TORN

TORN

I am depressed. Forlorn. Weary at heart. Devastated. Immensely unhappy. You could even say I am on that thin ice of contemplating suicide and you won’t be far from the truth.

And yet, I don’t feel like I have done justice to the way I feel.

Let me tell you the reason.

From the very beginning.

***

The day had been hellish at work, so it was with immense relief that I grabbed my things – work bag, lunch pack and some documents I had in mind to tackle at home – and rushed out of the office building the second it clocked 5 PM.

In my usual fashion, I plugged in my earphones and started the moderately long trek to the bus-stop where I would take a straight cab to my house.

With Sam Smith’s Fire on Fire blasting in my eardrums, the godawful day I’d suffered through was beginning to recede as I walked along the shaded kerb, basking in the serenity of the environment. My workplace was situated in a reserved, highbrow part of Abuja, in one of the municipal areas dominated mostly by companies and shopping complexes, and then a few residential estates. As a result, there was usually very few pedestrian traffic and mostly vehicles that drove in and out of office buildings.

This lack of heavy human traffic contributed to the serenity I usually enjoyed each time I walked to the bus stop at the close of work.

Then I saw him.

He wasn’t looking in my direction even though he was walking toward me, and this afforded me the time to size him up.

Usually, I wouldn’t stare at a passerby. I’d glance fleetingly at whoever it was, and then turn my head away and immerse myself back into my own world.

I guess I wanted the distraction and it helped that he wasn’t looking.

Svelte. Dark-skinned. His jeans were loosely-fitted and he wore a faded black top. He struck me immediately as one of those guys who do not pay attention to their physical appearance. Just throw on clothes to cover up and that’s it.

I couldn’t see much of his face as he had it turned to the side, most likely taking in the beauty of his environment as I’d been doing, and it wasn’t until he was a few feet away from me that he looked in my direction and our eyes met.

It was sudden, the electricity, and in that moment, every movement around me seemed to slow down as his eyes held mine.

It was gripping.

Then the moment passed, and we walked past each other. And that was when I realised I’d been holding my breath.

I allowed myself a moment of chastisement over the fact that I had let some random stranger affect me that way.

He isn’t even that fine, I berated myself. He probably has a bad breath. He most definitely seems like someone who won’t be interested in men – or is and hates himself for it.

With these thoughts swimming in my head, I couldn’t help myself. I turned to look back at him. And I caught him looking back and smiling at me.

Shit!

I quickly looked forward and almost lost my footing.

Biting back a groan of frustration, I tucked my work file under my armpit, stopped for the briefest moment to regain my composure and after taking in some deep breaths, I resumed walking toward the bus stop.

Then, all of a sudden, there was a soft tap on my shoulder, a touch that startled me. Everything I was holding – my work bag, lunch pack, work file, heart, soul – all went crashing to the ground.

“I’m so sorry.” He had already stooped to help me pick up my belongings. “I didn’t think I would startle you.”

You don’t say, I thought caustically. You tap someone from out of the blue and expect what?

My flask, which had managed to escape the confines of my lunch bag and was now rolling smoothly away toward a ditch, caught my attention. I darted forward to grab it, grateful for the momentary distraction and distance it put between me and this stranger.

By the time I returned, he had all my things in his arms, and the sweetest smile angled prettily on his long, angular face.

Now, I could see his face properly.

And those dimples!

The untouched pimple resting on his temple.

His beard looked like it needed grooming – but all they did was reinforce the obvious fact that his parents must have really good genes.

“I’m sorry,” he said again, emphatically, clearly intending to get my attention.

I loved his voice. He sounded like that patient, likable teacher in elementary school who taught you to read and never once scolded you when you mispronounced a word.

I probably took too long to reply – and honestly do not want to know how I must have looked in those few seconds when I was lost for words – because he cocked a brow at me, still smiling.

