It was 1:31 am and it was raining. Rain always fell on the day of her fresh new start. Anything that happened from then on was obviously meant to be.
Life had been quite unfair to her recently, she mused as she eyed the tall, gorgeous man in the gray suede jacket from her corner table in the Kinshasa Lounge. It was only right that she be allowed to cast off the past like dead skin and move on. She was young and wanted to have fun. But she also wanted to find love.
The rain fell from the night sky and pelted the glass mosaic window next to her, but it was blessedly warm with body heat in the Lounge. She had been invited to a VIP party by an old school friend that very day, and she was glad she hadn’t declined even if all Ebuka had wanted was the long-awaited opportunity to get in her pants. Vodka, beer, even a case of Glenlivet – not that she drank much, but the guys were certainly happy about it. And rich… God, the guys were rich. She didn’t even have to judge by the number of Range Rover Sports arriving; the colourful mass of Runs Girls rocking the dance floor gave it away.
They didn’t dampen her confidence though. Her red dress flowed like blood on her body, hemmed at the calf and parting in a thigh-high slit. She resembled an Oluchi with curves – ebony skin and large, anime eyes included. Those eyes had already sought out a target she was now staring at boldly. The guy in the gray jacket. He had taken it off to reveal well developed pecs and a real-live six pack barely masked in a tangerine polo. He was animatedly chatting with some other guys, and she could see thin sideburns, laugh lines around his eyes. Alas, no dimple, but a nice neither-fair-nor-dark skin tone. She looked at him and felt tremors in her stomach. He could be the One.
Now he turned in her direction and saw her looking, smiled. She smiled back, then deliberately slid her eyes to another target who had earlier held her attention and waved. First, she knew, the tamping down of the ego, which then requires placation by demanding more interest. Those familiar to this dance never forget the beat, the steps, the dancers. The mating ritual had begun.
Her heart was light as she rose from her chair. She would remember this dance forever.
* * *
“Can you be gone before 12 noon? My girlfriend will be back by 3.”
A delicate china cup as it shatters on the floor, he thought absentmindedly as he glanced at the tasty morsel from last night. That was how to describe her expression as she gazed at him, clutching the flowery duvet to her naked chest. He considered himself a bit of a poet, and the girl (he’d never asked her name) indicated that his taste in women ran in the same direction.
Her Brazilian locks fell into her face as she shook her head. “G-Girlfriend…?!”
He sighed. He was not playing this game. Every now and then a ho tried to act like a one-night stand meant something, just to get more money. “You’ll find an envelope on your nightstand,” he informed her coldly as he pulled on his boxers, “The amount there should cover a taxi. Aside that, forget it.”
She turned away from him slowly and sat up. Her face was blank.
He whistled Jay-Z’s Niggas in Paris – his favourite Saturday song- as he pulled on his trousers and checked his Android for the time – 7:08am. Saturdays were his best days, especially after a party like that. The girl too had been beyond amazing in bed, and he wondered if he could persuade her to cook breakfast for them, maybe get a little extra treat before she left. He could apologize oh-so-sincerely for his harshness, sprinkle some compliments on the apology and she would bend like Beckham.
Suddenly she turned back to face him, a brilliant smile on her face. “Can I make us some coffee?” she asked in her sweet, breathy voice.
Apparently no apology necessary. This was a smart one, he noted with pleasure as he nodded. “Kitchen’s down the passage to your left. Thanks.”
“No problem.” She was out of the bed and tugging on his shirt, picking up her black designer purse as she passed the nightstand. She left and was back within twenty minutes with two steaming mugs of Folgers Colombian. He accepted his cup and tried to tug her onto his lap, but she desisted with a coy smile and a shake of her head.
The coffee was black and rich, with a slightly weird aftertaste he hadn’t noticed before. He took three long sips before asking. “So where do you go from here?”
She paused, then took a sip before answering, “Home.”
“Where is home?”
“Home is where the heart is.”
Translation: Mind your business. He shrugged and took a gulp, starting to feel drowsy. He must be more tired than he thought. The drowsiness changed… he watched in hazy bewilderment when the mug slipped from his feeble fingers and smashed to pieces on the tiled floor. He was sliding off his chair… the room seemed even brighter, while the edges of his vision became darker… he could see her face, her lovely pixie face with the large eyes…
Only it wasn’t so lovely now. His last thought was that it was a shame that a face like that could transform into such a vicious mask of rage.
* * *
She stepped out of the compound and into the busy streets, wearing another girl’s jeans and the tangerine polo shirt, her purse, dress and the envelope containing the insult tucked into a black nylon. Her face was clean, her demeanor that of the ingénue she had once been. If ever asked, her story would pour forth in a heartfelt rush: “I didn’t know, I don’t know what happened! He was still really drunk around past 5 and he said he wanted me to leave while he took a bath, he even let me shower first so I could go. He went in and stayed there so long that even before I finished dressing up and left he hadn’t come out. I didn’t know he drowned himself by mistake! Heiiii, so he died? …May he rest in peace!”
She figured he owed her the shirt; moving him from the bedroom to the bathroom had been a feat. She had fetched water from his tank outside with a bucket she’d found and taken it to the bathroom. Then she had lifted his head over the side of the bathtub and straight into the water, his hands dangling against the insides of the tub. She hoped his girlfriend didn’t mind the inconvenience.
She was almost near the junction when it began to drizzle. She giggled as she held the nylon to her hair and inclined her head as if to say, ‘You don see am?’ Time to shake off the past, because rain always fell on the day of her fresh new start. You never know what the Fates had in store for you, and you certainly didn’t want to meet them with excess baggage hanging on you. You took only the good memories, for luck.
She whistled Niggas in Paris as she walked down the street, making a note to drop the envelope at the Motherless Babies Home.