‘Bobo talk to me, I know there’s something you want to ask me.’ Ajuma came to rest on the arm of the sofa clad only in a towel, the delicious scent of soap and freshly washed body assailed my nostrils.
She shifted to get a better purchase and a slit appeared in the blue towel, exposing dark skin just above the knee. The towel brushed against my bare forearm, the wet of it momentarily cool on my skin. She flapped the towel back in place; the skin disappeared.
Self-conscious, I averted my eyes and fixed them on the pages of the Reader’s Digest I was holding.
‘Noth…’ I cleared my throat and then tried again. ‘Nothing.’
She giggled and, to my chagrin, I felt a hardness begin in my shorts.
‘If you say so,’ she slid off the seat arm. ‘Make I go cream my body and wear clothe, I dey come.’
As soon as she left the room I got up and walked about a bit, adjusting my shorts so that the bulge trapped in the folds fell free, obeying gravity.
I was at a stage where I had given up my Y-fronts for boxers, and I was yet to get accustomed to the freedom and air that came with them.
I was 17 and fresh out of secondary school, and in the compulsory waiting period between writing SSCE, JAMB and gaining admission into university, most of my weekday mornings were spent visiting Ajuma.
I had met her in church. We belonged to the same society and had mutual friends – her best friend was dating my friend – and then when I enrolled for WAEC lessons, a lesson my friend dragged me to, I found she also attended the same lesson. After classes we would, four of us, walk some of the way home taking side streets and back roads.
It was only a matter of time before Ajuma and I would feel a closeness, but my timid nature would not let me ask her.
Tired of waiting for me to man up and ask, I think, she decided to take matters into her hands. And still I couldn’t admit, at least to her, that I liked her.
We all gained admission and went to school – this was before mobile phones and internet – and when I got back after one semester, it was to learn that Ajuma was married.
That episode taught me a lesson: if you liked a girl and she liked you, even if you won’t date her, hit it.
I learned if you see a girl you like, and you feel she likes you too, by all means ask her out.
I don’t know why that incident came to my mind, but it stayed on my mind for hours after I left Keme’s place. It wasn’t as if I was a shy 17year-old, or that I hadn’t dated her and ruined it, but something about how I felt sitting on her mattress and sipping coffee made me want to woo her again, and win her.
In all the time we were apart I never gave much thought to her, especially because I believed that the separation was the direct consequence of my cheating on her, and so I should take it on the chin like a man and move on.
Seeing her that morning, talking with her, made me realise that I wasn’t ready to move on. I wanted my friend back, I wanted my girlfriend back.
So when I got home I sent her a message to let her know I got home okay.
I also sent her a “thank you” message, and watched both messages go from D to R but she didn’t reply them.
I sent her a few more messages later in the day, and like the previous ones, the went without reply.
The next day I sent her a good morning message, and wished her a good day. They did not immediately get read so I figured she was probably sleeping.
I considered ordering something online and getting it sent to her office, or maybe invite her out to lunch. I wasn’t sure if she wouldn’t think that too much, so instead I asked if she wanted to go see a movie with me after work.
She read the message and still did not reply, and that was when I sent her this message:
Hey Keme, you do realise that I can see you reading my messages, right?
Bobo, I think it was a mistake getting involved the other day at the wedding, but you seemed so out of it. Please don’t message me again. I probably should have told you yesterday. I am seeing someone else and I don’t think talking with you, or seeing a movie with you is what I need right now. We know how that usually ends…
I sat there reading and re-reading her message. Yes, I remember how our movie dates usually went – we could never remember whole parts of the movies we saw because we spent most of them making out. I shouldn’t have suggested the movies, it was a bad move. But then time had passed, and while I agree that I had messed up, I was ready to do better, be better. I wasn’t going to consider this new player in her life; he didn’t count. I could have sworn we shared a moment at her place with nothing but coffee steam between us.
I see I replied her, not seeing anything. It’s okay.