Its three o’clock in the morning. I cannot sleep. The weather is cool and a gentle breeze blows in from the window sending a soothing swirl around the entire room. My rechargeable lanterns are on full blare as there is no light, nothing unusual there. The power outages are a frequent occurrence where I live, so I’m used to it. The room itself is well tidied, clothes well arranged in my cupboard, my books for my dissertation well placed on my study table, my shoes neatly arranged on the shoe-stand by the door.
None of these would have been remotely possible, mind you, if not for the lady lying in bed beside me.
Nina, my angel, my princess, the love of my life, the order in my chaos.
She arrived only this morning and my house already has the feminine touch to it. The faint scent of Edikan-ekong soup freshly made still lingers from the kitchen and the air fresheners she brought send a soothing but not overpowering scent towards my nostrils.
She has a scent of her own, rich, royal, luxurious, and her soft skin presses firmly against mine as she cuddles in my arms fast asleep. Her gentle breathing has a calming rythmn, and I find my breath syncing with hers. I remembered her exasperation at coming into my apartment and seeing the place worse than a pigsty with my room buried under clothes and books and pens and documents. Don’t get the wrong picture, I am not usually untidy, but recently I have had to deal with deadlines and an overdue dissertation on my Masters degree. I remember the concern in her voice when she called and how she took the next bus over from her place. She doesn’t live so far from me anyway but has not been around for a while due to work issues.
As soon as she arrived things started to take shape. It was like rays of hope were let into my apartment the moment she opened the door. It was after a harsh interrogation from her that I realized I had been surviving on fast-foods from passing food vendors for the past five days. She immediately swung into action and soon soup and stew were on the fire. Without being asked she swept the floors and cleaned out the house. Despite my protests she gathered all my dirty clothes and washed them. And without my consent she arranged my room and changed my bed sheets. She exuded so much care and concern that I could physically feel the stress and tension that had been building up in my body quickly melting away.
I was madly in love with this woman.
I wanted to marry her so bad.
The ring hid somewhere in my closet, in a place her hand literally could not reach, the very back of the top shelf.
I didn’t have a tinge of nervousness in proposing, I had it all planned out and God willing, it was going to be the most romantic proposal ever.
I valued her more than life itself.
Which is why the dream I just had about her was giving me some serious trepidation.
Hello, my name is Chukwudi Briggs. I am a single but soon to be married young man working at a top notch Public Relations Firm somewhere in Lagos. I’m of average height and weight, dark skinned, athletic and in generally good health. Most ladies would say I have handsome features and a quiet disposition. My eyes are dark brown and I’ve been told I stare sometimes like I want to look deep into a person’s soul. The ladies like it. They call it my “sexy stare”.
If only they knew the truth.
I also happen to see things others do not see. No, I’m not crazy, just paranormal. I see visions, signs, spiritual beings, you name it. Luckily for me I don’t see these things all the time, its not like I go out to the streets of Lagos and see dead people walking all over the place. I kind of only see what I want to see, what relates to me at the time. Pachios calls it my “sight” and explains it is something the “Elders” somehow overlooked and forgot to remove before I passed through the veil into this world.
Pachios is my Guardian Angel. And he is currently missing.
Ever since my run-in with the Man-animal at Asaba, Pachios has completely disappeared. Before he left he reassured me hw would still be looking out for me but that I would have to go through the rest of life’s journey virtually on my own. Not very comforting words since I have had him as my constant companion all my life. I accepted his departure in good faith then because I had Nina and an alternate version of me called “the stronger”. But lately these sleepless nights with these dreams about Nina had got my worry meter reading red. Part of the reason actually why I had been delaying on my dissertation.
I have had similar dreams in the past and I know better now than to ignore them. The last time I did , the man-animal had gone on a rampage in Asaba, feeding off innocents with reckless abandon. I looked again at Nina sleeping peacefully beside me and studied her wings. They sprouted just like you’d imagine an Angel’s wings would sprout, straight off her shoulders, of the purest white and the largest I had ever seen on any one person. They covered her now, moving in tandem with her breathing and protecting her from the unseen, the most recent of which was the knife which had materialized in my room and come flying straight at her. It was a bright and luminous dagger, with strange inscriptions written on the shiny but black handle. It had bounced off harmlessly before I could make a move and the creature that sent it had snarled in rage and dematerialized to where it was sent from. I greatly pitied the one who had sent it for it was a vengeance demon, and they got very pissed off if they weren’t able to accomplish their missions.
But who would want to carry out vengeance on Nina? Nina who had issues with rat gum, sympathized with motherless chicks and whose heart melted at the sight of stray dogs. Plus she was very good with people too. Who would want to risk sending a vengeance demon to hurt her?
I sighed deeply and prayed a psalm over her and watched as a protective orb enveloped the entire room. No more attacks tonight. I made a mental note to say my night prayers more often at least for Nina’s sake, and closed my eyes.
By the time I opened them again it was late in the morning. I glanced at my bedside clock and noted with a start that it was 9 o’ clock. I looked around the bed but Nina was gone. Sounds coming from the kitchen told me she had since awaken and had started her day. I yawned and stumbled out of bed, had a good stretch and sauntered into the kitchen.
Nina was there preparing a breakfast of bread and omlettes. The smiled and came forward to plant a kiss on my lips before I cold stop her.
“Good morning sleepy head – allow me kiss you jo!”
“I haven’t brushed,” I protested but she kissed me all the same. I grimaced and shemade a face.
