It was as though all the sound had been sucked from the room. She closed her eyes. Dolu, just kiss him already. You have wanted to for over a year now.
Nonso moved closer. He wetted his lips in anticipation. Her eyes were closed but his weren’t. He saw the battle she was fighting. Saw the hint of a smile as her left cheek moved up ever so slightly. Slowly, he put his hand around her waist and drew her closer. As he did this, she felt her defenses crumble. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to but she was skeptical about his motives. Why does he want to kiss me?
In the background, a song was playing. Omo mi se temi, tiyin a daraooo… It took some seconds for it to register that her phone was ringing. My phone! Her eyes opened at the recognition and she, before Nonso knew what was happening, slid out of his arms and got her phone. A glance at the screen told Dolu her sister was calling.
“Sorry, Nonso. Have to pick this.” Nonso stood at the same spot, his arm slowly coming to rest at his side. What just happened? He opened his eyes to no one standing before. Dolu was nowhere to be found. Instead, he heard her voice. Trying to comprehend what just happened, he took a saucer and scooped three pieces of beef. That would be his temporary consolation. Either way,he wouldn’t ask her for a kiss the next time. He would just let it happen.
Nonso left the kitchen for the sitting room and turned on the TV. It’s been a while since I watched TV. Not my fault sha. With work that demands almost eighteen hours everyday, who has he time to still watch TV. He scanned the sitting room for the remote control for the satellite TV he subscribed to and found it, nested between two of the pillows.
The food! He walked briskly to the kitchen and opened the pot on the burner.he guessed that– it’s time for the beef to enter, right? Using the ladle, he stirred the stew and then tasted it. Using the mouthwash was perfect timing especially now that I have to make so many important decisions. He washed his hands at the sink and put the pieces of beef into the pot. He stirred. I’m doing that so the essence of the sauce will enter the beef. He felt like he was on a cooking show. Laughing at himself, he covered the pot and walked back to the sitting room. Dolu still isn’t done? Anyway, why am I surprised? I’m sure it’s Toke that’s calling. That’s the one she can spend hours with on the phone. They are like kindred spirits. He smiled at his analysis and lifted the remote control. He was about to to begin surfing through the channels, when he saw that something had happened. Something he didn’t understand. One of the remaining two pieces of beef was missing. He stood akimbo, wondering at the turn of events. slowly, he walked towards the direction of the voice of the possible culprits. Surely, I don’t have any rats. Haven’t seen any before. For where he stood, he could hear her muffled speech. I’m sure she’s the one that took it. Stifling the laughter that threatened to come out, he took his saucer back to the kitchen and replaced the one taken with two pieces of stewed beef instead. Nodding at his wisdom, he replaced the lid and decided to turn of the burner. I think it has cooked enough. It is definitely ready. Settled on the couch, with a glass of juice and his precious beef which he now protected, he surfed the channels looking for what to watch at almost 5pm in the evening. Finally, he settled for a movie he had seen before, The pacifier.
About five minutes later, Dolu ended the call. She couldn’t believe it. Her own sister? My younger sister? She walked towards the sitting room and sat down heavily beside Nonso. Tears threatened to overflow but she didn’t want to worry Nonso who had given nary a glance. Is he angry at the no kiss show or that I helped myself to his beef? She rested her back into the soft couch and turned on her side.
From the corner of his eyes, Nonso saw what was happening. He knew the signs. Her sister had done something and if it was Toke that was involved, probability was… “Dolu, what happened?” he asked, his eyes leaving the movie that had him laughing some minutes earlier. She didn’t budge which he’d expected. So, he moved closer to her and dragged her to himself such that her head now rested on his shoulder. Some seconds later, wetness seeped through his t-shirt. She is crying this much?
