The first time…
She told me to close my eyes and to turn around, making a twirling motion with her hand, when she was dressing and undressing and when she was going to the shower. I closed them and turned around, smiling. How ironic. Just moments ago… I asked her why. She did not know, it is just a thing, her eccentricity, one of the endearing ones, like how she also broke into song when she was happy. She called it Post-Coital Shyness, PCS. I could help but feel that she was insecure about her body, just slightly, but enough that it was noticeable. I loved her body, every inch of it: smooth caramel skin, barely-there cellulite, all curves and softness and sweet-smelling. All of it. It was a woman’s body. The word ‘cake’ came to mind. We were seated on her floor watching The Lego Movie. I fell asleep on her shoulder, waking up when the ending song started playing, and we started playing. She was on her back and I blew on her tummy, the way we blow on babies’ tummies, creating a tickling vibrating sensation. She laughed, purely, wonderfully, full of life.
“I like your tummy.”
“Say goodbye to it. It’s going away soon.”
I did, kissing it gently. She tasted clean, of soap and hot skin. She breathed in sharply and moaned softly. I brought myself up and kissed her on the lips. I can still almost taste her. I bit her lips, the bottom one then the upper one, in turn, sucking on her tongue when I was not biting. Honey and pepper. Yes, that is what her lips tasted like. Peppered honey. Honeyed pepper. She also tasted of pineapples, juicy and sweet.
“You’re a nibbler.”
Yes, I am, and I planned on devouring her. She was delicious.
Her father and her sister were making a surprise visit for a cup of tea, at least having the courtesy to call ahead and inform her of that. I had made a surprise visit as well, needing a place for the night for an interview I had the following day. That and that I adored her immensely. I shoved my bag under her bed and took the novel I was reading with me to kill hours with in the local pub a few hundred metres from her place. It was dingy and dark, but at least they had cold Tusker Malts. I was giggly by the second one, thanks to an empty stomach. The lady that was seated on my right kept me entertained as she complained bitterly on the phone to a man, I imagine, who it seemed only called her when he was feeling some kind of way, how she had never been invited to his house and they only did it in various lodgings and such, and continuing the kvetching to the bartender when the call ended.
“Aya, una unge moona, matire akiri.” These ones (men) as you see them, don’t have brains.
She had said this looking in my general direction, and then turned her attention to me and asked if I could get her a drink. I did, a Guiness Kubwa. Beers were cheap there. By the time I was leaving, I had gotten her two rounds. I willed my phone not to die. After the fourth Malt, I switched to water. I was tired and it would not do to show up at my hostess’s house drunk.
“You can come now.”
, read the text message. It was almost midnight. I was at the bar from about half past eight. Saved by the bell, as it were. My, shall we say companion, wanted the beer to keep flowing and was quite insistent about it, seeing as she had decided I was a mzito, a moneyed one. I picked my up book, only touched briefly when the bartender asked to read the blurb, and exclaiming what a good book it was. For reading with half a brain, yes, it was a good book.
I walked fast and carelessly in the cold night. It was like there was something directing my feet, something otherworldly. She met me at her gate, her big bright eyes lighting me up from the inside-out. I felt ashamed at my state, somewhat staggering and loquacious. That is the night I looked into her eyes and told her that I really really liked her, as I wolfed down overly-salted French toast and sausages with masala tea, and told her to place her feet on mine to keep them warm. Really, I just wanted to see her pretty toes, polished and pedicured to perfection. My eyelids were heavier than her thighs by that time. She told to get into bed. I undressed to my boxer shorts and got under the soft red blankets.
“If models are made for modelling, thick girls are made for cuddling.” – Andre 3000.
She stared in my direction, looking at nothing, for a short spell, then said, making a comical face, the kind one would make upon smelling a fart,
“Siogi. (I’m not going to take a bath)”
She turned off the light and undressed in the dark. I could hear the sensuous rustle of clothes being peeled off and tossed aside. I imagined her slipping on her night slip, a light pink or silvery one with thin straps. I found out she was naked when I reached out for her after she had crawled into bed, a pleasant surprise as I directed her to lie on my chest and as I ran my hands over her smooth body.
“I don’t need 50 shades of greyness. Turn down the lights and give me all your shades of blackness.” – Afro Blue, Black Radio, The Remix EP – The Robert Glasper Experiment
I could have held her forever, just like that, with her braids in my face, shrouded in her smell of the day, of sweat, perfume and hair oil. I did not need light to see. My mind filled in the blanks. I told her I was going to miss her when she was gone, and she knew what I meant.
“It’s not like I’m dying!”
“I know, but things will be different. We won’t be doing this any more.”
I felt her sigh wistfully. Then, it was not too much to dream that there was more to us than the occasional casual intimacy.
“When you go, make it work, with… whoever.”
“What if… He shall remain nameless for now, what if he keeps saying he is busy, that he doesn’t have time?”
“That’s an excuse. You make time for the things that are important.”
She sighed again, and this time, she gently sought out my lips. I gave myself to her gladly. I took her gladly, for what felt like the last time. I am now amazed at how simple it was to say those words, how deliciously arrogant. I did not want her going any where without me. For those precious moments, she was mine, and I wanted it to remain like that. Her moans were for me, her smiles were mine, I had made her laugh, in the throes of ecstasy she whispered my name.
“The way you say my name makes me feel like I’m that nigga but I’m still unemployed…” – Frank Ocean.
I wish she could have seen herself the way I saw her. Or, maybe not. To me, she was perfect and she knew that is all I saw. In many small ways, even as the memories get more romanticized with the passage of time, she still is. I was blind to her edges and her thorns. Maybe, that is why we went that far in such a short time. We could have gone further, I told myself.
“Tell me it doesn’t end when I feel this way.” – PARTYNEXTDOOR
But it ended, like all things. It still feels fresh, the dying smoke of what was a flaming forest. Everything was burnt. There was nothing left. We had exhausted each other and she did not move from where the embers lay smouldering weakly, whereas I was lighting other fires for her. There was silence, warm suffocating and engulfing, that slithered me into its embrace and refused to release me. I thought of her constantly and the more I kept her in my mind, the quieter she went. The doubts and the questions seemed to swallow me into a dark mist from where everything was grey. And then there was the jealousy, of the men I had not met and maybe even did not exist, the others who were now being whispered to, being touched and being kissed and smiled at. Where did that young man go, the happy, carefree, affectionate, blunt one? All that stood then was a vain withered pessimist, too lazy to even imagine that what happened, rather what did not continue happening, probably had nothing to do with him. I had fallen in love with her and this same heart that tethered me to the possibility of a slice of forever, in fear of this new-again emotion, would not let me see that.
“Tell me, should a real nigga feel this way?” – PARTYNEXTDOOR
Then, one day in December…
A rain-shower in the bareness, she reached out, just slightly. That was enough, the few sweet words that let me know I was also in her thoughts. I could not almost believe it. My mind ran faster than my then cooled, then fast heating up again heart. We relived the past innocent passionate days, when nothing but our bodies and their being entwined with each other mattered. Always, there was the question, the eternal question,
Do you see me? Do you really see me? I see you. I see only you.
The silence has lost its edge with time, swallowed up in the noise of a somewhat new life. I wonder where those days went, those heady feelings, those carefree times when the world seemed large and conquerable. I wonder about her, missing her, fantasizing how it would have turned out between us, daydreaming on occasion about where and with whom she might be with. And I hope she is happy, as happy as she was with me, and more.