“I like men in Sweatpants, especially when meeting them for the first time.” I told my friend, Ofonime.
Power was showing and Ghost was going to let in Angela for one of their seemingly endless fuck-a-thons and he was wearing his ubiquitous dark sweatpants.
“Of course, you want to see their ‘cassavas’ clearly outlined.” my friend replies. “You’re dick obsessed.”
Don’t listen to her; I’m not.
“Come on, not everything is about dick. I’m not you, ho. I’ve seen enough dicks to last me a lifetime or two, willingly and unwillingly.
I just like to believe that a man who can rock the sweatpants look can rock anything else. And yeah, seeing the package well outlined against the material saves time. I’m thirty-eight years old and I look every day of it. I do not think I have the luxury of time to sift through rocks, looking for diamonds.” I say this to her with affected exasperation.
“Come on May, we’re late already. First time I’m meeting this guy. I don’t want him to see me as time wasting joor.” This was from Beauty.
Beauty is my very simple, and quite flighty office ‘daughter’; she was twenty two. I had taken her under my wing upon her resumption at our Advertising firm as an intern. One look at her and I knew I had to. She defined the word voluptuous. I could almost see my male colleagues salivating when she came in. Becoming her office mother was a no-brainer. And she reciprocated my affection, allowing me to mother her without a whimper; I even like to believe she blossomed under my care (yeah, mother hen, me).
She had also taken to spending most weekends with me in the two-bedroom flat I shared in Kado with Ofonime, my friend from Law School.
“Tardy”, I corrected, knowing it was futile in any case. Beauty had about as much interest in increasing her level of diction as I had in working out. Luckily, I’m only ten pounds overweight. Yeah I’m thick; Leave me alone. Have you seen Rihanna’s thighs?
“Ehn okay, tardy. Whatever you say. Let us go.”
We were late for her first date with a guy her cousin had hooked her up with.
“Remind me again why I’m going with you to see this guy.”
“I told you already nah. He seems to be one of those bookish types. In case he bores me, I can use you as excuse and leave.”
I sighed, long enough to register my reluctance, to the amusement of Ofonime, who reclined further on the couch, eyes glued on Ghost and Angela as they rutted again, reminding me that I hadn’t done any rutting in over three months. Yeah, the itch had built. It was probably time to mend fences with my battery operated boyfriend.
He was wearing Sweatpants that day, I later found out he had just come from the gym, and he looked it too. He was short and stocky, fair enough to be called an escapee albino, and had bulging biceps enough to strain against his shirt. Completing my assessment, I looked down, to help Beauty assess (I told myself), and yep, except he had stuffed an eggplant, there seemed to be no problem in that department. Looking up, I involuntarily shuddered slightly. He was watching me, and smirking. Impudent kid.
“Hi guys. Sorry, I couldn’t wait for you both to order. I needed to re-hydrate.”
I raised my eyebrows, looking pointedly at the Beer in his hands.
“That’s for thirst?” I asked. Beauty chuckled, moving quickly to her phone immediately we sat down, to check the array of messages that must have accumulated during the 10 minute drive from my house to Salamander Café, in Wuse 2.
He was holding a book in his hands; Seasons of Crimson Blossoms by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim. Knowing the story involved a romance between an older woman and a much younger man, I raised my eyebrows at him for the second time that day. He shrugged, and tapping it, said, “Good Book.”
It kindled the discussion. Beauty had become curious and looked up, asking what the ‘good’ book was about.
“A middle-aged horny woman and a young guy.” he quipped.
“Ewww” Beauty sneered.
“Is there anything wrong with an older woman desiring a younger man?” My question was directed at Beauty, but I was staring fixedly at him as I spoke, leaving no doubt as to whose answer I wanted to hear.
“Long as the desire is mutual, no.” He answered, with what seemed like defiance in his eyes.
We chatted, or tried to, as it was a tad difficult finding a common ground that was interesting to us both, as well as Beauty. We had just settled on talking about Nigerian OAPs and painstakingly acquired accents when Beauty excused herself to take a call.
Without thinking, I looked up at him and asked..
“How old are you?”
“23” He said.
“Oh.” I replied, now wondering why I asked the question. Beauty was back now and the convo quickly resumed. 35 minutes later though, we had run out of mutually enjoyable topics of discussion. My phone buzzed. Quick glance showed a message from Beauty.
“Please bring up an excuse let’s leave. I’m bored joor.”
“Are you sure? Shouldn’t we stay just a bit longer?” I replied.
