‘’You look so beautiful in this light; silhouette over me; the way it brings out the blue in your eyes is the Tenerife Sea…’’
”Your eyes aren’t blue,” he teased sleepily, whispering in my ear and pulling me in closer to him. My back was to him, curled up in a typical fetal position as his pulled me close.
I was in a different world; an intensely white world, humming to Ed Sheeran’s Tenerife Sea and drifting in and out of this dream cum reality that had no apparent demarcations.
In the sea of white, fluffy sheets, we seemed connected in many tiny exhilarating spots of our entire body. It was a thrilling, airy feeling I had never felt before.
The serenity was enchanting; I could hear his breathing loudly, soft against the nape of my neck.
I curled closer into him, inhaling the natural scent of his arm deeply. Ike had this peculiar scent I called ‘’frosh’’ when I wanted to tease him. He smelt of male body bath liquid always.
‘’What, do you rub your bath liquid after having your shower or before that?,’’I had asked him one day amused, as we sat at a suya spot on my street waiting for our meat from the boisterous mallam that ran the spot.
It was my meat in fact. Ike was a very health conscious person. For a period after we had become acquaintances, I would have his number saved as ‘’FitFAM’’ on my phone.
‘’FitFAM is calling!’’ Nkem would scream from wherever she was when he called as I was never good with moving around with mobile devices all the time.
‘’This guy must be hot; so hot you can’t even save his number with his real name. Or did you register at the gym without telling me?’’, Nkem will prod and prod till she wore me out for details about ‘mystery guy’’.
‘’At least they have some colour unlike someone else’s next to me’’, I chuckled as he kissed the nape of my neck, slowly and deeply like he needed to memorize this part of me, like every other one.
‘’What colour are they?’’, he continued nuzzling against my neck sending tickles to my toes.
‘’Brown? A really dark, unnoticeable brown colour’’, I chuckled.
‘’You can see their colour more vividly when the sun is really out’’, I continued turning around to meet his eyes.
‘’Let me tell you what colour they are.’’
I stared into his eyes intently, taking him all in, waiting for his answer, reading the slight movements of his pupils, how clear they were, words they held that he didn’t say, a frightening deepness and longing that I couldn’t explain. He had plastered his characteristic grin on his face.
‘’You are smiling sheepishly again. I’m listening’’
‘’If they were a startling brown, maybe I could see into your silence and your love for quiet places and weird things.’’
‘’Weird is good, at least I don’t like evil weird or dark weird’’, I interrupted.
He responded with a hearty laugh. ‘’Have you seen Beautiful Creatures?’’
He explained away the movie plot and story line to me in great detail and I marvelled at how someone could remember the tiniest bit of detail from a movie they watched eons ago.
The female lead character was from a spiritually powerful family and had the ability to do strange things (breaking glass without throwing it, hypnotic powers, moving fast like vampires and all those weird stuff that I loved watching) that naturally had the community keeping her and her family at an arm’s length.
The male lead character was however intrigued by her and having been the brunt of community ridicule, took a liking to and fell in love with her.
‘’I like your weirdness a lot; it is intriguing’’, he finished at the end of his narrative.
‘’Is it weird that this all seems too perfect? It all seems surreal,’’ I was tracing the sideline of his jaw with my hands. It was 11:30am and the air smelt of a mixture of Ike’s shower liquid and vanilla scented feminine deodorant.
A now empty breakfast tray separated us by a few inches on the sprawling bed.
‘’Us; perfect? ‘’, snorting and chuckling all at once. ‘’B, can’t you see all the imperfections? You can be a pain in the arse very subtly. I know you hold back a lot and I know that I push and prod so much sometimes it pisses you off.’’
‘’…everytime you probe and prod is annoying’’, I chipped in grinning widely.
‘’See…?’’, he moved the tray aside and closed the space between us.
‘’I love you. And with all the flaws with us, I love you even more because regardless of how I look at it, life is bliss with you. These few days for example have been nothing short of amazing, I don’t want it to end.’’
My eyes were glistening with tears now even as I forced them to hold their peace.
‘’You are fighting your tears back as always…’’ This time I lost the battle as a tear slipped down my face, my smile still glowing. It seemed he always had the right things to say when I was close to tears to make them come pouring out.
‘’It’s good to cry’’, he would tease if it was nothing serious. ‘’Crying cleanses your soul.’’
‘’You, sometimes, you are incredibly hard to fathom yet I feel like I am one with your soul, your spirit…’’
I inched towards his face, my eyes holding his gaze as my lips met his – softly, gently, wholeheartedly, feeling every space on his lips, he kissed me like his life depended on it. He always did.
