There’s this place I like to eat whenever I’m at the office. Or close. It’s a small buka – so small you can travel the length of it in three strides. But you would be fascinated to know that, during rush hour, people wait hours to buy food there.
Of course, there’s speculation about the source of such customer dedication.
Some say it’s juju, that the proprietor; usually a woman, washes her privates into the first set of cookings for the day. A couple of people have actually talked about seeing hair that never came from a human head in their food.
Well. I never saw ‘strange hair’, and I know what female ‘privates’ taste like.
I guess people don’t understand the significance of a neat environment to a buka. They don’t understand that goodwill is one of the most important things in a business – that knowing almost all your customers by name is a huge plus.
And that good and affordable cooking makes all the sense in Nigeria.
Most of the crowd there buy to take away because they understand the constraints of space. A few like me, however, like to sit and enjoy the different smells wafting from the set of coolers and pots placed by the entrance. My seat is usually reserved.
Whenever she saw me coming, she would hail me like “Oga ______ (you already know my name), how na?”
I’d hail her back, just as heartily; “Madam, I dey o. How business?”
She’d answer, “We thank God o. Which one today, usual or special?”
‘usual’ is pounded yam and vegetable soup with two pieces of goat meat and one fish. ‘Special’ is whatever catches my fancy at that moment. Rice, plantain, beans, turkey – whatever, as long as she sold it.
That is usually my one meal of the day, so I like to make a huge fat deal of it. And I never misunderstand the woman’s kindness for more than what it is – someone who genuinely appreciates her customers.
But I never expected the turn of events when I took my new girl…sorry; woman visiting…
Google is my friend – right?
Google is my friend.
Yet it failed me this once
I entered your name
And got no response
That’s funny ‘cos I would think
There were at least some others that share that identity
Your name I mean.
Are you that unique?
Are you that rare?
Are you that missing link – never really there?
Are that – that one who came one lonely night…
The ‘her’ that made the darkness so bright?
The one whose kisses felt so right?
I still feel them now.
Your kisses I mean.
And I will keep looking.
Till I find peace.
Read previous episodes here.
I could lie here forever; Dapo thought.
The rush of the waves sounded like Lagbaja’s saxophone, running soothing fingers along the nerve endings inside his head. Softly blending lights, stars blinking like diamonds laid in blue velvet – pink lips softening in a smile all lined his vision.
Which was strange, considering his eyes were closed.
Some of the diamonds in his imagination – cold and hard, began to trickle down his back and his eyes flew open. His clutching right hand closed on air as Yemisi danced away – and then he jumped up and began a dance of his own as wet sand she poured on his back entered his shorts.
“What is wrong with you!” he yelled, jumping up and down, shaking his shorts violently while other folk paused in their merrymaking and looked at the alien amongst them.
After dancing all variations of etighi, azonto and creating some new ones, he looked around, freezing when he finally found his girlfriend.
Those are boobs, my friend. BOOBS. When was the last time you really looked at those?
Dapo posed as if he was thinking deeply. “Whoa. That’s such a cheap below-the-belt blow,” he complained.
Think about it.
”I am thinking!” His shoulders drooped. “It has been a while.”
His heart pounded as he looked at his girlfriend of five weeks for the first time; really looked at her as a woman not as a friend or sister, as he liked to tell himself. What he saw was a woman; a very beautiful one at that.
Her skin…well, it wasn’t particularly blemish-free or stained, but he did not mind. She wore it well – she gleamed.
Her boobs were like oranges – small oranges; barely making bumps in the loose t-shirt she was wearing. He didn’t care. They were exquisite. Her legs –
He always knew how fabulous her legs were but looking at them now, laid bare by bum shorts, he thought they looked like well made barbeque turkey.
He liked barbeque turkey.
And her hips…
You better get over yourself and this ridiculous I-feel-like-I’m-dating-my-sister bullshit syndrome in your head and take what’s being offered. It won’t always be there, you know.
“And that IS the wahala.”
