The last line shocks me out my pretend disinterest.
“What?” I ejaculate quite loudly. “Arrogant?”
She sways over and sits astride me, shorts riding seriously up her thighs. She leans over and kisses me, lips glistening in the dying sunlight streaming through pink curtains. Her mouth envelops mine and I am reminded of the feeling – the sensation of drinking cold water immediately after consuming mint – via toothpaste or Tomtom.
Her mouth is cool.
I kiss her back eagerly – hungrily; I am ashamed to say. It has been some time I have been in such immediate intimate confines with a woman, and I find to my chagrin that my ‘self-control’ diminishes with every encounter I have with this woman.
This last part worries me greatly; and therefore makes it somewhat easier to drag my mouth away from hers.
“Where are you going?” she asks, breasts heaving, evidence of heavily stirred passions. I swallow through a throat that is suddenly quite dry and insert the journal between us. “You did want me to read this,” I say – though admittedly it sounds more like a plea.
The smile on her face tells me she heard a plea. “That’s right. I did ask you to read that.” She makes no move to leave her position. “So read.”
I take a deep breath and open again – and then I remember where…what I was saying before she interrupted.
“Arrogant?!” I ask again, indignation in every bit of my bearing.
Hey love; hey heart.
It’s been a while
I know; it has been a while
These days I have so little to do with your smiles
Plenty noise outside; can we stay inside?
Don’t be afraid; nothing’s changed
It’s just been a while.
Could you sit over there; let me fix you a drink
I like the way your eyes soften every time you blink
Here’s your drink; do you like how I rub your feet?
Just relax, stay a while; what do you think?
I want to ask questions
Questions to clear my impressions
Clarification to guide my reflections
Reflections to learn from;
Learn from and give you, perfection
I’ve been distracted lately; that’s no lie
Been busy too – so much on my mind
But you’re the best distraction, occupying much space
Between my eyes, my chest – yeah all that you take
“Why do I matter so much?” you ask,
Why do you matter so much? Jamb kweshun!
We never had much time from the start
But how long does it take to light a spark?
To recognize beauty? You’re the muse to my art!
My first sight of you; smiling from ear to ear
The smell of the air around you; sunlight in your hair
Look; will you come over here or should I come down there?
Oh! I so love having you near
I love you. Period.
What; you didn’t know?
I believe in actions; words are too lazy a show
But I am speaking now; so listen close
To the first in a series; your weekly dose
I love you here, I love you there
I love you far, I love you near
I love you drunk, love you sober
Love you under, still love you over
Love you in Zaria, love you in Kaduna
Love you in Jos, Sokoto and Abuja,
Love you in Lagos; the centre of everything
I love you my joy, my heart, my peace
I love you from Benin – all the way to Warri,
I love you in Anambra, Port-Harcourt, Calabar
Down to Cross Rivers, I’ll cross rivers all across rivers
Love you so close the warmth will make you shiver
I love you in Kenya, in South Africa
Love you in Ghana, Dubai, Madagascar
Love you in the UK, the South of France,
Yeah, from the top of the Eiffel Tower I’ll declare my stance
Love you from Chicago all the way to Houston,
Love you always like the early days of Bobby and Whitney Houston
Love you obviously like the rhymes in this poem
Love you quietly; subtly like the truth in my fiction
I love you on a shuttle to the moon and back,
Love you on the bus or a camel’s back
Love you on the BRT or an okada
Love drinking garri or eating dodo and rice; ofada
I love you. Period.
And somehow; I forgot to tell you that
Maybe ‘cos you’re not here and that’s a fact
Your voice in my ear; the sound of your heart
Your tongue when we kiss; how can I forget that?
But I love you.
In Togo or Timbuktu.
And the din from the world outside can be deafening,
Facebook, Twitter, millions and millions of data
BBM, 2go, Whatsapp and all that chatter
It’s too easy to forget what truly matters
Well then. Here we are.
So I switch everything off and think of you
The day becomes sunny and the night so blue
Write you a kiss to take everything from good to better
An outline of my heart within words of a love letter
I love you. Point blank period.
