Friday morning at around eight thirty—with my mom, Kris Ortiz having gone out to some supermarket located within an hour driving distance half an hour past—I was sweeping our living room with a vacuum cleaner when the well-installed telephone rang all of a sudden and I rushed to it on hasty and inconsiderate feet. Fortunately enough, I did not trip down to the floor beneath. I didn’t. I arrived at it just in time to grab the cold receiver and place it against my ear. I almost froze to stillness and immobility!
“Hi, sweet angel.”
That was Alex Ramirez without a doubt. Alex? How had he gotten my number, I mean our telephone number?
“Ale-lex,” I stuttered, lost of any words or thoughts. What? What was this?
“Sophia, how have you been doing since we last saw each other that other day?”
“Fine, I must say.” I wanted to add that I missed him, but then I did not. I didn’t regret my choice later on.
He breathed out. “It is good to find out.”
“And you? How have you been doing yourself?”
“Fine, just like you, I must specify.”
“How did you fall upon this number?”
“I discovered in the telephone directory. The one for Zamtel. It had your address and contact details enlisted inside there.”
Whoops! How could I forget that I had disclosed my mother’s name to him? Kris Ortiz. And he could have easily used it to trace the address of our residential area in that enormous and big green-colored book marked ‘2018.’ Yes, that was what he had precisely done! For sure.
“Are you alright, baby?” Alex asked.
Sh*t! Was that ‘baby’ that I had just heard? This was the second time Alex had called me by that title. Baby. I liked it. It was sweet-sounding and heavenly-like and furthermore flattering. “Yes, I am fine, Alex. I really am.”
“I wish I was there with you to verify it for myself.”
That had me chuckle and giggle. Oh my! Alex and his witty side! I laughed and cackled up and burst into tears until I almost passed out for lack of necessitous strength. “You are just joking, aren’t you?”
“No, I am not.”
“That is what it seems. Anyway, where art thou?”
“Thou meanest me, doeth not you?”
“Exactly, my liege, I doth meanest thee indeed and not anyone-th else besides thee.”
“Very well answered then. I am at the varsity, about to labor-eth mine way or to walk into mine first class. The lecturer or tutor hath not yet arrived and hence I hath decided to ring a bell on thy door. Thy telephone I do mean by this, my beloved.”
“My liege, I appreciate thine sincerest efforts with all my heart and soul. Thank thee so much!”
“Thou art welcome, my meek and unpretentious princess.”
“That was excellent, Alex. I mean…it was so breath-taking and stupefying. You have blown me to bits.”
“I didn’t think I would be able to handle it.”
“Serious. I miss your company and presence, Sophia.”
“I miss you too.”
“You don’t say, do you?”
“I mean what I say, my liege. That is the absolute and veritable truth. It sure is.”
“Hey, baby, bye for now. The tutor is in…I will call you later before you sleep, I promise. What time do you go to bed?”
“Any time before ten but after nine.”
“Sharp. Till then. Bye!”
That was it. He hung up and I stood with the receiver grasped against my ear as though he would call me another time shortly afterwards. He didn’t. And it was what I was precisely expecting.
Alex. I loved him. So much than I even realized myself. His name was chiseled and engraved on my heart in shimmering and sparkling letters of stainless and unblemished love. At just the thought of his name, my heart skipped up and down in merriment, my soul inspirited and stimulated to live for minutes more continued. This was a man whom I would kill and die for.
He called me; he called me. Yes, he did!
Squirming and dancing excitedly, I skipped my way up and down, assured and confident that the two of us seemed to have a better and good future ahead of us. That was what it seemed at that precise moment. Alex, my love!
I waited that night, restless and sleepless. Alex was going to call. He was going to call. In the comfort and warmth of my bed, I sat still, relaxed with a telephone grasped and held in my hand. I was impatient to receive that very much awaited and desired call of mine. Each passing second seemed like a century and a minute a millennium.
