HARD NUT LIFE
Bad things happen in threes.
Alex had read that phrase in one of his father’s non auditing books. Right then, he was thinking the phrase was apt. He stood numb in front of Isaac’s house after knocking for close to thirty minutes and then a bothered neighbour snapped from his room that Isaac had travelled.
“I’m so sorry, Sir, as he been gone long?” he asked the invisible neighbour, his head looking down at his carpet that said ‘Welcome’.
There was silence for a while and Alex thought he wouldn’t answer, wondering why his carpet welcomed when he wasn’t welcoming.
“Three days now. And I don’t know when he’s returning, so don’t ask,” he snapped rudely.
A knot was growing at a rapid rate in his throat and it made breathing difficult. What was he supposed to do now? He was in a strange town and the person he was supposed to meet was not around.
How could Jojo’s parents have sent him over when they knew their son wasn’t around? Is it that they hadn’t called Isaac? Maybe he was returning today. But, what if he didn’t return; would he then go back to Ikot Ukap, despite the dangers inherent there?
So many conflicting thoughts inundated his mind. Alex sincerely believed he was being punished for his sins. If only he could have been dropped off at Port Harcourt, a tall dream, but at least, he could have located his former neighbourhood or his father’s friends for help.
But of course, his life wasn’t difficult enough, he had to be dropped off at a strange town with nowhere to stay and nobody that he knew.
Alex sat in front of Isaac’s one room, in a compound that was gateless and a neighbourhood that was basically full of artisans. He couldn’t imagine how much the rent was for the tiny, clustered rooms, but he knew they would be cheap.
Taking a risk, Alex left his bag by Isaac’s door and walked out of the compound. He had no idea what he was doing but he didn’t want to just sit in place. People in the compound looked at him queerly and since he was new and taller than everyone that passed him, it made him feel like a sore thumb, a giant sore thumb among them.
He quickened his steps and chose the right side of the street to begin his exploration. The street was untarred and filled with more houses like Isaac’s. Though along it, at intervals, he found beautifully built houses, obviously belonging to wealthy people. His young mind wondered why wealthy people would build their houses in a community that was obviously low class.
By this time at his grannies’ home, he would have been concluding his morning chores. Alex felt out of place, not just because it was a strange land but because, everyone on the street seemed to be hurrying off to work and shop owners were busily displaying their wares for the day’s sales.
As he wasn’t a lazy guy, he felt weird just taking a stroll this early in the morning, his eyes trying to take everything in, he felt like a poor tourist. He had dressed in jeans trousers and a short sleeve shirt with brown leather slippers, so, when he hit the end of the street, a junction of sorts with Keke riders clustering and waiting for passengers, hawkers milling around, he didn’t seem so out of place.
After hours of walking around, in fact, at some point he’d eaten a breakfast of noodles prepared by a roadside noodle vendor, Alex returned to Isaac’s compound with the hope of a miracle that he might have returned while he was away.
Isaac hadn’t returned.
But Alex met the rude neighbour polishing his shoes outside. Alex greeted the huge fellow, for once, someone towered over him, but he couldn’t be excited for it, not when the person was grouchy even in expression.
Despite his frown, Alex politely asked for Isaac’s phone number if he had it. Because, he had tried calling Ekanem, the only contact he had with the village, at a phone centre but it had been switched off. The grouchy neighbour grudgingly gave him Isaac’s number and of course, it was witched off too.
Towards evening, Alex panicked, where would he sleep? He had never left the village and he had no idea if the paltry seven hundred naira in his pocket would take him home, Alex didn’t even know where to go to get a ride back to the village.
So, for his evening’s jittery exploration, he chose the left side of the street and sloped down the road. The lower he went, the lower the quality of the houses were, but he wouldn’t have minded having the comfort of one of those low quality houses for the night, it beat sleeping on Isaac’s veranda, which he had decided would be his bed for the night.
I’m getting punished for sleeping with all those senior girls and Mistress Carol, as she’d had a boyfriend, Alex thought solemnly as he traipsed the street. It couldn’t have been Miss Ukata’s own, as she had blackmailed him into it, he decided.
“Akwaowo,” someone called hesitantly but Alex didn’t look up. He had gotten used to his nickname that sometimes he forgot his real name and didn’t respond when called.
“Akwaowo!” the voice insisted and was so close it wrenched Alex from his deep thoughts, when he turned, his eyes widened.
“Aunty Flora!” he exclaimed in shock and happiness, deep down he thought, finally, a familiar face and hugged her tightly. It looked as though she was shorter than he recalled, apparently, he’d grown taller while she remained as she’d been.
“Put me down, instantly,” she said in her usual strict tone but with mirth in between. He had known Flora was from Akwa Ibom, but it had never crossed his mind that she had returned home, he’d simply felt she lived at Port Harcourt.
“Jesus, Aunty Flora, what are you doing here?” Alex enthused, his hands holding tight to her arms, he was afraid if he let her go she would disappear and he didn’t want to take that chance. The sight of her meant he wouldn’t sleep on Isaac’s veranda this night.