“Are you okay?” Yemisi crept closer, caution in her steps despite the concern in her voice. Dapo said nothing, allowing his whole demeanor speak defeat. Yemisi forgot herself and hurried towards him.
“What is…” Her sentence was punctuated by a shriek as Dapo burst into motion, charging towards her as she turned and ran as though her life depended on it. She was on automatic; Dapo marveled as she went from zero to one eighty in seconds.
“I’m going to catch you!” he yelled, laughing loudly as he accelerated. He felt good, tearing through the cold night air and beach-partying people in pursuit. Yemisi’s shrieking laughter sounded closer than before, and he ran even harder. He caught a glimpse of pink lips, white teeth as she looked over her shoulder – and then she dropped below his sight as she missed her footing. Dapo closed his eyes and executed a dive Sarsaparilla would have envied, catching her midriff and rolling over to end up on top.
Her laughter washed over him in waves of beautiful calm, and he opened his eyes, expecting to look into her shiny ones.
Imagine his surprise when it remained pitch black.
He nodded this way and that, checked by soft yet firm lumps of flesh on either side of his head. He stopped moving as he realized the only thing ‘soft yet firm lumps of flesh’ around where they were could be.
Yemisi’s loud laughter confirmed his thoughts and he looked up, his lips a few inches from hers.
How do you kiss your sister?
Idiot. Try ‘how do you kiss your girlfriend’ and whether you like it or not…
“Yeah. I get.” He mumbled and slid upwards till he was eye to eye with Yemisi. Her laughter faded out in time with the Mariah Carey playing in the background; in time with the clashing waves and incoming tide, in time with the dancing and laughing couples till all that remained were her eyes and lips; eyes glued nervously to Dapo’s hungry ones and lips that kept opening to allow a pink appendage dart out at intervals.
He focused on that and followed it through.
It’s so easy to forget what’s it’s like to be caught in a passionate embrace with someone you care about. Frighteningly easy to forget what a passionate kiss feels like.
It wasn’t ‘shocking’ or ‘electrifying’ or anything like that, it just felt as though his tongue had a million nerve endings and someone had dumped a five-flavor ice cream on it. Various sensations and tastes scrambled for expression in his head; anymore and his brain would short-circuit.
Dapo winced involuntarily as Yemisi’s teeth tightened around his tongue in reaction to the cold tide that suddenly drenched them both, leaving them spluttering and gasping.
He wiped his forehead clean of water and sand, and then finally opened his eyes.
Opened them – and couldn’t close them anymore even if he wanted to.
And he did not want to.
For a second, Dapo doubted the girl in front of him was the same as his friend Yemisi. It wasn’t as though she morphed or anything.
She just did not look like Yemisi.
Her hands were in her hair attempting to wring it dry. Only somehow the pose made her look like Beyonce on stage in front of salivating men. The wet t-shirt she had on was wet and therefore molded itself to every available curve on the surface of her upper body. There was a lot of ‘curve’ and so Dapo’s throat began to bench press eagerly. Her bra –
Something was pulling his eyes, but it wasn’t till he looked down he realized what it was. Her bellybutton was a dimple that accentuated rather than flawed the smooth landscape the wet t-shirt had exposed. There was a bulge where her tummy was – but he really did not care.
A frilly blue something whose color matched something else higher up peeked over the edge of her shorts, subtly waving. He couldn’t seem to decide whether to keep leading with his eyes or to follow them with his hands. Something long-forgotten stirred to life and slowing fanned itself into a raging fire.
“Something you like, boyfie?”
He tried to speak but only a croak came out. He tried again.
“Words fail me, so I think I should revert to that age-old but evergreen and ever-true cliché – ‘action speaks louder than words’.
His eyes narrowed as Yemisi lay back on the wet sand with as much poise as she would lie on a divan. Keeping her eyes locked with his, she spoke;
“Why aren’t you eating?”
Dapo looked from his knees. Yemisi was seated at his elbow, chewing on KFC chicken as though her teeth had been replaced with glass. He smiled.