“Oh, uh…it’s fine. It’s fine.” I was still recovering. “I’ll just have those…” I stretched out my hand to retrieve my things. He released them all but my work bag (which was actually my laptop bag, inside which were not only my laptop but other miscellaneous items like a pair of slippers to change into when my shoes are killing me at work, my mobile jotter, power bank). I was going to ask why he was still holding on to my bag, the fleeting terrifying thought that he could break into a run with the bag running through my mind.

Then he spoke, “Can I walk with you to wherever it is you’re going? Besides, you look like you could do with some help with carrying all these things.”

Umm no, I do not. I’ve been dealing just fine, I thought, slightly panicked by the prospect of spending more time in his presence.

“Don’t you have a place to be?” I heard myself say. The moment the question left my lips, I regretted it. Because as much as spending more time with him terrified me, it pleased me too.

“As a matter of fact,” he was saying, “I have nowhere important to be. I came to see a cousin who lives in the estate behind this street. That can wait.” There was that smile again.

I sighed inwardly, grateful to the gods that he hadn’t taken any offence with my words.

“OK,” was all I managed as we began walking toward the bus-stop together.

By the time we got to the bus-stop, the light conversation we’d gotten engaged in had us so engrossed in each other’s company that we didn’t go to stand by the road to wait for a cab for me. Instead, we went to sit under the tent-like structure constructed by the side of the express lane that had engraved at the top of it the name of the bus-stop. People usually sit in these things to wait; this one was however vacated.

“You stay here in Abuja?” I asked him, as we made ourselves as comfortable as we could on the iron bench.

“No, I don’t. I live in Lagos but I’m a corps member here.” He smiled again. He sure loved to smile.

“Nice.” I had recently passed out from the NYSC scheme myself and was currently working as a permanent staff in the same company I served in. I liked how having this connection with him made me feel.

He was however laughing softly.

“And why are you laughing?” I asked him, slightly embarrassed at the thought of him laughing at me.

Struggling to control his mirth, he said, “You said nice. Nice? What is nice about buying corn, dispatching mails and warming food in the name of Primary Assignment? Abeg, I’d rather be perambulating quiet streets like a loafer and stumbling on beautiful men like you for the entirety of this one year.”

It was my turn to laugh. I could also relate to that predicament.

Miss Biola, who was my boss for about four months during my service year, had made sure to turn me into her domestic help. I would wash her cups and plates, go to her tailor’s, and warm her lunch every other day in the kitchenette adjoining the office. And yet I was supposed to be a cybersecurity trainee.

Oh yes, I could very well relate.

Our connection intensified as the conversation grew and we discovered other mutual interests and experiences. One of which was his love for books. Even more amazing was the fact that we both loved Nora Roberts.

“Ever had this sort of thing happen to you?” he suddenly asked, looking straight at me in the way that made me both uncomfortable and warm with pleasure. He’d been looking at me like that all the time we’d been talking.

“What sort of thing?”

“Meeting a stranger in the middle of the road and chatting till the descent of dusk?”

That was when I became aware of my environment for the first time in two hours. I looked around and was startled to realise that the evening had lengthened, casting gloom here and there that was being illuminated by the street lights.

“Woah! It’s late,” I blurted out.

I had never spent this much time after work anywhere else but at home as I had that day. It certainly was a day of many firsts.

“Time becomes insignificant when you are spending it with someone you really like,” he said. “Have you never heard of that before?” His voice had taken on an intensity that stirred my insides.

He inched closer to me on the bench and I felt tiny tremors course through the nerve endings of my body.

The way this guy was affecting me was ridiculous. It wasn’t as though I was a virgin or unworldly. I had had my fair share of flirtationships. But this guy was different. He stirred me in ways I could not begin to describe.

Maybe it was the fact that where we were seated was a bit a-ways from the nearest streetlight. Maybe it was the fact that his nearness and our solitude had me feeling more wanton than I’d ever remembered feeling. My carnal instincts were getting amped by the nightly gloom we were surrounded with, and I suddenly wanted to taste him. To touch him. To feel him.

