I was watching her from behind. Her ass wasn’t quite big, but I really liked them. But it wasn’t her ass that I was staring at. It was her dusty feet. It was the dry season and the road was dusty. And somehow I had come to like her feet more when they were dusty. I like it so much that I kissed her dusty foot one day. A little weird, I know.
“Hope say no be my ass you dey look?” she said not turning. Her voice reminding me again of the girl in ‘Annie’ (the film about an orphan Annie where “Hard Knock Life” was first sang) who always said ‘Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God…’ in a tiny little voice.
“Are you sure we shouldn’t take a taxi?” she said again not turning.
“It wouldn’t be an adventure again.” I replied. “We are almost there.”
We continued our journey to a cyber café someone had told us was within trekking distance – turned out the place was quite far. But I was enjoying the trek with her and didn’t want us to take a taxi. We walked… and talked… and laughed. I kept looking at her dusty feet all the way. That day was one of the happiest I spent with her.
Now, I am sitting next to her still looking at her feet. The jungle boots won’t let me see if they are dusty or not. But I keep seeing the dusty feet and not the jungle boots.
“Make una begin enter, bus don full.” The driver said.
I then realized it was her jungle boots I had been staring at and also that we were at the bus terminal. I then looked at her. She was fair and fair and pretty and slim. Fair as in Shakespearean fair and fair as in complexion fair. To me, she was “the fairest of them all”. I looked at her for a while. She was looking at me too. It seemed she would cry any moment.
Even though we hadn’t actually been in love, we were actually in love. Our own kind of love. If we weren’t in love, how could we explain the nights we lay on her bed chatting or the evenings we just sat and talked at the tennis court when our friends thought I was teaching her tennis? Why did she tell me a lot of things about her personal life, not everything though? Sometimes we calculated how much we could spend in front of the salesgirl and other customers at the two fast food joints we usually went to. We’ll then share the bill 70-30. We were called the ‘proper fraction’ when we sang the popular nursery rhymes and doughnut Repair Club’ songs we learnt as children. We were practically children whenever we were together and I loved it.
We were still talking as she sat in front of the bus close to the window when she began to act like she was really about to cry . I didn’t want her crying because I could cry too. For the first time that day, I tried to make her a little sad. I forgot that too much happiness could make a female cry as much as sadness could.
“I want you to kiss me now”, I said.
I was expecting her to say what she usually said whenever I jokingly asked her to kiss me. “Are you mad?” or “you don dey mad” or “what sort of play is that” or”it seems we are becoming too familiar”… I wouldn’t have been surprised to get a slap from her for ruining ‘our’ moment. But she stared at me for a while. Then she steps out of the car and drops her NYSC cap on her seat. She was frowning now. This frown was more than the one that usually told me I had overstepped my boundary. She dragged me to a corner. At this point I had this feeling one has when father or mother wants to flog you and tells you to come to his/her room and locks the door… nobody tells you what to expect next. She stared at me for a while.
“You are crazy” she finally said.
I wished I hadn’t mentioned kiss. I was still thinking of how to apologize before she started laughing. Was the laughter like ‘how did I become friends with this asshole?’ or what? I was thinking of other options when she gave me a fast kiss. I kept quiet for a while. I looked around, we were alone.
“Did you… actually… kiss me?” I stammered.
“Try and learn how to ask a lady for a kiss, okay?” she said with a smile.
“I’ll try”, I said not believing ‘my fair lady’ just kissed me.
She then kissed me again. This time, very passionately. We held each other. Kissing, to me, is like a communication. But I could neither send nor receive any message. Her kiss wasn’t sweet. I never believe that kisses are sweet, like sweet as in sweet. Maybe sweet as in not sweet. But that kiss was like a bottle of chilled water after playing a set of lawn tennis that ended 7-6. The chilled water wouldn’t be sweet, but it’ll surely be something better than sweet… wonderful maybe.
I was sitting inside the big coaster bus. I was going home happily. But every time I remember I wouldn’t meet her at home, I became a little sad. But I kept smiling all the way. Then Nokia’s standard message tone and I read the message – ‘I love you and I know you love me too. I also know we both know why we better stay as friends for now. Hope you enjoyed the kiss half as much as I enjoyed it.’
I smiled and replied – ‘Yea, we both know. And I’m also glad we both know that it’s ‘for now’. To a lover and a kisser that’ll never be forgotten, I will always value whatever we’ve had and will have.’ I smiled and sent and smiled again. ‘For now’ was like hoping against hope. It’s a little sad because I knew we couldn’t be more than friends. Best friends at most. But I’ll always love you… I’ll always remember your kiss.