“I’m probably having too much fun looking at you,” he answered. His left hand rose in a lazy arc that ended on her head and got lost in her hair.
“Don’t do that o, you know what they say about a woman’s hair.”
Dapo’s hand stilled but remained where it was. “And what do they say about that?”
She shook his hand off and continued eating. “Are you a learner?”
The extended silence drew her attention from the chicken she was holding to her boyfriend. Dapo sat still, head cocked in the direction of dunes in the distance. She wanted to ask what he was thinking – but she did not want to interrupt what might be a profound moment for him.
She reached for the hand nearest her – his left hand and held it.
He squeezed back gently and then began to talk.
“You know my dad’s sick, right?”
Yemisi was silent, her heart lurching with fear as Dapo continued to speak. “You don’t have to answer that. How would you know? It’s not like you’re psychic or anything.”
She liked the warmth from his hand whenever he pressed hers like he was doing just then.
“He’s sick. Diabetes. And it looks like…” his shoulders slumped. “My mum has been asking me to come home but I really don’t care. I don’t want to see him.”
Yemisi returned the gentle pressure of his hands but remained silent. It wasn’t the time to start sermonizing.
“She misses me, you know. She called me yesterday and was crying. Mosun’s not back from Spain yet but Peju has been with mum since.” He paused for a moment. “You remember Peju, right?”
“Your elder sister? You guys are cool now, abi?”
He shrugged. “Makes no difference to me either way. We just happen to be born of the same mother – we don’t have to get along.”
Yemisi had to ask. “And Mosun?”
She felt her heart soften like Eclairs that had stayed too long in a conductor’s pocket as he smiled. It did something to his face, something that made him look like he was fifteen years old again.
“She’s great. I suspect she’s found herself a moustache twirling Zorro wannabe,” his fingers plucked at an imaginary moustache as he turned his nose in the air. He had to reach out to stop himself from falling as Yemisi punched his shoulder.
“I guess you guys get on so well because you’re the last two.”
“How does it feel to be the last?” Dapo asked Yemisi, shifting wet hair away from her face. “Lonely?”
“No o. Just overworked and over disciplined. Everyone was too concerned that I would end up spoilt so they paid too much attention to disciplining me. Sore buttocks and tear-drenched pillows describe most of my nights growing up – but it’s okay. I forgave them a while ago.”
Dapo’s face closed as though a shutter was lowered over it. “Well I’m happy for you.”
The shrill ring of his phone interrupted the conversation. Yemisi reached into her bag and handed him the guilty phone – the Samsung Galaxy.
“Hello?” he answered, the question in his response telling Yemisi he did not know the caller.
“It’s me jo, baby cousin.”
Dapo flared up. “This your baby cousin greeting is really annoying. I have a name, you know?”
“Easy now, no vex. How far Dapo?”
He felt his muscles loosen and he closed his eyes as Yemisi’s firm hands massaged his shoulders. He exhaled slowly.
“I dey, ‘Lekun. You don enter country?”
“Yes o! I don dey for almost three weeks now. I bin dey Lag, then I enter Ib go greet my people. I suppose show Lagos next week then enter your side.”
“No problem na. Just tell me when you wan come,” Dapo answered, smiling as Yemisi gasped from his quick kiss. “I dey always.”
His cousin’s soft chuckle drifted down the line. “You go text me address na,” he said.
“No wahala. If I no send am tonight just call me tomorrow.”
“Okay now.” There was some silence, and then a click as the line disconnected.
“Just send the text now,” Yemisi said.
Dapo dived on her. “After I kiss you some more,” he said.
Their laughter was loud and happy.
Read previous episodes here.
It was Monday.
Five days after she’d asked Dapo out.
Yemisi looked down on Allen Avenue from the office window. It was busy as usual, midday with the sun shining down harshly on tops, human or otherwise.
She wasn’t there though.
What she was actually seeing was a face, a face with sad eyes and lines etched into it. She thought about her best friend and wondered for the billionth time if she had done the right thing. They had spoken over the weekend, but there was some sudden awareness between them, some sort of restraint obvious in both their voices. Their usual banter was gone, in its place some kind of probing, some kind of careful as though their words had more consequences now than ever before.