Through missing girls, bomb blasts and Nigeria’s uncertainty
This I’m certain of.
I just need to know if you’re feeling me.
Are you feeling me, love?
Excerpt from “Me. A Story Of Love In Rhyme”.
I am in my apartment; a two bedroom flat. Right now I am seated on the bedroom floor, back against the bed looking at the screen of my Samsung Galaxy. The hum of the air conditioner is the only sound that interrupts the silence. That; and the occasional rustle of clothing.
I am hungry.
I wonder how that sounds to you. You would probably say; or at least think ehn go and eat na.
Or something like that.
Some of you may start to feel sorry for me. You may begin to think about the times you were hungry – the times you were weak with hunger and didn’t have a way out or even a consolation.
Heh. Sorry o.
You should look in my refrigerator one day, and the day it does not look like the best-stocked food shelf in Shoprite, Addide, SuperSaver, Spendless and any of those megastores – you can carry the fridge and anything else that catches your fancy. Including me.
Okay. So maybe I am kidding about the last part.
But you get the picture.
As I was saying – I am hungry.
And it has been a while since I have eaten, so I am entitled to some supping tonight. I have been good – I have been really good for a while, and I want some refreshment. I deserve it.
The smart thing to do would be to look for a meal somewhere conveniently far off – somewhere remote where I am unknown and can go and come as I please…
But I do not have the power I need to take down fair game- especially a vigorous young thing only such as can satiate me tonight. I may have to consider –
His heavy tread takes me to my window and I look in between panes as he walks past. I can smell him from here – a curious mix of cologne, deodorant, sweat and cigarette smoke. The combination suggests something exotic and I find my oral juice flowing. I sniff some more and his scents create an image in my mind; five nine, solid shoulder and chest muscles, pot belly, strong thigh muscles, huge behind.
The last bit stretches my lips in a feral grin. This will be a meal to enjoy.
I hear the key begin to turn the tumblers in the lock and I move from my bedroom window to my sitting room door – and out. The cold air stirs the hairs on the back of my neck, my arms and I look exactly how I feel – a feral jungle being stalking dinner.
‘Dinner’ straightens from his door, opens it – and then turns in my direction. I have never met him before; this neighbor of mine – at least not as I am meeting him now. He leaves too early and returns too late and he is never around on weekends. I usually just hear him come and go; the same measured heavy tread. Never in a hurry, never sluggish. Just paced.
He looks at me. “Hey,” he says uncertainly. I step from my shadowy doorway into the light on the ‘porch’ – and I see something shine in his eyes. I don’t know what it is; but I like it. I step out further and smile softly, liking the way his eyes travel down and up me. They linger somewhere around my chest area – and then he looks away guiltily. I laugh.
“You live here?” he asks, managing to meet my eyes. I lower them demurely and smile with one corner of my mouth.
“Yes – for the past four months,” I respond. “I am your next-door neighbor; the one you entertain with Coldplay every night.”
A strange look appears on his face; one of guilt. It doesn’t belong there.
“I’m – I’m so sorry. I had no idea – “ he breaks off and I interrupt him before he can start again. “It’s not necessary. I like Coldplay and I’d rather not play music myself. And besides, I’m grateful that’s all you disturb me with.”
I grin at him and he smiles back. He has a pretty smile; something that transforms his entire face just like that. He looks a lot younger and therefore cuter – and I begin to wonder if indeed this should be dinner.
“Do you want to come over? I just made some spaghetti – “ I applaud myself as perfectly-cooked spaghetti appears on my cooker – appears as clearly as though I just placed it there myself, “ and meat sauce. You must be hungry.”
He slowly shakes his head, consciously trying not to look at my breasts. “Honestly, I’m really too tired to eat – but I really appreciate the gesture and hope we would still be able to do that some other less inappropriate time.” He stretches his hand towards me. “I’m Seun by the way.”
I take the warm hand firmly in mine and give it a solid pump. “Evelyn.”
