Kiss me, and you will see how important I am.
I want so much to say that to some girl one day. If only someone will be brave enough—and clean enough—to take my face in between their hands and simply kiss me.
How hard can it be really, to kiss friendly, almost laid-back, possibly not bad-looking Emmanuel, huh?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ve got a willing mouth waiting for me in the living room. Puh-lease! I want to kiss, and so bad, but I don’t want, and do not intend to kiss just any mouth. Capiche, dudes?
I draw in a long, long get-in-a-civil-mode breath, slide off my bed and then walked out to the living room.
Jumoke is there, sitting right beside her mum on our sofa, and she shoots me a twinkling smile the second I enter. Not one to encourage unattainable dreams, I ignore her and focus my polite attention on her mother.
“Good evening, ma.” I dip my head appropriately as I greet.
Mrs Ogunleye lifts her head from the fabrics she’s getting out of a textile bag and beams a smile at me. “How’re you, Emma? I hear you’re now a graduate. Awon big boys!” She lets out an eerily disturbing squawking laugh.
I don’t know who is bigger and more thick-skinned, a rhinoceros or Mrs Ogunleye. I mean, this woman has arms that will gladly compete with the thighs of a Sumo-wrestler. My God!
But of course, I flash a somewhat shy smile and dip my head again.
“Hey, Jumoke.” I never call her ‘Jummy’ and I sorely hate that she persists in calling me Emmy. Like what am I, an American award? For the sake of good manners and mum’s hawk eyes on me, I turn my gaze on her and quietly ask. “Home from school?”
“Was feeling under the weather, so decided to come home for a lil break.”
I loosely look her over. She doesn’t look like she is or has been under the weather. She was wearing a green leggings and a silver-grey long tank, and on her feet were wedged sandals of same grey colour. But her mouth, like the sling-hand purse beside her, was bright red.
For the life of me, I don’t know why a girl with a pair of lips that looks like they’ve been freshly punched would wear red lipsticks. Why emphasize puffiness and ugliness?
Hey, don’t you guys go saying I’m mean… I am not!
I didn’t say she was ugly… uh-uh. But her lips… that naturally Botox-filled mouth is ugly. She hasn’t got Angelina Jolie’s it’s-sulky-sexy-lips or the newly-acquired Kylie Jenner’s pouty-mounds… oh no! Jumoke’s got big, round, thick-as-an-elephant’s-hide lips. And with bright red on them, they’re scary. And that’s scary with a ginormous ‘S’.
I jolt and snap out of my momentary horrific dream world and turn to gape at mum. The look in her eyes says she knows I’ve been daydreaming again and it also says, ‘grow up already’. “Mum?” Had she said anything besides yell my name?
“Drop these fabrics inside my bedroom. We’re going over to see Mrs Omenka who just delivered a baby boy.” Her eyes are still coolly reproving as she gets up. “Meanwhile, help Mummy Jummy carry that bag to the car.”
“Ah no, let’s leave it here jaré.” Mrs Ogunleye waves me off. “Since Jummy will be here, we can leave the bag too.”
“Jumoke is not going with us?” Mum sounds surprised.
And displeased. So am I—surprised, displeased and with a good dose of rising irritation.
“Why worry her when I’m coming back here?” Mrs Ogunleye makes a praiseworthy effort to pull herself up to her feet. “Let her stay and gist with her friend abeg.”
‘Wouldn’t it be double stress for you, us going into town and then you returning here just to pick her?” There was wariness in mum’s eyes.
I understood the wariness. Mum has absolutely no trust in Jumoke. I don’t know why, but she’d never particularly liked her. One of the few things we have in common.
“Ah, Mummy Emma, let’s go jor, you too worry. O gah o!” Mrs Ogunleye was already waddling to the door.
It took Mum more than half a minute to decide whether to go after her or to bundle Jumoke up and forcefully carry her along. “All right. You children be good. Clear?” Her eyes were on Jumoke and they openly said, ‘keep the hell away from my son.’
“Yes, ma.” Jumoke beams a shy smile and dips her head severally.
Mum is not convinced by the entire display. But she reluctantly nods and picking her purse, went for the front door.
“Phew! Your mum is scary.” Jumoke giggles and presses a hand against her left breast.