She was worried. And scared.
‘Have I lost him?’ she asked aloud. Of course, she wasn’t expecting an answer.
A smile tugged the corners of her lips hesitantly; as though it wasn’t sure it belonged there. She thought about her mother’s look when she had stumbled on her daughter smiling brightly after a call with Dapo. The older woman had said nothing, only smiling knowingly as the younger one tried to hide her blushes. Maybe I shouldn’t introduce him till I’m sure…
I need a drink.
The Chi Exotic pack was freezing. Yemisi smiled at the girl behind the Tantalizers counter as she collected the package. “Thank you.”
The girl nodded. “Anything else?”
A subtle tugging; real or imagined reminded Yemisi she hadn’t had anything that morning. “A Scotch egg, a sausage roll and two doughnuts.”
The serving girl’s smile was pretty. “Okay.”
As the girl turned away to start putting the order together, a voice at Yemisi’s elbow announced itself abruptly.
“God knows I love an eating woman – amen!” as a figure plunked itself on the counter beside her. Her brows came together as she tried to look serious before turning to her right.
“Oh really?” she said.
The only reason she was able to finish her statement was because she had told her mouth what to say and it just followed through. Her brain actually froze when her eyes met those of her target.
“Yes, really.” He answered but she wasn’t exactly listening. He looked like an interesting cross between Idris Elba and Denzel Washington with a bit of Nas thrown in.
His looks were arresting.
“Um…yeah…good for you,” she mumbled and turned away from the counter.
“But you haven’t taken your order yet,” the girl behind the counter said. Yemisi mumbled an apology and carried the bags, legs tangling with each other.
“Oh crap! Sorry, give me a moment,” she said as she realized she hadn’t paid yet. She gently set down her purchases on the counter, pulled out her wallet and burst out laughing.
“You must be having fun – are you not?”
The source of her discomfort smiled. “I’m just happy I got your attention,” he grinned. “I’m Remi.”
She took her time, sorting through the bills in her wallet before selecting a one-thousand naira note and placing it flat on the counter before taking the hand he proffered. “Yemisi,” she said.
Five steps away from the counter and it seemed as though he’d just woken up.
“Hey – where are you going?”
She smiled to herself. “Work. Desk, table, computer – you know, that kind of stuff.” She didn’t stop walking as he came up running behind her.
“If you really want to know you’ll find out somehow,” Yemisi threw over her shoulder as he stopped, hands in the air. She smiled at him and then at the guard who was holding the door open.
The heat wave on Allen made her skin shrink – and she hoped he wasn’t following her.
He’s so handsome jare.
She took another bite of her roll as she looked down on Allen from the window – and started guiltily as she remembered what she had been doing the last time she was standing at that window.
She had forgotten about her worries. About Dapo.
He’s the one I’m with – he’s the only one I should be concerned with even if it’s just for three months.
And so, almost wistfully she discarded the image that reminded her of both her favorite actors.
A flash of color pulled her back to what she had been looking at but not seeing – Allen Avenue. It was a jumble at first, and then what attracted her became clear.
A girl wearing a bright red dress was crossing the road. She had her left hand to her left ear and her right hand was waving excitedly. Suddenly a black Sedan came hurtling out of the street beside Alade market, brakes screeching as the driver turned into Allen, not slowing down a bit. The car’s bumper caught the hem of the crossing girl’s dress and with a loud ‘RIP!’ tore a large chunk of it away.
The car did not slow down.
To Yemisi the whole picture was happening in high definition. She saw the girl’s dress get caught, stretch and then tear. She watched as the girl became frozen solid in the middle of Allen Avenue. She heard clearly the curses hurled after the vehicle – watched as a man ran to the girl and hurried her off the road. It all felt like a movie; or an advert – her ears were unconsciously straining; waiting for a yell of ‘CUT!’ or to at least see someone carrying a camera.
No such luck.