He looks at the hand I am still holding, a small smile on his face – and then looks me fully in the face. I smile and wink at him, eliciting rumbling laughter from his belly. It is the laughter of someone who enjoys life, and before I can argue with the decision I find myself laughing back.
“You’re pretty direct, aren’t you?”
I chuckle smugly and let go of his hand. “I don’t see why quibble when it’s something I want. Life is short.”
He looks directly at me again, and this time there is a hint of uncertainty – of doubt. I can almost hear the wheels in his head turning; he takes a few unconscious steps back.
Again, he shakes his head. “No. I just don’t like something I do not understand. And you, I do not understand. Not yet anyway.”
“What’s not to understand? You’re one of those guys who think too much about everything, abi?” I shake my head slowly. “That’s not a lot of fun.”
He nods in agreement, “So they tell me – but I cannot seem to stop it. Besides, it works.”
I am fascinated in spite of myself; in spite of my hunger. I would like to know him more, to learn of him more. Learn of this place through his eyes and maybe learn what he thinks of me; my kind. I decide to go hungry; one more night won’t kill me. I decide to let him be, and then I make a man the most unselfish offer I have made in a long time.
“You sure you’re not hungry?” I ask again. “You’re completely safe – I give you my word.”
He’s quiet for a moment – and then he smiles that innocently devastating smile. Oh mother; I mumble silently, oh mother, you did not tell me they came like this!
I look at his smile again and I am reminded of that song – ‘Say You, Say Me’ by Lionel something-or-the-other –
Wait. Did I just say a smile reminds me of a song?
What kind of idea is that? I must be hungrier than I thought!
“….maybe next time,” he finishes as I return from my journey. “I’m sorry – what did you say?”
“Did someone say hungry?”
The voice comes from behind me; from another of our neighbors, Jide. A lousy fool who seems to think he was made solely for the fairer sex. Seun’s frown tells me he shares my sentiments – or at least some of it and I begin to –
“Wassup Seun? Looking good – Evelyn baby,” he says and crushes me to his chest. He smells good – some anti-shave but I am so mad at him I cannot appreciate the fragrance; the masculinity of it.
Seun nods quietly. “Goodnight,” he says, disgruntled by Jide’s behavior but too nice to say anything about it. I push away from Jide and smile. “Good night, Seun. Some other time would be nice.”
He waves and steps into his room, locking the door almost immediately. I turn to glare at Jide –
“Sure,” I answer. “Thanks. Sure, I have spaghetti. Are you hungry?”
Jide opens my house door and steps in, having invited himself.
I smile. Maybe I do not have to go hungry tonight after all.
Excerpt from my horror story collections ‘Tales From My Other Parts’.
I remember that I am a guest in her house – and I look around, searching for her. She’s sitting not too far away, wine glass to her lips while she’s smiling at me. I quickly look away, embarrassed.
She drinks a lot of wine. Wonder why.
I continue reading.
and form my own opinion. Hmmm.
So I do go for the meeting, and while I am not blown away, I am impressed enough to want to meet him under different circumstances. He is quite good looking, and there’s this silence…this quiet around him that makes me want to peek underneath and see if there’s more. I want to get to know him.
This is serious. The guy is tighter than Aso Rock. I like ‘strong and silent’ type men but this guy puts a whole new customized angle on the word ‘silent’. Three hours and all we did is talk about business. I didn’t ask him to lunch to discuss business!
He’s just annoying. When I asked, he told me politely that he does not fraternize with clients so as not to create the wrong impression. Can you imagine this guy? I had to like, get Mina to blackmail him somehow so he would be on that date with me! And I’m beginning to regret that impulse sef.
But something kept me glued to that seat. Something made me want to get him out of that self-imposed shell and show him some things. Something I see in his eyes every time I make a personal remark or try to flirt with him. Something.
The ‘pain’ had been written several times, painted and drawn till it was a big word that stood out on the page. I shudder and keep reading.
Someone hurt this guy, hurt him a lot. He tries to put on a front, act like he does not care…like he’s too self-sufficient. But he’s afraid.
