“When had it gotten like this?”
Tola’s laugh was bitter. If someone had ever said… There was that laugh again. Bitter and shallow. The gin burned down Tola’s throat. It hadn’t always been like this. There was a time when things had been better…
They had met in college. Theirs was a match made in heaven. Two beautiful people; everyone said they would have such beautiful kids. If they got married. They smiled any time they heard these stories. They kept to themselves though. People were always trying to figure them out. There were no public displays of affection, except the occasional holding of hands; that knowing smile that they smiled to each other that no one could ever understand but them.
Tola was a second year Finance student. Sam was a “fresher”, had just entered to study Law. Definitely a smart cookie. They both had a wonderful future planned ahead for themselves. Tola – an MBA, maybe an MSc, who knew? The possibilities were endless. Sam wanted to work in Kramer & Kramer, the biggest law firm in town. Then perhaps, a private practice… again, who knew? They had so many options.
It was at the orientation program for new students. She was standing in a corner, surveying the crowd, and sipping on a glass of over-diluted fruit juice. She was a go-getter. Or is that what they called them? Anyway, she knew what she wanted and she went for it. Always. And when she saw him, she knew he was what she wanted. She walked up to him.
He turned around. He was much more handsome up close. He had smooth hands, manicured fingernails. His face was chiseled, almost to perfection. He had a strong jaw, and his eyes.. “God!!! His eyes…” They were dark, unlike anything she had ever seen. They were swirling pools of darkness, one could easily get lost in them.
“Hi,” he replied.
His voice was a perfect combination of melodies. She felt like someone was pouring warm honey over her insides. It was deep, but gentle. Caressing her to the tips of her very toes. He made her hair stand on end.
She collected her thoughts. He was talking to her, but she had been lost somewhere between his dark eyes and his melodious baritone.
“- behind the science building.”
“I’m sorry, what??”
“Have you heard anything I said at all?”
“Umm.. no, sorry. I was… distracted.”
“Hmm…” He nodded. The girl standing beside him wasn’t pretty. You couldn’t exactly call her that. She wasn’t ugly either. Far from it. She was…. striking. She had…. what did they call it…. charisma? An aura? Whatever it was, she definitely had it in excess. He had seen her from across the room, when she was drinking that colored water thingy from the serving table. He shook his head; who drank that thing anyway? She was a bit round. With really fleshy cheeks. He had always liked his women slim and tall, but this girl…. Her hair was natural, no weaves, wigs or whatever it was that ladies wore nowadays. She had a fine bone structure that wasn’t hidden by her “baby fat”. She was slightly taller than him, which made her quite tall, seeing as he was 5’10. Her mouth was wide and surrounded by full, sensual lips. And her curves were like something out of a Victoria’s Secret catalog. Her nose was small and cute. He could already picture himself pecking it and calling her “Button.”
“Whoa, whoa whoa!!!! Pull the brakes, buddy! You don’t even know her name,” he thought to himself. “And you’re already kissing her lips and giving her pet names?”
They sized each other up. There was so much chemistry, you could practically see the molecules flying between them. They managed to have a decent conversation without anyone making a fool out of themselves. At least they had learned each other’s names now. They had even shared a few laughs together. The program ended and it was time to go.
“So, what hostel are you in?” he asked her.
“Enugu hostel. You?”
“Kano. Can I walk you to your hostel? It’s dark and you never know what lurks in the darkness..”
“Hahaha!!! I’m pretty sure I can hold my own. But I would love for you to walk with me.”
They walked in comfortable silence for a while. “I would love to see you again,” he said as they approached her hostel.
She stopped and he stopped and faced her. “Look, it’s been a wonderful night, but I don’t think we should see each other like that.”
“Oh, no! I didn’t.. I mean, not if you don’t.. that is…” he was babbling like a thirteen year old teenager that just met their crush for the first time. He regrouped.
“Listen, not like that. Just to hang out is what I meant.” He finished lamely.
She smiled. “OK, then. In that case, I would love to hang out with you.”
“OK, goodnight?” he said, lingering for perhaps a second too long.
They stared at each other. Her lips seemed to be calling out to him. He inched closer to her. She leaned in and closed her eyes…
to be continued…