Untamed Desire, The First Chapter
In which a new love flame is revealed..
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Nothing prepared me for Kwame.
Unlike the other men I had met, he was unusual in that way that made you question if he was hiding something. His skin was the dark, dark chocolate of a Ghanaian baked correctly in God’s good sun.
His face was handsomely sculpted without being offensive and I knew I had to taste his mouth the first time I saw him.
It was Thursday. The day I found out he existed. Instead of getting my lazy ass to the gym, I stayed in bed staring at his photo on my phone, already daydreaming about him. Nedicta had said this was probably the one.
“Don’t overthink it Efe. He is a really good man and I think you guys will vibe. He is spiritual like you too.”
Spiritual like me? Really? I laughed at that, unable to mask the expectation that had already crawled up my skin.
Her messages had been hurried, single lines of text in her usual manner and I could tell this was an impromptu idea of hers.
I did not like to be hooked up. The last experience had been awful, to say the least, and my poor heart was still healing from the breakup. But Nedicta always had another guy up her sleeves who she couldn’t wait to introduce to me.
Was the loneliness obvious? Had I consumed myself in my own self-absorption and needed to be saved by somebody else’s company?
Was Kwame the end of my being single?
I doubted it. I preferred to meet men on my own terms. The universe has a way of making things collide just right. Every time someone introduced me to a man, it ended in chaos, a complete disaster that took with it a piece of me I could never get back.
But there had been no universal collision in my course for several months. I had holed myself up in my tiny apartment, working from home, being alone. Every-single-day. What can the universe do with that?
“How do you expect somebody’s son to find you like this when you don’t go out?” My mother had asked a few months ago. I laughed and said to her matter of factly, “Somebody’s son better fall from my ceiling,” and I almost meant it.
Being a thirty-something-year-old single woman is rough, isn’t it? You are horny all the time, and you have a deep-seated insatiable desire to love and be loved, yet you just don’t care enough for mingling. You love people but you don’t like them enough to be around them. Your sanity and peace of mind become of utmost importance and staying home feels just right.
So you cancel most plans at the last minute. You only step out of the house to buy groceries. Your neighbors don’t even know your name. And you go to bed every night wishing someone was in your lonesome bed with you, their body heat melding with yours, their morning breath waking you up.
Now as I sat up in bed staring at Kwame’s photo and expecting his reply, I could feel the soft moistness of a growing desire. How pathetic was I to already like the man? I hadn’t even heard his voice yet!
“It’s lovely to read back from you Efe. I didn’t think you’d respond,” the beep from his message almost caught me off guard. I could feel my excitement mounting.
“Oh you know how Nedicta is, when she tells you to do something you do it,” I replied, with a laughing emoji to smooth out the lines of seriousness from my message.
“I have known her for a very long time, we go way back,” his next message read.
I held the phone, thinking up my reply, and try as I may, I couldn’t help but think about Liam too.
Everything about this suddenly reminded me of Liam and I hated it. I did not like to be hooked up with men by my friends. But what choice did I have to meet men if I was refusing to go out into the big ocean of the world to fish myself?
“It’s very lovely to connect with you,” I texted back for lack of something worthwhile to say. I was already thirsty for the man and I hadn’t even met him yet. I couldn’t afford to be too hasty in conversation with him and risk him noticing.
I swiped off the conversation and went back to his profile photo again. Then I took a snapshot of it and saved it to my gallery.
What’s wrong with you woman? Why did you do that? The sneering voice in my head was ruthless.
Maybe this might turn out to be a great thing, I thought to myself. Nedicta had asked me not to overthink it, but here I was making assessments and analyzing unclear details.
Could he be my husband? What did that fine pout-of-a-mouth taste like? What was he like in bed?
You fucking whore!
Minutes later, my phone beeped again. “You are so beautiful. I have been going through all your photos on Instagram. But even more than your beauty, your mind is fucking attractive,” the message read.
I tightened my grip on the phone as I read the message over. The desperate teasing of lust tickled my belly.
I wanted the man.
“Yo Chale! This your Kwame guy has turned my head upside down,” I said to Nedicta later that afternoon. I had managed to get out of bed, work out vigorously at the gym, and made myself a nice meal. I was having an amazing day! Was this that new-love glow I was feeling from inside?
“Eh this girl, abeg abeg don’t start that one,” Nedicta said, with a laugh that failed to mask the intended warning in her voice.
“Don’t start again oh. You too like love this girl! Just have fun Chale, I told you he’s a really nice guy. Don’t make it anything serious yet, just have fun.” She said.
I allowed my mind to play with the word for a while. It held no real meaning for me anymore. I had been anything but fun for more than a year. I deserved some fun.
I yearned for newness, for something to save me from the mundane hum-drum of my life.
But why did I need someone else to come to save me? Why wasn’t I saving myself?