“I should be the one grimacing and not you.” She said smiling, totally oblivious of the narrow escape she had had last night. “Go and brush your teeth and come and have breakfast. After that we’ll hit the showers.” She winked and returned back to her eggs on the fire, her bum wiggling seductively from inside my T-shirt overall that she was wearing.
I swallowed hard and rushed to the bathroom.
Breakfast was wonderful and so was shower hour. In case you are wondering I still remained the perfect gentleman. Nina and I had decided on a ‘no sex until we were both ready’ policy. We had both agreed at the beginning of our relationship that having sex early would becloud our judgment and maybe even spoil the process of our ‘getting to know each other’ through and through. Mind you, I thought the ‘getting to know each other’ process was taking a tad longer than I expected and was more than ready pop the proverbial cherry if you get my meaning, but Nina kept on pleading with me to be patient and because I loved and respected her so much …and because I couldn’t very well rape her…I decided to wait until she made the move herself.
I watched as she got dressed, wearing a clean collared white blouse and short pen skirt that ended just above her knees, accentuating her hips and butt. She combed her weave-on to one side and painted her lips a number 21 shade of red. A dash of makeup on her face and she was ready to go. She caught me looking at her through the mirror and smiled, showing forth a pair of pearly white teeth that couldonly belong to a goddess or an angel.
“What are you staring at?” She asked, putting on her earings.
“You are so beautiful…have I told you that before?” I asked
“Yes. And it makes me wonder if you would still love me if I was a little more uglier.” She responded.
“Women, why do you always have to spoil the moment?” I asked in mock annoyance. “I would love you even if you had one eye and a cleft lip.”
“Hmmm, you know where all liars go to.” She replied finishing her make up and turning towards me. I approached her and held her hands.
“You know I’m serious. I do love you.” I said, emphatically this time. She sighed and looked away shyly.
“How are my wings this morning?” She asked, probably to change the topic. She rarely asked about my ability ever since our run in with her uncle two years ago. It was one thing she didn’t usually talk about with me, mainly because I had earlier given her the impression that I didn’t like talking about it. I glanced behind her and saw her wings, spread out, shiny and humongous as usual.
“They are spectacular. Wish you could see them.” I said with a smile.
We looked into each others eyes for a moment and suddenly we were kissing. We had kissed many times before obviously but this kiss was different, mainly from her point of view. It was filled with desire, fire, a longing. I opened my eyes for a moment and yes she was burning with the red hot flames of lust I usually saw on others and myself when I was with her. I closed my eyes again and allowed myself to be drowned in the euphoria of our kiss. Her hands found my sides and mine wrapped around her waist and drew her closer to me. I could feel her nipples go erect behind her blouse and I cupped her backside and drew her even closer to me. My actions caused a moan to escape from her lips and her breathing grew fast and urgent. I grabbed her off her feet and still kissing her, walked towards the bed.
She opened her eyes and gasped and put her feet down, gently putting her hands on my chest to stop me.
“I’m sorry…” She began
“I’m not.” I said and kissed her again. But this time she pulled back.
“Are you kidding me right now?!” I said, a little too harshly. She backed away from me, a hurt look on her face.
“I don’t know what came over me, I’m so sorry sweetheart.” She said, catching her breath and looking very uncomfortable.
I paced the room like a wounded lion, growling furiously on the inside but trying my best to appear understanding on the outside. She saw through it immediately and smiled sadly.
“I love you too.” She said. “I do, and maybe you are right, maybe I’m being a prude waiting too long for us to have sex, but , but I don’t know, I don’t want us to spoil it, you know?”
“Even the boyfriends of one-eyed cleft-lipped babes get to taste the apple once in a while.” I said harshly, and wished immediately that I hadn’t said it.
Tears formed in her eyes and she batted her eyelids furiously to push them back. She turned abruptly to the mirror and quickly reapplied her make-up without another word. I was mortified.
“Babes, I’m sorry I said that.” I said quietly, remorsefully, standing at the door awkwardly, not knowing whether to go to her or stay where I was. “I guess I lost my patience a bit there but I’m all good now.”
She pursed her lips, picked up her purse and came to the door, waiting for me to stand aside.
“What, you are not talking to me now?” I asked.
She said nothing.
I whistled, exasperated, and stepped out of the way. She walked through and hailed a passing commercial bike. Naturally I would have escorted her but i was still upset and stood by the door instead.
I watched her go and then shut the door and pulling my clothes went back into the shower. I put the water on ‘warm’ and allowed the soothing flow of warmth pervade my entire system.
“I’m sorry”. I said again, to myself. I didn’t know if I was still addressing myself however or her. I was angry at the both of us. Angry at her for being so damned prudish and angry at myself for being so selfish at that point in time. The more I thought about it though, the more I realized she was in the right. I of all people, being a seer, should know better about what sex did to the mind and how lust blinded one from a lot of things. And if I couldn’t control myself with her how could I even say I was worthy of her or worthy of her love?
I came out of the shower and dressed up. I composed an apology text “I’m so sorry” and sent it to her. She replied a whole grueling ten minutes later. It was an emoticon blowing a kiss.
“Dinner still on tonight?” I texted
There was a pause and a “ping” as she replied
Good. At least she was still talking to me. In a manner of speaking.
I smiled and looked up at the wardrobe, at the corner where her hand couldn’t reach. I had been planning this for ages, had even reserved seats in advance. Tonight was going to be the night and nothing was going to spoil it.