“I should be asking you that. What are you doing here?” she prodded and Alex sighed heavily, retelling all that had happened, well, he didn’t add that he had become a sexual legend in his village, he just explained that a certain rich man wanted to use him as a scape goat for his wife’s infidelity.
“Chai,” she muttered in commiseration, as she escorted him towards her house in the low quality houses area, quite far from Isaac’s house. While he’d been giving her an edited version of his plight, she’d gone with him to pick his travel bag and as night stole over the sky, they descended into the almost rural area of the street.
“You can stay with me until this Isaac returns. Maybe, by tomorrow, his phone line will be turned on and you can tell him you’re here and you can also use my phone to reach your friend in the village to assure your grandparents that you’re okay.”
Alex nodded, feeling his eighteen years acutely, he still had a lot to learn and the thought and Flora’s kindness brought tears to his eyes. He was glad for the night, for then nobody saw that the tall, muscular guy was crying. He quickly and surreptitiously wiped his eyes with the back of his hand as Flora led him into an erosion beaten labyrinth.
They passed several clustered buildings’ backyards in their journey, until they came to her house which was next to a fence surrounding a big building with floodlights.
When Flora opened the door to her dingy room, even without electricity, she wasn’t short of light, because the floodlights reflected brightly through her single window frame with six louvres.
“Please, my house isn’t big o, manage please,” Flora said as a sort of welcome.
Alex grunted shyly, gratitude filling his heart and consequently, his voice when he spoke, “A moment ago, I didn’t have a place to sleep for the night, your house is a five star hotel right now and you’re the manager. Thank you very much, aunty Flora.”
Flora chuckled as she picked some discarded cloths from the linoleum carpet, “You’re welcome. I have no seats o, so, make yourself comfortable on the mattress,” she directed while she shove the cloths into a cloths’ basket.
Then she retreated to a corner and opened her tiny pots, “I can boil small rice so that we can eat with this remaining stew. There’s no meat inside but you can manage boiled egg, right?”
“Aunty Flora, please don’t stress, I can eat it like that. Meat is unimportant when there’s food,” Alex replied diplomatically.
The bright reflection of the floodlight from the next compound clearly illuminated her fair face, she was grinning, “Hmm, Akwaowo, you have indeed become a man,” she said this referring to his character but her eyes took on that familiar glint that Alex knew so well.
He swallowed in trepidation, his life and what it had become had started with Flora. She had introduced him into the joys of sex at a very young age and as he looked at her, his eyes roaming her svelte figure, his mind instantly reminded him of how pleasurable those sessions with her in his childhood room had been.
Was this to be his bane, sex? Because, even after wondering if he was being punished for his escapades, he couldn’t take his eyes off Flora’s breasts.
“You should take a bath before eating,” she said breathlessly with a coy smile, the kind that girls carried whenever they knew a guy was affected by the sight of them.
Alex nodded, suppressed a smile and followed her with the plastic bucket of water she had provided to the zinc shack of a bathroom at the corner of the fence. The floodlight from the big house helped a lot; at least, he knew where to put his foot to avoid the copious amount of algae on the cement block he had to stand on to bath.
When he returned, dressed in only his boxer shorts, patches of water designed his skin where his towel hadn’t reached; Alex found Flora dressed in a transparent nightwear. She sat on the almost flat but comfortably soft mattress with two steaming plates of rice in front of her.
She patted the space beside her, smiling with a beguile expression. His heartbeat ramped up as he dropped the bucket in a corner of the room and lowered his bulk beside her. Alex had no idea how she’d boiled the rice so fast but he was grateful.
The rice was somewhat hard, so he knew why she’d been able to present the meal in record’s time. He’d taken only three spoons when her hand fell on his laps. He’d known this would happen but he’d thought it would be after the meal.
He drank the sachet water she’d provided and almost coughed when her soft hand slowly climbed and grabbed his crouch.
Alex was embarrassed at his instantaneous arousal. It was like his penis had just been waiting for her touch, so, it immediately rose towards her hand. Flora wasted no time, she rubbed the hard length through his shorts, gasping and pressing her breasts on his arm.
The almost empty sachet of water fell from his grasp and spilled on the cement floor but none of them paid any mind. They attacked each other and kissed ravenously. Tumbling back on the mattress, Alex tore away her flimsy nightwear and swallowed the nipple of her right breast. He sucked as though he was a thirsty man drinking from a glass of chilled water.
Their sighs echoed in the square room. Alex’s large hand caressed Flora’s back, sliding down her buttocks and penetrating her core from behind. Flora gasped and jerked upward. She immediately slid down Alex’s body dragging his shorts from his hips. Alex lifted his hip to aid her actions, when she succeeded in pulling the shorts, his hard phallus popped up out, almost hitting her eyes.
Flora giggled crazily, and then she crawled towards her pillow, sliding her hand under it to get a packet of condom. She flung it at Alex who immediately tore and used it. Instead of crawling towards Flora’s spread thighs, a tantalizing sight; a guilty sight but one he couldn’t ignore; he lay down on the mattress, his hardness pointing prodigiously upward, he invited Flora to seat on him by holding the base of his penis and beckoning on her with the other hand.
