A SMALL WORLD – SEASON ONE
Copyright © Ufuomaee
DISCLAIMER: Please note that this series contains some sexually explicit content, violence and offensive language. It is not appropriate for children nor an immature and sensitive audience.
It had been a long, lonely day for Amaka. Her flatmate, Zainab, had returned from her shift just before the dawn, and was catching up on sleep, when Amaka was rising from bed. That was how it was a lot of the time.
Amaka had become good about making enough and keeping food to share with Zainab, which Zainab appreciated. On the few occasions that they were awake and at home at the same time, they enjoyed eating and talking together about many things. Amaka looked forward to those times and Saturdays, when Zainab was usually off.
However, this Saturday, Zainab was called in to cover someone else’s slot, so, she’d had to dash off moments after waking up. Amaka couldn’t help expressing her disappointment. Zainab had smiled and winked at her, and promised that she’d be back early so they could hang out tonight.
Amaka felt weird about their exchange this morning. She realised that she’d sounded a bit like a lonely, abandoned wife, whose husband was never around. She decided she would correct that impression tonight, when Zainab returned.
After Zainab had gone to work, Amaka went grocery shopping, which she did once a fortnight. She liked to go to the Palms Shopping Mall, so that she could browse the shops too, and maybe get something nice for herself. She still loved to shop, and found it relieving, even though her budget had greatly reduced. A splurge used to be a boot load of items, containing 50% designer wear. Now, a splurge was a nice complete outfit, and not likely designer.
She still had some personal funds from her days of modelling in the States. She hadn’t needed to spend her own money while she was with Jamie. He had enough for both of them, and he loved to look after her needs and wants. But since their divorce, she’d had to dig into her savings to maintain herself, until she could find something profitable to do. At the rate she was spending, she figured she still had about three months before she got desperate.
As she walked through the mall, she got a lot of looks, stares and cat calls from men, which she was used to, but which she now hated. She had to stop by at the bathroom and reassess her dressing a few times, because she was really trying to be careful to not draw as much attention to herself. Still, she had a fashion sense, and she still liked to wear dresses. These days, she wore jeans or leggings under the short ones, and cute jackets over the tight and sleeveless ones.
She hardly ever made it out of the mall without being approached by at least three men. And recently, she had even had a couple of lesbians approach her for a date! She wondered if it was written on her forehead that she was divorced and lonely, because the attention seemed to be more now than when she was married or dating Jamie.
She’d prolonged her stay at the Mall today by eating lunch at the food court. She wasn’t in a hurry to return to her empty home, and she didn’t have enough money to keep shopping. She also wasn’t one of those people who window shopped. Shopping was for buying, so why taunt yourself, when you’re not going to be able to take it home with you, she thought.
As she ate, Amaka watched the couples and the singles mingle, as the place buzzed with people doing their last minute shopping for Valentine’s Day. She felt a little sad that she’d be missing out on it this year. She always loved Valentine’s Day. Jamie loved to go overboard with gifts and romantic gestures. He was really quite the sweetheart…but she remembered that he usually bought gifts for his other female ‘friends’ too.
She hadn’t thought much of it the first year they were together. But by the second, she knew they we weren’t just friends. She sighed. Why did he have to be a dog? They could have been happy, if he would have just treated her right… She sighed.
Then she spotted a tall man with Jamie’s frame. It seemed uncanny that she was just thinking about him, and he would show up. She kept watching his back, hoping he would turn and she would be able to know whether or not it was him. The big man turned. It wasn’t him. But she kept staring.
He was a fine looking man. Not as dashing as Jamie, though. He was more rugged and a little bigger. He had some shopping too, but there was no woman with him. Was he a lonely shopper like her?
He caught her staring, and she looked away quickly, embarrassed. When she looked up, he also turned his gaze to her, and their eyes met. Amaka felt shivers down her spine. Few men had ever done that to her.
She swallowed, and half willed him to come over and talk to her. The other half of her was scared that he would. She hadn’t yet found herself in a situation where she was tempted to fornicate, but this man was right up her alley. She could see herself backsliding for him. She shut her eyes and said a quick prayer.
When she opened them, he was standing before her. She gulped. He grinned.
“I was just wondering what a beautiful woman like you is doing here alone…” he said, with a genuine smile.
She didn’t know what to say. She shyly responded, “Thanks…”
“I really, never do this, but I just wanted to know your name…”
“Amaka,” she replied.
“Hi! Nice to meet you, Amaka. I’m Bolu.” They shook hands. Amaka was embarrassed because hers had suddenly gone damp with sweat, while his were hard and yet soft and smooth.
“It’s nice to meet you, Bolu,” Amaka said. “Do you want to join me?”
Amaka couldn’t believe she had just said that. She wished she could gather the words back into her mouth. Her heart beat fast as she waited for his response.
Bolu smiled brilliantly. He was flattered. He couldn’t believe a woman as gorgeous as Amaka was losing her cool over him. This really NEVER happened to him.
“Oh, thanks so much. It’s kind of you to ask. But, I don’t think my wife would be so happy about that…” Amaka looked haunted. Another married man? “I really just wanted to say hi…and that you’re very beautiful…”
Amaka nodded, not able to smile. She was suddenly sad. Would she ever meet a good, attractive man who wasn’t already taken, she wondered.
