Last August, I published The August Meeting; the August before, it was The August Proposal. Now, this.
The rain fell on the roof with steel, impatience and rage. For three hours the rain fell with torrents of urgency and a whiff of destruction. It was Saturday; Yvonne should be sleeping like she normally did during weekend rainfalls. But it wasn’t a normal Saturday for her, it was still less than a week since Nosa sent her that cruel break-up text. Her sleep was full of breakups, heartbreak and Nosa. So she chose to remain awake and sleep only when she had to.
She had her nose on a burglary railing on the window watching as the water bashed the roofs, houses and the earth, covered the street with thick brown water, watching as the water level continued its ambitious rise.
The rain, like everything she came across or happened to her these days, reminded her of Nosa. No matter how hard and ambitious the rain fell, it would stop, and the earth would get rid of the water within hours. That was what it felt like loving a dog like Nosa. Yes, he was a dog, must be a dog, only a dog could send you this breakup message: “See, I never loved you. I tried my best but you are not just the one for me. I feel wasted having spent this past one and half year with you. Good luck.” It took Yvonne two days of tears and starvation and torture and nightmares to make sense of this. She had now come to terms with the message but
It took Yvonne two days of tears and starvation and torture and nightmares to make sense of this. She had now come to terms with the message but her ego was still in shreds: like a broken mirror, you cannot possibly gather the whole pieces and patch them back to shape; you might try but the scars remain, forever.
Yvonne left the window and walked the short passage, past the curtain into her room. The room was in semi-darkness but her legs, already used to the room, found their way. She sat down on the bed. The bed reminded her of Nosa; he had been on this bed with her, by her, under her, on top of her, inside her. She stood up. She reached for her phone on the fridge. This, too, reminded her of Nosa; she had spoken to him with this phone, teased him, laughed with him, shouted at him, texted him, cursed him; loved him. She dropped the phone and walked back to the window to watch the rain.
This time, the rain fell from her eyes as well. She bit her lips and fought the rain from within but it was futile; it was like trying to stop a falling tree by wedging its shadow. She was so consumed with the tears that she didn’t hear the knock on the door. She only became conscious of her environment when she heard the door opening. She quickly damped her eyes with the sleeves of her gown and made a sharp work of arranging her dishevelled braids. It must be one of her close neighbours, Uju or Joyce, checking on her. She was grateful it was dark and they wouldn’t tell she had been crying. She entered the room.
The first thing she noticed was that the visitor wasn’t Joyce or Uju, wasn’t even someone she knew. Second was his height and the feeling of dominance and masculinity around him. Now she wished there was enough light to look, to study and to explore the hunk of flesh before her. Then he spoke and his voice vibrated in the room and hung on the air. It was a bold, musical, baritone that soothed the heart and knocked the knees. “It’s raining heavily and I thought I could come shelter here for a while,” he said. She said nothing. “Silence, consent?” he added.
Welcome, she made to say but the lump in her throat. She stealthily cleared her throat. “Sit down.” She turned away, walked rather briskly to through the passage to the kitchen. She came back to the room with a battery lamp that she placed on the fridge. He was still standing. She looked at his face. V-shaped, fair, soft lips, arresting eyes, thin sideboards and rich beards. She looked away, shy. She sat on the bed. “I’m Yvonne.”
“You are beautiful.”
Thank you, but she failed to say it aloud. Electricity on spine.
“I’m Barry,” he said.
“Nice name.” She stole a look at his lips, those lips. Shivers.
“It’s not actually my name. It’s short for barrister.”
“You’re a lawyer?” She was impressed. She looked at his chest, what the tight polo he was wearing did to his chest did a lot to her stomach.
“I’m not a lawyer. I left the university in my third year.”
“You’re a soldier then.”
He smiled. Amber white teeth. “Why should I be a soldier?”
“You have been standing there for ever.”
He chuckled. Music. “You are a beautiful liar.”
Electricity on spine. Butterflies in the stomach. “What’s your real name?” she said.
“Call me Barry.”
“Why did you leave the university.”
“I didn’t leave. I was taken away.”
“How? By whom?”
“A car hit me.”
Needle in the heart. “I’m sorry to hear that.”
“It’s okay, it was a long time ago.”
“How old are you?” She knew. He was twenty-nine or thirty, three or four years older than she.
“You know my age.” He winked. “You have beer?” he shifted his gaze to the fridge.
“Erm… No… Er… My boyfriend–ex-boyfriend–drank the last one.” Trembling voice.
“You are single then?”
She said a happy yes.
“Shame. He doesn’t know what he’s lost.”
“He’s a fool.” She rose to her feet. “Let me serve you Fayrouz.” She opened the fridge. Weakness in the knees. Fire in the stomach.
“Don’t worry. The weather is too cold for that.” He placed a warm palm on her wrist, as though to affirm the point. Tiny flood of current ran through her body.
“Why don’t you sit down?” She pointed to the only chair in the room. He led her to the bed and they sat down. The feel of his body cured a large amount of her heartache.
The rain hammered on the roof. Her heart hammered on her chest.
“Where were you heading to before the rain began?”
To do what? But she didn’t ask out. She was just grateful to have him here. Her bra straps were burning her shoulders.
Silence in the room, storm outside.
“As teenagers, we used to tag this kind of rain ‘weather for two’,” she said.
“We place our head on his lap,” and she placed her head on his lap. He placed that warm palm on her neck and she sighed with excitement, then he caressed down her collar and up the mould of her breast, and she died a little.
Yvonne always said that everyone has a human machine in them, separated from them but a part of them. This machine takes over when there are important jobs needed to be done but the body is lacking in requisite energy; the spare body takes over the job while the body was subconsciously detached, do the jobs and let the normal body take the glory. Yvonne believed this, but she never really experienced it, before today.
Today, Barry’s touch, like the tap of a switch started the madness. Her body got crushed by sensations and pleasure, gave way and her machine body took over. It was her second body which tore off her clothes and attacked him and got entangled in a match of passion, sweat and joy. Her real body just lay back and suck the orgasmic delight.
Rain fell on the earth. Hurricane happened on the bed.
“You are sent from heaven,” she said after the insane pleasure and she was now in possession of her body.
“I was passing by, saw your outrageous beauty and I couldn’t resist having you.” He was dressing up.
“Why don’t you stay some more.” Her voice shook with untamed desire.
“It’s no longer raining. I need to get home.”
“You said you were going to the mortuary.”
“I live there.”
Yvonne was confused. “You work in a mortuary?”
He said nothing, wearing his jeans and polo silently. Done dressing, he said: “I live there. It’s my home.”
She searched his face. He was teasing. Was he?
“How can you, a barrister, work in a mortuary?” She just couldn’t bring herself to say he lived there.
“I am not a barrister,” he said. “I was hit with a car in my third year.”
“Why didn’t you continue when you left the hospital?”
“I didn’t leave the hospital. I died.”
The walls began to close in on her; her world took a sharp twist 180 degrees towards nowhere. She fought to repossess her voice. “You ar-are a-a d-dead person?”
He smiled, blew her a kiss, turned and walked through the door without opening it, just past through it as though the door was a transparent nothingness. He was gone from her, for good. An emptiness filled her, consumed her and mocked her. She was out of herself, floating in her emptiness, shock and disbelief. Then reality hit her and she fell on its mat of rude consciousness. She began to scream.
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