MARYJANE: MY FIRST LOVE – Episode 1
“Maymay! So good to see you. You look stunning as usual,” I said enthusiastically to my girlfriend, Maryjane. She let that intoxicating smile of hers take a languid trip across her stunningly beautiful face. “So good to see you too, my dear,” she said, hugging me cautiously. We stood in front of their compound. She was not quite as warm as I had known her to be. “Are you okay my love?” I inquired. “Yes…yes, I am fine, darling. My father is at home and I can’t let him see you,” she said walking to the side of the building. I followed her obsequiously. “Why don’t you stay here for the time being? I will be right back. Let me attend to a few things inside to make my father happy. As soon as I can, I will be right with you,” she explained. Her face carried a look of urgency. A degree of anxiety shimmered on her face. “I can leave, you know. I will be back another day,” I offered. “Oh know, you came all the way from across town to see me. It has been a while we met…since you travelled to Owerri. I want to hear all about your trip,” Maryjane insisted. The spot where she asked me to sit was completely secluded from the main entrance to the building. The building was one of those multi-apartment houses with numerous tenants. The paint on the walls had long vanished, leaving behind drab walls with patches of all sorts of colors. The roof had gone from silver to dark red, depicting the amount of rust that had accumulated on the corrugated iron sheets over several years. The drab and dull state of the building was a sharp contrast of Maryjane’s beauty. Her rich ebony black skin had a gloss to it. Her lips beckoned at you, almost. Her eyes were bold…sparkling bold, and her long ‘Bob Marley’ style braids left a flutter in my heart. I sat on the pavement, patiently waiting for Maryjane’s return. I had known her for quite some years. We met when we were fifteen – young and full of dreams. While I attended an all-boys secondary school, she attended and all-girls secondary school, but we both attended the same private extramural class three times a week in the evening in preparation for Junior WAEC – Junior Secondary Certificate Examination (JSCE). Every guy at the extramural class wanted to be identified as Maryjane’s boyfriend. She was by far, the most beautiful girl at the class. I had a massive crush on Maryjane from the moment I met her, but I kept that to myself, mostly. While every guy hustled to gain her attention, I pretended I had no interest in her. Luckily for me, I was very good at Mathematics. Maryjane would come to me asking for help with her math assignments. I gladly taught her math. I relished it…I savored the experience to the letter. She’s sit beside me, with her mesmerizing perfume wafting past my poor nostrils with ebullience. Several times, I taught her the wrong thing because I was busy thinking of her…soaking in her beauty and her warm and fuzzy fragrance. Soon, I found out she did not care when I got things wrong. It appeared she enjoyed my company too. Other boys at the extramural class began to tease me, which I gladly accepted. After all, it was an honor to be called Maryjane’s boyfriend. I embraced the title…my new brand with gung-ho gusto! One night, when we were walking home, her hand touched mine. It felt as though electric current swept through me without electrocuting me. I was literally shaking with excitement. I took a leap of faith! I reached out and touched her hand again…and again…and again. Then, I took her hand in mine. That moment was heaven! I was shaking and sweating, but I was not about to let go. She smiled each time I sneaked a peek into her beautiful eyes. “I like you Maryjane,” I said, almost throwing up. My heart was beating so fast I thought it was about to jump out of my mouth. I could feel the volcanic eruption that was running amok in my stomach. “I like you too, Chisom,” she said. What? What did I just hear? I thought to myself. I stopped in a dark alley, stared her in the eye as my heart pounded like a talking drum. In fact, more than a talking drum – it was pounding like a singing or shouting drum. Sweat oozed out of my skin in the middle of the harmattan season. “I have been thinking of you from the very first moment I met you,” I declared. “What was I wearing that day?” she asked. “You think I don’t remember? You wore a red skirt that hung slightly above your knee and black top with the inscription – New York on my Mind. You had a pair of black at cover shoes and a gold-colored ear ring with the shape of a heart. If you want, I can tell you the amount of oxygen in your blood at that very moment, the number of hair on your head and the thickness of the red lip gloss that lined the face of your beautiful lips.” I was staring her in the eye as I ranted…proudly. My memory served me right on the occasion. I remembered everything she had on that day. Then, that smile made a swift run across her face. “You really paid attention?” “I always do, especially when you are