She did not know when she moved, but when Yemisi came to herself she was sitting in front of her computer typing something she could not make any sense of – half eaten roll on the table beside her system.
She stopped and looked at her hands. They were shaking.
The jarring buzz of the intercom on her desk was like the breaking of a million plates to overwrought nerves, and she quickly stuffed her fingers into her mouth to stop from screaming. She stood up and walked to the reception, leaving the phone ringing.
“Yes?” she said to Felicia who looked like a child caught stealing meat from the cooking pot. Felicia hastily put the intercom down and faced her. “Yes…yes! This man has a package for you,” she finished, pointing to a man wearing a dispatch rider’s costume.
Yemisi looked at the ugly man and sighed. Probably from one of the clients.
The man was carrying an average-sized box and from the way he was handling it, the box wasn’t too heavy. At her approach he balanced the box on his left hip and pulled a pad from his right chest pocket.
“Why don’t you just set it down?” Yemisi said, taking the pad from him. “Or is it a bomb?”
He smiled and she wondered how she’d ever thought he was ugly. His face had this open, defenseless look that could make a lot of women start feeling like mothers.
It was working on her at least.
“No it’s not o,” the man replied. He set the box down and took the pad Yemisi stretched towards him. Her back creaked as she straightened, lighter-than-expected box in her arms. “Thank you,” she said to the man’s back. He waved and went out of the office.
The office quieted as she came in carrying the box, but nobody said anything. Her colleagues looked on as she set it on her table and examined the box for clues as to who sent it.
But it only bore her name and office address. Nothing more.
“What is it?” Adura asked, walking over.
“We’re all about to find out,” she answered, picking up a box cutter. “Hope you’ve all repented of your sins,” Yemisi continued. “We might be about to meet our Father in heaven.”
The box surrendered easily to the razor-sharpness of the box cutter, and two smaller tightly-packed boxes showed up. She sighed in exasperation.
Is somebody playing a game?
“See anything?” Fred, her nemesis asked.
“Why don’t you come and look yourself?” she retorted. The other guys laughed, but from the silence behind her, she knew nobody was moving. She opened the larger of the two boxes and a frosty cake stared back at her. The lettering on it said ‘for my guy girl’.
She smothered happy laughter and opened the second one, a slim box that had a ribbon and another envelope attached to it. It was a bottle of fruit wine. Footsteps that seemed to be walking on eggs approached as she straightened with the card in her hands, and she waited till the steps were almost immediately behind her and then yelled; ‘RAT!!”
Adura screamed and ran back to the cover of her desk, stumbling on her own legs as she scrambled. The other guys ducked under desks and chairs to avoid the ‘rat’. Yemisi quickly slipped the card in her desk drawer and burst into laughter.
“Oh you,” Adura sulked as she carefully lifted out the larger one and sniffed it, a calculating look in her eyes. “Cake?” she asked Yemisi who nodded. “Hmm hmm.”
Fred tapped Adura on the shoulder. “Don’t you know its impolite to sniff food – especially food meant for a lot of people?”
The cake was on the largest table in the office before Adura replied. “And the ‘a lot of people’ would be who?”
Ignoring the indignant Fred, Adura folded her arms and smiled at Yemisi. “I’m so jealous right now. Can I meet your boyfriend?”
“Boyfriend?!” Fred ejaculated in mock-horror. “This manly woman has a…boyfriend?! The guy must be a hermaphrodite!”
“Soon enough,” Yemisi smiled at Adura, slight tremor in her voice betraying the sting of Fred’s thoughtless remark. She quickly shooed the admirers away from her table and cut a huge chunk of the cake. And then she called Felicia to share whatever was left before retreating to the rest room where she washed her face of tears.
She took her time, delicately opening the card.
I just want to say thank you. For being my friend. For being my girl.
I’ll make you the happiest woman ever.
She had stained the poor card with lip-gloss before she realized she was kissing it. Embarrassed, she hid it behind her back – and then caught herself at the silliness of the act.
There was a huge smile on her face – and not even the thought of Fred’s hurtful comments could dim it.
