Amara lay on a mat under a tree with an old copy of True Love magazine resting on her stomach. She thought about Hassan and could not imagine him being friends with Masai—The two were like night and day. While Masai was a loner, Hassan had the aura of a man born to excel, belong and be accepted. She imagined him walking into a room of strangers in a party and fascinate them into surrounding him, listen to what he said and loving the way he said it. Later, he would be spotted in a corner chatting up a lady in a white silky blouse and black mini, holding a glass of wine. She would be laughing at his jokes and hitting him playfully, relishing his dry sense of humour. He was the kind of guy every girl knew he would break their heart, but would still drop their knickers if he so much as looked at them.
A bird building a nest flew back to the tree with a grass on its tiny beak. She imagined it going through life never worrying about love and she wished she could come back as a bird in her next life, fly to the field to pluck grass and build a nest for herself and her nestlings, never worrying about love. She felt guilty that she was having these feelings about Hassan. What would Masai think if he knew what was going on in her head? She cocked her head to the side. Did she not know what Masai would do if he knew she was thinking about another man? She wouldn’t know because Masai did not wear his heart on his sleeve. When he looked at her his eyes told her that she mattered to him but not that he was afraid to lose her. She needed to get him to open up more and talk about his feelings. Particularly, his feelings for her. She needed to know where she stood in his life.
Thoughts about Hassan faded when she remembered how in Masai’s presence she felt safe. Like she would get away with anything because he wouldn’t let anything bad happen to her. She also remembered how weak her knees were when he touched her the other day before her father showed up and spoilt the moment, how his strong hands were gentle on her skin and how she had an adrenaline rush when he kissed her. She shifted on the mat; thinking about him made her horny. She ran her her hands on her thighs and stopped immediately when the flying bird reminded her that she was outside. She stood and walked into the house. In the living room, her mother was watching a Nigerian movie characterised by actresses with annoying high pitched voices.
“I will be going out in a bit,” Amara said. She looked away when her mother glanced at her, afraid she would see right through her and know that by out, she meant going to see Masai.
“You look tensed.”
“Who? Me? I am not tensed.”
Her mother shifted her attention back to the TV.
“Does it mean you are okay if I go?”
“Have I ever stopped you from going wherever you want to go? As long as you remember to be here before sunset, it’s fine by me.”
She showered and dressed up in a sleeveless white blouse, black jeans and flat shoes. When she walked past her mother in the living room, she was afraid she would see how her ass hung out of her jeans and change her mind about letting her go. Amara, from the corner of her eyes, watched her mother’s eyes follow her as she approached the door and she sighed with relief when she did not call her back. She flagged down a motorcycle guy on the road and when she told him to drop her at Masai’s place, he turned to look at her as if to ask if she was sure. As if he could not comprehend what a gorgeous woman like her could possibly be having with Masai.
“Are you his relative?” The motorcycle fellow asked when she alighted but she ignored him. Though his question came out marinated in innocence, she saw right through it. He only wanted her to confirm what he already suspected so he could go spread rumours with authority. She paid him and walked away without a word. At the gate, she turned and their eyes met, he was waiting to see her walk right through the wooden gate but out of embarrassment of being caught snooping, he sped off.
Masai was feeding Maua—one of his two cows. He loved Maua because unlike Anna, which he was contemplating selling, she gave him a lot of milk. He knelt as he cut the nappier grass into tiny pieces and Maua— brown skinned with white dotted spots— stood patiently beside him. Maua was always clean Amara suspected Masai gave her a bath every morning and she even teased him about it once, and he did not entirely dismiss that theory. He stood when he saw her, tapped Anna on the back and as she begun eating, he turned around and walked towards Amara. Her eyes lightened up when he removed his soiled vest and tossed it aside, flaunting his muscled chest.
“Nice surprise, beautiful.” He hugged her.
She smiled and silently pressed her breasts against his chest. She made sure her eyes were as provocative as possible when they looked each other in the eye, hoping he would understand she needed action first. Holding hands, they walked into the house and he led her into the bedroom and wasted no time in stripping her down. He had seen few things if any, that compared to her naked body. Hers did not look like it was moulded, it was sculptured carefully to ensure all the curves were right where they needed to be. She saw his excitement and stepped closer to kiss him on the neck. He got a hard on so hard if it was an exam, many would fail. She teasingly ran her nails on his bare back, pulled away from the kiss and shoved him on the bed. He landed on his back.
