Darling Rose is a fifteen year old girl (not that she looked fifteen in anyway, more like twenty-five) who lives with her mum across the street, the house directly facing my hotel. She is tall, dark and very beautiful and I was smitten the moment I laid eyes on her. Although she is a local, that didn’t faze me in one bit.
It started with stares across the street; she always sat at the front of her building which made this possible; we graduated to waving at each other when I would pass by, from there to saying ‘hi’ when we see…….until the fateful day when I summoned enough courage and approached her. Mind you, I didn’t have any ulterior motive; I just wanted to be her friend.
When I finally met Darling Rose, she was with a baby girl which I unsuitably thought was hers until she told me her story.
Darling Rose is the only child of her mum (an auxiliary nurse) who had her when she was fifteen to a nineteen year old father whom she slept with only once and whom Darling Rose had never met. She lives alone with her mum, no father figure except the streams of men that frequent their home from time to time. She does not have any contact with them whatsoever as she had to make herself scarce whenever they came around to afford her mum some privacy. Hence, my recurrent sighting of her sitting in the front of her house watching the passersby and which invariably led to us noticing each other.
Darling Rose is not neglected in any way. Her mum earns enough to sustain two people, she goes to a good secondary school and she does not see anything amiss in her life. To her, theirs is a regular way of life.
The baby I mentioned earlier belongs to her best friend, Dena. Dena is another stereotype. Dena lives with her aunt in the neighboring street to ours. Dena is a fifteen year old girl, with a body to die for and an attitude that says she knows it. She is not stingy or reluctant to share her favors and she has had three aborted pregnancies to show for it. The abortions were done by Darling Rose’s mum (the auxiliary nurse) but she refused to do the fourth one, thus the baby girl.
Darling Rose and I became close and she shared some of her experiences with me. She made me appreciate in a new way the diverse people, beliefs and cultures that made up our country Nigeria. She intimated me on her life, her lifestyle and her life goal (which to me was rather simple; to get married to a ‘good man’ and live happily ever after). I hope she has not set her sights on me though.
Darling Rose was the first friend I had on that street. She made the beginning of service year a bit bearable. I would visit with her after close of work; we would just sit and gist. I was careful not to invite her to my house though (I’m not that strong to resist her at close quarters, and resist her I must). Remember, I stated categorically that I am a Christian; therefore, my struggles are different from those of the regular guy. I have a set of rules I have to adhere to. Failure to do this takes away my peace so although I was tempted, I tried very hard to resist.
I pretended I was not watching her lips as they moved wondering how they would feel on mine but that I was rather trying to read her lips as she talked to me, I pretended I was not admiring her body but rather appreciating her dress (although I couldn’t remember the style or color when I left) and I convinced myself that thinking of her constantly was just reminiscing on all we had talked about. Whenever our talk got too intense and feelings were beginning to rise to the surface, I took to my heels.
I almost got away with it until the day came when I couldn’t run anymore. It happened that Darling Rose was in a peculiar mood the previous day so, the next day, I decided not to go see her on my way from work and went on home instead. About thirty minutes later, when she had expected me and didn’t see me, she gave me a call. She asked me if I was home and on getting an answer in the affirmative, said she was coming over.
She got to my room and upon opening my door, she just jumped on me. I didn’t have time to think before our lips locked; all I could do was feel, feel how all my imaginations were becoming reality.
I had my belt off and my jeans at my knees before I came to my senses and realized what was happening. I quickly jumped up, tucked my tail between my legs and ran as fast as I could. Ki oju ma ri ibi, gbogbo ara l’ogun e (the eyes that will not see evil, the whole body is its remedy).
I didn’t mind that I left her alone in my room, I still had my shirt on and some change in my pocket. I decided to go spend the night at a fellow corper’s room not minding all the questions it could raise. Fortunately for me, a few hours later when I was brave enough to go back to my room, I found it empty. From that moment on, that was exactly the tone of the relationship between Darling Rose and me; empty.
Darling Rose didn’t want anything to do with me after that and no manner of persuasion changed her mind. She was hurt by my rejection and you know what they say about a woman scorned…..
It frustrates me sometimes when I think of the sacrifices we have to make so as to be without blame, but hey, such is the Christian race. At that point in time, my only hope was that I would be able to hold on till the end and say confidently that; ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I kept the faith.’
The question is, did I? Was I successful in my quest to be squeaky clean? Hmmm…..