I returned home the next morning feeling like something had changed in the quality of my relationship with Rolayo, but not knowing what.
We chatted the same, talked about the same things: work, family, life. What we did not talk about was that night.
We did not talk about how snugly her soft curves bent into my not-so-hard planes. We did not talk about the time she turned, first her face, then the rest of her to face me. We did not talk about just lying there, looking each other in the face in the dark of the room, barely making out features but knowing we were looking, one at the other. We did not talk about breaths, feverish and moist from nostrils to upper lips, nor did we talk about kisses tentative at first, then growing in intensity as passions not previously considered kicked in. Lips asking, giving, accepting, claiming and sighing.
Not of frantic hands, all ten thumbs fumbling at buttons and clasps, sliding clothes off, rustling in the night’s quiet. Nor of the jolt when cool skin came in contact with warm, very warm skin.
Despite not talking about these things, we acknowledged that night happened. More than that was the silent acknowledgement that it would repeat itself. In the near future. We would make sure of it.
‘Bobo is everything okay?’ Keme asked me a few weeks later.
‘How do you mean?’
‘I dunno. Maybe it’s nothing…’
‘Talk to me.’ I coaxed her.
‘It’s this feeling I’ve been getting. Like I said, it’s probably nothing…’ she trailed off.
‘What is it?’ I asked, dreading her reply. In that instant I knew that somehow she knew.
‘It’s just that you seem more than a little distracted these days.’ She looked at her fingers pressed together in front of her. ‘When I come around you and you’re on your phone, you flinch. It’s disconcerting,’
‘I don’t know what you’re talking about, but my bet is that it’s nothing,’ I walked to where she stood, took her in my arms and buried my nose in her hair. ‘I love you.’ I whispered, my throat tight.
She wrapped her arms around my back, pressing my chest to hers. ‘And I love you too.’
Here was a girl who had shown herself to be committed to me in a way that people dreamed of. I had to be crazy to want to jeopardise that over what?
I resolved to make that visit my last to Rolayo’s.
Anthy! Good evening. How body? I messaged Rolayo two days later.
Body dey o. Just a little tired. How was your day?
My day was crazy hectic. The server was down and everything seemed to take four times as much time and energy. Even the customers seemed more than a little touchy, and I couldn’t seem to find the right thing to say each time. I just want to go home, bathe and sleep.
U’re still at work? She asked.
No, on my way sha and there’s mad traffic here.
Pele, she said. E go soon pass.
Thirty minutes later, exasperated, I sent Rolayo a message asking if she was home.
I got home to meet darkness’ I typed. I tried to start my gen and the rope cut, and my gen guy is not free to look at it before tomorrow. I got into the house and it’s smelling bad – I forgot to warm the Egusi soup my girlfriend made, or put it in the fridge. I was still contemplating that when a roach flew on me. I just know that I can’t stay here tonight, so I’m wondering if you’ll be happy to have me over.
Her reply was almost instant.
But of course, you know you’re always welcome here.
See you in a few. I typed. I tossed a few things in my backpack, locked up the house and headed to Rolayo’s.