Jay scratched his crotch and sniffed as he held up a pair of old binoculars and peered through them. He was standing at the window of his two-roomed apartment which consisted of a bedroom and sitting room. The bedroom was made up of a single iron bunk with a naked mattress that had been torn in places – courtesy the need to improvise a sponge to wash his plates and cutlery after feeding off Iya sikira’s cheap meals.
The sitting room was just two rickety bamboo chairs and an old table. In one corner sat a double CD/cassette stereo player that had seen better days but was still braving the odds of the harsh times by remaining functional. The only thing that convinced anyone that it wasn’t just a piece of scrap decorating the room was the fact that it could still blare out radio stations from its bass-equipped speakers and play a few CDs before scratching and rendering them useless.
The floor had linoleum carpet which covered only three-quarters of the room. He could only afford that length. The tight-fisted Ibo carpet dealer had refused to add ‘jara’ to the carpet while measuring it. It’s no wonder that he liked buying from the Hausas; they always added the extra that made a lot of sense.
He primed the focus of the binoculars until he had a window from the neighboring building in sharp focus. He smiled as she came into view. She was pulling off her gown in preparation to take a bath. He followed her with the binoculars as she moved about the room, her hands fiddling judiciously with the bra-strap.
Jay licked his lips in anticipation. This ‘bird-watching’ had never been an obsession until he met Abbie. She had just moved in next door and was a beauty that he found extraordinarily hard to resist.
She had been helping her elder brother move things into the house in her hip-tight jeans and silky pink sleeveless blouse when they came across each other. He was on his way out on a job hunt. She had smiled, murmured a greeting and even given him a handshake on realizing that he was a neighbor next door. He had felt that twinkling feeling of euphoria and stupidly jumped to the conclusion that she might like him; that she might be giving the infamous ‘green light’ which the boys often spoke about whenever they gathered to discuss nothing meaningful except girls. It was presumably the unofficial mating call. He was convinced he had just gotten one – all because she had smiled, greeted and shaken his hand.
That was the beginning of this obsession; one that had led to him being possessed by the spirit of voyeurism.
He watched gingerly as Abbie gently eased off the bra and flung it on her bed. He began to pray that she would turn around as she was backing his view, so he would be able to ogle at her trophies. Unfortunately for him, she bent forward, picked a towel from a chair in front of her and wrapped it round her body. She then proceeded to slip out of her panties.
Jay cursed and beat his head in disappointment.
He heard that silent voice in his head accuse him flatly; the voice of his conscience that loved to rear its ugly head whenever he seemed to be getting out of line and in total denial with some truth.
Sharrap! This is what guys normally do! He spoke back to it, every inch of his flesh struggling to be vindicated.
Ha! You call this normal?
Yes! Fred does it, Seun too.
And they are both perverts too. Oh…and don’t birds of the same feather flock together?
Face it. You’re a Pervert!
No I’m not! I’m…in love.
Love? You call having an erection at the sight of a chick you hardly know love?
Jay looked down at his trousers and saw the nasty bulge of his thickened member. Somehow, he hadn’t acknowledged that to himself.
See? The silent voice taunted him.
Will you shut the hell up?
He cursed, flung the binoculars on one of the chairs and grabbed a half drunk bottle of beer still sweating from refrigeration. He gulped it down hoping to drown the nuisance that haunted and taunted his thoughts.
Heavy clouds that denied the sun its ultimate shine greeted the following Saturday morning.
Jay locked his door and headed out of the building. He cast a glance at Abbie’s compound and espied her hanging some of her washed clothes in the backyard. He shuddered lustfully when she stretched out one of her panties on the line and clipped it; dirty imagination ran amok through his head.
Face front you pervert. The silent accusation sliced through his consciousness.
He closed his eyes with an angry grunt.
I was just admiring her!
By having a crush on her underwear? Duh!
But…but that was in my line of sight.
Yeah…that’s why you had an adrenaline rush. You’re under a spell!
Jay ignored the mental retort and changed his focus back to Abbie.
He wanted to know her; what made her tick, what made her melt, what could ignite the same kind of desire in her; he wanted to get inside her head and study the calculated tickings of the clockwork of her desires and know the right buttons to touch to make her totally his, but he couldn’t.
Talking to her was a problem.
He always lost composure whenever she surfaced. It was like she carried a spell that always shredded his confidence and struck him with dumbness.
Jay was desperate; he felt like the one the ancient Elizabethan English poets talked endlessly about in their flowery poetics; the one whose love remained unrequited by a fair damsel. And talking of poetry, he spent days of lost opportunity scribbling lovelorn epistles filled with varying subject matters all surrounding Abbie in his hardcover notebook of labored musings and creatively constructed rants.
Today he was going to sort himself out. A friend had given him a diabolic idea and info that would hopefully remedy his passionate predicament. He checked his pockets and fished out the torn out page of a notepad where he had scribbled an address, directions and descriptions. He folded it carefully and placed it in the breast pocket of his denim jacket. This was one piece of information that mattered more than anything to him at the moment.
To be continued…