That was the day I truly fell hopelessly in love with Ike.
We were spending a weekend at a resort on the outskirts of Lagos, an outing that I had declined going on for months unending.
‘’Do you remember the day we met?’’ Ike asked smiling really broadly.
‘’You had the cutest nervous smile I had ever seen’’, he continued in short fits of laughter. ‘’The more you tried to hide your embarrassment, the weirder your smile got but still it stayed on your face!’’, he finished smirking.
‘’Come on! Give me a break! I don’t want to hear it!,’’ I retorted mildly hiding my face in between the sea of white, fluffy pillows that felt like pockets of cloud, and trying to contain my laughter.
Ike and I had met in my most embarrassing incident yet and each time I remembered that incident I still wonder how we ended up here.
It was the morning of my long awaited interview. I was super excited because I felt super ready. The invitation letter I received was full of admiration at how well I had performed in my written test so I was already 60% certain I was going to land a space in this juicy company.
My tummy was giving me funny vibes that morning. I tried to do the ‘big o’ but that seemed not to be the case. Having never kept track of periods, in my excitement, it did not occur to me that the lower back and tummy pains were signature menstrual cramps. Dressed in a milk suit I had specifically bought for this interview, I was a power woman, perfectly fit for the job and my new employers would see that right from my first step into the building and the first whiff of my perfume.
It took that peculiar eye piercing feeling, the same I had felt sitting in the antique chapel at Ike’s wedding, to realize that all was not right.
‘’Were you in an accident?’’, an alarmed husky voice asked from behind as I finally stepped into the office compound. I spun around to see the most manly man I had ever met starring at me with great concern.
I wanted to be cocky but thought the best of it. ‘’What if he was on the interview board or something?’’
‘’No Sir, I’m very well, didn’t have any trouble getting here. Why are you asking? Do I look hurt?”, I asked as respectfully as I could.
‘’You are slightly covered in blood!’’, he responded seeming genuinely confused. The cream suit had exacerbated the accident.
I looked exasperated. Was this guy okay? This was supposed to be a nice, goal-getting kind of morning? What was happening?
Then it clicked; my tummy, my lower back, the stares, covered in blood…how had I missed the nagging discomfort?
‘’Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God,’’ I was already panting and sweating profusely trying to use my handbag to cover what was left of my decency. I wanted the ground to open up instantly but since that couldn’t happen I was stuck with the cute stranger who had thought my blood stained pant suit meant I had been in an accident.
I didn’t know which was more embarrassing – my stained cream pant suit, my ignorance of my own monthly cycle or the fact that this hot stranger had been the one to point it out to me.
He was here for some business he said but he was aware of the interview as he had some friends in high places, he could buy me some time.
So he made a few calls and handed me his jacket and asked that I enter his car so we could find a place to get a change of clothes and ‘’clean up’’. I felt like a 20 year old that had pooed on their clothes and was being led to the bathroom for a shower.
‘’That was the most humiliating thing that’s ever happened to me!’’ I said cringing at the memory of that day covering my face with my palms and burying my head deeper into the sheets.
We were laughing so hard by now. He kissed my neck softly and tried pulling my hands off my face.
‘’You were eventually hired so…’’, he broke off kissing my eyes, my ears, my lips, everything his lips could touch instantly.
He had pulled back from me and our eyes were glued to each other. He hadn’t said anything and I was too exhausted from something more than crying. We sat in silence hidden by the huge pillar in the antique church for what seemed like eternity and all that time I just wanted, needed to feel Ike’s lips on mine again.
But how could I ask him to? He was officially someone else’s now and was definitely being missed at the garden outside where the reception was going on.
”You’ve been away for too long”, I could barely recognize my weakened, drained voice.
‘’We are getting a divorce in three months. Please don’t let me loose you forever’’, he blurted breathlessly.
My weakened gaze turned to confusion, to shock and then to realization.
‘’What have you done?!’’The tears came pouring again.
…….to be continued.
The first seeds are often planted silently; a smile here, a gaze held for just a second longer, a brush of skin against skin, a barring of hearts and soul. As these soften the earth within, seeds sprouting and flowers blossoming in an outburst of col0urs- rich greens, bright yellows, blood reds, royal purples and blues as clear as the skies….#LoveIs like a freshly planted garden, watered and tendered by hearts, minds, bodies, souls, deeply connected and emboldened by the power of one.
-Love, The Quiet One.