Another dizzy giggle escaped from her throat as she scrambled from her lying position and climbed over Alex sculpted stomach, then she placed her hands on his broad chest, lifted her hips and slowly fit her dripping hole on the tip of his dick, then she slowly lowered herself.
A loud moan ripped from her throat as Alex’s hugeness stretched her core but she pressed down until he was completely imbedded in her warm, silky hole.
“I missed this. Oh God, I missed you, I missed your big dick,” she cried as she began moving, smacking her buttocks on his thighs, tiny sprinkles of moist splashed out as she slammed continuously on his hard pole.
At some point, Alex grabbed her waist and helped her up and down his hardness while his hips lifted in sync with hers, ploughing her wetness while the both moaned in pleasure. With the intense pleasure, Alex sat up, leaning his back on the wall slanty and pressed Flora’s naked body to his, while his arm wrapped tightly around her.
In that moment, he had forgotten all the frustrations and dread of the day. He was thrown back to his eleven year old self and the unimaginable pleasure that Flora had introduced to him. With the tingling that raced up and down his spine, he shut his eyes and shot his release into her while she moaned and cried out her climax, grinding her hips as she slowly returned from the apex of her pleasure.
Nothing was said after that. They both fell asleep with their half eaten food open on the floor of the room.
There in begun the re-enactment of a relationship that had ended at the sudden death of his parents.
Alex assumed that Flora didn’t have a boyfriend. He saw no pictures and she never spoke about him. On the eighth day, after she had gone to her work as a sales girl at a boutique and he had returned from once again checking Isaac’s house and trying to reach Ekanem’s phone to no avail, he returned to Flora’s small room to nap.
It was just as well that he had chosen to sleep on the floor as opposed to Flora’s insistence that he use the bed. Alex had chosen to sleep on the ground as a reminder to himself not to be relaxed as this hadn’t been his destination in the first place. He was already regretting the rekindling of sexual relationship with Flora, guilt killed him and he couldn’t wait to leave and return to Isaac’s house.
He could have tried to return to the village but he had no idea what was going on there, for more than a week, Ekanem’s phone line had refused to connect.
“Baby, I thought you’d be at work,” a male voice penetrated the somnolence of his nap and Alex immediately scrambled to his knees the same moment a skinny man, clearly older than Flora, walked into the small room.
“Wellco…good afternoon, Sir,” Alex stammered, having not missed the man’s endearment for Flora. The guilt that suffused his mind was instantaneous and extremely damning. He couldn’t look at the dark skinned man for long, as he felt like his sins were clearly written there for him to see.
But, as opposed to the suspicion he expected from him, the man smiled, “You must be Akwaowo,” he said in a friendly tone which confused the younger man and made him frown.
“Don’t worry,” he said when he saw his frown while dropping the large, custom cellophane that obviously had goods from a supermarket, “Flora told me that she used to serve in your parents’ home before they died.”
“So, have you been able to reach your friend at the village?” the man asked and it took Alex a while to reply as his heart hammered so loud his ear drums seemed numb. He couldn’t understand how the strange man had known about his story.
In the periphery of his mind he knew Flora had obviously spoken about him and his unfortunate predicament, but, it felt weird that she hadn’t mentioned someone, apparently her boyfriend, would be dropping by unannounced. Did he also know he was fucking her?
“No, Sir, I’ve not been able to reach him,” he replied politely.
“That’s bad. Have you had lunch?” he asked suddenly.
“No, Sir,” he answered instantly.
“Come on, then, put on a good shirt, let’s go eat,” he invited, stepping outside again to wait for him.
As Alex hurried to change into a presentable jean trouser and button down shirt, he heard the strange man mutter how hot the weather was and ranted mildly why Nepa wouldn’t give constant light.
If Alex had his way he wouldn’t want to follow the strange man who introduced himself as Henry Uwak; Alex called him Uncle Henry.
Henry took him to a high end restaurant and he was shocked to find out after he had eaten that his meal cost a whooping one thousand five hundred naira and he had accepted a plastic bottle of coca cola, so, Henry paid three thousand five hundred on their way out.
The food had been absolutely delicious, with a copious amount of fat, succulent meat; still, it was ridiculous to pay that amount of money for a plate of food. Alex silently regretted and thought that it would have been more beneficial to him if Henry had given him the money instead.
The man ended up buying him a bottle of beer. Even though he’d drank palm wine and illicit gin at the village, this was his first taste of beer; it had been a luxury back home. They stayed out for two hours, when they returned to Flora’s, she was yet to return.
“I’ll see you next time,” Henry said and belched. Despite his guilt, Alex had had a wonderful time with him and didn’t want him to leave, even though he had dreaded having to be in his presence with Flora around.
“You won’t wait for Aunty Flora?”
“I can’t. I have some business. I’ll call her and come see her next week. Take care, boy,” he patted his shoulder and slipped a one thousand naira note into his pocket. “I wish you well, may your fortunes change for good,” he said and walked away.
Alex was speechless and was further struck dumb when Henry turned at the last minute to ask for a favour, “Flora is cheating on me. I want you to be my spy,” he said and passed the numb Alex a battered complimentary card with his phone number.
ALEX OF IKOT UKAP ADVENTURES continues
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