He stared at me for a while, his eyes roving my face, scorching the flesh on my face. Then he bit his lower lip.

That did it.

“Can I kiss you?” I heard myself say in a voice I didn’t quite recognize.

“Huh?” he said, even though his tone was unmistakably wily.

“I said I want to kiss you. There’s no one around.” I looked around, checking to be sure. “And –”

The rest of what I’d been about to say was cut off when he grabbed my head and planted his lips on mine. The kiss was tentative at first, like he was tasting wine he’d just bought. Then he pushed against me, his mouth claiming mine this time with the confidence of a longtime lover. His lips were cold, a temperature that mixed deliciously with the heat of the sizzling kiss we’d gotten engulfed in.

I found myself pushing my bags far behind me, determined not to let any obstacle get in the way of this fusion. I was relishing his taste, feeding on his energy. He pulled me even closer, got one knee on the iron bench and deepened the kiss until I heard myself moan.

Then he pulled back and I saw a flash of his teeth in the vaguely lit space, and I knew he was smiling. I smiled too, reveling in the warm sensations that throbbed through me. Then as he kept on looking intently at me, I began to feel self-conscious. I could feel my vulnerabilities climbing over the fence I had built over the years.

So, I pulled back and stared down at my intertwined fingers, wondering why the air was suddenly tense.

I’m not a terrible kisser, am I? I wondered nervily.

He scooted closer. Disengaging my hands, he picked one up and enclosed it in his warm palms. Then with the gentlest touch, he turned my face to his.

I gulped. Loudly. Enough to make him chuckle.

“I think – no” – he shook his head – “I know I like you. I want to know if you feel the same.”

I felt my tongue go dry in that instant.

We’ve just met.

We’ve just met!!!

The words resounded in my head.

But who was I kidding? I had almost literally kissed my soul into this man.

“Of course, I like you. I don’t care for Robert Mugabe, and I assure you, I wouldn’t kiss him if he was the one I met today.” I laughed, suddenly feeling my tenseness let go of me. Feeling safe with this man I’d only just known for a little more than two hours.

“Then let’s do this again!” he exclaimed excitedly, and then, as though he’d suddenly gotten aware of his surrounding, he lowered his voice and said, “Let’s do it over and over. I want to see you again and for a long time, um –”

“Kamsi,” I supplied. “My name is Kamsi.”

“Kamsi.” He smiled. “That’s a lovely name.”

“Yes, I am very pleased with my parents for giving it to me,” I said, hoping the smirk on my face tells in my tone.

He laughed. Then sobered up. He looked at me with some of his intensity, his hand stiffening around mine. He was obviously struggling with something and I was startled by how much that troubled me.

“What’s the matter?” I said, aiming for levity. “You have been pretty good with expressing yourself. What’s stopping the words now?”

Something in me had figured out what he was trying to say, and I needed to hear him say it. I wanted the verbal declaration.

He sighed heavily.

Then pushing himself yet closer to me, the night sky a perfect cover for our abominable proximity, he whispered in a voice that had my insides knotting, “Let’s meet again. Please, Kamsi.”

The knots loosened.

Oh. Just this?

Mortification swept through me as a kaleidoscope of images ran through my mind: me walking down a carpeted aisle with confetti being thrown about, and he, this intoxicating man, waiting at the altar with the smile I’d come to enjoy spread across his face.

Oh Kamsi, you besotted fool, I chastised myself. A kiss and already, you’re planning a wedding?

He was still looking at me, expectantly, waiting for me to respond.

Let’s meet again, he’d said. Well, he may not be getting down on a bended knee with a ring, but this was a promise. Let’s meet again.

I took his hand in mine with a heart full of the intensity of my feelings for him, full of fear and uncertainties, and I replied, “Yes, I’ll like to see you again.”

The kiss that followed this time tasted like a seal on an agreement, an agreement I was hoping would last a long, long time. He enveloped me in his sinewy arms and his lips that told true passion and a tongue that moistened my soul.