Today I have the privilege of welcoming a guest blogger. Been a while I had those around here!
Well, today’s blogger is not a guest actually. She is one of the winners of the first installment of the Creatweet Contest and is actually my sister.
Yeah. You’re allowed to be jealous.
So after much cajoling and threatening, she decides to share a story with me – and I have decided to share on here.
So do enjoy…
I hurry along the sidewalk, deftly dodging potholes and human traffic. Somehow, I missed my alarm ring this morning and I left home 20 minutes late. In Lagos, a minute can make a huge difference. Face down, I curse under my breath. I am walking face down to keep the raindrops from stinging my face. I hold up my wrist to glance at my watch – and then realize I forgot it at home. I also forgot my earrings, my umbrella. And now I am getting soaked. Lagos weather is just unpredictable!
Aargh! I’m late for work, for sure.
Still muttering to myself, I reach into my handbag and pull out my BlackBerry to check the time. All this whilst still navigating my way on the sidewalk.
7.53am, it shows.
“Ewo! ” I exclaim. I quickly put the phone back into my handbag, pick up my pace and bump straight into a blue wall.
“Hey. Are you late, or is it the rain?” a voice comes from within the wall.
Then I realize it isn’t a wall but a blue shirt. I look up into the kindest eyes I’d ever seen. His lips are parted in a lopsided smile which reveal very nicely set dentition.
Then I see the beret. My eyes dart down to where my open palm is still resting on his chest, and I see, sewn onto the blue shirt MATHIAS, UWEM. E. and then below it, NPF115….
I don’t even wait to finish reading the number. NPF! Nigerian Police Force! Mtschew!!
“No” I reply curtly, quickly withdrawing my hand. He catches it in mid-air. He opens his mouth as if to say something, then closes it and lets my hand go. I walk away quickly, thinking about how I had just lost some valuable minutes of time that I did not have.
I reach up to wipe raindrops from my face and catch a whiff of his perfume on my hand. I hold my hand to my nose for a moment. But what was he even doing in the Police Force? Why can’t he be a banker or advertising executive or something else! Is a policeman supposed to be that decent and attractive? Nigerian policeman fa?! How I loath the lot of them! And then, this one falls out of the sky! Hian!
I get to work, thankfully, my boss hasn’t arrived and I quickly settle down and my morning encounter is quickly forgotten.
I get home, knackered, and go straight to bed.
Next morning, I’m in time and so I’m not walking as fast as I was yesterday. My earphones are in my ears and I’m listening to Adele’s Someone Like You.
Someone taps my shoulder. I turn. Him again!
“Good morning. This knight would like to know what it would take to win the friendship of this fair lady.” He says, smiling.
I pinch myself to be sure I’m not dreaming. Perfect diction. Witty humor. Good looking. I manage a weak smile.
“I’m Uwem. Do you mind if I walk you down the road? I’ve got a few minutes to spare.”
“Okay.” My voice is barely a whisper.
No, he is not a street policeman. He works in the control room for the police emergency helpline. He prefers to walk to his office because it is good exercise and he draws inspiration from everyday happenings on the street. I’m listening and nodding and smiling.
We are now at the Ijeh Barracks gate. I stop.
“Em, I’m taking a keke marwa from here,” I say.
“Oh. Is your office in the Dolphin Estate?”
“Yes it is.”
“I’ve actually seen you before yesterday.”
I laugh uneasily.
“Are you serious? Where?”
“Right here. On Tuesday. You were helping two little children cross the road and I mistakenly splashed muddy water on you as I drove past. I can’t forget the dirty look you gave me.” He chuckles self-consciously.
“Jesus! That was you?! I remember!”
Yeah. I’m still sorry. I didn’t mean to.”
“Hey, you’re going to be late like yesterday if you don’t go now. Meanwhile, ’’ he pulls a folded piece of paper from his breast pocket. “Take a look at this later, please, and tell me what you think. I’d love to see you again. Bye.”
