I woke up to see the rays of sunlight seeping through the curtains, and for a split second I panic, for though the room was very familiar, the body moving next to me was not. All that quickly fades away as it leaned over me and planted the softest of kisses on the bridge of my nose, accompanied by a soft-spoken “Good Morning, Dear” assuring me that I am safe and all is well.
His arms gently fall to his sides as I reply him with a goofy smile. Getting out of bed I attack my chores, while he lays in bed with his other babe who had been so bold as to share the bed with us. From the corner of my eye I watch as he updates her about the latest joke, and every so often his voice would ring out in laughter. I am not bothered much by the recipient of such affection, this Bold2 of his.
I serve breakfast and he bellows like the Lord of the manor, appreciating the plain feast of toast and coffee that has been laid before him. And like a royal taster, he takes a bite of the toast and pronounces it fit for me to partake in. He wipes his plate clean, draining the last drop of coffee. “Paying my respect to the Chef,” he says. As I self consciously get dressed for work – I can’t remember the last time I dressed up in a man’s presence – he draws near and smoothens out the tangles in my undergarments, apologising about it being from a force of habit from when had to work as a nanny to nursery school kids.
As I head for the door, he envelopes me in a hug and plants a feathery kiss on my forehead. A gesture I carry in my thoughts for the rest of the day.
Back from work the warmth of love greets me when I walk in, and he listens as I regale him with office gossip, this man that I only just met. In turn I listen as he shares stories with my sister and me. We share dinner and though it be small, I am filled by more than food. I am filled with the joy of their company.
Winding down for the night, he feigns fainting because my dragon breath (from eating all that onion) and the stench of my sweaty unwashed body were depriving him of oxygen. I fired back a witty retort and, in that shoebox room, my sister declares us crazy as I go to take my bath.
Despite the power-cut and the heat that filled the air, we huddle close on the mattress and he locks me in his embrace. He gently kisses my forehead, then both eyes, then my nose and finally reaching the lips. And in that instant I get it! I acknowledge that it did not matter that my one week with him had flown quickly by, or that he would be leaving me the next day to return to base; nor could I boast of having known him long enough to stake a claim to him. None of these things mattered. For me, it’s the little things that I will never forget, and those seemed to come naturally to him.
When she told me she was attending a wedding in Lagos, I wondered how that was of any relevance to me. After all, we where only BB buddies but when she moved her flight back to Abuja to coincide with mine, I wondered what this actually meant. I mean, she would be paying all that money to change her travel date.
As the flight out was really early, and I lived close to the airport, I considered inviting her to mine for the night so we could leave together in the morning. That was where it ended for me – as a consideration. When she suggested it herself however, I actually sat up and took notice. I am not one to put myself out there without a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. My name means a lot to me, and perv is not a prefix I am interested in having attached to it.
In Abuja I went to my cousin’s, intending to stay there for the duration of my trip – I had a week in this town. That night I met up with her and we went to the movies, and as the movie finished late, I stayed the night at her place.
As apartments go, it was a ‘self-contain’ affair. A room just big enough for a mattress, wardrobe, TV, fridge and the plenty bags and shoes ladies seem to find necessary; a kitchen barely big enough to swing a cat in; and a bathroom, both walls of which I could touch by spreading out my arms. These things I only saw fleetingly. The apartment was small, but what I really saw was a place well looked after, homely and warm. Her sister was easy to talk to and I did not get that feeling of intruding, or imposing my presence on people.
I do not know why I kissed the tip of her nose when I woke up that morning, but the smile she gave in reply to my “Good morning” changed everything. It made everything seem… well, right.
After breakfast her sister left for work, and when she came out of the bathroom dressed in a padded bra and matching thongs, what I first saw was the left bra strap turned inside out, and the ‘strings’ of her thongs in a twist. Without thinking I straightened these out. Chalk it down to OCD. True, I felt a slight arousal, but I was not going to disrespect my host by making a play for her.
I read ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ and wrote an article while she was gone – inspired by time spent with her sister and music we were listening to. When she returned with suya that evening, we all descended upon it. It was not exactly an entire cow, but it felt like so to my stomach. Chalk it down to fine company and no worries.
After that though, her dragon breath slayed me! Who talks in your face right after chomping on raw onions?! I teased her about stinking, and pointed her in the direction of the bathroom for good measure. Her retort reminded me why I was in her company – a quick and intelligent mind.
That night we slept in each other’s embrace, and woke up almost as we slept. When, however, her sister left for work, we consummated whatever it was we had. I can not pretend I did not see it coming, or that I did not want it to happen.
I have no recollection of how it started or do I have flashes of how it went down, but I have a total recollection of how it felt afterwards. The afterglow that was more than appetites sated, but felt like the melding of two souls; the fuzzy feeling that comes before one drifts off to sleep, like you are floating on a huge pile of clouds; the inner peace, like everything was fine and, what wasn’t already, was going to be alright eventually.
My week in Abuja ended and I had to return to Lagos. As I hugged her goodbye before getting in the cab, I knew that no matter what had gone before, or what will follow, it was the little things that I would not forget. Her easy company: warm, intelligent, real, unforced; the way her lips peeled up off her teeth to reveal one of the brightest smiles I have seen; her deep throaty laughter, full and hearty; and then there is the smell of her hair. If I curl my upper lip under my nose, I can almost still smell it – a good smell. I suspect if one can smell nature, She will smell something like her hair. All said, it came down to the little things for me. These are the most important things; they go past the complicated mess we make of our lives, straight to the easy centre of life.