We couldn’t get enough of each other. Our moments in church were now too short. We started going out on real dates (Well, at least that’s what it seemed like to me at the time). We would go window shopping at malls which was always nice because I always got something nice at the end of the day. Soon, I had to start giving out some of the teddy bears he bought lest it became too suspicious (Don’t look at me like that! My parents didn’t know about Jake so I was beginning to run out of explanations as to where I got the numerous gifts from). I think Jake and I were popular in all the confectionaries because I’m an unrepentant and proud cake addict and I initiated Jake.
Sometimes when I was all alone in my room, thinking about how beautiful and almost unnatural our love was, I would pinch myself to make sure it wasn’t a dream (That would explain these little ugly scars around my elbow). You can’t blame me, Jake was perfect. I think when he first learned to speak, his first sentence was a joke because humour came to him all too naturally. Even if the world was coming to an end and people were running for their dear lives or falling into craters in the ground filled with larva, he would somehow manage to make it seem like we were playing ‘hop-skip-jump’ on cotton candy island.
He seemed always fascinated by me, the way he looked at me. Every time we met seemed like it was the first the first time he was seeing me.
I can never forget the first day he kissed me. He was so visibly scared. He was trembling and restless.
“Are you okay?”
“Y-yes, I’m fine. Why would you think I’m not?”
“Well, you can’t seem to sit still and you’ve been pacing since we got here”
“I’m okay”. He said but he didn’t sound convincing.
“Shania, can you please give me a hug?”
“Of course”. I said, puzzled by the urgency in his voice.
I stepped forward into his waiting arms. Jake towered a convenient twenty centimetres over me so my head rested on his chest. His heart was pounding really hard against my head. I was pulling away from his hug to ask him what troubled him when his lips claimed mine. Not with urgency but with a trembling tenderness. For the first few minutes, I couldn’t move. Waves were passing through my entire body. Then he pulled me closer and I parted my lips further and kissed him back, standing on my tiptoes.
I don’t know how many gazillion years passed but time didn’t matter to me then. I wanted that moment to last forever. Even after Jake pulled away, I was still feeling a little woozy. My lips felt swollen with pleasure. My face was flushed. I kept touching my lips the rest of that day even in my sleep.
I could never forget the feeling of that kiss. Maybe because it was my first but it was tattooed in my memory.
One year passed in complete bliss. We even went out for pizza to mark our anniversary (I know what you are thinking, ‘tacky!’. Keep your thoughts to yourself). Of all the outstanding characteristics Jake possessed, the one that pleased me most was the fact that he respected the promise of celibacy I made to myself. Quite unlike other boys his age who were all too eager to explore their sexuality. There was no pressure of any sorts and it only made me love him more.
One fine Saturday, while Jake and I sat at a park watching proud peacocks flaunt their train, he broke the news.
“There’s something I need to tell you”
“Uh-huh?” I said without looking up. I was watching a peacock trying hard to get the attention of a peahen. I was wondering why nature decided the male be prettier and more colourful than the females.
“I will be going to Lagos in two days”. Suddenly, the mating activities of the peacocks and the peahen ceased to interest me.
“What? Why? I haven’t even gotten used to the fact that I can’t see you every second of the day”.
“I’ve told you before, if you want to see me every second of the day, all you need to do is say the word. We’ll elope. Go all the way to Timbuktu. Nobody will find us there. You can have me as long as you want”. He winked.
“Ha-ha, very funny” I said, sarcasm evident in my tone.
“When are you coming back?”
“In two years, I guess”
“WHAT?!” I screamed, wide-eyed.
“Hold your horses, Miss Doe eyes. I was only joking. I’ll be gone for only three weeks” He said, smiling from ear to ear, obviously pleased at his own joke.
“ONLY?! You call three weeks, ‘only’. You are so...arghh! Why do you make a joke of everything?”
“Relax babe. Listen, I know three weeks is a really long time and I will miss you terribly but I don’t want to think too much about it and so should you, okay?” He said softly and planted a soft kiss on my forehead. The effect of the kiss was almost immediate, all my previously taut muscles relaxed at once.
“I will miss you a lot” I said with downcast eyes.
“Hey, you’re beginning to sound like I’m dying. I will try to come back earlier if possible and I promise to bring you ‘milky way’. I know how much you love those”.
“Is that bribe?” I asked, brightening up.
“Yes it is. Sue me! You would be so easy to abduct. I would simply place a bar of chocolate in the middle of the trap and I am most certain that before I even leave the spot, you would be sitting in my trap”
“That’s not true". I managed to say between bouts of laughter.
“You know I’m right”.
We mused on and on and for that moment, I forgot all about his journey.
One week after Jake travelled, I hadn’t heard anything from him which got me worried. The last time we spoke was when he got to Lagos. My only prayer was that he be safe.