On a certain cold night, forces come to play and a man finds out he must fight a certain craving for a warmth he desires.
Tarlumun gazed at Amina. He tried to pick out what it was about her that held him most captive. It wasn’t much of a successful exercise. Not with her so close; not with her scent in his nose. She concentrated on the portable DVD player. He had given it to her just yesterday and was glad she loved it. Glad he could do something for her. He had come to Mbanor where he had finished an assignment some two months ago. It was during the assignment – the construction of the new hospital, that he had met her.
“Have you eaten anything?” she asked breaking into his thoughts.
“You want to kill yourself?” She headed for the kitchen.
“No, you don’t have to…” It was just formality. He had come to relish her meals. It was one of the things that had drawn him to her. It was what had endeared her to him first. She had come to the site to inquire if she could get a contract to supply some building materials. She had walked straight to him and stated her mission without any fear or preamble, almost rudely. He did not have time for such girls; he did not have time at all. He had told her that there was no room for such and that she should not bother coming again. He was sure he wouldn’t see her again. He had a voice that could send a platoon running. The hunger of that afternoon added a coarseness that he knew would chase a legion of demons away. He had forgotten about her till later that evening when she came with a flask of food. It was near perfect timing for he had planned to stay four more hours on the site. Still, he had to ask a few questions:
“What is this?”
“You sounded like someone who would need a meal at the end of each day.”
Ignoring his instincts, he had smiled and eaten the food with bliss. She became a near regular visitor to the site. It wasn’t long before he became a regular visitor to her house.
“Ohh!” Again, her voice brought him back to her present. The DVD battery had gone out. “And I don’t know when this PHCN would bring light!” After a while, she added “The room is stuffy, maybe we should go out for some air. I am taking your food out for you.” They stepped out to the veranda and sat under the almond tree that stood in the middle of the compound. He ate his meal very quickly and as she carried the plates back to the room, he took the opportunity to assess her figure or rather, her backside properly. The buttocks were just alright – alluring.
She came back. He used the light of the full moon to assess her face as she spoke. He took her hand in one of his and with the other, stroked her face gently. She continued talking as if she wasn’t the one being stroked so. He tickled her in the ribs, the ear and she tickled him back too. They giggled lightly. He started feeling the cold. Then, it was her buttocks he was feeling. He had several ideas… His instincts warned him. His ethics and faith shouted. He remembered his fiancée, Nnena at home. Wouldn’t it be a betrayal? Several thoughts came to his mind… He stood up and told her he was leaving. She objected and they played a bit more… Then, he stood up and headed for the main road. He knew he had to get a bike or taxi back home and fast. He was losing his strength and resistance. ‘Nnena’ the name kept jumping to his thoughts. A bike came at full speed. Amina tried flagging it down but Tarlumun told her not to waste her time as the bike man wouldn’t stop. She persisted and true to his words, the bike passed. She was amazed:
“How did you know?”
“I feel.” He answered lightly and moved to grab her in a bear hug. She was glowing.
“What else do you feel?”
She sounded a bit confused: “Warmth?” The twinkle in her eyes said something else, showed an understanding “It is cold!”
He flagged down an oncoming vehicle and turned to her: “I mean you are warm, and open.” She was smiling.
He called his destination and the driver announced an outrageous amount. He haggled the fare with the driver. There were hardly any passengers around. Having the premonition it would take some time to reach an agreement, the driver killed the engine to push for a proper bargain. He wasn’t in a hurry. Amina tried to discourage Tarlumun’s leaving. Tarlumun tried to discourage himself too but felt a force pulling him into the vehicle. The name, ‘Nnena’ played on in his heart. Between pleading with Amina that he had to leave and haggling further, his brain played ‘to be’ or ‘not to be’ games. The engine came alive; no time. He stepped away from the car and hugged her. She hugged tight, trying to draw him back.
“It seems you might be staying a while.” She hugged him to her chest and he felt the stiffness that her berries had come to be. He clung on to her till something deep shouted into his ears – Nnena! He pushed Amina and rushed after and into the car:
It was a cold night and he was going to regret not taking the extra meal but, it was worth it. As his body lashed him, his conscience patted him.
As the taillights of the car darkened away to the night, a demon whispered: “What happened? How could you let him go? We made everything perfect. All it took was for you to insist!”
“I tried. I used all the powers. I even put the final potent love powder in his meal today!”
“It is too bad. He is taking his prosperity and a lot of more blessings that could easily have been yours – the merging of two into one. He could have been your slave. Too bad Amina. You know the repercussions of your failure, don’t you?”
In a distant place:
“Amen.” Nnena said, crossing herself and concluding her intercessory prayer for her Tarlumun.