and in the sweetest way imaginable.
A small white dog tied to the handrail on my front steps was sitting on its hindlegs and staring right back at me with huge doleful eyes. It looked so cute with its fluffy ears pinned to the sides of its head.
Soon, it folded its front legs and rested its head on its paws, whimpering.
I knew it wanted some attention. My dad had bought a puppy when we were younger, and for the first few nights, it whimpered until my brother and I held it in our arms.
"Oh! Hello, you cute thing!" I heard myself cooing, before untying it and bending to scoop it in my arms.
It tilted its head a little to the side, as it looked at me with those huge brown eyes. Within moments, it was licking my chin and nose.
It tickled and I giggled before I caught myself quickly.
"Musa! You know who drop this dog for here?" I called out to the security guard as soon as I spotted him at the backyard washing his clothes.
It suddenly dawned on me that I did not know who the dog was from or if it was even meant for me.
What if it was meant for one of my next door neighbours and someone had dropped it at my door by mistake?
"Na me, Madam!" the security guard replied, turning off the running tap and walking towards me.
"But, Oga. Where you for see the dog?" I asked puzzled.
"Na that your friend come drop am when you still dey sleep," he responded.
"Which friend? And how you take know say I still dey sleep?" I responded, raising an eyebrow.
Tudun was my only friend, the only one who had visited repeatedly, and I could not imagine that she would drop off a dog just like that. Still, I asked, "Tudun?"
"Na for early morning, Madam. No, no be Tundun," he mispronounced her name.
"Dis one na man," he continued, scratching his head.
"Oh! E dey drive blue car?" I already had an idea who it was.
"Yes, Madam. Na dat one."
How dare he! "E enter dis place?"
"No, Madam. E say make I help am put am for here."
"Okay. Thank you," I sighed, and still carrying the dog, I turned around to return inside.
"Ah, Madam! Dat thing wey you promise me, I never see am." He was scratching his head again.
I rolled my eyes, hating the fact that I had to be reminded of my promise to give out my brother's old shirts. "I never check. I go give you."
Inside, I saw a small card tucked carefully in the red bow around the dog's neck. "I love you!" were the words scribbled on it along with a heart shape.
I called Olumide immediately.
"You saw my gift?" his voice boomed pleasantly - almost excitedly - over the phone.
"I can't keep it," I snapped back.
"C'mon! It was a gift."
"I can't keep it," I repeated. "I suggest you find a way to come pick it up."
I fell silent, thinking of ways to reject this man's gift. Finally, I said, "My landlord does not like us keeping pets."
"Really?" he asked in disbelief.
Then I realised that I had been caught in a lie. The first time Olumide came to drop me off after a date, he had heard the landlord's dog barking.
"Well, he has a dog but he does not like his tenants keeping dogs," I lied some more.
"'Hmmm, Anike!" he sighed heavily. "Why are you making things so hard? They do not have to be this hard."
"It IS hard. Don't you get it? You have a wife. You said so yourself. It is hard," I was almost screaming, now exasperated.
"Okay. Can we just be friends? Is it impossible? Just friends? Nothing more, I promise.''
Now, it was my turn to sigh. I was tired, tired of having to say the same thing to him all the time.
"You know what? I'll call you back. Need to run an errand," I said, remembering why I opened my front door in the first place.
I had pushed men off easily in the past but Olumide was proving difficult. Was it because I liked him?
It was one question I did not - still do not - have an answer to.