Kiss me out of desire, but not consolation.
Those are the words of Jeff Buckley. He was a song-writer and guitarist. His words would be my sentiment at the end of this month of February.
Rodney comes over. Mum gives him her usual hard look before she goes out. Rodney is immune though. He is used to mum’s hard looks and I’m sure he gets plenty of them from other disapproving over-protective parents.
Naomi stops over at the house. I introduce them. She doesn’t seem to take to Rodney. And after a few minutes, she excuses herself and says she has errands to run in town.
“Your girl there is pretty. Too sticky straight for my taste… but she’s still got the qualifying assets.” Rodney observes the minute she’s out.
“She’s taken, Rodney.” I tell him, with pleasure.
“Oh, you’ve got your eyes on her, eh?” Rodney grins wolfishly. “I see you’ve found someone to take your kiss-whatever-you-called-it. You should consider letting her charm your major-man.”
I don’t like yonder-man being referred to as major-man. I don’t tell Rodney that of course, he won’t toss aside the term if I do. He’d only make more sniggering remarks about my weird ways.
“She’s not the one. We’re just friends.”
“Hmm, she already got you friend-zoned. Tough luck.”
“She doesn’t have me friend-zoned. It was never like that.”
“Don’t protest the facts, dude. I got eyes on my head and I see you got a thingy for her.”
“That thingy is called likeness, Rodney. Pure, unsullied liking.”
“The things you say.” Rodney shakes his head. “Anyway, who’s this bummer who’s got her? Know him?”
“Yes, met him. His name is Kent. Good looking dude. Fast-rising exec at KPMG.”
I look at Rodney and frown. “No, Kent. That’s his name.”
“That’s his nickname or pet name… whatever.” Rodney let out a laugh. “Kentua is her man? Dude is a Playboy with a capital P. You think I’m a rogue with the ladies? This guy is a smooth-fingered Aladdin. He robs them and makes them believe they freely handed their treasures over.”
I continue to frown. “He did tell her his full name is Kent.”
“Of course he did. Girl just strolled in from the Queen’s country, dude is playing the I’m-tush card. Besides, it’s a name that’s stuck, so why not?” Rodney laughs again. “You just tell her to watch her tender heart, else it will get bruised.”
Darn it! That excessively smooth smile… jerk!
But I am not fast enough to warn her. During the week when I went over to hers, she’s already bruised.
“Darn! And I can usually smell Casanovas from a mile off. Didn’t I tell immediately your pal, Rodney, was a player?” She sniffs and shakes her head. “I guess I wanted to be fooled. You can only fool a fool after all.”
“He’s the fool and he’s going to get his dick frostbitten one of these days. Forgive my French.”
She chuckles. “I like your French. I like even better your imagination. Frostbitten dick… should be a hard lesson.” She leans forward and gives me a hug. Leaves her head on my shoulder. “I guess like you I have to wait for that special someone.”
“You will meet someone better. Someone who really deserves you.” I find the weight of her head on my shoulder oddly soothing.
“I guess I will.” She slides backward and pulls me down with her.
We lie side by side on her bed. It smells of… well, her. Soft and sweet and… scented. She slips her hand into mine, links our fingers. I like it. Her fingers are long, bony and soft.
“I like your hand.” She says. Her voice comes out like a soft breath—hushed and smooth.
“Me too.” I sigh. Relaxed and almost wistful.
“You like your hand or your like mine? Which?” Her teasing is accompanied by a quick laugh.
“Your hand.” I feel momentarily self-conscious. Then brush it aside when she only chuckled and entwined our fingers even more. “Rodney says you’ve got me locked in the friend-zone. Told him it isn’t how it is between us… but Rodney never believes in friendship between a girl and a guy.”
“He wouldn’t.” I expect her to reprove me for saying girl but she doesn’t. She’s probably too absent-minded. “He’s in the same league as Kent… Kentua. They don’t get real things… real emotions.”
“No, they don’t.” I murmur.
Then wonder what our real emotions for each other were exactly.
“How’s the kisser hunting coming?” She asks after a momentary silence.
“Zero success.” The scent she is wearing seems to make me want to slip my arms around her. Weird. “Maybe I’m not succeeding because inside I am really scared of kissing.”
“You’re scared of kissing?” She angles her neck and gapes at me. There’s laughter in her eyes. “Like seriously?”
I nod. “There are many adverse effects to kissing, you know.”
“There are adverse effect to breathing like inhaling fumes and airborne diseases, yet we still breathe.” Naomi sputters out a laugh and shakes her head. “You’re all kinds of weird, mate. I should grab you now and kiss you just so to get you over your fear.”
The plea shocks me so much that I do not say it aloud.
“Maybe I should put up an Ad. You know like The Bachelor—Chris O’Donnell and Renée Zellweger. I feel like I’m as desperate as he is.” I say after a moment.
This time her laughter rings out. But it doesn’t embarrass me. Instead I find myself smiling.
“Imagine that, an ad for someone who’ll be willing to kiss you. That’d be hilarious.” She shakes her head even as her laughter slows into soft chuckles. “Ladies would be desperate to know if you’re rich or maybe on the brink of inheriting some obscene amount of money like Chris O’Donnell’s Jimmie character.”
“Some will probably term it ritual things. This is Nigeria and we’re big on superstition.”
“I’d be big on superstition if I see an ad on ‘in-search-of-a-kisser.” She grins.
I grin back. Relaxed and oddly happy to have us joke about my plight. “I think it should have a more zing title like ‘Kiss me if you can.’ It’s a dare and makes it sound like there’s a price to be won.”
“Well, there is—supple, a little full, a little pink, untouched, virgin lips.” She laughs. “That should be added as a kind of prompter, ‘un-kissed supple lips.’ They’ll come after you in hordes.”
“Is that how my lips are, supple, a little pink and a little full?” My eyes are locked in hers.
She doesn’t say anything for a moment, then she lifts her other hand and traces it over my lips. I feel myself tremble. Like tremble, right from my head to my toes.
“Yes, that’s how your lips are. You’ve got a lovely, manly pair.” Her finger plays with my bottom lip. I’m tempted to suck it in… for some odd reason. But I don’t. “If we weren’t best of friends, I’d kiss you. That’s for sure.”
“Then I wish we weren’t best of friends.” The words come out of my mouth unchecked. But instead of the blush I usually get at un-thought-out words, I only boldly hold her gaze.
There is utter silence for the longest moment, and then Naomi sighs. “Your first kiss should be beautiful. Don’t settle for less.”
I wonder what she means. But I say nothing.
The third week of February ends without a kiss and so does the fourth week.
In my Journal Entry I note— I want to be kissed by Naomi. I want to kiss her.
That is simply the truth. But we are friends.
Kiss if you must; but make it special.