Before this river becomes an ocean
September 2nd | Lekki Phase One
“This ottoman was made for me.” Esohe stretched out on the orange-coloured pouf, kicking off flat, bright-red slippers in the process.
From her prone position, she transferred a wine tote to the coffee table where Eddie stood placing his car keys, cellphone, wallet and a white box of croissants on.
It was a little after 4pm on Sunday.
“Do you want something to drink? Or eat?” His gaze followed her tossing and twisting movements on the ottoman, her knee-length brown, Ankara shorts and black halter top clashing with its bright orange hue.
She patted the space behind her. “Later, perhaps. Come lie by me.” She invited. “After that spa treatment, all we need do is relax and let it work, sip through our bodies.”
His grey-coloured t-shirt and black jeans–clad body needed no further bidding as it crossed over hers and stretched out behind it. One of his arms found her waist, and closed the gap between them for a snug-gier fit.
She sighed contentedly. “You’re quiet.” She uttered after a while.
His arm tightened a little. “It’s hard to think straight when you’re this close, looking the way you do, Esohe.” He breathed out finally. “Last night, you said we needed to talk; I’m listening.”
She turned to face him and touched her lips to his. His response was immediate, capturing and prying them open, and invading with his tongue. His hand simultaneously roaming her bare back and crushing her body to his.
Moments later, he pulled away, his hand now on the gentle rise of her hips. He held her gaze. “Before we pass the point of no return, do you want to talk or not?” His smoky tones were borderline hoarse.
“Talk first.” One last, hard peck on his lips and she turned away, recreating the space between them. Then she swung her legs and manoeuvered herself to a sitting position, hands by her side, supporting her weight. “I know little about you, Eddie. Yet, I’ve spent, still spending, quite a lot of time with you. For instance…”
“What stopped you from asking?” He slid out from behind, stopping to sit up beside her, interrupting quietly. “What do you want to know?” Giving her a sideways glance.
She shrugged. “For starters, what’s with the Williams’ name?”
“It’s my mother’s maiden name.”
A shade of confusion slid over her features. “Why…?”
“She was the other woman.”
“From what I heard, my father denied the pregnancy and my birth for a while. Only later did he acknowledge me. By then, my mother was still furious with him to change my surname and left it that way.”
“From the union of both parents, I am the only child. My father had two wives and fourteen children. I have two sisters from my mother – Adesuwa and Ivie. She got married to a major in the army when I was six.”
“Where is she now? Your mum?”
“She shuttles between my sisters’ houses, depending on their temperaments towards one another.”
“We lost him a couple of years ago.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
He shook his head. “He lived a good, fulfilled life.”
“Relationship with any of your half–siblings?”
He nodded. “I spent some holidays at my father’s…after my mother calmed down considerably. Never more than two weeks at a time. She didn’t want me mistreated by my stepmothers. I formed friendships with two of my half-brothers – twins, Odion and Óvbokhan.” He paused. “Then my sisters. I don’t see them as half-sisters; we’re all from the same uterus. All four siblings are in America and the UK but we talk often. Next question.”
She smiled. “Girlfriends?”
She grimaced. “Before me, Eddie.”
“Been single for the last year. Before that, I dated someone for a while. When things began to get getting serious, she realizes she’s not over her ex and leaves.”
“Ouch. That must have hurt.”
He nodded. “But look at it this way, I wouldn’t have met you otherwise.”
She smiled. “Did you ever feel like an outsider as a child?” She switched suddenly.
He glanced at her, his face forming an amused expression. “Funny you should ask that.” He straightened somewhat, passing a hand over his head. “At my father’s. Yes. Sometimes. But never at my mother’s.” His face taking on a faraway look for a moment as though reliving his childhood. “We were three children and my stepdad treated us all equally. We were his little recruits.” He smiled suddenly. “But we knew his favourite was Ivie. She was his little princess, and Igualokpa ogowmen igualo.” I want one of my own too.
“What was that?”
His lips curled in mischief. “Uyayi vbo Ovbiedo ukhi?” Are you sure you’re a Bini person?
“Eddie, stop it!” She scolded in mock annoyance.
He grinned. “Do you understand the language at all?”
“Some. And nothing of what you just spoke.”
“But your mum speaks it fluently.”
“How do you know…?” Then it slowly dawned on her. “No wonder she was asking about you. Your conversation with her was in Bini.”
“Smart. Cute. You must have felt very good with yourself after all that kor, kor, kor.”
He threw his head back and roared with laughter.
“So translate. What did you just say?” She asked after he ceased laughing.
“I said I wanted a little princess of my own too.”
“Preferably the spitting image of her mother.” The back of his fingers skimmed her cheek. ”Where do you think all of this is leading to, Esohe?”
She brushed his fingers away. “I’ve known you for less than a minute! I’m still figuring you out!”
He shrugged. “That’s why God gave us men the recognition trait. We see a woman and recognize what we’ve been searching for.”
“Aaaaaaaaannnd…I just became hungry.” She declared aloud. “Do you have any drinks to go with those?” She pointed at the white box opposite them.
He laughed, pushing his weight off the ottoman. “Let me see what I can find in the fridge. You don’t want any food?”
“No, thanks. These are fine.”
He began to walk away, then stopped. “We are going to have to continue this conversation someday, Esohe.”
She looked up at him. “But not today.” And reached forward for the box of croissants, and the TV control at the same time.
When he returned, bearing a tray ladened with a bottle of red wine, a bottle of water and long-stemmed glasses, she was nibbling on a chocolate croissant and watching the last bit of a movie featuring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts.
He set the tray down on the coffee table, half-filled two glasses with the red wine, handed her one and resumed his position by her side, staring at the TV.
“This is crazy.” She said a while later as the credits of the movie began rolling on the screen.
He turned; a piece of croissant hovered directly in front of his mouth. “What is?” And snapped up the pastry along with a part of her fingers into his mouth.
“Stop it, Edosa.” She giggled, rescuing her digits. “What are you doing next weekend?” She took a sip from her drink.
“This. Spending time with you. Why?”
“I was thinking…” She shook her head, her voice trailing off. “This is crazy.” She repeated. “I was thinking of bringing Osayu along on Saturday or…”
He closed the gap between them, eyes twinkling at her words. “Yes! Yes! Yes!” Punctuating his repetitive response with little kisses on her lips, tasting the wine off them.
She smiled. “Like I said, this is crazy.”