They’re quite a sizeable pair, her breasts. But I turn my eyes from them and from her. “You want a drink?” I ask. My tone is disinterested.
“I’ll just drop this inside then and come right back.” I lift the fabrics her mum had left for mum and turn, then stumble backward. “Hey…”
She doesn’t allow me complete whatever it is I was going to say. “You know why I was sick?”
“I’ve a feeling you’re going to tell me.” I side-step her and keep a safe distance between us. I forgot she loves creeping up on me.
“Nuru and I broke up.”
I almost roll my eyes, but the sad, tearful look in her eyes stop me. “Sorry.” I mutter.
“Thanks.” She expels a breath. “I shouldn’t have dated him. Don’t even know why I did. Caught him cheating on me twice and then just last week, I went to his hostel and there he was with another chick.” She let out a hiss.
“Sorry.” I mutter again, then add. “You’ll be fine.”
“I think keep dating the wrong guys because the one guy I want doesn’t want me.”
And here it comes. “Jumoke…”
“What is it about me that you don’t like, Emmy?”
“I am not into the type of relationships you’re looking for.” I sigh and shake my head. “I mean, I’m not ready for a romantic relationship yet. Sex is the last thing on my mind now.”
“Who’s talking about sex?” Jumoke chides. “I’m talking about love and you’re here talking about sex. You think all I want from you is sex? Do I look that cheap to you, Emmy?”
I want to quickly apologise for my wrong assumption but I knew they weren’t assumptions and they weren’t wrong. Jumoke has been sexually active since she turned eighteen and got into the University. And I know this because she came to cry on my shoulders when the jerk she gave herself to dumped her for another chick. That was a little over a year ago and there’d been at least three other loves since the jerk.
“I didn’t say you were cheap, I just explained that we both want different things at the moment.” I refrain, tediously refrain, from adding that I would never want her, no matter what I wanted.
“I see.” Her shoulders sag and for the briefest moment, she looked forlorn and I felt sorry for her. Then she takes a step towards me. “Can you at least hold me?”
See what I mean, fellas?
“Just for a second, please?” She takes another step. “I really need someone to love me now, Emmy. I feel so hurt and alone. Just a small embrace. I really like you, Emmy.”
I heave off the arm of the chair and take several steps backward. “I’ll drop this inside, get you a drink and then we’ll talk about your non-existent self-esteem.”
It was the astonished look in her eyes that told me I’d said my thoughts aloud, exactly as they’d come in mind. Oh gawd!
It ended badly, fellas. I repeatedly apologised, but she would have none of it. By the time dear mothers returned, we were both seated as far apart as was possible and staring stonily ahead. Mrs Ogunleye was puzzled, mum was pleased as a peach.
The next day, I decide to take an evening stroll. I am walking past Naomi’s house when the door opens and she pops out, followed by this quiet tall, quite good-looking, quite top-notch dressed dude. I place him at safely aiming the big three-oh.
“Emma!” Naomi hails and quickly strides over for a full-on hug. “Going somewhere?”
“Ah… no.” I step back from the soft mounds of her breast, and do my best not to pay attention to the weird creatures suddenly fluttering inside me. “Just strolling.”
“We’re heading into town. See a movie, then dinner.” Naomi beams and reaches out her hand to grab Mr Fine Guy. “This is Kent. Told you about him. Kent, this is my homey around the block, Emma.”
“Hey, man.” Kent gives me his hand and a big-man smile. “How you?”
“Great.” I try not to wince at the extra firm shake. “Well, you guys have fun. See you around, Naomi.”
“Talk later, Em.” She waves cheerfully and bounces off to the Honda Cross-tour.
I don’t mind that she calls me ‘Em’. I rather like it. Puts me in the James Bond league… somewhat. I like her belted, flared dress and simple makeup too. I like her… I mean as friend of course.
Journal Entry—First week of February, no kiss. The search is still one. Jumoke officially hates me now. Thank you Lord!
Second Week of February?—still no kiss. It will come. I believe.
If you know a good kisser, please contact me. Thanks.
**My sincerest apologies. Power was just restored as at 5:26pm today. Another Episode tomorrow. Thanks y’all.**