Prose

HEPA B PLUS – Part 1

As naked as a newborn, she was lying flat on the sofa with her legs flung widely apart like the surreal gate of hell—the one he heard his pastor preach about the previous week—the one that all sinners will enter through. He was too confused. It’s been a while he had it. The last time was four years ago, and it was with Sandra, his last university girlfriend. He loved her deeply but she broke his heart. It happened just as he was about to leave Lagos for the northern city of Kano to answer the clarion call of the voluntary National Youth Service Corps. She went on to marry a man, fifteen years older than her.

Already saddened by the news of his posting to troubled Kano, where Boko Haram occasionally struck, it was his breakup with Sandra that made him anticipate the journey. While living in the rustic plains of the state, his longing for Sandra gradually faded away. He also lost the craving for a new relationship. Actually, none of the girls was good enough for him.

*

After his service year, he got a good job in one of the construction firms in Abuja. It was in this city that he met the naked woman in his sitting room. They met in one of the evangelical churches, which he had recently joined.

At first, he had only admired her from afar, thinking that she would be engaged to one of the church brothers since she was an usher—a visible one at that. But something kept pushing him to approach her. He had heard stories of attractive women that were never approached. He then drew up his strategy.

He joined the ushering department and made his move at a workers’ meeting. When he saw an empty seat beside her, he immediately sat on it, intending to introduce himself. It was important to introduce himself and not just sit beside her with a dreamy accomplishment like that of a teenager crushing on a girl.

When he sat beside her, she didn’t notice him. She instead focused her eyes on the notepad on her laps. The meeting hadn’t started, so he looked at his watch to gather momentum.

‘Hi,’ he said.

She gave him a quick casual look—shorter than a glance. But she found herself a bit transfixed. First, it was the voice, and now his imposing appearance captivated her and impulsively she looked away to the other side. She heard herself say, ‘good evening’.

From her reaction, he knew he had gotten some kind of hold on her.

At the end of the meeting, he schemed a meeting with her at the bus stop. He had waited patiently for her on the edge of the main road and when she emerged, he engaged her on the issues that were discussed during the meeting. The church would be hosting a guest Minister from India.

‘We need more volunteers for next Saturday,’ she said firmly. ‘This kind of program attracts the whole of the city and we can’t afford to fail in the ushering department.’

He was immediately attracted to her sense of reasoning and judgment. She had this down-to-earth sincerity that made him more curious about her. From her occasional display of shyness, he could sense she was still available. From then on, he followed up on her. They both went out on dates and got to know each other better.

She was from an above-average family. Her father, Engineer Osonaike had worked with the government for thirty years and had retired. He was hard on his four children and never showed any weakness while bringing them up. His attitude was extreme and out of insecurity. He was weary of his children taking after his wayward youth life.

Despite being above twenty-six years of age, she was still over-monitored by him. Her mother had to appeal several times before he could allow her to leave their orthodox family church. In her third year in the university when she had talked her parents into leaving the church, he had exhausted every vocabulary within him to describe the act. He went as far as calling it insubordination and treason against the family. He referred to the new generation churches as hyped weeds without substance.

Her mother was very soft. She gave them everything they asked for, against their father’s wishes sometimes.                                                         

It took a while before she became free with him. Many times when they went on dates, he did most of the talking while she listened. That worried him for a while; he reasoned she was trying to be churchy. He also posited that she was naive and innocent and had never been in a relationship before.

When he got a car, they met almost every day. Everything was on track. She had given him the whole of her attention and he had given his likewise.

*

Back to the present, he felt the rising erection that gripped his loins. He tried to rationalize her motive. It was around eight and it was very dark outside. It was her first time in his house but she was going to sleepover at her friend’s place.

He was still confused when he managed to hear her speak. “Alex, what is wrong with you?” she asked casually. “Have you not seen a naked woman before? Why are you acting like you just saw a ghost?”

“But why… are you naked? What about your clothes!” he said.

“Look at him,” she said with a mischievous smile as she walked towards him.

‘Tolu, what are you up to? You know this is wrong.”

She examined his face critically as she stood in front of him. “Don’t mind me, I need your clothes, mine fell in the bathroom, so I had to wash it. I had to wash my underwear too.”

He was a bit relieved as he thought that she had given a good explanation, but on second thought, he wasn’t convinced. “Why didn’t you use the towel?” he asked with a serious face that was searching for answers.

“It also fell in the piled-up water, in the bucket actually. Too wet to be wrapped, so I had to spread it.”

He was still unconvinced. She must be crazy, he thought. Women are usually protective of their bodies, especially to men. He wondered if married women even walk in front of their husbands naked. He reasoned that he might be under a test, both from her and ultimately, God. It would make sense to pass the test.

One thing was possible now—the temptation could stay with him all through the night.

“So what will you do now?” he asked, pretending to be unruffled.

“Baby, stop side-eyeing me and get me some clothes. A clean boxer short would do.”

He immediately walked towards his room. “But how do I get you to your friend’s house now?” he asked as he approached the corridor.

“Ehn!” she said. “Why are you acting childish? Do you think I can leave your house in this state? Is it that you don’t want me to stay in your house?”

He stopped and looked back. “Okay spoilt brat, if you say so. I will sleep on the sofa while you take the room.’

When he came back to the sitting room with the clothes, his jaw almost dropped. She had gone back to her former position and was fondling one of her nipples.

And the story continues next week.

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