Bolu observed the change in her mood. “I didn’t mean to offend. I’m sure you get approached a lot…”
“It’s okay. I appreciate your honesty,” Amaka said, with a genuine smile, regaining control of her feelings. “It was nice meeting you…”
Bolu heard the finality in her tone. He gave a small smile and a wave, before retreating. What had possessed him to go over and talk to her, he wondered? Yes, women with her beauty were rare. But still, he had acted on impulse, like a teenager, who couldn’t control himself.
He sighed. At least he had told her he was married. That was good of him…at least.
Amaka watched him leave. She’d lost her appetite. Why had she felt so attracted to him? Was it because he reminded her of Jamie? She decided that that was probably it. She sighed, and gathered her things and left.
Amaka arrived at her flat to find Zainab there already. She was pleased not to be alone. Zainab had bought them pizza and suggested a movie might. Amaka loved the idea.
When they had settled down to watch the movie, Amaka remembered the impression she wanted to correct from their exchange that morning.
“Oh, don’t worry about it! It’s no big deal. I feel like that sometimes too…” Zainab said.
Amaka sighed, relieved that they understood themselves. She relaxed and made herself comfortable on the sofa. Zainab placed a hand on her thigh. Amaka looked at her strangely, and Zainab smiled. She thought it was a bit weird, but decided not to make an issue of it.
They got into the movie, and laughed, exchanged smiles and delightful commentary. Zainab edged closer into Amaka’s space. Amaka was beginning to get uncomfortable. She asked if Zainab wanted tea, and when she said “No”, she stood up to make for herself.
Amaka returned to her seat, but sat uncomfortably, because she had less room than before. She didn’t want to go and sit somewhere else, in case she hurt Zainab’s feelings. Zainab turned to her to ask if she was okay, and Amaka nodded.
As the movie progressed, Zainab passed more glances at Amaka. The romantic scene came on. Amaka’s eyes were glued to the TV. Zainab’s were glued to Amaka. Following an impulse, Zainab leaned in and kissed her flatmate.
Amaka was taken aback. She looked at Zainab strangely and retreated, which was hard to do, because she was sort of cornered on the sofa. Zainab smiled lovingly at her. Maybe Amaka didn’t know she was bi-sexual yet, she thought.
“What did you do that for?” Amaka asked, rubbing her lips, as if trying to clean them.
“Because I like you… And I know you like me too.”
“Yes! As a friend! You’re a Lesbian???” Amaka asked, sounding freaked out. She hastily got up from the sofa.
Zainab looked at her, confused. “Yes… I thought you knew…”
Amaka shook her head frantically. “I didn’t! And I’m not a Lesbian!”
“Well, maybe not… But you’re definitely Bi…”
“I am NOT Bisexual! Why would you think that?” Amaka was dumbfounded.
Zainab thought of all the signs. How Amaka had been acting like her wife, preparing her meals, seeking her attention. They had all suggested that Amaka was into her too… At least, until Amaka said she wasn’t bisexual. And now, they didn’t seem like such obvious signs anymore.
“I don’t know… I just thought you were into me…” Zainab said, feeling embarrassed. “I’m sorry. I misread the signals.”
Amaka just looked at her, stunned. She hadn’t even guessed that her flatmate and old friend had been a Lesbian all this time. She didn’t know what to make of it. She thought of all the times she had walked about the flat almost naked, and suddenly felt uncovered. So Zainab had been looking at her with interest all the while… Wow!!! She needed to find a new place ASAP!
“I’m sorry… It won’t happen again,” Zainab said, already knowing the thoughts that would be going through Amaka’s head. She hoped she wouldn’t make a big deal of the fact that she was a Lesbian, and what she had just done.
Amaka nodded. She needed some space to think. “I’m going to go to bed…”
“You don’t have to. We can just finish watching the movie…”
“It’s okay. I’ve watched it before. Thanks for the pizza…”
Amaka turned around, and quickly made for her room. Now she had to be worried about women hitting on her too??? Who could she trust?
Amaka heard a tap on her door and turned. Zainab stood at her doorway, her expression glum. “Look, I know it’s a surprise… Please don’t make a big deal out of this. I hope you can still be my flatmate. I really do love having you around.”
Amaka looked at her, not knowing how to respond. She swallowed and nodded. She was confused. Her mind was thinking a lot of things, and one of them was about the fact that homosexuality is a sin.
Zainab knew what she was thinking, but didn’t want to say it either. She had been born into Islam, and still practiced her faith with her family, who didn’t know her sexual orientation. She had never been able to reconcile her lifestyle and her Faith, and preferred not to think too much of it.
Amaka was sure Zainab already knew that homosexuality is a sin. Was it necessary for her to point that out to her, and tell her that it is a sin? Somehow, she knew a sermon wasn’t what Zainab needed right now.
People had told her, all the while she was fornicating, that sexual immorality was a sin, but it hadn’t deterred her at all from continuing in it. In fact, she had delighted in her liberation from what she had thought was an oppressive and judgmental mindset. Now, she believed in God, and wanted to honour Him with her life… That was the only way she had been able to keep from fornicating since her divorce.
That night, Amaka prayed for God to help her to reach out to Zainab with love, so that she would have genuine and sincere faith, and also want to honour Him with her life. She asked for counsel on how to deal with the situation. Whether to flee or to stay. She really didn’t want to expose herself to something she couldn’t handle.
To be continued…
Photo credit: http://www.beyondblackwhite.com