Maybe we are not who we are, after all
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“Touch is the deadliest enemy of chastity, loyalty. An accidental brushing… of hands laid in a gesture of comfort that lies like a thief; that takes, not gives; that wants, not offers; that awakens, not pacifies. When flesh is waiting, there is electricity in the merest contact”
“So how is it coming Omolarami? What about those accounts we discussed the other day?” Papa starts on you without further ado, as you settle to your plate of Akara and Tea. You are thankful, because mama rolls her eyes just then as she heads to the kitchen to supervise last minute details. Denrele arrives about an hour later.
You squeal in delight as you jump at him. He looks grown and handsome, fresh, raffish! He has come with his girlfriend too– an equally stunning Carribean lady. What catches your eye most about her though, are the soles that grace her feet. Are those Manolos?! If yes, you both ‘ll make a great team! The house is filled with warmth and chatter, as everyone talks about everything. And soon, the guests start to arrive, bit by trickle. Fancy bags, fancy hats, fancy shoes. You smile. You love the feel of grandeur. You love beautiful. You chat with a few of the elderly women, most of whom are mama’s friends.
“Omolara my darling! How are you? The last time I saw you, you were just as high as my knee…” rather unnecessary, but well accepted. You smile at Mrs Tinubu, as you respond courteously. She asks if you remember her son, the one with whom you attended junior school. You remember him, of course you do. The nerd with whom you seemed to always compete. She tells you he now lives in Paris, with his wife and twins. You manage to chuckle, unsure of where the discussion is leading– even though you damn right know, but just hope against hopes that she has grown past her childish ways. “So what about you darling? Married? Engaged?” you sigh. She’s an unrepentant cliché. You wonder why mother still insists on keeping the lousy thing on her friends list. Thankfully, before you can respond, mother beckons. Ah, what a lifesaver!
“Omolara,” mama begins once you join her– “meet Pastor Johnson Adebowale; Pastor Johnson, this is my darling daughter Lara; the one I told you about. I’ll leave you two to the rest.” Pastor?! For what? Deliverance? You know Pastor Johnson from your Church. You stare from him to mama blankly at first, then mama winks; and you remember– this certainly must be her friends’ daughters’ cousin; the Virgin man, and he just had to be your Pastor too. You make a smile, and extend your hand for a shake.
“Hello Jo– Pastor Johnson, it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance. We worship at the same Church. The Wayside Church…”
“I know. You normally sit on the second row, on Sunday mornings.” he replies taking your hand. You blush. He recognises you. His voice is deep, sounding something like bass. You are seeing him up-close for the first time and you think he is a sterling looking man for a Pastor. No, you don’t mean it in that way, but– he is just not the kind of picture you have in mind when you hear that word- Pastor. No matter that you are an ardent Church-goer. “It’s quite a coincidence. When my Aunt told me about you, I had no idea I was coming to meet a familiar face– one I appreciate for a number of things also” he continues, smiling. You smile too.
Mama must think so much of you. Talking about you like that to people. Despite your short dress and Stiletto heels, she must still feel your body is that same temple of God she once knew it as. The one she once helped you to build. Yes, you still say your prayers and you go to church– but the thoughts in your mind… like how delicious Pastor John’s eyes look, and how kissable his lips are. Never mind that you’ve never even been kissed. You dart your eyes off his body, and back to his words now.
“…on Sundays” he finishes what he had been saying. He is 30, a Gynaecologist, but also teaches the word of God on Sundays. You faint inside. A Gynaecologist, and a Pastor. How does that even work?
“Whao. Thats– that’s a lot on your hands, i’ll say.” You manage to respond after a long full second. He smiles. “Err… so mama tells me you are ready to settle down.” you continue, unsure of the right way to hold a conversation as this with a man of God.
“And you’re a virgin” you prompt needlessly, without thought.
He smiles, and pauses before answering. “You’ve heard quite a lot about me.”
You smile too, and avert his gaze for a second. “And I hear same of you too. Correct?” he eyes you, a tad curiously; his eyes, seeking and probing, penetrating your soul.
You smile your response.
“You see, I have always liked you…” he continues– “because of how you connect with God, and make contributions in Church… and adding to that now, the other core quality I seek to find in a lady– purity, I think maybe i’ve found what ‘ve been looking for in you.”
You blush. “Pastor I–”
“Please call me John.” he offers
“Lara, I know this is quite a lot to take in for a first meeting.” he cuts in again, rudely– but timely. “How about I invite you to Lunch tomorrow, after Church?” his eyes are pleading.
You give him a side-way glance. You want to say no. You want to lambaste him for even being rude, cutting you short like that every time! Then, you want to tell him he doesn’t know you. That you are dirty, and he’s clean. That you touch yourself on some nights. That you are not a virgin on purpose. That if Sogo had waltzed into your life ten years ago, that thing that has drawn him to you now would have been long gone. That if Sogo asked you even now, you’ll give yourself to him. Completely. Abandon-ly. But you look into his eyes and they remind you of how you feel in Church on Sundays, in the presence of the Almighty. Forgiven. Owned. Known. So you say instead “I’ll think about it Pas– John.”
He smiles and tells you he is looking forward to it; in fact, counting on it. You smile your thanks, as you join your family. The party ends just as soon, and your family thanks everyone for coming around. Your brother and his girlfriend leave at once, and you follow suit– not until after you had told mama your meeting with Johnson went well, and he has invited you to lunch tomorrow. You don’t tell her you are yet to accept his invite. She is beyond elated when she bids you farewell.
It is something around 8pm when you return home. Sogo has called twice already, and dropped a voice mail saying he just got a bit worried having not heard from you all day. You listen to it many times, and smile. His breathy voice and contagious cheer dispel all thoughts of Pastor Johnson from your mind. You call him back once you undress and settle into bed, and you talk for an hour. He tells you he loves you, for the first time. He tells you it only occurred to him, when you spoke of a family meeting and he found how much he wanted for you to invite him. You feel something surge, build, emerge– you can’t describe it in words. But you are excited. Finally. Your body throbs deliciously in response. He asks you to lunch tomorrow, and you accept; and after a few more sweet words, you bid him good night.
One of your hands have strayed to your nipples, feeling the stiffness; and the other, now lies inside your pants, caressing your clit. You forget about the last time you almost hurt yourself. You forget about what you will think of yourself later. You forget about Mama. You forget about Pastor. You forget about the Bible, and you forget about God. You slide your middle finger through your tight and delicious wetness. You arch your back in your bed, as another finger joins the party inside. You bite your lower lip. You moan into the stillness of the night. As you near satiation, the scales of unconsciousness fall away from your eyes. Reality sinks in, slowly; the ticking clock by your bedside, the glowing moon seating outside your window. You think about tomorrow now. And you remember Church. And you remember Pastor Johnson. And you remember God. The shame that begins to engulf your mind doesn’t surprise you as much as the peace that consumes you from the intimacy of your own touch, only seconds ago. You rush into the bathroom and turn the water on in full force, as you break down in tears chanting words of forgiveness. This is not you. This wanting wanton girl is not you.
Damore Alli is a short black girl, a Chartered Accountant, and a hopeless lover of words. She is terribly shy on some days, and provocatively assertive on others. You can find her smiling away by herself at a corner of the room with her ear phones plugged in, and her head stuck in a novel or anything that looks as interesting as a string of figures begging to be analyzed. Or you might find her in the same bus as you, typing away furiously at her phone. You might think she is chatting, but chances are she is writing about you. She blogs at Miniscule Diary. Check it out. You may find yourself in one of her posts.