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    Thursday, 18 August 2016

    NKEM - Tale of A Lady's Man (Part 1)

    It was a cool evening of a hectic day. “Nna biko kunie - please rise,” Nkem tapped me by my left ear lobe. She had learnt to use that spot to clear the way whenever she needed something. She always gave it a different meaning from what mum always did when I was younger. She would go ahead to caress it and would not let go until I gave what she wanted; not to imagine what her needs always were.

    “Nne biko hapu m ka m zuo ike – please leave me to rest,” was all I could mutter as I wished it were just a dream and that the hand never existed. Slightly letting ajar my eyelids to see if she were gone when I did not feel another touch for a while, I was disappointed to see a shadow walk across the room towards me in deafening silence. 

    “Please do not touch me again,” I mumbled as I asked not to be disturbed again until I rose on my own. But deep inside of me, I recalled that I was talking to a woman who took a plea for a joke until it hurt. “I know you only touch me like that when you need something but you have to understand that I need to have some rest,” I muttered clumsily, hoping she did not hear me this time.

    I could visualize a smooth white surface with a familiar finishing. My ceiling - made of Plaster Of Paris - always glittered like no other I had seen before. I yawned and turned around to behold my lady seated over the other end of the room meditating on what I could hardly decipher. Calm and lovely as always, she walked behind me, and with both hands, stroked the favorite pair as she whispered to my ears, “I left you some bathing water and after you have had your bath, you will eat your food. I made your favorite.”

    This time, I was grateful it was not a dream, as I did not attempt to resist her love show. I said something which I still remember, “thank you my dear, I have nothing more to ask than what you have offered.”

    I knew that if I did not feign weak, I would have had to get up by my own strength. But I did the needful; I reached out to hold her while she pulled.

    Feeling lighter than feather now, I looked into her eyes as she let out her magic smile. She repeated what she always said to me - that made me dance in imaginary steps – those words which I never got to hear vocally but always read from her soft lips. I always took the credit for a perfect lip-reader. Just as you would imagine, those words meant so much; they came with different meanings each time.

    “Nna, I knew you needed to rest. So I kept your food and waited for you to rise so that we could eat together,” she said in her usual slow and romantic pace that reduced my attention to mere pulp as she leaned over. I was again happy it was not a dream.

    Still feigning weak, I rose with arms stretched out, while Nkem lay beside me like a baby who had nothing to worry about. My eyes were finally wide open to light and reason. Oops!

    As my nerves went stiff but pliable, I wished she never talked about anything after all. “Nna, we have to talk,” she mumbled as she rolled over on the bed. My nerves relaxed and went stiff again. I could do nothing but nurse inconclusive thoughts of what would follow.

    Epi
    While in a passionate and gluey hug, I kept thinking. 
    fiction
    Glossary
    Nna – Father or affectionate address to a man.
    Nne – Mother or affectionate address to a woman.
    Nkem – Female name, meaning ‘Mine.’

    eval
    14 August 2016

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