“If two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?” – Ecclesiastes 4:11
That portion of Scripture jogs through my mind as the rains exhibit relentlessness on this particular night. My nostrils are reeling from the effect of the weather already. I have since concluded that the August Break is a climatic illusion. And no, there is no bodily heat to gain respite from. Cups of tea and old pictures of her are all I have for the long dark hours, craving for those evenings when our lips shared the fate of cakes and Bible pages did the bidding of the wind.
Our respective morning schedules have always been unkind to our yearnings for each other, so she would usually step in on such and such evening. The hugs are long and convey much, and I wouldn’t even get to properly secure the locks before taking her lips into mine, treating them like an ice cream cone which I don’t want to finish up hurriedly. I would usually whisper “I missed you” while I did that, and those words were true; the bulge at the front end of the trousers doesn’t lie. The art of unhooking the slips has taken time for me to perfect, but I’m fairly good at it now, and in no time my palms would cup those round mounds of flesh before I would then proceed to subject them to the role of oranges. All that obstructive fabric of ours would quickly find themselves in far-flung regions of the room, and after tickling those moist lower reaches with my tongue, I would get to some zealous thrusts whose fluctuating pace regulates her breathing and lessens the coherence in her speech, until my little friend Schaft von Straffenberg spews out some phlegm and ejects the lust out of me. It’s not always a thrust-a-moan-a-squirt-a-thon, but that would probably be because we both get to have long days, and besides, that’s not all that we are about, no, it’s not even the mainstay of what we do.
“Yea we were dying of frustration
Saying ‘Lord lead me not into temptation’
But it’s never easy when she turns you on
And all your defences far away gone.”
It was not always about swimming in the sheets though. We would talk about our busy days, our nasty colleagues, our pending tasks, even our faith, and I revelled in teasing her for being a “Mummy’s girl”. At such times I would wish I had studied a science-inclined discipline so I could help her with school, but all I can do is be the listening ear and do the “everything will be fine” cuddle. She would ask why my heart beat so fast when she placed her head there, and I would say that she was the reason for the skipped beats and fluctuations. She would express fears about my heart being too slippery and my reputation for being unserious, and I would hold her close, saying she had given me a reason to change and stop thinking for just myself.
I would tell her not to worry about trying to get a flat stomach, as I loved her just the way she was. It was true when I said I loved her body, just as it was also true that slender frames had never been my top choice. She would draw closer and breathily ask “Baby, why me?”,and after giving a low-volume sermon on how we can’t help it when it comes to who we fall for, I would link my fingers with hers and extol her qualities, adding that I wanted to be with a friend. A kiss on her forehead and a short stroking of the hair were the answers when she expressed doubts as to the sincerity of my affirmations, doubts I never blamed her for: there is the widely held belief that people in my line of profession have their ways with words.
On such nights, a lot would usually sail through my thoughts as she placed her head on her favourite part of my chest. I would think about my budding career, the chilly water with which we had taken a joint bath, family expectations, the values which had given way to desire over the years, the overflowing mercy of The Creator, and then (extensively) about the one whose short deep breaths sent warmth through my soul. She didn’t care about the wallet or the physique, my one round pack being just fine with her. I loved how she was focused, I loved how she was (relatively) decent, I loved the fact that she attached importance to her faith, and I loved the fact that she was a big fan of my work.
There was the thrill which came from groping for each other in the dark, there was that motherly care she loved to lavish on me, and while I was more than comfortable with the name her mother had given to her, I chose to refer to her as “Idongesit”. There was more to that name than just those four syllables. For me, Idongesit was not just a name. It was a feeling, a state of mind, a sensation. Its meaning said it all: Comfort, Convenience, Warmth. And this lady from Afang and Edika-ikong country meant all that to me, even more. There was no way to find out whether we would ever take that stroll or whether I would be the one to increase the weight on her fingers, but at least I had a more appropriate and less awkward response if she ever faced me with the “what are we?” question. Nothing else mattered when we leaned into each other. My mattress was the only world I knew, and we were the only ones who existed in it……..
But she is not here with me tonight. She gives breath to these sheets, and without her they are what they are: lifeless! The next couple of hours, as if they are not ungodly enough, will be fraught with tossing, sneezing, shivering and yearning. If the longing doesn’t kill me before dawn, then maybe nothing will. We have exchanged four sets of text messages already, but the mental images of her as she closes her eyes and takes me in just go on to make me lonelier. I guess I will just grab my Bible and try to digest a few verses, knowing that I will probably doze off before letter becomes spirit. I will wake to a sugary text message, and that “have a great day Baby” call is going to come in, but the warmth that comes from all that pales in comparison to what I feel when I open my eyes to a new day, Idongesit lying next to me.
“Don’t say a word, just come over and lie here with me
‘Cause I’m about to set fire on everything I see
I want you so badly, I’ll go back on the things I believe
There I just said it, I’m scared you’ll forget about me.”