It was a miracle that no pedestrian walked by or passing vehicle caught us with its sweeping headlights.  The gods surely weren’t asleep.

We had kissed for what appeared like an eternity before my head finally caught up with my heart.

Time to go home.

It took every ounce of discipline I had for me to push him, gently, off of me. With a burst of energy, I stood and began gathering up all my things from the bench.

He got up as well, his energy humming beside me, threatening to pull me back in, to overwhelm me.

“You really have to go now?” His voice had once again become sultry, and my erection, which had waned considerably after the kiss, returned.

The realisation of this, and what it could lead to, gave me the resolve I needed. I gave a quick nod in response to his question and made my way hastily to the bus stop.

As soon as I got to the bus-stop, upon realizing that he wasn’t at my side, I turned back to see him standing where I left him. He was digging for something in the pockets of his trousers.

There was no time to give it any more thought as a cab that was headed my way pulled up in front of me and I got in, immensely relieved at the thought of finally being home and dissipating the fears of my mother who I knew would be beside herself with worry. Like I said, it was very unusual for me to not be home immediately after work.

In that moment, that was all that occupied my thoughts: my mother and her anxiety.

It happened so quickly.

The time between me getting into the cab, the driver speeding away – and then, the exclamation.

That call of desperation.

“Kamsi!”

He shouted my name.

I looked back to see his receding figure standing in the middle of the road, and I wondered why he had his hands over his head.

“Goodbye, my sweet man,” I muttered. “I’ll see you soon.”

That image of him standing there on the road stayed with me as the driver took a turn and he vanished from my sight.

I dwelled on that final image of him for several minutes on the drive home. Nurtured it in my heart. Explored it. His long, angular face. The long, sinewy build, with those hands that had held me with such tender passion, one over his head and the other –

The realization slammed into me with such horror, I gasped out loud.

His other hand had been holding a phone.

Clarity suddenly descended on me as the reason he called my name crystallized. He hadn’t meant it as a goodbye. He’d intended for me to not go.

BECAUSE HE DIDN’T HAVE MY PHONE NUMBER!

Oh Jeezuz! 

A gut-wrenching pain tore at my insides as something else occurred to me. In all the time we’d spent together, he hadn’t given me his name. I hadn’t asked. Proper introductions had entirely escaped my mind.

So, I did not have his name. And I did not have his number.

I had met the most electrifying man, spent the most amazing couple of hours with him – and with the same ceremony with which he came into my life, he had vanished right out of it.

It would seem the gods went to bed early after all.

***

It hurts. It still really hurts. Every day since that night, I have walked that same road to the bus stop, hoping I will run into him again. Seeing that bus stop waiting shelter with its iron bench and remembering his kisses, his nearness, his intensity. Most nights, I stay awake in bed, thinking that maybe that evening never happened. That maybe he was something I’d imagined into existence.

I think about the words I said in the cab as I watched him disappear from my sight.

Goodbye, my sweet man. I’ll see you soon.

This life does know how to play a cruel joke on you.

Written by Delle

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40 Comments

  1. Q
    March 12, 06:52 Reply

    Funny I had a similar experience once but it was at the market,i still go to the same shop hoping he would one day turn up. Nice one delle

  2. Heartbeat
    March 12, 08:22 Reply

    Okay. I really feel like crying now. No, I’m really crying. How did you lose someone so good as this? How did you forget to exchange contacts 😭😭😭😭

    • Delle
      March 12, 17:40 Reply

      Lol it’s fiction, Heartbeat 😂. But things happen. People get caught up in moments.

  3. KryxxX
    March 12, 08:27 Reply

    Ha!

    Thank God it is fiction oh! My poor heart can’t take this level of Iberibeism of not collecting that number! Mbanu! You are gonna drive back that night and I don’t care if you commute from Mararaba or Karu and get that damn number! Yooseless shild! 😂 😂 😂 😂

    But still eh it felt so real and right and perfect and glorious! Lord!!!!! 😭😭😭😭. See me picking beautiful rainbow 🌈 colors like egusi yellow and river Niger Ash for the KD community asoebi oh! Ah !

