“Did you hear what I said?” her soft voice came from the other end of the line.
I wanted to scream with excitement for her. I wanted to yell: Oh my God! There’s a guy! and hear her giggle in agreement. But instead I said, “Yes, I heard you. You have feelings for Kelvin.” The same Kelvin that had just told me about his feelings for me. Not Abigail. Me. I was not sure how she would react if she found out but I decided never to let Abigail know. What she didn’t know couldn’t hurt her.
That decided, I shrugged off the stray thoughts and tried to sound happy. “Now I know why you’re always excited about rehearsals,” I teased. She giggled.
She then went on and on about how he makes her laugh and how they had become fast friends since the very hasty introduction I had given them. I smiled as I listened. I had not heard Abigail so excited about a guy in a long while. If only Kelvin knew, maybe he would move on from whatever feelings he thought he had for me and see what was right in front of him.
September ran by. Literally. Maybe because I was nervous about going back to school for my final year. I knew what awaited me and so I had begun work on my project during my stay at home. It wasn’t easy though. The laziness that often comes with the holidays was expected, but I hadn’t expected the distraction from the menfolk. Men ehn, they can sweet-talk a girl in rags and still make her blush. It’s like they were genetically programmed to make our knees weak.
Even though the chapter with Kelvin had passed, there were some awkward moments. Like the time we tried to find our way home after a late night performance at Sheraton and he held my hand throughout his interchange with cab men. Sometimes I wondered where he placed Abigail. I could see her desperate efforts to make him smile in every word she said to him, every action she took. But there were times when he gave me a hug and casually patted her on the back. I tried not to move ahead of myself; Kelvin was freer with me, that’s all. After all he had said he would kill the feelings. A month had passed since that night and since he never spoke about it again, I was sure he had let it go.
There was Nuel, the hot bad boy whose eye I had caught after a salsa performance. In the excitement of the night, I had given him my digits. How stupid I had been. I don’t know which is more annoying, his fetish love for his body or his incessant use of curse words.
Then there was Femi. The weird one. Why I had given him my number that hot afternoon in the market, I will never know. He was a fitness enthusiast and convinced me to go running with him one Saturday morning. We met at Millennium Park and ran round until I was gasping for air. After resting, he took my hands in his and said. “Meditate with me.”
“Huh?” My tone was mocking.
“Close your eyes, it’s a relaxing technique. Trust me.”
I side-eyed him for another full minute, then closed them.
“I want you to meditate on poverty in the world.”
It took a great deal of effort not to laugh in his face. I was thinking how best to extricate myself when I felt his hot breath on my face. My eyes opened in time to find his face barely inches away from mine, lips puckered. I slapped him so hard I hurt my hand.
When I told him the story, Kelvin laughed so hard he almost fell off his bed. “I bet the kiss would have taken away his own poverty,” he mocked me. I was too embarrassed to laugh over it. I felt stupid for not seeing it coming. Kelvin noticed my demeanour and stopped laughing.
“Come on,” he tried to pacify me, “it’s one of those things. It’s not like it’s the first time. You must be used to these things.” I lowered my gaze. How could I tell him I had never been physically attracted to, or been intimate with a guy? I looked up at him after a while and the astounded look on my face said it all.
“Wait, you’ve never been kissed before?!”
I shook my head. His gaze, fixed on mine, widened. Uh oh! I felt another awkward moment coming so I tried to lighten the mood. “What’s the big deal sef? Don’t rub it in my face joor. Expert.”
Kelvin smiled absent mindedly, as if he hadn’t even heard my attempt at a joke. He leaned closer and asked in a feather soft voice, “What would you do if I kissed you right now?”
To be continued…
Written by Keren-Happuch Odinenu