“Mosa D, tell me what happened? What’s wrong? Did someone die?” She shook her head in the negative. Nonso breathed a sigh of relief. “Is someone ill?” he asked further. She shook her head further. Another sigh of relief escaped from his lips. So, it isn’t a health concern. What is it, then? “Dolu, talk to me. What is it that has got your trousers in a twist?” The crying paused, Nonso fought back a smile. He knew Dolu had a knack for correcting words not properly spoken. She couldn’t help herself. “It’s knickers not trousers.” She said almost immediately without raising her head. “It’s good to know that you can still talk. You had me scared for a minute. I thought I would have to go and learn sign language.” She lifted her head up and looked at him. “You would do that for me?” He lifted her chin up with his left hand and met her eyes. “Dolu, I would, will do anything for you.” That said, he bent his head and lowered his lips to meet hers in a kiss.
The kiss lasted for not more than three seconds but Dolu felt it all the way to her toes. When it ended, Nonso hugged her closer to him as they shared the comfortable silence.
He kissed me. He really did. My God! My body is tingling. I wonder what a longer kiss will feel like.
“Now that you are no longer crying, can you tell me what happened?” Somehow, the kiss moved the cause of her sorrow to the back of her mind for about three minutes. She took a deep breath. “It’s Toke.” I was right. “What happened to Toke? What did she do now?” Dolu’s younger sister, Toke had a knack for doing things, not deliberately, that upset her. They were the closest siblings in the family. There was also, although never voiced or acknowledged by either of them, a competition between them. It didn’t matter to three years separated them. Presently, Dolu had outdone the younger in almost everything except this. This would be the deal breaker. “T-T -ok-e… Toke is engaged.” At the pronouncement, tears began to flow afresh. Nonso understood. It had always been Dolu’s fear- that her younger sister would get married. She had sworn on countless occasions to never let that happen. Knowing that no words could undo what had happened, he held his best friend closer as the salty lakes ran down her cheeks. However, as he held her, ideas began to gather in his head. He knew what he had to do.
Chimele waited at the designated spot. He was taking her to his favourite place in Lagos. Immediately, he got to Lagos, he had immediately sought it out. It was sort of a deal breaker. He wanted someone who would enjoy it so much with him. He didn’t want to have to coarse her to liking it because of him. So, he was waiting for her. They had agreed that she would take a taxi to church and he would be responsible for taking her home. Now, he was waiting for her to be done with the pastoral care unit. It was her first time in his church. That she had agreed to come please him greatly. He only hoped she had enjoyed the service.
Osita saw him before he saw her. He always stands with his hands in his pocket. She saw the pairs of female eyes that appreciated God’s work in her man. My man? Did I just call him my man? Not being able to hold herself, she laughed. She hoped he would become her man. Osi liked that he was dark skinned and just a bit taller than her. She liked that he made her laugh and feel warm around her. She liked that he had cute nails which led her to believe that their children would have cute nails but she liked most of all that he loved God and was pulling her closer to Him.
A waft of air brought the smell of her perfume to him. He turned just as she reached him. She saw his eyes light up in joy and appreciation of the outfit she had painstakingly selected. God! She’s so beautiful but even more, interested in you. After a side hug, that lasted for about four seconds, they walked out of the gate. “Ready?” he asked as they approached his car, holding hands. He told himself, he was holding her so that she wouldn’t fall but he couldn’t deny he loved the way her palm fitted perfectly into his.
The car stopped. “Can I remove the blindfolds?” Osi asked. He had covered her eyes some ten minutes away from where they stopped. She understood that this place was really important to him but he was yet to tell her what the place was about. She hoped she liked it as much as he did. “Errmmm…. wait?” he turned off the ignition and turned to her. “You can now.” She gently untied the white handkerchief and they both alighted from the car. She saw the name and gasped. It was something she had often wondered about, having no idea how to get involved.
“Ready?” he asked for the second time that afternoon. She nodded. Reaching for her, they held hands and walked into the Dunni’s Little Children Orphanage.
By OLUCHI Umealu
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