He walks away quickly and I get into the keke marwa, still clutching the folded sheet of paper. I get to work and luckily, I’m still the first to arrive. I quickly unfold the paper.
My face stares back at me!
In my hand is a most detailed pencil sketch of my face. Am I that beautiful; I wonder, touching my own face gently? Wow! I stare and stare. And stare some more. Smiling, I run my fingers over the surface of the paper. My index finger stops at the nape of ‘my’ neck, where something is written faintly in tiny handwriting.
I move to the window and raise the blinds to see properly.
“Mathias U.E 08049876543 Please, call me.”
I reach into my bag for my phone and dial the number, my heart beating fast.
“Hello, Uwem.” I say nervously.
“Onyinye! You called!” he answers excitedly.
“H-How did you know it was me?”
“ I just knew. I’m so happy you called. Did you like it?”
“Yes, I liked it very much.”
“What time do you get off work? Can I call you?”
“ 5pm. Yes, you can.”
“Wonderful. I will. Take care of yourself, then. Bye.”
Three weeks later, we were sitting at Rhapsody at the Ikeja City Mall having dinner and talking about English Literature. It was a beautiful evening and it was just beginning to get dark. It was a beautiful sight from up there with the lights coming on around the city.
I looked at my handsome escort and gently placed a hand on his wrist. “Uwem, I…”
His lips stopped mine in mid sentence.
Love in Lagos.
Her name is Nneka Ezealor-Oladimeji, she is married with two amazing kids. Wonderful children.
She’s on twitter too, follow her @neker17.
And then haunt her till she takes this seriously…
Please. Have a great rest-of-the-week.
- Another Day in Lagos (tobilobaoladunjoye.wordpress.com)
She wanted to take me out for lunch, and she said so with a hand on the sleeve of my jacket.
I acted like the warmth from her fingers was too slight to make a difference to me and looked everywhere but at her mouth as she spoke. She came to the office at the behest of one of our latest clients – she was the company’s legal adviser.
Normally I wouldn’t be involved in such a meeting – signing official documents and what nots. But in light of several recent events…
I told her no. I didn’t – don’t fraternize with clients and seeing how they were new I’d rather not.
A smile appeared on her too-thin lips and she said she understood.
“I understand,” she said.
I still have a hell of a lot to learn about women.
That something; the something that always pops up where you’re about to make a really stupid mistake popped up at the same time Tiwa’s caramel breasts jumped out of the azure bra and into his face.
The something said you’re going to regret this.
The other something in between his legs answered; regret is so overrated.
Segun hesitated. His right hand didn’t, reaching and grasping a left appendage that was both firm and soft at the same time.
There’s no clearer way to illustrate contradictions than with a woman’s body; he thought.
And with that, the busybody something shut up.
It hadn’t been easy; turning Tiwa down routinely. No one agreed with his decision; everyone seemed to think he was mad and so on because Tiwa was…Tiwa wasn’t the kind of girl a regular guy turned down. To quote Jide the office jester; my guy, you wan leave Vitafoam go dey sleep ontop mat?! You dey mad?
And Segun wouldn’t argue. So as far as appearances, he was indeed mad.
He also was the only one who understood how his skin came alive whenever she was near; came alive with unsavory sensations. How it seemed as though it was trying to get away from his skeleton – run away and keep running. He couldn’t explain it.
He almost got in trouble too. Trouble with the boss who thought part of his responsibilities was opening branches between the thighs of new female recruits – ugly or otherwise; and resented anyone who argued. He had called Segun into his office one day and told him without mincing words; Segun, if you like your job here you’ll leave that girl alone. You hear?
Segun nodded and slammed the man’s office door on his way out. What the hell?
Everybody knew he was not interested in Tiwa. Something told him constantly to stay away from her and he listened. Besides, there was that knowledge that at least two guys had had their way with her at work.
At least two. The MD and one other person.
He did not like leavings. So he stayed away from Tiwa as much as he could. Which wasn’t much; considering he had to walk past her desk every day to get to his cubicle, but he was thankful that he got to close his door and shut out her leering visage.
