We sat for a long time in the dark. Cynthia was curled up in my laps, her head resting on my chest, rising and falling when I breathed. The glow of the TV screen cast shadows across her features.
I felt my left leg begin to go numb and I shifted a bit to get circulation going again.
“Am I too heavy?” her voice was muffled by my shirt.
I shook my head, and then realised she wouldn’t see.
“Don’t flatter yourself,” I said.
“If I was though you’d tell me, right?” she wanted to know.
“After what I have told you, you think I’d be afraid to say if you grew too heavy?” I tried to chuckle, but it sounded forced even to my ears.
She sighed, letting go of the air she had drawn into her lungs and held there.
At some point during the evening I had told her things about me I had never told anybody. I had no idea why I did, but it felt good talking about it all, talking to her. For what felt like three hours I talked, calling up names and memories I had buried over the years.
She listened and sometimes jerked her head up to ask questions. Each time she looked at my face, I faltered, my words falling over themselves. So I took to holding her head down each time she tensed like she was going to raise it.
It also helped that the room was in semi darkness.
I lifted a handful of her locs, pulled them off her face and kissed her temple.
She sighed again.
“I’ve got to go in a bit,” I said.
“Do you have to go?” she asked. “You know you can stay the…”
“Shhhh…” I didn’t let her finish. “I had an amazing time in Abuja, time with you. But all of them put together do not hold a candle to the magic of tonight. For that I thank you.”
“There it goes again, your act to lock people out.” she said.
I wanted to disagree, but I knew what she was talking about. After baring myself to her like I did, letting her look in and see my vulnerable, I reset my wall.
“O…kay,” I groaned, stretching. “Down you go.”
She stood up and took my hands to pull me up from the sofa. I let her.
As we descended the steps from her apartment, I held out my right hand without looking at her, and she took it.
Just before I got into the taxi, she reached up and kissed me. A brief brushing of our lips. I fold myself into the taxi, every fibre of my being begging to go back with her and stay with her.
I smiled at her and waved as the taxi pulled away. I sensed that she might stand and wave a bit, but I do not look back. If I did, I would ask the taxi to stop. This was my last night in Abuja, I had no idea if or when I would see her again and I did not want to ruin what we just shared.
Back at the hotel Rolayo came to my room, and when I walked back to lean against the window she followed me. She tried to kiss me and I waited till the last second before turning and presenting her with my cheek. I didn’t wait for her reaction, I just pulled her close to me and held her there, my chin resting on the top of her head.
When we got into bed, I held her but couldn’t sleep.
The next morning I woke up to sounds of water running in the bathroom. Minutes after the water stopped, she came out of the bathroom wrapped in a towel.
She sat at the edge of the bed, her profile to me.
“How was your night?” I asked her.
“It was okay,” she said. And as I watched she let her towel drop onto the bed around her waist.
I inhale and turn away, my back to her. I look up into the mirror just above the table and I catch her eyes. There’s a smile playing on her lips.
Clearly she wants me to look, so why look away?
I walked to my favourite spot in the room: the window. I planted my hip against the sill and watch her apply lotion to her body.
When did she bring a bath bag here?
Her breasts sway and jiggle with the motion of her hands. My pants began to feel tight and I thrust my hands in my pocket.
“Excuse me.” I don’t know why I said that. I made my way to the bathroom where I rested my palms on the sink, trying to clear my head.
I was still there when I heard the bedroom door squeal open, and then click shut.
I collapsed against the bathroom door; I didn’t realise how tense I was.
I brushed my teeth and was about to shed my clothes for a shower when I heard the intercom. It startled me.
Why so jumpy? I chuckled.
“Mr. Bobo, this is reception. There is…” I hear the receptionist ask someone “what is your name?” I didn’t hear the response. “Ehen sir, Miss Cynthia is here…”
“Send her up,” I didn’t let him finish.
I hung up and looked around the room. The bed was unmade, my clothes from last night were where I tossed them when I changed into my sleeping clothes. I picked up the shirt and folded it, placing it on to of my already packed box. The pants I drape over a chair back; I planned to wear them to the airport.
I pulled the duvet off the bed and proceeded to make the bed when I heard the knock at the door.
Three knock close together, tentative, then a bolder one.
I flipped the duvet back on the bed and walked towards the door, stopping to cast my eyes over the room.
Not too shabby.
I opened the door and stood there a moment, my heart doing a dance.
“You came.” I said.
Cynthia walked the two steps between us and put her arms around my waist. I bowed my head to meet her upturned lips. I walked backwards into the room, not daring to break the kiss. I continue walking backwards until the back of my legs hit the bed. I lifted her off the floor then, lowered myself onto the bed and then placed her across my thighs.
The kiss deepens and my head swims. There’s an urgency to her kiss, and it mirrors how I am feeling. I take her hand and place on the waist band of the pair of joggers I was wearing. She let them rest there till I take her thumbs a stick them inside the band.
“Eager are we?” she asked, her lips moving against mine.
I feel laughter bubbling inside me, starting to rise.
No, I’m just happy.