I have written a more personal piece on this topic titled, To do or not to do. This time, I explore it through the mind of twenty years old Efe. Relationships can be work o, especially at a young age. If it's not sex, it's the parents, it's ethnicity or it's religion. Read on about Efe and Kevwe's dilemma.
If you've missed the last chapter, see it here...
Efe did not sleep much that night and for the first time since they became friends, she couldn’t bring herself to confide in Nneka the next morning. The feelings were too new, too intimate; too... she didn’t know the words to use in describing how she felt. However, even though she couldn’t talk about it, she didn’t seem able to put it out of her mind. The lectures of that day passed in a blur, she answered question, joked with her friends but the experience with Kevwe remained at the back of her mind.
She didn’t know what to say to him when he came to pick her. The meeting turned out better than she expected. He was with Izekor who was also visiting his family in Benin. Efe invited Nneka to go with them to Oluku Junction. There they settled in one of the bars and ate peppered snails and palm wine while discussing politics and school. There was a heated debate on the Warri crisis by the group beside them, and they eavesdropped a little. Efe was shocked when they began to hurl insults at each other depending on whether they were Itsekiri or Urhobo.
“Lazy amphibians,” one said shaking his fist, “liars and traitors, that what all Itsekiri are, na me talk am, una dey too greedy.”
“Urhobo nko?” another asked, “Ingrates! You people want to be middlemen so you can eat from both sides of your mouth.”
“No mind am, e no dey shame, Mulatto like him. Is it not the wanton Itsekiri women sleeping with white men that caused their half caste?”
“I will box that your mouth, wretched fortune-hunter!”
When the mudslinging degenerated to fisticuffs, the guys thought it was time to go. They dropped Izekor off, then Nneka. It was Kevwe’s last day in Benin and they spent some minutes chatting in the car.
“Do you think we should worry about this whole Urhobo and Itsekiri thing?” Efe asked. The incident at the bar earlier had got her thinking.
“Did your parents say anything?” Kevwe asked.
“No...I was just wondering.” Efe recalled his father’s reaction. “Your dad was a bit…”
“He was just in a bad mood that day. My dad was a diplomat so he’s above these kinds of parochial stuff. As for me, I wouldn’t care, even if you’re from mars. I love you.”
Efe smiled at him. “You’re sure you’re not mad at me?” she asked.
He knew why she asked. “I already told you that I’m not,” he replied.
She leaned back and he stroked her hair against the headrest where it’d fanned out. “Thank you.”
Kevwe laughed and also placed his head against the back of his car seat. “But let me not lie o, it was not easy last night. It was painful!”
Efe opened her mouth to speak but he shushed her.
“Eh..eh..don’t say I’m sorry o.”
Efe laughed with him and then traced the outline of the smile on his lips. She remembered the pleasure she’d found in those lips last night and smiled again. This time, she would be more careful about starting what she could not finish. She looked at him from under her lashes.
“OK, I won’t sorry but can I say I love you?”
“Of course, and you know how I feel about you, right?”
Efe nodded. He picked up her left hand and held it up so that the security lights at the side of her hostel building caught on it.
“My ring looks good on you. I like it.”
“I like it too. She leaned forward and kissed his hand where it held hers and then peered at him. “I have to go now.”
He brushed away the curtain of her braids hair and gave her a brief kiss on the lips. “I will be back in a month as usual. See you then?”
She nodded and stepped out of the car. With a wave he was gone.
Several times over the following month, she asked herself what the next line of action was . Questions popped into her mind at oddest moments. Should she stop any form of intimacy between them or should she just allow nature take its course? Was there a way she could ensure that such situations never arose again? Did she even want to? She was really attracted to Kevwe and she realized that what she feared was getting pregnant more than anything else. She wasn’t afraid of losing her virginity or that Kevwe would abandon her.
All these thoughts ran through her mind when reading, during lectures, but mostly when she was alone. Finally, she made up her mind not to stress over whatever would happen. She trusted Kevwe that he would not do anything she didn’t want to or wasn’t ready for. She made this decision the day Kevwe came to visit her. After he had taken Nneka and herself to Mr. Biggs, they dropped Nneka off at the hostel and they went on to a nightclub. He told her he only had that night in Benin and would be returning to Ado-Ekiti the next day. That meant they would not be able to see again till his next visit. She spent most of the night wondering if he would make a move on her. He dropped her off at the hostel after their clubbing with just a chaste kiss. Efe didn't know whether to be annoyed or relieved.
ps, all images I use in these excerpts are from the web/Google images. Sometimes they may not look alike, pardonnez moi.
pss, I know, my French is tres horrible. :)