What? Was he calling? Or was he on phone with that other woman of his?
I made a face. I wasn’t the only one on his heart and mind it seemed. There was someone else. Someone beautiful and clear- sighted, who I was now competing with—it appeared. Who could she be? The type of girl that drew men like nuts and kept them all to herself? Or someone who was timid and shrinking and easily embarrassed like I myself was in some way? I couldn’t tell up until I had met her and spent a few minutes studying and interacting with her.
The clock was ticking and tocking. Tick-tock! Tick-tock! I counted to ten. Then fifty. Then hundred. Alex had not yet called. Where in the world was he? Was he still alive and breathing? He had to be…I mean I didn’t want him to die so soon and leave me all by myself. I didn’t want that to happen.
Like a dying candle flame does, my hopes began to shrink and wane out, flickering faint and more faint quickly with each passing moment. Just when it had completely waned and sunk deep into the blue, I collapsed down on my bed, helpless and incurable, and it was in that moment that Alex called and rang me up.
I didn’t want to answer the phone at first. I eventually forced myself to do it. “Alex.” Like I felt, my voice was weakly-like and faint. The exact kind of emotions I was experiencing.
He was immediately alarmed and terrified. “Sweet angel, are you fine? You sound shaky and unhealthy.”
“I am perfectly fine.” My voice was gaining vigor and stamina as I went on. “Perfectly fine indeed.”
“I trust so. Sorry I called you up a little bit too late than you were assuredly awaiting.”
Yeah…you were with that unknown or even nameless bitch of yours, weren’t you? As much as I craved to mouth the words out, I did not accomplish it. That would have been rude and ungraceful, don’t you think?
“Hey, are you there, Sophia?”
“Yes, Alex, I can clearly hear you.”
“I can’t wait for Saturday to come. I have got a little surprise in store for you.”
“A surprise for me?” That buoyed up my spirits.
“Yes. And I hope that you will like it.”
Sh*t! My curiosity and restlessness had already been aroused and they could no longer be stayed or held back. “I hope so too. Would you care to let out just a little bit of information with regards to the nature and quality of this product?”
“You are trying to bribe me into disclosing every little bit of a thing about it, aren’t you, baby?”
That word—baby—it transported me off into heaven in the flitting of a millisecond. “I am not. I am just asking for a little bit of revelation. That’s all.”
“I am sorry to disappoint you. I am not telling you anything about it.”
“I am alright with that. So what are you presently doing? Where are you by the way?”
“Home. With my dad and brother and sister. I am in my room right now, carrying out some little bit of studies.”
“Which means that you are a loner, aren’t you? Don’t you ever study with your friends?”
“I do. But I often do like private moments like this to sift and weigh and ruminate things on my own. What about you? How do you study? The loner way or the conversazionistic one or maybe both?”
“I prefer the loner one more. But at times I do lean more on the conversazionistic way of doing things.”
“How is family?”
“Fine, I should say.”
“And your boyfriend?”
“Boyfriend? How did you know that I have got a boyfriend?”
“I don’t know. I just guessed things correctly, I assume. He has a name that goes like Winston or anything close to that, doesn’t he?”
“You are wrong. My current boyfriend is nameless and non-existent.”
“Too bad, I should say.”
“Too good, don’t you think?”
“And how is your girlfriend herself? Sheila or what is that name of hers?”
“Ella. Ella Un-existing.” Alex giggled at saying that.
I giggled too. “How is Ella by the way?”
“Fine, I must say.”
“What does she do?”
“She is about to enter her first year of varsity. In Brownton here that is.”
“At which college.”
“How old is she anyway?”
“Eighteen years or nineteen, I surmise.”
I did not know what to reply to that. I processed everything that he had described. Ella Un-existing. About to enter her first year of varsity. In Brownton here that was. And aged eighteen or nineteen years old, he surmised. These depictions and portraits suited me perfectly well to some degree, didn’t they? They sure did. It seemed that I was this Ella Un-
existing. Wait a second! Was I qualified enough to be Alex’s girlfriend so soon? I had queries on that one.