I feel myself turning to mush, and its time to be careful. I don’t want to fall for him out of pity. He has to earn his place in my heart..and maybe in my bed. I like his hands. I like watching him punch things on his phone or laptop. I like watching him chew. The way he dresses, the way he carries himself.
I think he’s secretly arrogant. But we’ll see.
There should be ONE PERSON in this world you can be naked with. I mean physically, emotionally, honestly, EVERYTHING-LY.
Naked; I’m talking figuratively and literally.
I love comics by the way.
If you heard this before – indulge me; but I am convinced the first book I EVER read in my life was a comic.
I had a brother who was an avid collector – and something about the pictures and the words just fascinated me. Another thing that got my attention about these characters as I got older was how they faced problems similar to mine.
I thought if I had superpowers, all my problems would vanish in an instant. I could just fly away somewhere I knew nobody and nobody knew me, and I would just be there.
But after reading one particular Spiderman comic where he got beaten within an inch of his life, I realized that contrary to my belief that Spiderman was an escape; however temporary, from Peter Parker’s boring and mundane life, Spiderman also had his problems – albeit more deadly than Peter’s.
Another guy I could relate with was the Hulk – for an entirely different reason. In his early incarnation, the Hulk was a monster – at least so he seemed to everyone else. And as a result, he was angry most of the time – angry and paranoid. He did not trust anyone, and was largely misunderstood.
Boy. Could I relate to that.
But then, The Incredible Hulk found someone who could calm him down. He found someone who he recognized even when he was going through the most aggravated of his rampages. He found someone he recognized even when he was raging out of control.
That someone was/is a woman.
Betty Banner nee Ross, the one great love of his life, the daughter of his greatest enemy General Thunderbolt Ross.
I don’t want to bore you with details – but the bottom line is, Betty is Hulk’s kryptonite. Every time he’s rampaging, out of control – whatever, once Betty comes on the scene, it’s over. The Great Incredible Hulk becomes a baby.
And then, you don’t wanna see Hulk when Betty is in danger…
Let’s bring it home now. Check out the picture.
Imagine someone like The Hulk becoming putty in the arms of a woman he’s taller than; even when sitting on the floor!
I know, I know. It’s just a comic, right? I mean, it’s just like the movies – we see what ‘they’ want ‘us’ to see, right?
But – all the guys reading this – tell me your mind did not go to one particular man/woman when you saw the picture. Tell me you did not think of someone who makes everything okay by just calling you. No matter how rough your day has been – you hear his/her voice and everything is fine.
Which brings us/me back to the intro – There should be ONE PERSON in this world you can be naked with. I mean physically, emotionally, honestly, EVERYTHING-LY. Naked; I’m talking figuratively and literally.
There’s this Lupe Fiasco/Trey Songz collaboration ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’.
In the music video, Lupe is walking on the streets and so on – and he keeps running into different women who have the same face. One is walking her dog, another is a cop, another is a model or something – and then at the end of the video, he walks into this club and he meets the woman whose face all the other women are wearing.
And then she asks, “How was your day?”
And then the viewer finds out that the woman’s dog actually peed on his shoes, the cop was giving him a ticket – there were all kinds of different drama associated with the different women he saw – and then he ends with ‘but I kept seeing you and everything was just fine’.
That’s the power of a woman. The power of a special somebody.
I used to think opening up to a woman – allowing her see your sensitive side is some kind of weakness. But you can only keep up a strong front for so long.
At the end of the day – as Dapo admitted to Yemisi; “Everyone needs to be someone’s baby”.
If you (I mean the guys now) if you have someone who basically makes it okay for you to be honest, for you to be yourself, for you to be ‘weak’, for you to cry after watching a movie like 12 Years A Slave…you better wife that woman.
If you’re married and you cannot be that way with your wife, something is wrong. You better fix it.
That’s right. I said Y-O-U.
I think the biggest obstacle to the naked idea; the idea of being vulnerable with someone else is fear. We have learnt to use people and love things – so we’re afraid of being taken advantage of by people we love, care about and open up to.
