Tonye became our fourth house boy in four weeks courtesy of my rich cantankerous mother. I don’t know wether or not I should term mama a perfectionist because when she wanted to be cruel her cruelty saw no bounds, and then, I was on the impression that perfectionists were naturally logical thinkers. The house-boy evicting business started since I returned from London where I study medicine. I painfully witnessed their coming in’s and going out’s. Nice young men they were, only not nice enough to please an unpleasable eye. What annoyed me most was her motives for sending them away. This one steals. That one stares at you laschiviously (as if there was anything so bad in a boy staring at me that way). This one held you amorously the other day. You were begining to get too attached to that boy. Silly, cynical excuses that had no depth.
I did get close to them, because they were human and because they were nice. There was one I think I could have liked… The thing is, mama didn’t know who I was yet. She didn’t know that, like her, I was a lioness. I could do and undo only if and when I choose to. She didn’t know that I drink and smoke at school. She didn’t know that in London I never go to church. She didn’t know that I desperately wanted to lose my virginity. I knew it was just a matter of time before I exposed mama to my true colour. The old lady needed to feel that pain she inflicts on others, she needed to be heartbroken. So the first day I saw Tonye at our door ready to start work in our house I knew things will never remain the same again. I opened our door after the like tenth chiming of the bell “Good morning, madam. I am the new house boy, Tonye” he said in a stutter, he seemed visibly shaken by my presence. The constant fear, the lack of confidence in his eyes belonged to who had been hard-bitten.
I could tell, this man, somewhat stunted in frame, had seen the exposed edges of life. And he may have come to the realization that he was made to serve people, surbodination coursed in his genes. ” I am Ebi, your madams only child, please come in” I said to him, smiling devilishly as I led him to the parlour, half inlove already. Tonye worked like a horse in our house. Even mama of all people confessed that she hadn’t seen his type before. He was somewhat slow in doing things, like he could spend thirty minutes just to fry eggs, but I swear after tasting those eggs you wouldn’t want to chide him next time if he spends an hour. Of all the many things Tonye could do it was his cooking that blew me away the most. And of course those his easy features, those feminine, calm, brown eyes that rarely admires me, and even if it does its only in split seconds. I like the way he calls me madam, like mama, I like being in charge, like feeling superior. At a point he became Joseph and I, the temptress. I threw waves upon waves of seductions at him. I did what I did partly because I wanted to get explored and partly because I wanted to know the height of his discipline.
On most hot afternoons when mama must have been at work, its almost usual for me to bump into his room while he was resting, and the conversation always went like this. Me: Am so hot, its scorching! Him: Sorry madam, why don’t you turn on the air conditioner at your room Me: I think its spoilt…and its hotter in there Him: Perhaps I should just go and fix it (and believe me that boy could fix anything) Me: Maybe later, am getting comfortable here… By now I must have been half naked with just pant and bra, feigning to be deep-fried by the heat, fanning myself with my top, expecting him to take advantage of the obvious… Fool will just pick up a broad book and fan the goose bumps out of me.
Very disappointing, but I loved him more for that, infact it was the blind eye he turned towards me that fascinated me the most. I am an Ijaw girl, eighteen years old, by all means I should be irresistable. Yet this Tonye guy didn’t want to waver, didn’t want to lose focus and jeopardize his job. Nice! And another mind-bogglying thing was that after my consistently faltering efforts to get him deflower me, he didn’t stare at me with apprehension or fear or holier-than-thou looks, not even look-at-this-spoilt-little-rich-kid-had-it-been-i-was-your-elder-brother-i-would-have-flogged-the-rot-out-of-you. He just stared at me relaxed, innocent as if he was oblivious to my plights. I liked him more for that. Mama’s madness, as expected, inevitably came. I was in Tonye’s room again trying to seduce him when the old chlorelic bashed in. Poor Tonye was at the bed corner reading Rhapsody Of Realities and I was on his bed looking like Victoria’s Secrets hottest lingerie super model. It wasn’t more possible to convince the old lady that Tonye had not eaten the forbidden apple than it was to reconcile the Palestinians and the Jews.
However, with grave difficulty, they did manage to convince her not to call the police on Tonye. While he made his way out through the gate I tried to remember the first day he came. I tried to see that fear and inferiority in his eyes. Only that they weren’t there again, those fine brown eyes didn’t evade mine again. He stared at me for a while, and it was only after mama said ” Oh! You still have the liver to look at her romantically in front of me? C’mon get out of here!” That he left, unyielding to tears, but I feared his heart was drowned within. I realized then that Tonye had nursed feelings for me even if he didn’t show it, and that I loved him and that mama had started a war she was bound to lose. I needed Tonye back, heavens knew that. I tried the hunger strike thing but mama just ignored me. She knew that I couldn’t starve myself to death, that immediately she leaves for office I certainly must eat the kitchen empty. I stopped taking my stipends, stopped talking to her and the one I think that disturbed her most, I stopped going to church with her. Instead of bringing back Tonye she brought one bulgy eyed boy whom I disliked so much that I didn’t want any part of his name.
