Why did you go for a swim?” I asked Chinonso. He stared at me with his beautiful brown eyes and answered my question with a smile. “Not now CN. I need you to talk not answer my questions with a smile.” I replied. “I have not heard you speak for a week now. I need to hear you speak.” Still he continued to smile, his beautiful boyish smile that is totally at odds with his 6ft 4, rugby-player like build. So I walked to him and did what I always do when I needed him to talk. I wrapped my arms around his waist and I stayed there. This always gets CN out of his solemn and smiling moods. Slowly he wrapped his arms around me. I smiled and whispered in my mind, he is breaking.
As we stood entwined I started to hum our song- Eminem love the way you lie. It’s a strange song to be a lover’s song, but CN and I, that’s how we roll -two weird birds in love. As I hummed, he started to speak. I went to swim because …
I interrupted him. “From the beginning Chinonso, start from the beginning.” He did.
I travelled to Enugu to see my folks. I haven’t been home for over a year now and besides I had to go tell them that I found her. “
“Found who?” I asked.
“Found the girl I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. “
With a smile I asked, “how did you meet her? “
We met at a store. I went in to shop as I normally do on Saturdays. I always buy a pack of skittles after I shop- It’s my Saturday indulgence. After shopping this Saturday I went to the candy stand and I found this pretty girl reaching for the last pack of skittles. Without thinking I blurted “please don’t take the skittles. I buy one every Saturday and that’s the last one.”
She smiled and said to me. “Have you ever tried them with popcorn?” I answered in the negative. “Today you will.” We shared skittles and popcorn sitting on boot of my car and we fell in love.
After one year of loving her I wanted her as my wife. So, I went home to tell my parents that I had found her. I took the last flight on Friday from Lagos to Enugu. By 10 pm I was home and telling my mum all about her while greedily swallowing morsels of fufu and oha soup- my mum is a goddess in the kitchen. My mum smiled as she listened. My mum smiles when she approves.
I called "sweet tooth". I call her sweet tooth because she consumes an incredible amount of sweet things, so her lips always taste sweet when I kiss her. “I know you will ask me why I call her sweet tooth” he said and kissed my forehead.
“Continue” I said.
I gave her progress report and slept off. The next morning I decide to take a stroll around, I found myself walking my favourite path as a kid. This path leads to the river. As I approached the river, I felt a strong wave of nostalgia. I wished that sweet tooth was here with me. I sat by the bank and I called her. We talked for a long time. When we talk, I lost track of time. Sometimes, I am wrapped in the cocoon of our conversations that I not aware of my surroundings. This day by the river I didn’t see the three kids go for a swim. If I had, would I have stopped them? I don’t think so, because I used to swim at their age and it was safe.
The piercing scream of young boys broke my haze. A skinny, dark skinny young boy pulled my legs.
“Uncle nyerem-aka” he kept screaming.
I placed my hand over the speaker and said to the young man “Oginni?
“Mmiri, Gozie no na mmiri,” he said.
So I said to sweet tooth “I am going for a swim. I will talk to you later”. I dropped my phone, took off my shirt and rushed into the river. That’s the last thing I remember.
Now I come to your bedroom when you cry. Sometimes I hear you cry and I can’t come. You should stop crying.
I smiled and said to him “the frequency of my tears has reduced; you will have to wait till they stop completely”.
“I don’t want them to stop”, he said. “I Know” I said. We continued to stand entwined while I hummed. I will eventually fall asleep and he will be gone. I try to stay awake as long as I can.