I had given a lot of thought to how I would lose my virginity. Tucked away in a box I reserved for lonely nights I had built up fantasies on how “it” would happen. In my mind’s eye it would be with a beautiful man who loved me as much I loved him, and after professing his deep feelings for me. He would take me to his house which was decorated with rose petals, the only light would be from the candles he lit earlier, sweet music would hum from the bedroom to welcome us; I would be surprised, but too drunk on his kisses which were now spreading lower down my body to act on that thought. It would be more than perfect.
Sitting here, on a king size bed with silk peach and cream linens in the pent-house of the Hotel Exquisite located on the far end of the federal capital. With a perfect stranger, triple my age and then some more, with a face I’m sure has never been called fine talk less of handsome. When he kissed me, which was unfortunately too often, his tongue mopped my face with saliva. I sat there and taught about “what had happened….and how it got to this?”
I heard the toilet flush, the door unlocked and the soft yellow light from the bathroom fell on the red carpet of the room. Alhaji danced out of the bathroom croaking African queen by Tu-face and smiling at me. My heart skipped a beat and I felt an internal tug in my abdomen. I gave a shy and reluctant smile back at him. Contemplating running out or hitting him with the table lamp next to me and running away with the envelope sitting next to it. I watched him put lotion on slowly which I think he intended to be sexy but his belly was so big it jiggled and swayed with each dramatic move. I almost laughed out loud for he looked like Papa Ajasco dancing cabaret.
My thoughts took me to my college days in the UK and how I had brushed off suitors with an “I’m busy” or “I’m sorry I don’t date” even the most persistent ones soon got tired and gave up, if only I could trade one of them for this, this goon. I reminisced on how I was deported back to Nigeria. It’s almost been two years since my mother lost her job, 1 year and six months since pocket money and schools fees payment stopped the few pounds I had in my account finished, the joint decision was to turn myself in. But the memories haunt me regardless. Regrets and what if‘s torment me day and night.
Amidst all the tears and losses my family faced that year. An answer surfaced in form of Alhaji. He would make everything right for us but I would spend give him something in return. He obviously didn’t say this to my mother for she would have poured hot water on him not minding his social status. I would be the only other party to his disgusting secret. Even after I begged him profusely he refused. His only wish which was according to him unconditional and not negotiable. When he told me he began with phrases like nothing good comes easy, nothing in this world is free, even you scratch my back I scratch yours. And it slowly sank into my head what he was getting at. This act would be the horrible price I would pay to rectify my wrong. Two wrongs do make a right in this….
The bed creaked as Alhaji sat on the edge of the bed, and the foam beneath him sank from the weight.
“Come here, come sit next to me”
I could hear the blood pumping in my head and the constant thudding dimmed every other noise. It’s no big deal, people do this all the time…it’s nothing special just a few hours of endurance. I moved closer, hesitating for a while and I soon as sat beside him he harassed me with wet kisses. I had braced myself for what was coming, hoped for the worst. So I sat there moaning like I was having the time of my life. Encouraged, he kissed with more fervour and passion, and stopped for a moment to look into my eyes. In the yellow glow of the dimmed lights I looked deeply and I saw love or was it lust. I don’t know, but it was real and serious and then he did the strangest thing. He retreated and turned away from me. When I tried to touch him he flinched as if my touch could scald him.
“Baby, I know you don’t want this, you’re doing it because you have to. And if not for my selfishness I would help you without asking for anything. But I desire you too much, I feel too strongly for you and I’m sorry. What I mean is that, I’m not stupid, I know once I sign these papers and you get back to the UK. I would mean nothing to you. ” He said while picking at his fingers and staring at the floor.
I felt hot tears burn my eyes as my brain absorbed the truth in what he said. I had two options; leave right now and go back to working as a house help for my aunty or take the easy way and get it over with. I already made a choice and I knew my mother would never forgive me if she found out but I had already conjured up a believable story to attest for the good news I would give her. To cover it up I laughed and it sounded fake and forced even to my own ears. He opened his mouth to speak again but I shushed him by placing a finger over his lips.
“You’ve been watching too many romantic comedies, my dear.”
With that I continued the kiss…warning him to let me lead. I had watched porn firstly at 15. My friends forced it on me and I didn’t mind. I had always wanted to know what was so blue about “blue films” but I could get it at home or buy it myself. So it was a great opportunity. I had taken a keen interest to sex education in school but after kissing and touching and caressing. I honestly did not know what was next or what went where. I stole a glance at Alhaji and his eyes were closed but he was smiling his toothy smile. He was still dazed from all the kisses. It was my turn to move slowly and seductively. I took off my shirt, button by button-buying time- Then trousers…button, then zipper, and off it went along with my shirt. I was panicking, my heart was racing, my fingers had gone numb and my stomach was doing somersaults. I think he noticed my nerves because he guided me through the rest of the night.
It wasn’t as bad as I imagined, far better than I taught but then you really don’t want to know what I imagined. I had awoken by 2 in the afternoon worn out and sore. But I didn’t see Alhaji. Not next to me or in the bathroom or balcony…great! I opened the brown envelope sitting on the side table and a rush of emotions overwhelmed me. I felt shame, the realisation that I was just a one night stand that he would use and dispose off at will, after all his intense words the night before. Just as well, men are after all from mars. I skimmed through the printed sheets with Alhaji’s signature at the bottom right corner. He must have signed it while I was asleep. I held my ticket and visa back to the UK, and the various papers stating the transfer of ownership for a small hotel in the Asokoro District of Abuja. I’m finally going back to school! I thought. He really made it happen but at a price. I did not feel relieved; I was not happy or glad. I had felt tired and sad, because I would never forget how I lost my virginity or why. I just picked up twice the size of the load I dropped.
Sometimes I replay that scene from the safety of my office in London, each time finding a new fact, something I didn’t see the last time. I now know it’s because the guilt was too much for Alhaji to bear, that’s why he retreated and never returned. The devil did have a heart. Maybe he really did love me and couldn’t face me after what he did. Or maybe I say that to console myself from the bitter sting of rejection or the depressing reality that I’m really a coward. One question remains, and I ask myself time and time again ‘Was it worth it?’