Worse is, I don’t know if the boy was trying to seduce me or something but he had one very disgusting way of settling his eyes, big and white like peeled boiled egg, on me. I told him once that I’d have to get a pepper spray if he keeps gazing at my body with those boiled eggs of he’s. And the moron, perhaps in a desperate bid to win my symparthy and consequently my love, had the effontry to ask me why I hated him the way I did. Well, I only gave him my genuine answers. 1. You are not Tonye 2. Your eyes are not sexy 3. Hmmm, lemme see, yes! You have this offensive odour, it could be the cheap cologne Nothing seemed to work for me. Since I stopped collecting my stipends I was going broke, the EDGE in my blackberry was now edge, no money to renew. Mama, perceiving my hatred and realising he wasn’t a threat to my body, grew fond of bulgy eyes. During dinner time, when as protest I wouldn’t be in the dinning, from the sitting room where I would be watching Big Brother Africa, I would hear mama and this boy discussing and eating happily. Such times I was nearly strangulated by anger. I realized then that bulgy eyes had come to stay and that Tonye wasn’t coming again, that I was losing my war with mama. So I used my last weapon. I left home. I can’t describe the shock on Tonye’s face when he saw me in front of his door, but I could tell he was pleased to see me. The shock soon melted away and gave way for embarassment. I saw it in his eyes, he was ashamed that I was seing him where he was, that he was living in a poorly erected batcher in a squalid environment. He ushered me in. The air inside was damp, tougher to breath. He prepared food for me, the one thing he knew I liked most about him. He gave me some time to relax before asking the inevitable questions. Why was I at his place? What had happened between me and mama? And so on and so forth. We discussed happily into the night. There can’t be anything as good as being with the one you love. There was never a dull moment no matter the height of introversion between yourselves, there was always the need to survive, always the courage to do the otherwise undoable, life always had a spice.
Nothing mattered when such burning emotions mattered. How dare that thing? Be it religion, race, class or creed, love is devine. I loved this boy for sure. It began to rain heavily. It seemed the world was crashing against the roof, just as if each drop of rain was as big as tangerines. The winds did more damage, pushing the windows and the doors, keeping us exposed to a good deal of chilly water. The zincs had several leaks, so much that it wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration to say we had no roof over us. Tonye showed me a corner he claimed to have lesser leaks as he went out into the storm to cover some of the holes. He spent some minutes on the roof doing a carpenters job, cursing the rain and condemning the darkness of the night.
At the end all was in vain because the storm was also a carpenter with the skills of handling woods, nails and zincs, only that the rain was a mischiecvious one. Tonye came inside, dis- spirited and in bad mood. He wasn’t too impressed with this first impression. The rain was ruining my stay and he wrongly felt he had to take some shame, perhaps even a spanking, for that. The winds had choked off the candle, the room was pitch black, bitterly cold, noisy as hell as the devilish rain pounded the batcher and roared ceaselessly.
The little foam in the room was now heavily soaked, the floor taken by pools of water. It was cold, scary, cold, unbelievable. He apologized. I told him he had no reason to I traced his voice in the darkness to the corner of the room he stood. I searched blindly for his body, and felt his wet clothes, his shivering chest. I moves closer, removed his soaked clothes and easily found his lips. Soft, wet and warm, I could do this for eternity without a break. His hands quickly, unexpectedly found my erogenous spots. I felt the pricking cold rush out of my body, felt my heart accelerating. He was different that night, Tonye, I suspected it was due to the anonimity the darkness created. He was a lion, hardly that shy boy I remembered. On the soaked bed he had me, penetrating me savagely, the sensations were unearthly, I thought I would die of it. I couldn’t tell if I was screaming for help or moaning in painful pleasure, I just knew that a strange surge exploded in me. The rain, like a jealous second lover, kept pounding and pounding angrily, drowning our sweet groans and gasps by its demonic squalings. I wished mama could see this, and like the jealous rain, do nothing apart from raging on the innocent roof. That unforgetable night I lost that which I had been so desperate to lose, my rose.
The next day was when my war with mama entered stage two. The cantankerous old chlorelic came with six hungry looking policemen, their uniforms unnaturally ash and threadbare. Inside of me I laughed at mama when I saw her fuming. She would certainly melt when I refuse to go back to school, when steal all the money she has and release this innocent poor family she was arresting, when I let Tonye’s seed inside of me grow out for her to behold, I laughed at her. Like vultures, no! Zombies the policemen began laying charges and arresting. For Tonye’s parents their charge was “aiding and abbeting” (aiding and abbeting who, Osama bin laden?) For Tonye, they stamped “second degree kidnapping” ( I thought that degree stuff only had to do with murder) Tonye’s two little prepuberscent sisters were arrested for “obstruction of justice”. While two innocent passerbyes were picked up for ” acomplice in crime and illegal wandering with a suspected intent to do rubish”. Very funny, ver painful.
Mama kept glaring at me, I wished she knew she was finished. In everything what pained me most was that she brought bulgy eyes. I wished Tonye coud just break loose his shackles and drive a blow into those boiled eggs. Bulgy eyes just kept looking around un-intelligently, not frowning nor smiling, indifferent as a plant. Mehn! That guy was a zombie. To temporarily ease my building anger, surprising to everyone, I went forth and punched the left of the bulgy eyes.