I could feel his eyes on me as I typed, almost as if he was willing me to prolong the convo. Or maybe my imagination? And why though?
Beauty, however, spoke up, suddenly remembering a hair appointment we both had.
“Oh, so you have to go?” He seemed relieved. Or maybe again, that was just my impression.
“Both of us” Beauty responded. I shrugged and agreed with her. Without much ado, we settled the bills and stood up to leave. He allowed Beauty to walk in front of him and then waited for me to follow suit. When I moved in front of him, He whispered,
“Eight” I responded, without needing to deconstruct the question in my head.
Getting into our my car along with Beauty, she said;
“See why I asked you to come with me? I knew I’d be bored.”
“Yeah, I can see how you’d be,” I responded.
Friday the next week, Beauty steps into my office.
“Aunty May, did you tell Jonah you wanted to read the book he was holding last Saturday?”
“Jonah?” I asked, knowing the answer already, but needing time to consider my answer.
“Come on, you remember him. We had drinks with him nah, on Saturday. I told him I wanted to stay in this weekend at yours, rather than go hang out as he asked, and he asked if he could bring the book over, that you wanted to read it.”
“Yeah, that would be very nice of him” I responded, wondering if I’d have time to hide my own copy, lying conspicuously on my dresser. I’d been re-reading it after work since Monday.
“It seemed like something I’d enjoy reading a lot.” I said, to reinforce. “What time is he coming over?”
“He asks if noon is alright,” she responded, not even looking up from her chat with him.
“Oh, that’s alright. He can come over.”
“Hmmm, 15 years,” I mumbled to myself.
“What?” she asked.
“Never mind,” I replied. “This spread sheet sef….” That did the trick. She skipped away, back to the pool office.
I woke up that Saturday feeling like a little girl once more. Ofonime came into my bedroom, watching me make my bed fastidiously.
“Hey, you got plans?” You didn’t tell me.” She queried. Smarmy mouth; this one.
I took a deep breath to calm myself before responding. “No I don’t. Can’t I just make my bed as normal humans do?”
Chastened, she left.
Noon came very slowly. I had taken my time with a shower, another unusual action, as I was going nowhere. Ofonime looked at me again, but kept quiet. I ignored her. Beauty staggered up from the couch at about 11:30 to say he was on his way, and then trudged to the bathroom, grumbling with every step.
She let him in at a few minutes after 12. He gave Ofonime a cursory glance, avoiding my eyes as he sat down.
“Here’s the book you wanted,” he said, handing it to me and leaning back. Ofonime started, upon seeing it.
“Wait, don’t you…”
I silenced her with a glance. Befuddled, she went about offering him something to drink.
I waited until he had spent about 10 minutes in the house, all the time avoiding Ofonime’s pointed gazes, before smacking my head,
“Ahhh shit. How could I have forgotten? I need shrimps for that Okro I plan to cook.”
Looking at Ofonime, I asked, “Beauty, you wanted to get that Olay conditioner right? Ofo will help me get the shrimps at Jabi mall, so this is your opportunity to buy it. I’m sure Jonah can survive your absence for a few minutes.” My gaze had turned pleading by now, but it wasn’t needed; Ofonime hadn’t been my friend of 8 years for nothing. She snatched her keys from the table, gave me a look that clearly said “this isn’t over,” and whisked Beauty out of the house in two minutes flat.
Immediately they left, the ensuing silence suddenly became very defeaning. We both seemed at a loss for what to say. I moved into my bedroom, brought out my copy of Ibrahim’s book and dropped it in front of him wordlessly. He smiled and I then asked.
“You sure about doing this? I really am thirty-eight you know.”
“I don’t know,” he answered, spreading his hands expansively. “I’ve never done it before. But I’m curious about it.”
“Why? Because of the book?”
“No. I read the book because I wanted to see how that happened. But I know I want to.”
“Oh well, we’ve got about 40 minutes. Let’s see how far that can take us.” I said, trying not to show my eager anticipation, but motioning him towards the door leading to my bedroom.
He faltered. “I don’t mean just sex though,” he stated, apparently alarmed that I wasn’t seeing things from his point of view.
“But it’s a good way to start though, isn’t it?” I responded drily.
His nervousness cleared, he seemed suddenly charged with anticipation.
“Of course, young hot blood,” I mused to his back as he preceded me into my bedroom.
“What?” He asked, turning “I didn’t hear you clea……..”
The rest of his words were lost in a muffle as my lips claimed his.