The August Lover

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?”

“The Mortuary.”

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.

“As adults?”

“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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The Police Woman I Love

I was arrested on a fine Saturday morning. The sun was shining without malice and the beautiful pattern its reflection through the window made on my floor made me think of love and tomorrow. I sighed and turned another side. I was prepared to spend the whole of today on bed, to be interrupted only for the bathroom, for breakfast, for lunch and for dinner.

It wasn’t to be. A knock landed on the door. I suppressed a hiss as I got down the bed. The earlier I got to the door and dismissed the disturbant, the better for my bones spread on the bed like suya.

I opened the door and my heart stopped beating at the sight of a policewoman. I noticed first her black uniform, then a beautiful face with small red lips and brown soft eyes. I looked downward, taking her breasts, flat tummy, and pistol and a pair of handcuffs in either hip in one swift gaze.

‘Good morning,’ I said in a small voice I didn’t recognise; I swallowed an invisible lump to strengthen my voice.

‘Good morning,’ she said. Beautiful voice; the kind of voice that was set on the cusp between a mild cough and a sing-song vibration.

I glanced at the nameplate on her chest. Gloria or something. I wasn’t sure. I didn’t look to confirm because I didn’t want her to think I was looking at her sizable breasts. I am that kind of man who would not want any woman to think I am looking at her breasts, even though I would love to stare but have no intention, as yet, of looking.

‘You are under arrest,’ she said. This was the first time I was being arrested and I almost smiled. She continued talking: ‘You have your rights. The most crucial one being the right to remain silent, because anything you say now might be on record and used against you during the trial.’ She spoke like a kindly matron announcing a lunch of eba and ora soup. ‘Dress up.’

I turned and she followed me in. ‘May I?’ I asked looking towards the bathroom.

‘Hurry up.’

In a few minutes, I was done with bathing. When I came out, I saw her standing near my wardrobe door holding my only suit in her hands. ‘Wear this,’ she said. It was not an order; it wasn’t a suggestion. I obeyed. She walked a little away from the wardrobe and turned her back on me so I could dress up. Nice ass, I noticed. I tried not to stare. I am not the type of man who would stare at the bottom of an officer of the law sent to arrest me; no, I am not.

‘I am done,’ I said, knotting the tie.

‘Good,’ she said, almost appreciatively. ‘Stretch your hands’; she brought out the handcuffs from her hip, solid, shapely hip, and proceeded to handcuff me. Her fingers on my flesh felt warm, tender and reassuring.

The room was silent, save for the soft, sweet hum of her breath. Her hair not fully covered by her beret, a kissing distance from my face, smelt nice. If she hadn’t just cuffed my wrist, I might have reached out and hugged her. She had that kind of effect on people/criminal. But I am not the type of criminal to reach out and hug my arrester. I am not even a criminal, although, with cute officers like this, I would seriously consider towing the craggy lines of felony.

We walked out of the room. I locked the door then she led me away, her hand on my elbow.

My neighbours gapped through their windows, I could feel their eyes, whitewashed with gossip, on my back. But I wasn’t ashamed. The grace and beauty of the woman police shone through the shame of being handcuffed.

We stopped at her car parked in front of our gate. A clean white saloon marked Police, crowned with a red and blue lightbar. She led me to the passenger’s side, opened the door and watched me slide in. She shut the door, rounded the car to the driver’s side, opened it, got in and filled the car with allurement.

She started the ignition and the engine leapt to life and one of my sweetest rides ever began. I didn’t know where she was driving to, but I didn’t care. I didn’t want the ride to end. She was probably driving to Enugu State Police Command but I wouldn’t mind her driving as far as the Zone Nine Police Headquarters in Umuahia. Anywhere, as long as I remained in the pool of her elegance. To my dismay, the drive ended in just under twenty minutes.

We stopped before a court building that was painted white with flowers by the door. Enugu State Conjugal Affairs Court, read the inscription on the wall. Otherwise, it would have passed for a church of a congregation who cared for both body and soul. She got down and opened my door for me. I stepped down with disguised reluctance.

Arm-in-arm she led me up the steps into the court. The court was half-filled already with my friends and relation. My parents, my eldest sister, my brother were there; Oge, Ifeoma, Muyima and Choice too. My heart stopped beating. I sensed a whiff a heart attack in the air. Fresh air suddenly became sparse and I could hardly breathe. This was the ultimate disgrace.

I walked with plastic legs between the rows. The judge, a stern man in an enormous robe, was already waiting. The policewoman put me in the witness box and removed the handcuffs; she stood by me. I caressed my wrist with a pinch of gratitude.

‘What is your name?’ the judge spoke. His voice sounded like thunder; it reminded me of the voice of Amadioha in Nollywood.

I told the judge my name.

‘Mr Okechukwu, you are accused of being lonely and in need of a soulmate. Guilty or not guilty.’

‘Guilty sir,’ I replied. Very guilty.

The judge continued, ‘I hereby sentence you to life under the care of Sergeant Gloria Aaron, to love and behold till death do you part.’

‘I graciously accept the sentence,’ I said.

The audience clapped.

The judge hit his gavel on his desk. ‘You may kiss the bride.’ I faced the policewoman I loved. She smiled. Her teeth was white, the colour of the inside of coconut. I reached for her…

‘Talk to me! Why are you not saying anything! What kind of thing is this?’

I opened my eyes. I was lying on my bed. The shouting was from my phone. My earphone was in the phone which meant that any call I got was connected automatically. So the call was answered and someone was shouting on the other end of the line. I picked up my phone. The caller was the civilian I loved. A beautiful girl with a short fuse who would follow most ‘I love you’s’ with a fight if the intonation or stress were misplaced.

‘Talk to me,’ she screamed.

‘I can’t talk,’ I screamed back. ‘I am in police custody right now. Later.’

I ended the call, switched off the phone and close my eyes, to return to dreamland where the police woman I loved stood, waiting for the kiss that seals unions.

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Officer Hadiza Muhammad

Note That this image is only for inscription purpose. Nothing else. Don’t let the devil use thee.