The scary part is – sometimes it’s not even that the person leaks or reveals your vulnerability. Sometimes, it’s that they start to use that knowledge you armed them with against you. It could be words, it could be actions, it could be insinuations…they just take the knowledge you shared with them and use it against you – literally.
What can I say? Nothing hurts more than trusting the wrong person.
And honestly, I have been the ‘wrong person’ in relationships. I make mistakes. I take things; I take people for granted. But I am learning to value myself – and it turn value people who value me. I am understanding that life; relationships are privileges – I don’t have the right to friends; I have to earn my friends. And ‘earning’ friends does not mean changing who you are, sometimes it just means letting go of your need to be right, letting go of your need to control, letting go of some temporal gratification to give someone else happiness.
I still miss it plenty times. But I keep trying. And God is not through with me yet!
So. Be grateful for that person you can get naked with without fear, invest in one if you haven’t found yet. The whole of life is a risk – we all have to fail to win sometime or the other.
Everyone needs to be someone’s baby.
Have an amazing week!
“So – what do you think?”
I have to raise my voice to be heard above the crashing waves. I watch some three guys float a bit too far into the ocean – and then laugh as they frantically begin to scramble back.
Idiots. Maybe corpses would impress their girlfriends.
I wonder if my companion heard me.
He squints at me out of weather-beaten eyes, looking like Gandalf or Professor Xavier; wise beyond his years, experience forged by the pain of forceful learning. A whimsical smile plays on his lips – he looks around; at the other people dancing and running around. He allows his glance drift towards the ocean – and then he looks at me.
“Think? About what?”
He looks good and I think he knows it. He walks with the assurance of someone who knows how to wear clothes – loose fitting grey t-shirt, blue jeans, brown boat shoes. He was wearing shades but now he’s holding them. Clothes hardly suited for the beach.
But – who am I to judge?
I say nothing – instead I hand him what I have been holding since we arrived. “Go ahead,” I say encouragingly. “Read it.”
He clears his throat and begins. “Debbie asked me to format – “ he breaks off and frowns in my direction. “Who’s Debbie?”
And reads he does.
As you should too…
Debbie asked me to format my thank yous like this – and I did and liked it. I hope you do too.
Thank you Debbie.
First of all, I want to thank God for the gift of scamming people into thinking I can actually write. Yessir! I wonder why You thought it fit to bless me like this – but that’s none of my business is it?
All honor and glory to You. I hope I please You.
Dapo and Yemisi – most especially Dapo; allowing me inside your life, head, most private thoughts. You’re such a nice guy – you have all the ladies rooting for you.
“You’re welcome – “ he stops to say.
“Oga! Continue jo!”
He laughs and continues.
Yemisi – happy married life o.
They say two good heads will always beat one – how about four? The Dream Team – Ayo Moore, Ife Olatunji, Seun Abioye – you guys are wonderful. Really. I cannot thank you enough.
Sally – I mean nothing inappropriate when I say you’re such a dear. If you were my sister; I don’t think you could support me more. You’re family now – I hope you know that.
We should talk soon. Thank you.
Ayomidotun Freeborn you know how this goes, right? Now – is it bottle or bottles?
Anyhow – I got you. Thanks so much!
Tolulope Daniel, I don’t even know where to begin. I feel like this was yours not mine, the way you went about it. Thank you so so much.
Wendy Fabolosity – I owe you more than I can ever repay. Really.
Thank you and God bless.
To the guys who make it all worthwhile, my extended family aka my readers – Debbie, Oge, Topaz, Derin, Opeeee, Bukky Bukaino, Elsie, Sele, Bukky Shaba, Gloria & Precious Yeesuf, Livelytwist (owe you visits!), the #tweetpack, Iquo, OyinJamz, my dance partner, Debo, Taiwo, Oluwatee, Buqie, Fikayo Akinyanmi, wordsmitch, Favor, glowscenes, Damilola, Ifedayo, Chekoh, lara syndick, titi, bella, mulicat, Su’Eddie, Sola, Aanu, BJ, –
Now I am sure I missed plenty names – I’m writing all this from memory. I do crave your indulgence. Blame my head not my heart. I do appreciate EVERY SINGLE PERSON.
