You can’t sleep. You had said your prayers about an hour ago, and made to sleep when his call came in. You like him. He likes you. You talk about a lot of things– good, safe things. Like work, and plans for the weekend because it is Friday. You tell him you have a weekend meeting too, a small family party for your brothers return from the USA after ten years. You are eager to see him, but not so eager about the party. You have not been home in almost two months, so mama is equally keen on having you around. If not, you would have bailed on her, you told him. He laughed. You blushed. And after a while, he had said good night, and you had said good bye.
Fast forward to ten minutes after and all you can think of is sex. You have never done it before but you have seen people do it many times– at first, unconsciously, in late night movies; then, consciously, seeking-ly, your head filling with thoughts of naked bodies and your body brimming with delicious fire. Now is one of such moments, and you just can’t sleep. You shuffle on the bed, as you feel your loins tighten and your nipples strain; you turn and toss, refraining from touching yourself.
Your good mind tells you to pray to ward the sinful thoughts away; but your other mind, the not-so-good one, it launches you into routine without question. You seek your phone and type in the familiar key words, and you watch, curiously– bodies on bodies, bodies in bodies. Your heart races with excitement, your innards flourish with new life. You are still not touching yourself. You are just an ardent observer of something carnal. Forty minutes after, satisfied and spent, you stow your phone away; and then you begin to chant words of forgiveness as you drift into sleep. You could have conquered the devil, but you chose the easy path. Thoughts of shame wash over you anew. But you drown it with fitful snores and incessant chants– of forgiveness. It is part of the routine.
The day after
You wake up very early to make it to Mama’s house to help with preparations. Despite having helps at her service, she loves to have her kids around– more so she can show you off, than anything else. You always indulge her. She’s been nothing but a blessing in your life. When she sees you, she beckons on you with a loud cheer. You smile, you’ve certainly missed that. You kneel on both knees as you greet her and papa in the traditional Yoruba way. Even several years of study abroad and independent living would not take from you what mama spent her early years engraving in your heart– well, most of those things. She draws you into her bedroom to assess you, away from the prying eyes of the maids and their vehement smiles, and papa’s business-ready stare.
“So how have you been Oko mi? You look good, but when will you put on flesh in this your cleavage na?” she asks poking you in the Clavicles. You chuckle, and snort at the same time. Same old mama!
“Mama, I have been well. We thank God. Work is fine too, adupe. Shebi I told you about the promotion I got last week now?”
“Yes yes, Oko mi. You told me. How has it been eh? Hm. God will continue to be with you o. Shebi I told you that if you continue to listen to me, things will work out well with you? That’s what you are seeing now. It shall be well with you enh!”
“Amen mama. Amen.” you respond enthusiastically, all smiles and grins.
“Enh enh, bawo wa ni? Any show yet?”
You stare at mama wide-eyed. “Show bawo?”
“Ahn ahn. You don’t understand simple slang! Any man in the building?”
You laugh gaily. “Mama! Well, none yet o…” you respond, a little hesitantly; as thoughts of Sogo slip into your mind. Yes, you like him; and he appears to like you… but past experiences have taught you to not sow a seed where there is no promise of rain. What if he never asks you out? Better safe than sorry!
“O ti e da (that’s good news)! My friends daughters cousin is coming to today’s party. He is a fine young lad.”
You eyes bulge, echoing the “and-so-what” question on your mind. “Mama! You want to arrange marriage for me ni? Ko ti to yen now! (It has not got to that)“
“Ah! Aijafara l’ewu my dear (you must leave no stones unturned). To succeed, you must jump at opportunities as fast as you jump at conclusions! Benjamin Franklin said that.”
“Toor! I have heard you mami.”
“He is a good man, I promise you. My friend told me he has been single all this time because he is looking for a virgin girl to marry. She said “All the girls of nowadays are spoilt rotten!” Once I heard that, I laughed and told her “well, not my own daughter. Not my Omolara” and I know it is difficult finding a virgin man too, so I told her we must introduce you two.”
Your eyes lower now, at the level of confidence mama has in you. Virgin? You are not even sure if you still pass for that term. What have eyes seen that you have not? What have bodies done that you don’t have engraved in your head? And marry a virgin man? Maybe not… you want skill, experience… You ask God for forgiveness, again.
“Oko mi, I hope you have not done anything to disappoint me? Is it still there?” mama asks, worry etched on her face.
You force a smile. “Yes mama. See, me I want to eat, I left the house without breakfast. What’s available?” you quickly change the topic before she notices how fast you mood has dipped.
“Oshey Oko mi. I asked them to make breakfast for you already…” So you both head to the living room to join papa while you eat, and gather some fresh air to regain your lost momentum.
© The Short Black Girl, 2016.