We are making friendly conversation, reminiscing about our formative campus years, when she was a fresher and I was a second year. She sits on my friend’s bed, legs folded like a yuppie doing yoga, laptop on her yellow thighs, with a faint silhouette of her weave dancing on the wall. She blames me for something I had no control over, an act of God. Ati I hurt her feelings when she was in first year because I didn’t notice her. Thing is, I did, but I couldn’t approach her because for one she always struck me as the type I couldn’t get. So for fear of causing traffic, I stuck to my lanes.
When you are a second year, and there is a first year with a flawless yellow skin that makes old men regret the passing of their youth, you imagine that such a damsel is the preserve of the fourth year lot. But it is not the fourth years that rocked her imagination when she came to the swimming pool every Thursday afternoon. She always came to look for me, to watch me dive into the school swimming pool and glide my way through the poorly maintained water, from one end to another.
To me, she was like any other girl. See where I study, girls are fond of visiting the swimming pool to come look at men in briefs. The kind that are so tight you see their manhood bulge out coldly in dismay. We know them. I see them every time I go for a swim. Others come to be taught how to swim, and therein they find the campus blokes hungry for a female touch.
At this point, allow me to divagate.
I spend most of my swimming time in the deep end. Shallow end is usually full of girls looking for attention in the form of swimming lessons, and eager coaches. This is how the classes go: Dude spots a lassie at the shallow end taking selfies and tweeting ferociously about her prowess in breast stroke. One of her friends is holding onto the rail and flapping her legs, splashing water out of the pool. Dude approaches the girl and begins to make conversation, he departs once in a while to swim, but the idea is basically to show off his fish skills to the damsel who by now is impressed. He dares her to a race across the pool, knowing that she swims as good as a tortoise can fly. Embarrassed at her incapacities, she looks away shyly, and admits her inability to swim. When that happens, the dude has her exactly where he wants her. And that’s when he pops the million dollar proposal:
“You can’t swim? It’s easy really. Let me teach you.”
The acceptance is usually a bemused nod that, when you do not concentrate fully, may be mistaken for a no. Whatever follows next is a rare entertainment.
The guy places his hands on the surface of the water, palms facing up like a faithful making a submission to his creator. He tells the girl to lie on them, face and stomach down. Apparently, this is the class on how to float. The simpleton complies.
She forgets that she is in a swimming pool, and not a church service. Half of her body is bare, half of her boobs exposed. If she is wearing a two piece swimming pool, which is fine considering the setting, then half of her bum is uncovered. The thing covering her lower area tries its best to conceal her cooch and burgeoning pubes. But it becomes a tad lazy when it comes to doing the same to her ass. It doesn’t do much of a good job on the other side.
Almost always, she spreads her body on these expectant open palms. What she doesn’t know is that her breasts are on one hand, and her thighs on the other, and the dude pretends not to feel anything- the same way he pretends not to feel his phallus shoot up towards the unsuspecting victim; singing to itself vane rhapsodies of self-praise.
“Now beat your legs,” he says. She beats her legs, emulating the concept of her friend on the side rail of displacing all the water from the pool.
Truth is, if he really wanted to teach the girl how to float on water, what he needs to tell the girl is to lie as flat as possible, body streamlined on the surface, with a lot on emphasis on raising the torso towards the heavens. The rest you leave to the gods of buoyancy. He conveniently forgets this part. So the girl keeps on sinking, and of course her chivalrous saviour is there to keep her afloat. How? By clutching firmly on her breasts and thighs.
Back to the lady in my friend’s room. Let’s call her Mwende. Of course that’s not her real name.
Mwende tells the first day she saw me; it was in the swimming pool. That she and her best friend used to come to the pool, just to watch me swim. I reckon she cannot swim for her life, never seen her being taught how to swim. If you were to blind fold her, and give her orange juice and chlorine, she would tell the difference in their scents. She admits she was insanely infatuated (her words, not mine) by me. My heart dances to symphonies that I do not even know the tune to when those words fall from her mouth. Do not act like you would be modest about it- like you would shrug it off because you get pampered by hearty outpours like that for lunch every day.
She also says she hates me for not getting her hints. She placed breadcrumbs for me to follow, bared herself out there for me, but I couldn’t get it. She is wrong. I did see the signs alright, but I chickened. I was on a campaign trail for a student leadership position, and you know how petty campus politics can get. You are seen with one girl today, and another one tomorrow, and word from your opponents will spread that you are a man-whore. And elections anywhere are won on two premises- money and PR. Ask kamwana and Clinton. To be honest, all I had at that time, was nothing in my pockets, and a heart full of hope. So good PR was my ace card. I couldn’t follow her lead- the only place it would end is badly.
Whatever revives these emotions from history, I do not know. Forbidden memories and feelings like these should have been archived in a distant memory. It is not like circumstances have made it easier for us to even talk about it. As a matter of fact, it’s even more complicated. I am spoken for, and my friend on whose bed she lies, has declared dibbz. Reacting to what she says would be disrespectful of bro code.
You see, my friend in question here has changed ever since she came into his life. You should see the way he cuts tomatoes meticulously when she is around for dinner- the extra attention he pays to personal grooming. The spray is new, the eye glasses pristine- in mint condition, and when she walks into the room, his failing eyes come alive like a phone that has just received good news. It’s easy to tell he has fallen for her- so hard as if it’s the only thing that he has ever done correctly. For me to even think of coming in the way of that, well, that’s just stupid.
All I am left to do is sit on the other bed while they whisper and giggle to each other’s jokes, and type this story. With the laptop warming my crotch, I pretend not to see her sequin brown dress climb upwards to give a sneak peek of her golden thighs- and wonder just what if things had worked out differently two years ago. Every time I try to answer that question, I do so as best as I can. And every single time I think about it, I smile at Cupid’s ineptitude two years ago.