Moments later, they lay side by side, chatting and laughing and saying how amazing the sex was. They then lay in silence before she turned to kiss him on the lips, “I need to go,” she whispered. He pulled her into him and whispered back, “Let’s get married!” She laughed and pulled away and climbed out of bed. She put on her bra and walked to him to clasp it for her. He sat up straight in bed and watched her dress up, wondering what he did to deserve her. Men like him were only supposed to be with women like her in their dreams. He feared one day she would wake up and leave him.
“What’s going on in your mind?” she asked.
Someone knocked on the door before he could respond. “I hope it’s not your father.” He said and pulled on his shorts. Amara laughed and they both went to check—it was Hassan. He looked surprised to see them both and it took him a while to offer his greetings. The air between them was not that of two great friends. It was awkward the way they looked at each other and even though he smiled, Amara noticed that Masai wasn’t excited to see him.
When he stretched his hand to greet Hassan’s it was with great reluctance. “Nice to see you, bro,” he said.
Hassan stole a quick glance at Amara and looked back at Masai. If she didn’t know any better she would say he was avoiding her eyes or pretending they had not met before. Like he wasn’t the one who offered her a ride and even asked her out. But on sensing the tension between the two gentlemen, she figured maybe it was because Hassan did not want Masai to know they had already met.
“I didn’t know you were around,” Masai asked.
“You didn’t know?” Amara was shocked. The two turned to look at her and she quickly added, “Never mind me, you two carry on.”
“W-well, I am. I should have come sooner to check on you but I was a little bit busy. Anyway, how are you doing? And who is this gorgeous lady over here?” he turned to Amara, looking at her in that manner that begged her to go along with his act.
“My name is Amara.”
“Nice to meet you, Amara. Masai here is my good friend.” He turned to Masai,” Please tell me this is my in-law.”
“Why are you here, Hassan?”
“I now need permission to come and see you? Come on, man.”
“Forgive my manners,” Masai said with a strained politeness. ” But now is not a good time, I hope you don’t mind.”
“Of course, I won’t.” Hassan did not sound or look disappointed. Or offended. He promised to call him later so they could catch up, shook Amara’s hand again and walked away. They watched him walk to his car and Amara sort of hoped he would turn but he kept walking, got into his car and drove off.
When the car was out of sight, they walked into the house and Amara asked Masai what that was all about.
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
His head was thrust back against the coach and eyes closed. Amara knew he had heard her the first time but she repeated her question anyway.
He went into the bedroom, came out with an old photo and gave it to Amara. It was a photo of him and a girl. The slender dark-skinned girl with a hopeful smile sat on Masai’s laps with her right arm wrapped around his neck. Her gaze was on Masai but Masai must have been staring at the cameraman when the shot was taken, so it looked like he was avoiding her her eyes. As old as the photo was with its rear side turning yellowish, it still reeked of innocent and pure love. The glitter in Masai’s eyes, the same as the one in his eyes when he invited her for dinner, made the photo gold. Amara stared at the photo for a long time, involuntary removing the girl from the photo and taking her place in his laps. She looked up and gazed at Masai, he had buried his face in his hands.
“Was she your girlfriend?”
“What happened? Because I suppose things did not work out eventually for you, am I right?”
“Yeah, Hassan happened.”
She begged him with his eyes to tell her what happened and he did, narrating the story of his naive love for Jane who was gorgeous people did not understand what she saw in him. “Just like no one understands why you see in me,” he said with a shrug. “We were together for years and then one day she told me she was pregnant. I was happy, but there was sadness in her eyes. I asked her what was wrong and she said she wasn’t sure why I was happy.”
“She was not happy that you were happy?”
“No. She did not understand why I was happy yet there was no way I could have been responsible for her pregnancy.”
Amara looked at him with narrowed eyes.
“We were saving ourselves for marriage,” he continued, “So all that time we were dating the only intimate thing that happened was a kiss and she was sure a kiss couldn’t get her pregnant.” He stopped and laughed. A short laugh. “I was so elated about the prospect of being a father that this fact eluded me at that moment.”
“I am so sorry, sweetheart, so who was responsible for her pregnancy?”
“Like I said, Hassan happened. It hurt more that he went ahead and married her.”
“Hassan is married?”
He threw her a confused look.
Slight changes, the series will be coming your way every Tuesday. Don’t forget to subscribe and share, sawa? Also, if you had offered to edit me, why don’t you drop me your email on email@example.com and we get started. I am thinking we try different hands till we settle on one. Cheers.