Anatomy of a temptation Pt. 1
A boy and a girl, alone in a room, and all the possibilities contained therein… It was going to be a long night.
We were together in the empty living room, alone in the dark. There was a blackout, as usual, and the only light source was the mobile phone in her hands. The light radiated from the phone, spilling all over her face and splaying her shadow in a grotesque exaggeration on the wall behind her as she sat on the table. Her face, bathed in light and accentuated by darkness, acquired a layer of mystery. I was sitting on a chair beside the table, a lowly figure to her exalted position.
"Are you sure you don't want me to put on the rechargeable lamp?" she asked again.
"No, don't worry about it."
She shrugged and her shadow followed suit.
"If there are any monsters in this room, you don't have to be afraid. I'll slay them all."
She chuckled, a pleasant sound in that vast room.
"And what kind of monsters can you slay?" she asked as she dropped her phone on the table and her shadow receded into the darkness.
"All kinds really. Ogres, vampires, orcs, ojuju, and so on. The list is very long."
"Aren't you a veritable Van Helsing then?"
"No, just a regular one-man army. Shola at your service."
I bowed and the light from the phone went off. Darkness engulfed everything, even the smile that was forming on her face. However, the triumph of darkness over her smile lasted only for an instant; her smile became laughter and all was well with the world.
"We'll see about that." She said with the vestiges of laughter still in her voice.
"Of course. I just hope no monster makes an appearance tonight."
"Why? Are you afraid?"
"No. I just pity the monster that'll be foolish enough to come here. For interrupting this conversation, it'll die a slow and painful death."
She laughed again, dispelling the darkness.
"Someone has been watching too many movies."
I laughed, a coarse sound that blushed at the memory of her laughter and, somehow, the conversation moved on to the humdrum endeavors of our daily existence.
"How were your lectures?"
"Did you have any test today?"
"What did you have for breakfast?"
Such mundane topics had never enthralled me until then. It was as though my doubts leeched into the night and, unencumbered by those granite millstones, I could be still and open to the possibilities of that moment. In that darkness, my mind acquired sight
Her words floated on her breath, and her voice became an extension of her face. She grinned when she talked about an incident that occurred on her way to class that morning; she smiled when she whispered in a conspiratorial tone about her mother's eccentricities; a frown creased her brow when she mentioned her lecturer for Sociology 207.
As she talked, I imagined her lips, devoid of lipstick and moving in varying degrees of parting and closing, shaping air into words. Soon, meaning receded from her words and only the sound remained as a soothing melody to my ears. All I could think of then was kissing her lips: slowly standing up, hearing the chair creak, leaning across the table, looking into her eyes, bending my neck, bridging the gap...
Suddenly, she was bathed in a pool of yellow light from the incandescent bulb in her room. The door to her room had been left open and, with the power back, the light spilled out into the living room with darkness sniping at its edges. The living room was in darkness, save for the block of light from her room. Like most houses moonlighting as a dorm for students, the living room was designated as a communal space and, therefore, it was no one’s problem when the fluorescent light in the living room was no longer working. My reverie was startled into nothingness by the intrusion of the light.
"Up NEPA!" she shouted in glee, raising both hands to celebrate.
"Oh yes. The light is back on."
"So, what do you think?" She asked with an earnestness in her eyes.
"Well- errrhmm-that's actually a good idea and- errhm- you should do it."
"Errrhmm," I looked at the far corner of the living room, looking for something in the darkness.
"Someone has been daydreaming of slaying monsters, I think." She said it with a hint of mockery in her tone.
"No. I was thinking of something more beautiful; of someone next to me."
"Flattery will get you nowhere, Van Helsing." She said with the mere suggestion of a smile on her face.
“I know that, damsel-who-could-possibly-be-in-distress."
There was a lull in the conversation, a stillness that descended on the march of time and the will to speak. Even the sounds of cars passing near the house were muted. She seemed aglow in that pool of light, just sitting on the table, a model on a plinth, devoid of the artifice of make-up, in a rumpled t-shirt and brown shorts; a girl that was all woman. Her face held the promise of much more, and in her eyes was an invitation. I was possessed with an overwhelming urge to kiss her. For a moment, and slightly more than a moment, I almost did, but then my insecurities came flooding back.
I wondered if I wasn't imagining things- if my breath smelt nice, if I was a good kisser, if the world was rotating a little more skewed today- and time, after a while, started ticking.
We picked up the thread of conversation, but it wasn't the same as before; it had raveled into a skein of tedium.
"I have to go now."
"It's getting late and I have an early lecture tomorrow." I said as I stood up from the chair, stretching to ease the tightness in my legs.
"Oh! Thanks anyway. I would've been so alone if you hadn't come since my housemates went for a party."
"It's no problem. Once again, Shola at your service." I curtsied with a flourish.
She giggled, a just reward for my theatricality.
"Let me change out of these clothes and I'll see you off."
She walked into her room and shut the door, leaving me alone in the darkness save for the line of light stretched under the door.
I stood still in the darkness, my hands in my pocket, looking at that line of light and bingeing on regret.
After what seemed like more than a while, she opened the door. She stood in the doorway, a silhouette in a rectangle of yellow light, devoid of any color except at the edges where her red tank top and blue skinny jeans gleamed as they were caressed by the light. She stood there, leaning slightly on the doorpost with her left hand on her hip, her face covered in darkness, looking at me.
I stood at the edge of the light and her shadow stretched before me on its way to the wall.
The silence was deafening.
Shola Olubunmi is uncomfortable with referring to himself in the third person. It feels very Zlatanesque, and here he is referring to the footballer, not the musician. Anyways, this is getting out of hand but you can follow him on Twitter- @sholaolubunmi1- where he rarely tweets.