The clouds have grown heavy with water. They threw shadows down onto the streets. I could smell the rain. There is a shelter in your arms, I should be able to get there before it starts in earnest.
So, I run as far as I could to be in your arms. Laura Brynn says I shouldn’t smile, I should fall in your arms like I had fallen into a peace river. So, I did, and you carry me in your arms and lift me up in the air.
There were three photographers around us, taking every shot as I pose in different styles, in your arms. The shoot wasn’t for House of Kads alone, but for Ralph Lauren.
We are living our dream. And each stay in America was what I could describe as a sweet memory.
Every word you designed was to make me happy.
You saw the happiness on my face each new dawn, and you were proud that I was becoming the woman you always wanted me to be. The super model every brand wanted.
Today, despite our shoots, we will go home to see my mother and my sister. They are at my grandmother’s place in Asheville for Easter vacation.
Today, grandma will be receiving a black person in her life for the first time, not just as a guest, but as someone who would soon be a family member– her favorite grandson’s wife to be.
My grandmother’s doorbell has a warbling electronic sound, less shrill than the one at my house in Lagos.
‘Oh Jason,’ my grandmother said as though she hadn’t expected me there. She was on her wheelchair. Her white curly hair and her spectacles made her look weird and unusual.
‘Where is your lover from Nigeria?’ My mother’s voice came in from behind my grandma. I saw the weak smile on your face, and then when my mom hugged you firmly to herself, the smile became firmer. Grandma stared at you for a few seconds, acting like your face was familiar, ‘Is she from Ghana or Zimbabwe?’ she asked.
‘Nigeria,’ you replied.
‘Oh, oh…Nigerian women are beautiful, never seen a black woman this beautiful.’
Everyone was amazed at grandma’s words.
‘Come hug me beautiful woman,’ she said. You hug her firmly and said to me, ‘Take us a picture honey.’
I took several shots of the both of you with my Samsung phone.
My oldest sister had already cooked enough food for an army. The refrigerator was packed with Tupperware containers of soups, chili, frittata, risotto and mom’s battered looking cake tins were crammed with biscuits and lemon slices and muffins.
Mom took a stick of cigarette, lighted it.
‘I am sixty, but I still smoke,’ she says.
I saw the way you looked at her with so much amazement. She smokes half of it and drops it into the ashtray.
And after you and Cecilia my sister talked and hugged yourselves, I could see that you both already had a bond.
Grandma would have talked until morning if we didn’t pretend to go ease ourselves and then vanish into our rooms.
I wake up at midnight and hold your hands.
‘When we go back to Nigeria by Friday, who do we see first, your sister, or your grandmother?’ I asked you.
You chuckled, ‘Of course my grandmother.’
The rain started in slow fat drops. I pull you close to myself and kiss you. Then I cover us with the quilt. It was going to be a cold night, and I could tell that from the kind of breeze that stirred our bodies through the window.
When we arrived London for another photoshoot with a new client who owns perfumeries, the train to Berkhamsted was crowded with shoppers: teenagers with huge bags, seats taken up by puppies, duvets, foods, printers. You and I sat opposite each other. You were distracted by something. You stared out of the window, your eyes flickering across the landscape. As we got to our destination, Pedro our new client comes to take us to his studio. He likes you instantly–I saw the way he stared at you.
When we got to his studio, he offered us coffee, but we declined.
‘Thank you. Let’s begin,’ I said, as I admire the conservatory. The wicker sofas with their flowered removable cushions; the wicker coffee table with its glass top; the cacti, the spiked phalluses in matching brown pots on the long low windowsill.
‘You can’t love me Mr Pedro, my lover is here,’ I heard you say aloud to Mr Pedro. It was rude, mean, and bold.
‘Is everything fine?’ I asked
‘Yes, I only admired your model. She is a fine piece of art,’ Mr Pedro said. I smiled.
‘Yeah she is,’ I retorted.
Then I gazed at you in a lovable manner; ‘there is every reason to be grateful I’d taken your virginity the night I did.