Love Literati Contest: ‘Peregrine’ by King Jesudunmo

Love literati contest - elsieisy blog

The sky was dark-blue like the night sea turned downside up. It was not one of those dramatic nights with stars spangled across a boastful sky. It was, rather, a humble one with hidden stars, dimly lit with a half-moon. Birds were not chirping neither did owls howl. It was a sombre silence with a background hum produced by the distant sounds of power generators in an endless refrain. Two spoons and an empty bowl of garri lay tumbled over on the mat spread on the floor. If one came close enough, you would hear sounds of grunting, breaking the night’s peace and see bodies intertwined, writhing in the warmth of the darkness.  An unbuttoned chest bedecked with hair pressed against a well-clothed back ending in a protruded behind of a female. Two bodies wrapped as though in a confused dance, sweat denied wiping, linking up in unstable confluences and dropping to the old raffia.

“You’re hurting me,” the fully clothed party said, grunting. “Let go!” The voice said as the struggle continued.

“Just give up.” A huskier voice replied, talking amidst gasps of air. In a quick twist of movements, he twisted her arm and she shouted. “Okay. You’re really hurting me this time.’’ He let her hand go immediately and turned her mournful face to him and said “I’m so sorry. I am sorry.” He motioned to hug her and she let him, while her hand searched frantically for what it had dropped a few seconds ago.

“I never want to hurt you.” He said hugging her tightly.

“I know.” She said and pulled his face for a kiss. He sunk in deep into the kiss and pulled her up to himself in a crumpled kneeling position, while her hand continued its dedicated search.

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She pulled her mouth away and said “I know” in response to his apology, but this time, her voice was laced with joy as she had found what she was looking for. He pulled back, wondering what sponsored the change. Her face was beaming with mischief. He knew what she had not said. He had been played. She pushed his back to the ground, sat atop him and brought out her prized possession and said “I won!” She lifted up her long strand of kuli kuli in her hand. He looked at her laughing face and unexplainable warmth spread in his chest. She began chewing with a smug sense of satisfaction spreading across her face, and it was when it was a small stub that she pressed her mouth to his and shared it with him. He dragged her close, kissed her forehead and said “I would love you or die, Bolanle.” And she said in response “and I would die loving you, M.” After that, words dissolved into moans and each grunt was of pleasure.

As Bolanle lay asleep beside him, Musa stared at her face and remembered when he met her, a hardworking waiter at a restaurant in Ibadan. He had travelled to oversee his father’s company branch opening up. It was love at first sight for him, not for her. He had known the risks of loving her and had sought after her with unwavering passion, sending gifts, money, love letters and online messages, but she ignored them all, spurning his advances. She told him plainly that she was not interested.

Bolanle had, however, been fine with being friends and overtime, even after his return to Sokoto, they had come to know each other deeply. Bolanle, who was a final year student, orphaned in her first year in university and sponsored herself with hard work and he, Musa, the billionaire’s son, who had secretly converted to Christianity in his university days. He had grown to love her more and she had grown fond of him till he was all she could think about. He visited Lagos regularly on “business meetings” because she relocated to Lagos after graduation and worked with an insurance firm. None of the suitors seemed to appeal to her. It was he, Musa, that had her heart.

“You are mad!” His father had said when a bible was found in his room. After months of strained relations between them, he told him one day “I know about the girl, the reason you visit Lagos so often.  You can marry her after marrying Aminat, Alhaji Shehu’s daughter.” Musa was tired of living a lie. So he simply said “I have been a Christian for more than eight years.” Unlike what he expected, his father replied “I know. But, you are my first son and heir. Would you rather bring disgrace to my name and your family?” It was pain unbearable for him. He left home two years after the conversation, when he was almost lynched for preaching.

Bolanle agreeing to marry him was the best thing that could have happened to him at that time. It made leaving his family and inheritance somewhat bearable. People said she had jinxed him. He went from bricklayer, to driver, doing menial jobs, while applying for every job possible, and Bolanle stood by him, footing the bills, then people said he had jinxed her. Their wedding was nothing a girl would grow up dreaming of, but it was their dream come true. With their three years anniversary in two days; “childless”, numerous garri-full and generator-less nights like this one, Musa would do it all over again.

When the power came on, he carried Bolanle inside their rented apartment. He got an email notification on his phone, read the mail, woke Bolanle up and read it to her. He had landed a job in the U.S.A that came with a house and a monthly salary, they could not make in a year. Bolanle looked up with tears in her eyes and said “I wanted to wait till our anniversary, but I can’t… I am pregnant, Oko mi!” It was then tears of joy overwhelmed Musa and he started to cry.

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