Posted in Cave Tales, Uncategorized

Live In The Moment—Jeff Ugochukwu Emmanuel

He is huddled with his cronies the first time you see him at a shindig in Tandaale. You are about to descend into a seat when your friend starts to introduce the guys from across the table. There is something about the third guy that is profoundly different from the rest of his posse. Something acutely ethereal.

You freeze to take an inventory, stalling in a typical coquettish fashion, waiting for him to extend the first handshake, but alas, it is you who finally unfurls from your chrysalis. Something almost nondescript propels you to shoot your hand forward, shattering the intended frugality in that gesture. When his hand reaches into yours, it is soft like fluff. And for a moment, you are lost in the sensation. Your eyes catch his, but they come crashing down briefly, and for the first time since cradle, you shrink away under another’s gaze. You recall your hand promptly but It lacks the vim to retreat. You can feel yourself careening into somewhere unknown and distant.

The simple patterns cutting into his face are delicately superficial. When he smiles, just like he is doing now; it is as clear as burgundy and as neat as glass. A full white tablet dentition, lapped behind a sharply outlined cranberry lips; his crispy eyebrows arcing slightly down, imposing a distinct fanfare of genteel and clairvoyance. When his mouth moves to introduce himself, his voice nukes the stereotype box of what is particularly masculine or feminine, like something playing out of a tenor saxophone twining with a light basso. Your hand manages to peel from his. You nab yourself wishing you could lean in and kiss him.

He pours some brandy into your snifter. You are halfway into your drink when he asks you to dance with him. Your dance is awful. The request goads your heart against your chest. His touch is mollifying when his hand reaches into yours and interdigitates. It reminds you of Zihuatanejo and Sayulita—the way the water rolls to the coast every so often, making the undulating dunes straight, garbling every tiny little imperfection, bundling them back into a blind spot, and leaving in its wake a pristine seashore teeming with life. You are nestled together, moving lithely in the lead of his rhythm. Soon you are caught in a cauldron of bliss and tangible silence, cordoning off the plush music spooling in the background. You slant in nervously and kiss him, re-affirming the peerless awesomeness of God.

Regret comes pouring in. You recline and let your head droop, blushing. If you stay for another moment, you fear the expression sitting on your face will further give you away. That cannot happen. Women like you are too beautiful to woo men. The hunted cannot suddenly become the hunter. You apologise and excuse yourself to go to the rest room. A vertically challenged figure whizzes past but you don’t make him because you’re still reeling from that kiss.

You stop at the door, realising you don’t have the need for a rest room. Your mama’s words invade your thoughts: everyday is a precious gift to those who live it with their middle finger in the air, a festival of laughter for those who try to live in the moment. You spin around, nipping back the way you came, intent on spurting out exactly what you feel. The ground beneath rocks abruptly and tosses you in the near distance.

There is a wholesome darkness and silence only punctuated by flickering light bulbs and removed wails of pain and anguish. Your ears are tingling and everything seem to be happening from inside the back of your head. You scramble and manage to get on your feet, schlepping back. When you get to the ballroom, there is a bundle of mutilated bodies and debris.

This god of a man you had just kissed a moment ago is gone. Forever gone. You look at his dismembered body and see the face of God grinning right back. You realise, in that moment, that God indeed does have a bad sense of humour.

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Jeff Ugochukwu Omenyuru is an editor and moderator at CFW.

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