“Sweet angel, are you still there?”
“Yup! I am listening.”
“Your silence. It bothered me.”
“I am sorry. I was just thinking about something else trivial and of little significance. Don’t mind me.”
The call was over thirty minutes later. Alex and I talked and prattled about all sort of things imaginable. Latest gossip, newest news and affairs, and most importantly, things that had a romantic and fantastically wild side to them. By the time the call had ended, I was so exhausted and spent that I fell into sleep straight away without any delaying or detainment.
Saturday was the usual. Occupied and nimble and serviceable. As the day wore on, I could not get Alex out of my mind no matter what it was that I tried to undertake. He was up there in my conscious, taunting and scoffing me. You cannot get rid of me; you cannot get rid of me. These words he voiced over and over to my extreme anger and madness. What was it with him and my peace and composure?
Before I slept that night, I jotted down in my diary:
I am in love with a boy. A boy named Alex. He is not a small boy in real life. Just a big and mature boy that I enjoy dubbing a small lover boy here in my diary. He is Alex Ramirez. The breath of my soul; the love of my life; the fire of my passion. Alex, I love you—wherever you are, whatever you are doing. I love you, my boy!
That Saturday night, he did not call me. I missed his voice. Just the way it sounded and reverberated. I missed every inch of him so much, just as much as I felt lack and want of his sweet-sounding and winning voice. I couldn’t wait for Sunday to dawn.
Sunday morning came stealthily and silently. I did not realize that it had dawned until after I had awoke up from my drawn-out sleep and snapped my eyes fully open. Sunlight flooded my room, overflowing even and enlightening up every dark corner that existed. The weather itself, just like the air, was presumably warm but strangely damp and sprinkly.
Kris was not going to spend the entire day home. She left quite early at sharply seven and avowed to return by the strike of eight thirty. In the night that was. Hip-hip-hurray! I had all the house and time in the world and movement and liberty to myself. I could see Alex anytime from one in the afternoon all the way up till eight in the night. Cool!
With Kris gone to visit The Mwabas who were hosting their son’s wedding in a nearby town, I transformed and turned our house into a beauty parlor. On the sofas in the living room were dresses and stockings and belts and mirrors and combs and make-ups. Everything imaginable but strictly girlish. It was there, lying collected and undisturbed.
Whoa! I spent hours and hours that morning working and sweating as hard as I could to bring a lovely and un-violent swan out of the monstrous and unsightly fierce baboon that I was. I tried this and that make- up without an ending, then that lipstick and that other one, then that dress and that one, maybe iron it this way and that other style, maybe wear it on with these kind of shoes or those other ones, maybe keep it on with this belt or that one, perhaps style my long hair this way or arrange it that contrary manner.
Four hours later, I stood before the mirror as this ravishing and quiescent-looking angel. Wow! The parlor had successfully worked. I was as beautiful as I could possibly imagine. Excellent! Alex was going to collapse the instant he would see me. I would put on him a heavy and incurable marvel-at-me-without-a-stop sort of spell. After all, the key and lock-opener to a man’s heart was his eyes, or wasn’t it? I bet so.
I chose not to go out in my car. By the way, mind you, I did not eat anything at all—not since last night. Not even a glass of juice or a slice of bread or cheese or anything that you can think of. I didn’t feel hungry or starved so as to compel myself into devouring anything. All about me was frustration and joy and excitement and impatience.
I took a cab to Brownton University instead. It streaked and cantered its way there in just thirty minutes. And before I was prepared for it, I was there, standing before Maxwell’s door and debating whether I should proceed to knock on it or not to. I first waited and examined my dressing. A pretty and embellished green-colored dress with sparkling and shimmering upper-sited buttons that seemed to be modeled from a diamond- like substance. Black stockings that shaped and followed my legs well and excellently. Black shoes that were polished and shiny. And lastly my hair—it was designed and framed into lovely and adorable curls that reached somewhere mid my back. Well, this was agreeable and neat, wasn’t it? I thought so.
