My first strand of grey. Rita stood by the window and read aloud Tosin Igeleke’s ‘My first strand of grey hair’. A poem that had left indelible prints in her heart for days. She walked back to the hairy soft sofa, counting her feet. She ran her palms across the sofa then filled a corner of it with her oval tooshie.
A minute later, she walked into her room. She stood in front of the mirror to look for how much change the last thirty minutes had accrued on her. There was something. She smiled then pushed her fingers through her cornrows. My first strand of grey. She said. Held the tiny strand of grey for a moment then a beautiful array of tears slid down. The colour of her skin transformed from a soft yellow to a reddish brown. She wore the face of a sculpture carved with steel; haggard and stern, yet a beauty irresistible as a punctured sky loomed.
She heard a car horn and the sound of the gate falling apart. It was her father. She wiped the tears that formed stacks of beautiful lanes, then scurried to open the front door and ran back to her room.
Moments later, her dad knocked on her door then turned the knob. “Rita. Rita. You left the front door opened.”
She raised her head and handed him a sleepy look then a nod.
“Anyway I met with father Vincent. You are scheduled for Friday.” He left the room, then walked back in. “I am going out again”. He said
When the gate creaked again and humming of engine disappeared into the distance, she walked back to the sitting room. She pressed her face against the iron bars in the window and fell into thoughts. A new life. Commitment. Faithfulness. Emotions. Sex. She had dealt with all these for 28years, but the thoughts were all fresh now. A juvenile curiosity rained and she was all wet.
Mohammed came out from his little room and she felt a push. A poignant smell. Garlic. She couldn’t stand it. She walked back and collapsed on the sofa. She turned on the Dstv. The picture of two groping white lips came to life. A little break and the kiss burgeoned like an omelette, until the sofa was too hairy and warm for Rita to sit on. She stood and moved to the window again, then pushed her forehead through the iron bars. Just then, soft, steamy voices fell into her ears. Moans. The moans beckoned. A compromise loomed, like a potent talisman.
A kiss behind a screen some days ago was the least of her worries. It would never appeal to her emotions. But everything right now has amplified. Every single one of her emotions.
She walked back to the sofa and let loose of her fortress. The thoughts poured in like a compromised floodgate.
“A kiss before this journey isn’t that much of a bad idea. At least the emotional know-how”. The thoughts settled on her head like a pitfall in a ghost town.
She stood again, walked around the sitting room, then drew her feet towards the window again. Mohammed was lying bare chested on his little mat, exposing a megear forest of pale hairs.
” Mohammed!” Her voice tore through the window; soft and cold. But it had vaporized into the breezy weather before it got to him.
“Mohammed!” She cracked her voice and called again
“Anti!” This time he heard. He cruised to his feet and yielded to her beckoning.
“Come inside”. She said when he got to the window.
She stood like a river. A stagnant river, while he dipped himself into the house. Her eyes glued to the cap that sat on his head. She couldn’t tell the colour, nor the shape. But she could tell the smell. It smelled like the pieces of her broken fortress. For the first time Mohammed didn’t smell of garlic.
“Anti I don com”. She crawled towards him in splendour, robed in her fear. A surge of bravery rolled over her, like an avalanche, when she got to him. She sank into his mouth, the den of garlic, and he stood there full of life and drowned in oblivion. Her senses leaked into his mouth and wandered. There was nothing Olympian. She came out then ran her fingers across her lips.
” Anti!” Mohammed called her, almost in a whisper, looking spellbound, like a wind fed with a venom.
“My first kiss!” She whispered. Her fingers still on her lips. Her eyes sank through the wall and she was there looking at her soul wandering in front of a peeled, darkened, smelly mouth. A smile seeped through Mohammed’s face. She looked at him. A sourness flushed her mouth. The smell of garlic was right in her bowels.
“Go!” She screamed at the top of her voice. He vanished through the door. She scurried into her room and collapsed onto her bed. She felt no grief. No excitement. No thoughts. Just tabula rasa.
Four days later, she was seated beside a nun inside a car, on her way to the monastery. She would become a nun. She had picked up her broken fortress. The juvenile curiosity had found the way back. But the kiss, tasteless, aromatized with garlic, still sat on her lips.
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