The moment I thought of kissing you, you were already thinking of leaving because it was getting dark.
‘What’s so terrible about the dark?’ I asked.
‘My street is usually dangerous at night,’ you said.
‘Are you afraid I might kiss you in here?’ I asked. But you were shy. Shy to talk to me because I was beginning to make you uncomfortable. I watched every nuance of your expression. Though you were speaking to me, you didn’t meet my gaze. You were acting as if you had something to hide.
‘Are you afraid I might want a hug or a kiss?’ I asked. You looked up at me abruptly, and looked away, into the dark.
‘It’s getting cold sir, please can you off the AC?’ you pleaded.
I reduced the temperature of the AC a bit and turned to face you, ‘Which one would you want, a kiss or a hug?’ I asked, you became coy. You didn’t shrug your shoulders, you didn’t say no. You couldn’t even look into my eyes.
‘You have come to deceive me?’ you asked, like it was a normal question to you.
‘No–no…’ I faltered before you cut in.
‘Last weekend two of your girlfriends came to look for you at the office, I served them coffee.’
I shook my head, ‘It must have been one of these women who don’t let me be.’
‘I don’t want to be loved by a man who has so many women he can’t let go of for the sake of love,’ you said calmly, yet, your eyes couldn’t still look at mine.
I held your cold hands, ‘I swear, no woman. It’s you I wanna love. Those ones, they’re not mine, I’ve never asked them out.’
In the past two hours, I’d spoken with you about how I feel. I held your hands toward me gently and took your face up to mine, I placed my lip gently on yours, I kissed it. I wasn’t going to let you off the hook.
‘I am sorry…’ I said as I realized kissing you wasn’t the right thing to do at that moment.
‘Are you sorry we kissed?’
Your gaze locked with mine.
‘Yes,’ I said softly but distinctly. ‘I am sorry. It never should have happened.’
‘I have to go,’ you said.
‘I’ll have to drive you inside, I wanna know the real house you live in.’
‘It’s not a fine house, it’s an old bungalow,’ you said as you wiped your mouth with your hands.
I felt bad, like you were wiping away the kisses we shared.
‘I will still take you there. Walking alone down the street won’t be safe,’ I said as I put the car on drive and drove down the street. We got to a compound that had so many houses in it. ‘I’ll come down here,’ you said.
That moment I thought of kissing you, I realized that I wanted to feel your lips again beneath mine.
‘You’re still on suspension for fighting in my company,’ I said.
I couldn’t have hurt you more. I saw the pains in your eyes. You didn’t expect that I would ever say a thing like that.
‘Good night sir,’ you said, and alighted from the car. I watched you until you went inside. I drove back to my house with the scent of your hair cream still stinging in my nose.
I looked up and saw Martha standing by the kitchen door. She was staring at me suspiciously.
‘What?’ I asked. She grinned at me and settled on the bed delightedly. ‘I saw you in that red jeep with a white man. A fine white man,’ she said.
She widened her eyes, ‘Your boss? I hope he has called off your suspension?’
‘No,’ I said as I tried to take up the window curtains, the house was hot as hell.
‘Then why did he come then?’
‘He likes me. He came to tell me that he loves me.’
Martha exclaimed joyously, ‘Ewo! That fine man?’
She sat up on the bed, ready to hear more. ‘I hope you didn’t tell him no?’
‘Are you okay? He is my boss. How can I even think of dating my boss?’ I said, still facing the window. My voice came up louder than I had intended.
‘If you marry him, I will have nieces and nephews who will look like oyibo. I just pray your children won’t turn out to have your complexion, it will be so disheartening.’
‘What is this one saying? Who is thinking of marrying a white man?’
‘Ah!’ she exclaimed, ‘Even God is very angry at you right now. You don’t want to marry a white man? You must be joking,’ Martha went on.
I listened to her as she mumbled words like the teenager that she was, and I had no reason to argue further.