All the readers on the various sites – 1pageweekly.com, moskedapages.com, thepoetsdiary.wordpress.com, here, there – thank you so much guys! Bless!
There’s so much to thank each and everyone of you for – your comments and critiquing help in ways you cannot imagine.
My sweet sister Nneka – what can I say? I thank God and a very wonderful woman Liz for bringing us together. Now let’s grow together and better, okay? My love – my heart to the angels and your husband.
Again Derin – thank you so so much. Your phone calls, the discussions…you have no idea how valuable they are. I got you. Anything you need.
Temilolu – thank you so much. So very much.
Sele. Er….when are you going to start reading what we talked about?!
Hehehehehe! Thank you!
I thank everybody who sent mails – love and hate mails. You motivate me – you give fuel to my fire. Thank you thank you thank you!
Let us; together keep going places we have never been –
There’s still quite a lot more but he stops reading and eyes me. “Hasn’t anybody told you how annoying you sound when you go on and on with your ‘thank yous’?”
I glare at him. “No – no one has had the pleasure.”
“Well they should have. It’s annoying you know. ‘Thank you much’ or ‘thank you plenty’ –“
“Guy, if you don’t shut that trap you call a mouth, I’ll help you with it.”
He smiles – a little something that transforms his face entirely. I can see what Yemisi saw; I think to myself.
He bends over and picks a few stones, throwing them into the ocean and watching the splashes. “So do you think they are ready?” I ask him.
“Ready – for?”
I don’t answer. Obviously he’s at his annoying best today.
“I don’t think even you are ready.”
I scowl at him. “That’s not what I asked you.”
He smiles. “I’ve answered your question.”
“Look – don’t start, okay? You can just simply answer…”
“No. I don’t think they are.” He lets go of a few more stones and then looks at me. “What do you think?”
I grin. “Man, I hope they are, Dapo.”
Thank you plenty!
And have a fulfilling week!
Her hand writing flows across the pages; kinda like Italics when you do that CTRL+I trick on your keyboard. I see another sign that she truly has beautiful hands.
But she wants me to read her journal – specifically; some pages she has opened for me.
Intrigued, I begin to read.
Hmmm – dinner date with the ex. I don’t know what to wear and I honestly wish I wasn’t feeling so nervous. Turns out he can still see thru me after all. Hateful little man…
“No! Please don’t read that,” she says, giggling in embarrassment.
A bright red fingernail traces down the page and taps a spot emphatically.
“Start from here,” she says.
My client finally decided to give Mina the account. I’m so happy for her. She wants to take me out to celebrate. It would give us a chance to catch up, it has been too long.
I’ve missed her a lot. As we talk through dinner, I realize there’s something else on her mind, something she’s not telling me. Man troubles?
Turns out I am right, not just in the way I expect. There’s this guy at her office who she thinks will interest me. I don’t exactly find that flattering, not immediately. She’s trying to hook me up with her creative team head. Do I look like I need to be match-made?
Mina calms me down. She’s always known how to do that, no wonder they called her my sister on campus even though I am older. She tells me about this guy and how he is quiet and…’somehow’ is the word she used. Somehow?
I am curious in spite of myself. I have not known Mina to be someone who does hook-ups as a trade, neither have I known her to waste her time with some kind of men, the kind that seems to about nowadays. She’s a girl who has a straight head screwed on correctly.
How does she know he’s single? Damn girl says of course she knows, he works for her and winks at me. Can you imagine?
I’m a bit afraid. It didn’t go so well last time and I seem to be enjoying my own space a lot lately. I have been getting to do stuff for myself, things a wrong relationship would get in the way of. I am scared.
Mina hugs me suddenly. She does that sometimes but never at random. She just seems to know when I need one of those. She tells me not to worry; that he will be coming with her to the signing of the agreement and stuff, and I’ll get to meet him
I have to turn the page here.