Read Part I of the story here
Solace Appiah. Nice! Slapping the card on his thumb, walks backwards unbeknownst to him, into a group of boys, who have been watching.
‘What I talk? Organa be senior for the game inside. He get ink. Walaahi!’
‘Yo, how you do am?’
‘How you get the number wey she dey laugh all?’
‘Nah, just company secret.’
‘He take the mag move get am.’
‘Actually, she wasn’t interested in that.’
‘How she go be interested? Her father get stupid moneys, my guy!’
‘You see ref she dey push? I’dey outside. My dosted friend bi try move am. She no ‘gree! Number sef he no’ get!’
‘Yeah, I hear say she be bouncer. So how you do am?’
Kweku shrugs, saying: ‘Shit’s wild out here, fam,’ then turning to his gym bro, whispers, ‘Know thy environment. Tis the law.’
One of the boys cuts in with a dare: ‘1 billion say you no’go fit chop! Number no’be nothing!’
Another: ‘You chop aa, I go worship you. You go be my god!’
‘Make you no take god come inside. Yo, Kizi, shun that your foolish thing. You go do aa then I go turn your god.’
Kweku’s gym bro: ‘Kweku, I dey trust! Organa, I dey trust! Mouth power!’
So Kweku goes to work in a good mood, takes his round of shoots and posts on the mag’s IG page. He runs other errands and shoots more photos: beautiful bodies beaming, posing, seducing; faces grimacing, frowning, laughing; lips pressed, agape, pursed, glossy, flaky, matte-like; fingers delicate, filamentous, suspending; eyelids fluttering, fatally blinking: he sees them all through his blinking aperture and blanching flashes, but somehow, in all those uniquely composed talents, in all their shades of darkness, tints of fairness and complexion of chocolateness, Solace’s essential oil shines in powerful jolts; and he feels himself drifting along fantasies of picking fatal belladonna on an evil-blasted meadow, his pupils dilate, the full luminescence of the day fills his mind; then the blood-spitting man; then her face, soothing as balm, embalming him to the perfection of love.
‘You seem a little distracted today.’
‘I’ll get you yesterday’s shoots immediately.’
‘You already did. You can have the day off.’
Then on his way home, must have seen a lady who almost looks like Solace; must have been her, he could swear! Not one person, or two, but every pretty face that looked remotely in his direction, bore an indubitable resemblance to Solace’s face, felt like a version, a shadow, a pale counterfeit; as if he had met in Solace that essence of beauty from which all women drew their radiance.
Flurrying in his mind, the morning’s conversation. Her bright eyes: you have my attention. Right on, Sol. That’s all I need. Already calling her Sol? Can’t help myself.
Shutters click; eyes blink; he opens into a car, in an Uber; going back home. Time? 5 pm! Would text her or call? He wants to hear her again. He is longing, stretching, spraining his soul for that intimacy of whispering into her ears as she in his, yet removed far away from each other, stretched, filament into thinner filaments, never snapping. Ouch; it hurts. What is this!
The Uber driver stops. He pays, waits for change and not getting it quickly enough, moves on. He floats through to his room, his head filled with lofty fantasies about the first date. Maybe tomorrow he meets her somewhere unexpected, feels her palm, meets flesh with flesh.
First, take a shower; then call.
‘It’s Kweku. Met at the gym this morning.’
‘Oh hey chef.’
‘Solace is the name on the card. Solace Appiah?’
‘Yes, it’s me.’
She sounds different on the phone, but God! is her voice flowing into his ear, softening his abs. So the date, Sunday.
‘So Sunday sounds good?’
‘Let’s make it Saturday. My place. I’ll send you the direction.’
Silence; don’t make it soggy. Leave or say something interesting. You know the rules.
‘See you on Saturday, Sol.’
‘No, not Sol. Not yet!’
‘No problem. Saturday.’
Call ends, his breath too, briefly.
To be continued…