Boopsie! I knocked hard on Maxwell’s door and waited momentarily. I was about to batter a second knock when the door unexpectedly opened and there Alex appeared before me, dazzling and razmattazing in a black and neatly immaculate suit. Wow! He was so good-looking and overwhelmingly handsome. Sh*t! Didn’t this man deserve to be acknowledged as the world’s most nice-looking man? In my view and opinion, he definitely was!
“Al-lex,” I stuttered, bombarded into tiniest shreds and bedazzled like I had been paid an unexpected visit by a guest from the world above—the heavenly abode that is—home to angles and seraphs and cherubs and all the like.
“Good afternoon, Sophia,” he greeted me with a warm and kindly smile.
I smiled back, “Good afternoon, Alex.”
“You look stunning,” he commented, smirking and smiling non-stop at me, “Or rather beautiful I should say.”
“Thank you so much. You are the most handsome man in the world this afternoon.”
“You think so.”
“I believe so.”
“Thanks. I appreciate your honey-like and sincere words. Come in, will you? You are very much welcome here. Feel at home please.”
I stepped in. Alex closed the door behind and then followed me shortly. He directed me to my seat, where I instantaneously and obligingly settled down. He then fetched me a glass of juice, which I did not delay to swig down in his presence and observation. (Not connoting that he looked at me sternly and intensely so as to provoke and stimulate me into any likely outraged action.)
“Is Maxwell around?” I asked while sipping the pineapple juice.
“He is. You will see him shortly. He was taking a shower a while ago and he is now changing clothes in his room.”
“How did you guys meet? You haven’t related the history of your friendship to me, or did you at one point or another? I cannot remember if you did.”
“No, I haven’t yet made known to you about how the two of us came across each other. It’s a long story though, which for now I will sum up to you if you don’t take offence at me.”
“Good. Maxwell is in his fourth year of studying Medicine. He aspires to become a professional doctor in the near future. It has always been his dream and goal. Just like he dreamt and aimed at being a student here at Brownton. It was here that we met and knew each other. I used to work part-time in the coffee shop a few walks down the street, where he was and still is a trustworthy and unfailing client. We would chat at the counter, watch soccer matches when there were any, make arrangements for him to have coffee on credit and later on pay for it, and stuff like that. That was how we became friends. The university and coffee shop brought us together.”
“You no longer work there, do you?”
“How long was your job there?”
“Six or seven months before I stopped and went on to fully concentrate on my studies.”
At that point in time, while we were passing by time and discussing, Maxwell stepped his way into the herculean room from a seemingly broad room with claret curtained walls that I partly saw. He was tall and well-built and dark-skinned with an almost bald head that had clipped, short hair on it. For the moment he had on pitchy- colored jeans and a white but stripped in blue-lines shirt. A cleanly and un-smirched shirt in concise words. He smelled sugary and lovely. Yes, he had by all means and likelihood put on perfume. That is what I suspected.
“Maxwell, meet my new friend here, Sophia Solochi,” Alex addressed him. “And Sophia Solochi, please meet my favorite pal, Maxwell Madalitso.”
We shook and swapped warm-hearted smiles. Maxwell was handsome just like his most believed pal who was Alex without a doubt.
“How are things with you?” He—Maxwell—queried.
“Sound and satisfactory.”
“That is good to find out. I am highly and frankly pleased to learn about that.”
“I appreciate that.”
Alex placed a loving hand over my shoulder and down my arm; he caressed and stroked my naked arm tenderly. “What is your say, Maxwell?” He spoke. “Don’t Sophia and I fit each other? In the pair-and-bond-as-a-couple sort of way that is? What do you think?”