involved, Maymay!” “I like it when you call me that.” “Then, I will never call you anything else ” anything else. I leaned towards her, not without looking over my shoulders and around to make sure that we had some privacy in the dark alley. Then, I placed my lips on hers, slightly, afraid of overdoing it. My lips brushed against hers. I had never kissed before, so I was not even sure how to go about it. Apart from seeing it on the television, I had no clue what I was doing. I wanted to do it anyway. Everyone I had seen that tried it on television appeared to enjoy it. So, off I went, brushing my lips against Maryjane’s. The soft succulent touch of her lips against mine sent beautiful shock waves through my fifteen-year-old body. I leaned further towards her, searching and itching for more. She too wanted it. Soon, our lips were locked together; united with one voice. I grabbed her body and she held tightly onto mine. I felt sensations I knew existed before that moment. Officially, we became boyfriend and girlfriend. It lasted just a few beautiful months though. After JSCE, my family moved to another part of town and sadly, Maryjane’s moved too. I guess the hassles of senior secondary school came in-between us. Years later, I ran into her. I was passing by when I heard that voice. “Chisom?” she called to me. My heart leapt for joy. I could never forget that voice. It was back in the day when cell phones, emails or Facebook were not around to track people down. I bet if we had Facebook back then, she would have definitely been my profile picture. “Is that you, Maymay?” I said as I turned sharply around. Instinctively, we hugged each other. Soon, we found a restaurant where we sat down, ordered food and ignored the food afterwards as we chatted for what seemed like a minute even though it actually lasted for several hours. I wanted more of her and she wanted more of me. She was not seeing anyone and neither was I. We were both in university at the time, so we made a firm commitment to each other. We would never…never walk away from each other. I fall head-over-heels in love with Maryjane. We would walk to old, neglected zoo in Enugu together and walk through the tree-lined paths with few surviving hungry animals. At the slightest opportunity, we would kiss as if there was no tomorrow. We wanted to spend time with each other every day. “In your eyes, I see beauty that surpasses the elegance of the nature around us. When you touch me, I know deep in my heart, that I am loved by the one I love. In my sleep, I dream of you…your wonderful smile that soothes my soul,” I said to her one evening as we sat near the lion’s den at Enugu zoo. The hungry lion was not overly impressed as we sat near the barricaded den. It looked like it had not been fed for a while, so the last thing it wanted was two cheesy lovers singing of their love beside it, when it could barely make ends meet. Anyway, I caressed Maryjane’s hand as I peered into her eyes. “Your words fill me with wild jubilation, Chisom. When I breathe, I breathe you. When I sing, you are on my lips and when I dance, I jive in your strong, loving arms, even in my sleep. You are the re that sets my life into action and spring my thoughts to life,” she said beautifully to me. I soaked in every bit of her words with sheer gusto! As I sat in the corner of their building, I thought of how lucky I was to have Maryjane back in my life. I had told all our friends from junior secondary school that Maryjane and I were back together – stronger, this time, I’d say with pride and excitement. Soon, Maryjane appeared with a bottle of cold Malta Guinness in her hand. As I took it from her, I felt her touch. “I’d take your kiss over Malta Guinness any day,” I said as I took the bottle from her. Smiling she said, “Drink your Malta Guinness for now my love; soon, your mouth and heart will be filled with my breath and tongue.” “Please make it faster,” I teased. “I will be right back, honey,” she said. I cracked open the bottle of Malta Guinness with the bottle opener she had left with me and began to sip on it. While I enjoyed the Malta Guinness, I wanted Maryjane. About half an hour later, she reappeared. This time, she sat with me for a few minutes before heading back inside. It was getting dark. The chance that I would get some quality time – with some kisses – with Maryjane looked bleak by the minute. The next time she reappeared, I told her that I had to leave. “Let’s meet in a day or two, my dear. Go and attend to your father tonight. By the way, is he okay? Is there a particular reason he is holding you to ransom tonight?” I asked jokingly. “You know how he is…you know; he wants me in the house. He is afraid that some boys might steal me if I were outside for too long.” That answer did not sit right with me. Maryjane and I had sat outside late at night talking, laughing and of course, smooching. Why was today different? I could not quite put my finger to it, but I kept my thoughts to myself. Certainly, something was wrong somewhere.