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.

Tweets to @Oke4chukwu

Officer Hadiza Muhammad

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

BEFORE THE SUYA MAN

Jacinta was paying total attention to the Suya Man but she couldn’t understand anything, she couldn’t  hear a thing. He was talking, armed with his knife and file,  cutting the sizzling skewered grilled beef Uche had carefully selected. She watched as he reached for the half ball of cabbage and began to slice it, donning the dark red oily pieces of meat white. Then he picked up an onion and sliced handsomely. He would have made for fresh tomatoes but they are now priced above rubies. He fetched a spoonful of grind pepper. Uche said something to him. He sprayed half of it on the suya. He began to fold in the two layer newspapers containing the meat. Uche unlocked his hand from Jacinta’s and reached for his wallet. Her eyes didn’t leave the suya man; she shifted to his face. Dark, with wild nostrils, a big diagnol mark on the left chin. His hair was uncombed, assuredly unwashed.

“What is your name?”

He stopped working, not sure she was referring to him, really referring to him.

“Mai suna nka?” she said. Put in Hausa, there was no mistake about it. He looked up to her with black baby eyes, his face crowded with uncertainty; slowly he smiled, revealing spotless teeth, punctuated by two dimples. He told her his name. “Abdul.”  She didn’t comment on this, her attention having been seized by his eyes, those eyes!

“Did you apply eye pencil?”

“Ah ah.” He laughed.

“You really are bugging the chap.” There was a touch of irritation in Uche’s voice.

“He’s handsome,” she said.

“He’s not.” Uche collected their parcel and paid.

“Na gode,” Jacinta said.

“Toh. Sai anjima.”

They linked hands, the couple, united by the aroma of, and desire for, the suya, and left. “Should we take okada or keke?” Uche asked.

“He’s handsome,” Jacinta responded.

He sighed. They took okada home. At home, they sat on the bed, legs crossed, facing each other. The suya uncovered between them like an important map.

image

Jacinta ate very little. “I feel like being cuddled.”

Uche put the suya away and cuddled her, the way she loved most, with her on top. He caressed her hair, natural, carefully, down to her neck. “You’re soft,”  he said. “I love you.”

“I love you too, Abdul.”

Tweets to @Oke4chukwu

This piece is for Gloria, to keep a promise