    Chukwu ! Lemme crash into somebody along Bolingo junction one of these days nau! Bikozienu. Those masquerade trees would provide such ambience for things like this! As you do for others, mere m ya!!! 🙌 🙌 🙌 🙌

    • Mandy
      March 12, 08:46 Reply

      AMEN ooooo!!!
      😂😂😂😂 Kryxxx, you’re such a character.

      • KryxxX
        March 12, 10:18 Reply

        Iz like that spirit husband has quit his overtime work on my case and gone on sabbatical! 🙌 🙌 🙌.

        Any wedding 💒 planner in here?!! Biko bịanụ oh. Come oh ! The ozband haff finally being released. Di Abuja! Central area ozband! 💃💃💃💃💃.

      • Peace
        March 12, 22:55 Reply

        Ngwanu ọkwa bolingo? I’ll be there.

    • Bee
      March 12, 10:07 Reply

      He said asoebi lmaooo

    • Delle
      March 12, 17:41 Reply

      Abeg, this Bolingo hangout, will Coldstone Ice-cream come out of it? My house is not far biko.

      *grabs bag*

      • Peace
        March 12, 22:59 Reply

        All these coldstone ashawe people, anyway what’s my own. *sips coffee

  4. Mandy
    March 12, 08:45 Reply

    Even though this is fiction, I legit felt the pain. My God. In this climate of market scarcity, that’s when somebody is losing better pikin that God sent his way? For this kind of iberiberism, I’m not sure the universe will send any good man your way anytime soon.
    First rule of gay hookup culture: Always ALWAYS ask these questions in this order:
    “What’s your name?”
    “What’s your role?” and
    “What’s your number?”

    Throw in “What’s your Facebook account name?” for good measure.

    This Kamsi needs to be marched back to the Gay University. He obviously hasn’t gotten qualitative education.

    • Delle
      March 12, 17:42 Reply

      Umm except it’s a hookup, I’m not expecting to be asked “what’s your role?” on a first meet.

    • Delle
      March 12, 17:43 Reply

      Oh and thanks. I was hoping people relate on this level.

      I feel like I won 😂

  5. Mitch
    March 12, 09:14 Reply

    Awww!

    Still doing the love schtick, are we?
    You’ll be fine, boo-boo

    😂😂😂

    That said, this was a really good piece of writing. I couldn’t relate to the emotions you wrote about, but, I do think you did a great job with this one.

    • Pink Panther
      March 12, 09:43 Reply

      You couldn’t relate to the emotions? Lol. Let’s talk about that. Since when did you become a robot, eh Mitch?

  6. Babe
    March 12, 10:08 Reply

    I was about to flip when i realized it’s fiction, but if it happened to me I’ll park my properties and sleep on that road. Ozzband can’t pass me by.

  7. Bloom
    March 12, 10:35 Reply

    Wow!!!!
    I love this, Delle.
    I mean this has been my dream, to meet a lover on the streets, to have all that uncertainty and desire in one real life moment.
    Social media is stealing a lot from us, I swear!

    • Delle
      March 12, 17:46 Reply

      Oh you romance whore. Well, you can’t get all this when you’re ensconced in your room, holding tightly your pillows and penning wishes on an anonymous blog.

      Get out there!!! And who knows, we just might be getting the nonfiction version of this story. Only this time, I’m hoping you remember to get his contact and probably have sex on the iron bench 😂😂😂😂

  8. Tman
    March 12, 11:40 Reply

    Delle! Already I knew you were a fabulous writer, I didn’t know you were also good with erotics! Been long I caught my pman striving to reach the heavens only from a read.