Maxwell laughed merrily. “Yeah…yeah! You are a perfect match. What is your view, Sophia?”
I merely shrugged, uplifting my eyebrows. “I have no objections. That is all.”
Maxwell winked at Alex—a symbol of some intercourse that was going on between the two of them. I noticed it belatedly. And stared at Alex in the eyes. He simply arched his lips into a delighted smile. I stared back at Maxwell. He was still and un-stirring.
Maxwell was kind and tender-hearted and brotherly. At least to me that was what he was. I liked him from that first moment. In some ways, he was a better talker and people-entertainer than Lex himself. Or Alex if you care so much for the divulgence of his full name. All the moments I spent in Maxwell’s presence were so delightful and diverting that I felt like wanting to chat and relish in his company for time without an end. He charmed and treated and pleased and amused me in such a lively and yet satisfying manner. What else could I want? What more than that?
Unfortunately, Max did not spend much time with us. He went his way out to the library—he personally admitted it himself—leaving me and Lex by ourselves. Now was another moment for romance-related scenes and situations. Oh…oh!
While I had my mind and attention fixed on the television screen before me, Alex took out his gift and presented it to me. I was lost of any words or saying. My God! Was it what he had particularly bought and secured for me? It was too soon to tell, wasn’t it?
“Is this for me, Alex?”
“Yes, baby, I bought if for you exclusively.”
“You and no one else, baby.”
Sh*t! Was it appropriate and agreeable to say ‘no’ to the gift? I did not consider so.
“What? Won’t you take it?”
“I will.” My response was a delighted and ravished one.
“Then go ahead and take it. It is all yours.”
I breathed out and took it. In my hands, my very own hands, I embraced the gift and looked down at it with tears trickling their way out of my eyes. My cheeks became wet and damp in no time. I enjoyed the pain and electrifying sensuality that came along with weeping and crying. What? What was it that was having me cry and snivel this way? I didn’t know. I didn’t care about the cause and agent of these emotions nevertheless.
Alex’s gift was lovely and amazing. It was wrapped in a thick and shimmering pink plastic. Yeah. The exact color that was known to be comprehensively feminine and maidenly! I loved its womanish and effeminacy appearance. What could be inside there in any case?
“Open it,” he directed me.
I did as he counseled.
My goodness! A watch. Not a manly and virile- deigned-to-suit one! But a ladylike watch that was colored pink just like the piece of plastic it was enwrapped in with a womanish feel and touch and stroke to it. Goodness! This was absolutely hilarious and first-rate!
“Alex…” I trailed off into silence.
He looked at me, his eyes bewitched and entranced. “Yes, baby.”
Our eyes locked and tied on each other’s. “Yes, baby, I am listening.”
“Say what you want to say, my sweet angel. I am all ears, even right now. Oh yes, I am.”
“How much did you buy this?”
“I bought it for you alone.”
“I know. It looks expensive and first-rate even. For what price did you nab it for me?”
“Sorry, baby, but I am not revealing that to you.”
“You are not.”
“Yes, I am not.”
Steadily and composedly, he stirred his hand to my face and slowly and carefully stroked my cheek and hair behind me. I did not protest against it. I sat still, enjoying and reveling in it to the last gratification and delight of it. His touch was like fire on my flesh—like an aflame
match stick that had been chucked off into a pool of diesel or petrol. It set up my entire body in rhythmical flares and flamings of fire, fire which blazed and burned, burning deep into my flesh and furthermore melting my bones in one pleasuring and satisfying manner. I was burning with lust and covet for him.
In any case, he let go off me and withdrew away circumspectly and collectedly as possibly and easily as he could. Then he stared at me, voiceless and expressionless. What would happen next? I wondered.
“You don’t seem prepared to do this, are you?” He asked gently and kindly.
“You mean like we have sex?”
“We make love, Sophia, and not just have any peculiar and unnatural sex?”
“No. It is too early don’t you think for us to venture into that kind of affair?”