He really didn’t like her.
So he pretty much ignored Tiwa and minded his business. And then came that afternoon that changed everything. Everything has far as he and Tiwa were concerned. But it was interesting to note that neither he nor Tiwa had anything to do with what happened that day.
At least, not at first.
Apart from her out-and-about sexuality, Tiwa was quite brilliant. She was efficient in her department and she was well-liked by the customers. Many-a-time people turned back because Tiwa wasn’t available.
So it only followed that when the head office asked for two people to train, the MD sent Tiwa and Segun to Abuja. Tiwa because she earned it, and Segun because he was the head of his department.
And so they went.
And Segun began to see Tiwa in another light – watching her presentation after presentation and her obvious genius came through. He still wasn’t interested in sleeping with her – but he grudgingly began to respect her. Even though he asked himself if she’s this brilliant why does she sleep around?
There was no answer.
Their fourth day in Abuja classes ended early – and so they were back at the hotel a bit after four. Segun was bored, and even Watsapp with his best friend Hauwa didn’t help. It occurred to him that he hadn’t seen much of Abuja.
Hauwa said Why don’t you be nice and take Tiwa out?
He was going to argue – but then he paused and thought about it. Why not?
So he made arrangements for a car via the hotel and called Tiwa via intercom. She was pretty excited about it and told him she’d be ready in thirty minutes.
At exactly thirty minutes his intercom rang, and he went to her room to get her – and the sight of her shocked his jaw away from his mouth.
She wasn’t showing any unnecessary skin, she just looked really beautiful – the kind of beauty bankers take for granted because all they see each other in is suits. She looked like the last spoon of a favorite meal. Good.
He said as much as she gave him her hand. She smiled, lowered her eyes coquettishly and whispered thank you.
Their driver was an old man and a tour guide as he took them around – showing them Aso Rock from a distance – and then Zuma Rock which was the centre of a debate between the FCT and Niger State – as to whose borders it fell behind. And then Churchgate, the tallest building and its under-construction competition – the new Towers.
Somewhere along their journey it became the most natural thing for Tiwa to cuddle up with Segun, and he hadn’t fought her. In fact, he found it quite pleasant. They talked about this and that – him talking to the top of her head and she responding to his midriff. At some point however, she missed a remark he made and looked up, asking him to repeat himself. He looked down and found her lips tantalizingly close…
The cliche happened.
He would remember later…much much later, thinking at that moment where his feelings of revulsion and disgust went to. But in that moment, even though it occurred to him, it came as a by the way kind of thing, something out of the deep well of his subconscious mind. So he paid as much attention to it as a lion pays grass.
Calmly, Tiwa took her lips away from his and asked the man take them back to the hotel. And then, his thighs took the weight of her legs and they resumed kissing.
Imagine the receptionist’s surprise when the couple they had been speculating about, gossiping and even praising came in tangled with each other like hair on a hairbrush. She watched as they maneuvered their way cleaning past her desk and into the corridor – and quickly picked up the intercom to announce the event.
Before they came up for air, they were on Tiwa’s bed and both of them were wondering the same thing from different angles. Tiwa giggled cutely, pushing Segun away. Let me dress more appropriately; she intoned.
He had another moment, another calm period as he looked around the room and wondered if he was doing the right thing. And then Tiwa reappeared and rationale thought vanished like these words when you close your eyes.
His heartbeat steadied as he kissed her, arms wrapped around her body like they belonged there. Gently he lay her down and divested her of what little covering she had left. And then he lay with her, two bodies working together for a common goal.
Or so it seemed.
Segun was having the time of his life, floating on a soft, rhythmic bed feeling like he was being massaged from the inside. There was a bright spot somewhere in the distance, a bright spot that got progressively bigger as Tiwa’s noises got louder. He lowered his head, silencing her with his lips till the feelings got to him too and the muscles in his lower back and thighs slowly tightened and he was suddenly swept in a wave towards the white-hot spot that had grown so big it was the only thing he could see…
That was the last thing he remembered for seven years.