Santa Claus gave me a priceless gift on December 25 2007.
Back in November, Adaoma assured me over the phone that she would spend the Christmas in Lagos.
‘‘Are you sure?’’ I asked. ‘‘You always have a reason to remain in Warri. Perhaps you will market Samsung phones on Christmas day.’’
Her laugh made my spine tingle. ‘‘No. I miss you so much.’’
I replied, ‘‘Anyone who keeps you from spending Christmas here will be struck by thunder.’’
We laughed. When I finally cut the line my head was filled with thoughts of Adaoma.
Adaoma and I began dating in late 2004. Then I was an impecunious, love-hungry teacher in Awka. It was not as if there were no head turners in Awka; I knew a few who could turn celibates into Casanovas. But they wanted spenders. Besides, I wanted an apparent contradiction: romantic stability and a wild sea change simultaneously.
I put my request in the ‘Love zone’ relationships column of ‘Sunday Vanguard.’ Replies came. I filtered them and Adaoma won my vote.
E-mails, phone calls and photographs cleared the bush for us. But Adaoma took to heart the saying that a hen stands with one leg on unfamiliar ground. I had almost stopped persuading her to visit me when she phoned and told me she was coming for the weekend.
Any red-blooded guy would have wanted to possess his possession that night. However an innate conservatism and the fact that I was meeting this tall, buxom belle in the flesh for the first time stopped me. But Adaoma was disarmingly honest that night.
‘‘Honey, I am waving the red flag but you can do any other thing you want.’’
This was what the doctor recommended, I concluded. When she left I felt like an Israelite who saw the Promised Land but could not step into it. This long-distance relationship was no fun at all. Here I was, blessed with a raunchy African queen, who did not care a fig about my poverty; who had begun to show interest in whipping me into sartorial, culinary and domestic shape. Our tough battles to defeat poverty kept us apart. Adaoma had come up the hard way. An orphan, she was raised by her eldest brother who was at that time dying from stroke-related complications.
But Cupid was merciful. I got a new job in Lagos and relocated. While I stayed temporarily with my married uncle at Ijesha, Surulere, I promptly linked up with my heartthrob. Cupid’s sacrifice was slated for Christmas day.
My uncle’s first daughter threw a party on Christmas day. Her family assisted her in turning their house into a club. I was unconcerned. Out at Adeshina Road, along the turning into Ijesha, ‘Mr. Biggs’ eatery boomed. Two buildings away was a moderately priced hotel where I could book a room.
An hour after the family came back from Christmas church service I breezed out, bearing a well-wrapped gift for Adaoma. My uncle simply smiled when I told him I was going out.
Adaoma was already at the eatery, sipping a Coke. My heart swelled when I saw my sultry, full-bodied woman in top, jeans and matching jacket. She was an African beauty: generous breasts, full face, firm backside. Who needs all these starving ‘gbonga’ fish girls?
Adaoma came straight to the point once I settled down.
‘‘I told my folks in Warri that I was going to an aunt’s place in Akure. Later tonight I will call both parties to let them know my bus broke down and I had to spend the night on the road. The journey continues tomorrow.’’
‘Beautiful crook,’’ I said and laughed. Then I became sober. ‘‘Why can’t you tell them the truth? You are over twenty and a graduate.’’
Adaoma’s eyes caressed me as she replied, ‘‘This is Africa. Till I am married or move out I am still a woman in someone’s charge.’’
‘‘Have you booked the room?’’ she asked.
‘‘The place is next door. Let us grab stuff to take with us. Or do you want to eat here?’’
Adaoma smiled. ‘‘I know you don’t want to eat here. You are hungry and it is not for food.’’
I shook my head wonderingly as I went to the counter to place our order.
At the hotel we simply went wild. We put the producers and thespians of ‘Deep Throat’ to shame with our antics. We burrowed into the depths of carnality. Day dissolved into night; we remained entangled in each other. Night ran into morning; we remained in the grip of merciless Aphrodite. Adaoma’s moans inflamed me till I became a raging forest fire. The packet of Gold Circle I brought finished but I insisted on eating my food raw.
‘‘Eh, eh,’’ Adaoma warned half-heartedly. ‘‘I may get pregnant. Are you read…?’’ My mouth’s seizure of her left nipple ended further talk.
When we stopped to silence our screaming bellies I gave Adaoma her gift-a cloth that set me back by four figures. She was overjoyed.
‘‘Thank you, darling. But next time do not break the bank. I want you the way you are.’’
My dirty mind misinterpreted her statement.
‘‘Then come here,’’ I said, my eyes feasting on her midsection.
She slipped into my arms.
That day should have opened the gates of paradise to both of us. Alas, Santa Claus visits only once a year.
None of us was ready for the challenges of a long-distance relationship, though Warri is not too far from Lagos. While my queen grew anxious to hear when I would settle her in my palace, I focused on my postgraduate studies. Adaoma’s job took up her time. Whenever we were together, she refused to allow me climb her Egbema hills.
Matters came to a head. Surprisingly our parting was not as acrimonious as I expected. Today we have built our lives without each other but I will always remember Adaoma’s salaciously sweet Christmas gift.