    Chukwu gozie gi nwoke’m. 😘

    • Delle
      March 12, 17:47 Reply

      So much kind words. So much. Thanks, Tee ❤

  9. Rex
    March 12, 15:20 Reply

    No!!! Don’t tell you didn’t get his number!!!
    I’ll literally park to that road, or I go to the area where he described his cousins house and camp niiiiii.

    • Delle
      March 12, 17:48 Reply

      You will, won’t you?
      😂😂😂😂

  10. Sworld
    March 12, 18:36 Reply

    just knew his delle from the start of NYSC n kissing a stranger in public😂😂. I love this piece .cool one bro!.

    something similar happen to me 2weeks ago here in Abuja.
    I attended my first house party which was over night . I met some gorgeous la cream sisters ( for the first time) n brothers.

    After party early hour that morning there’s this charming guy we kissed in one of the dare game we had that decided to give me a full body massage. it was one of the best touches I ever had. it was wonderfully wonderful as he analyses every part of my body for me but he wasn’t a masseur😭😭😭

    later that morning he woke me up to help him lock the door, i saw him to his car, he said “I hope to see you very soon again”. I said SURE, very soon.

    Honestly, I have been missing this charming guy n his massage. 😭😭😭. I bite myself I didn’t have anyone’s noba from the party outside my God father that invited me for the party.

    • Delle
      March 13, 10:00 Reply

      I think I know the party you’re talking about. And no, I didn’t attend.

      You had fun though.

  11. Eddie
    March 12, 22:23 Reply

    The Evolution of Delle…..
    Your stories are getting more captivating!
    Keep it up

    • Delle
      March 13, 10:00 Reply

      Why thank you, Eddie 😘❤

  12. Net
    March 13, 08:18 Reply

    I didn’t even wait to read comments.. immediately I saw Delle as the writer I was like “oh I love his imagination” 😂😂 and I was right it’s fiction.. Good one Delle

    • Delle
      March 13, 10:01 Reply

      Thanks Net. This truly is gratifying ❤

  13. Nefertiti
    March 13, 22:13 Reply

    Shit ! This just feels like my story …met the most amazing person on grndr for a shag and i fell for him now I don’t have his no again.. can’t locate him anymore

  14. Denzel
    March 14, 00:55 Reply

    Im almost in tears reading this . This happened to me along time ago and it’s almost as if my luck on relationships vanished with Him, my Prince Charming.

    The most beautiful man I had ever seen in a long time till today. We got on the same bus from Egbeda to Ojuelegba (I was actually going to yaba but I changed course just to know where he was going) and as the journey started our eye met each other and he smiled but I wasn’t bold so I didn’t say anything but I smiled facing my head down, we were seated just beside each other on the last row.
    All of a sudden , I heard him speak, “I like your G-Shock” (a wrist watch). I look around and back at him, “yea, it’s really nice” his voice was the sweetest thing and I responded thank you and that was how we spoke from Egbeda to ojuelegba.

    I really don’t know what we could have been talking about for that long In that traffic. But one thing he said was he liked Leonardo Di carprio and even though he wasn’t gay he’ll let him kiss him anyday. I knew that was his move on me at the point and I was sold.

    We eventually got to our destination, he got off , I realised I didn’t know where I was so I didn’t remember to get his number , but he told me where his home area was and I remember that for one week I kept going to his street thinking I’ll someday bump into Junior.

    I still think about him today.🥺

  15. J
    March 14, 18:36 Reply

    Hmmm well written! I thought I was watching a movie… Next time exchange contacts ASAP 🙂 And oh I’m glad he didn’t have a bad breath LOL

  16. J
    March 14, 18:52 Reply

    So it’s fiction? 🙄 why do this things don’t happen in reality? 😂

  17. Omiete
    March 14, 21:55 Reply

    As I started reading I just had a feeling it was Delle. But chai as am writing this I am literally feeling the pain as if it happened to me

  18. Cocent
    March 17, 18:36 Reply

    What kind of shoes do you wear?

  19. Blue
    March 20, 02:17 Reply

    For real this got me so hard I couldn’t help the tears

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