You spend so much time alone with yourself that you probably get tired of being with yourself. Or maybe I was tired of doing nothing with myself. Yes, I needed fun.
The next morning, I woke up with a desperate, silent plea for a message from Kwame.
Several messages from him awaited my attention.
It had begun.
This cat-and-mouse chase of getting to know someone over the phone, the uncertainty of compatibility when you finally meet them, and the incessant need to hear from them all day long.
Damn it. Was I really doing this all over again?
Thankfully, unlike Liam who had been far away from me in America, Kwame was just a drive away. The thought that I could see him at any moment intensified my desire. Or was it the anxiety I was feeling?
For now, early morning texts and phone calls that dragged on for several minutes were just good enough.
“It’s lovely to read from you. I’m just up and about to head out to the gym,” I texted back.
“Yes, I need to be in the gym as well but my son is with me this week and I have to be hands-on,” he replied.
He had a child?
This was news to me. The shock went through my body in slow waves and I couldn’t help but think about what it would be like to be a step-mom.
For goodness sake, I just met the man.
Why was I already thinking lightyears ahead of myself?
“Oh wow, you have a son? So lovely! I had no idea!” He could probably read through my exaggerated response. I suddenly had a bad feeling. I wanted a man, but I didn’t think I wanted him with a baby from another woman.
“Yes! And a daughter too. She’s seventeen, my son is only three.”
Two children? Seventeen years old?
What was Nedicta thinking to not have told me this? I felt stomped. I wanted to go back to the part where I hadn’t known about the existence of his children. Something had definitely shifted and I was all too sure he wasn’t the all-perfect man for me as I had imagined.
The perfect man for you? Are you kidding me right now? You just met the guy, get a grip of yourself woman!
“Damn, that’s certainly a huge gap between them,” I managed to reply. “You and your wife did not plan to have another? Or what happened?” I threw in the word ‘wife’ in there ever so casually like I was so sure he was married.
It was that sly thing I did with men to make them admit they were married or not. No second-guessing. No epic surprises that blow up in your face a little too late.
“Wife? Nah I’m not married. Come on, you think I’d be trying to make you my woman if I had a wife? My kids have different Moms. They go to their Moms for the weekends and I get to play Dad through the week.”
I read his reply and breathed deeply.
Make you my woman?
This guy was certainly a crazy one, wasn’t he? Two baby mamas? I was extra shocked at this point. What other surprises could I possibly be looking forward to?
I wasn’t liking any of it. This was no way to start my day.
Later that afternoon when I finally got a hold of Nedicta on the phone, I was unable to mask my disappointment.
‘Oh, Chale! You for tell me say this your Kwame get baby mamas Nedicta. Not one but two! Two women!”
‘See you again thinking too far. Why is that a problem? It’s not like you are marrying the guy,’ she said dismissively.
‘Well, now I’m definitely not marrying him! That’s not the type of cross I want to carry in my life. What’s the point of all this dating? I’m not in the mood to date for fun abeg. I’m thirty-six and ready for babies right now.’
‘Oh, sister! You for calm down oh,’ She said and laughed that sing-song laugh of hers. It rang into my ears like a needed record and I missed her.
I missed her being here in Accra but she seemed to have found her rhythm in London. London suited her. She was not the type of woman to settle in with the slow-paced easy-breezy life of Accra and she definitely seemed brighter overall since she moved.
‘Did I tell you what that fucking Scott did to me? Yo! If I ever set eyes on that man again, kwasia! Does he know who he is fucking with?’ Nedicta had gone from laughing to fuming in a split second.
My brain did a quick calculation of who Scott was again in her list of ever-available men. Ah! I remembered. The banker dude who wanted to marry her.
‘Wetin happen again?’ I asked, itching for the details but also hoping she’d make it quick. Nedicta always had a really good story. If I were her I’d probably make films out of every experience.
‘He is a frigging prick. After promising to pay for my accommodation here in London and making me practically feel taken care of, he just stopped taking my calls. Sent me one stupid text about how he is not sure about this right now and he wants space. Space? How much space was I taking up? Ahh, girl, I’m fucking pissed!’
‘Oh my! I’m so sorry babe. What are you going to do? Where are you staying now? Chale! You dey stranded inside another man country?’
‘I’m at my cousin’s place now. They have some shack of a spare room but I be beggar, I for no complain.’
‘Oh honey, so sorry. You okay?’ I was genuinely worried for her now.
‘It’s just annoying you know because I planned all this feeling confident in the fact that Scott would come through for me.’
‘Easy baby, easy.’
When I ended the call with Nedicta, I felt a resolve in my chest. I was going to let loose, let the air into my lungs, and just have some damn fun.
I swiped through my phone into my message app expecting a text back from Kwame. Of course, I had one waiting for me.
‘I cannot wait to see you.’ It read simply. I let a coy smile curve my lips. Me too, I thought. Me fucking too.
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