It was a dry spell.
That was all I could say about the movie season this winter.
I grumbled as I set my phone down on the desk and continued working on the rather boring task of setting up a group for my Psychosocial class tomorrow.
I had once had the dream of becoming a Psychologist, but now that I had taken a glimpse into the kind of work that they did, I wasn’t moved. Mainstream media had shown me dreams. I was not built for it, really.
In the end, I settled for a sports activity. Kids liked sports, didn’t they?
I picked up my phone and I dialed Imo.
I hadn’t heard from her in almost six months and I found that I wasn’t surprised when she didn’t take my call. Something was a little different with us and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I could have blamed it on the presence of Dom, but we hadn’t spoken much about him for a very long while – she had no idea what Hilda had told me or what Dom’s response was to it. She had no idea what had happened with Kay, even now.
So then what was it?
Was she out of the country and I didn’t know it?
Had she lost her phone and forgotten my number?
Had our friendship just simply died a natural death?
I needed her to know what my life was like now. There was so much that was happening now that hadn’t been there before and I needed her to know this so that we could share it together.
But she was unreachable.
It turned out that kids did like sports, but not organized games.
I took it upon myself to break the hour down into fifteen minute segments where we got to play a game that each of the three groups wanted, with soccer at the end.
I didn’t actively participate, but it was a hell of a success.
We were doing this part of our third year module in a private Psychiatric facility that was deep in the suburbs of Pretoria, a quiet place that anyone would mistake for a grand estate.
It was a beautiful place to be sure, but I found that I would have failed to work there.
We would be there for six weeks with half that time spent in actual lectures.
Nope, Psychosocial Nursing was not for me.
In my second year, I’d met Maria, who was retaking her Nursing classes, having failed the previous year. She was a lively individual who always seemed to be carrying some kind of secret about her and she had apparently studied something else before she’d come to us, although I didn’t quite know what it was.
She was light in complexion with hair that was always relaxed and tied in a bun behind her head and she was shorter than I was and a bit on the chubby side. I found that I liked her dress sense because she had this uncanny ability to pair dresses with jeans and sneakers and I was so envious of how she pulled it off.
“You hanging out with the hubby tonight?”
“Nah,” I said. “Only on weekends.”
“Brilliant,” she said. “We’re going partying.”
“Don’t worry, it’s on the Education Campus, so we can walk on back any time.”
“Cool, I guess,” I said. “What’s the occasion?”
“Bae is graduating next week and the res is throwing a huge party.”
“It’s the middle of June,” I said.
“Yah,” she said. “I know.”
I laughed at that, listening to her go on and on about how it felt like a New Year’s party but in winter and that the university had to rethink their methods when it came to graduation season. “Coz imagine, you pass your finals in December and then you have to wait six months before you can tell your lecturers to piss off? What kind of shit is that?!”
I followed her to the waiting Quantum and while she sat in front with Thobile, I sat with Kay and the boys.
Of course, they were arguing about football and even though I couldn’t understand a lick of what they were saying – I was a cricket girl, always – I enjoyed the banter between them.
The drive back over to our residence took about half an hour and even as we all trouped toward our shared building, they continued to argue about who was the best team.
“You coming to the party tonight?” Kay asked.
“Yeah,” I said. “Nice change of pace.”
“What? Don’t you guys ever go out together?” she asked, no doubt referring to Dom.
“We do, but it’s more to chill than anything else.”
I shivered at the mention of his name, the thought of him.
Who was I kidding?
It had become increasingly harder to keep my hands to myself. My body was begging for release and since I’d found out the truth last year, we’d promised ourselves that we would slow down and get to know each other without the physical stuff.
It was here that I learnt how easily anything could turn sexual – it made me wonder if just about everything in the adult mind stemmed from a primal desire to mate.
He had just seen my place and as I had suspected, he had only bad things to say about the organized mess that I lived in.
“Why?” I demanded. “Why should there be order in my living space? It’s my space!”
“It’s just a little – messy, is all. If you start small –”
“No!” I roared suddenly.
He stared at me where we stood in the foyer of his penthouse.
“I go to school and I have to hold myself back to fit in, I go to work and I have to hold myself back even though it takes me away from the things I love, I come here and I can’t even kick off my damn shoes without you flinching – so what if my All Stars are a mess? They are lived in! I like them that way!” I shouted. “Forgive me for believing that I am allowed to be precisely myself when I’m with you. I wasn’t aware that we came with extra terms and –”
It was like a part of me was always ready and waiting for him.
It didn’t matter where we were or what we were doing, I was always ready to receive his kisses and his touch and his command, no matter where we were.
So it was with a great sense of triumph that I let him pin me to the wall with his body, his mouth crashing into mine –
I jumped. “What?!”
I was standing in my room, completey naked, shivering from the cold as somebody pounded on the door to my room.
“We’re leaving! What are you doing?”
It was Kay.
I dressed quickly and snatched my phone off the charger. I made sure to close the window and then we were off.
All I needed was sugar and good company.
I was energized by all the positive vibes and the company wasn’t half bad.
Jokes were circulating, the conversation was lively and I enjoyed how they seemed to value my presence.
“Micro is kicking my ass.”
“Micro is kicking all our asses, though,” I reminded her.
“But what’s the point of it? That’s the doctor’s business,” she said.
“They have their reasons,” said Kay as she approached. She dropped down in the seat next to mine, a drink in her hand.
I took it from her and I could see that everyone expected me to drink from the cup, but I didn’t. I tipped the cup over and she started. I silenced her.
“You drink too much,” I told her.
She opened her mouth to speak and then clamped it shut.
“Shit, that’s my song, come on!”
Maria grabbed my hand and I grabbed Kay and we all ran to the dance floor. I was sure that even if we’d been jumping up and down, we would have been having just as much fun.
I felt like I was flying, the lights spiraling overhead as I spun in circles with my friends. The song had ended but the momentum kept up until the jams started to slow.
I followed where Maria led me.
We went first to her boyfriend’s car, where we retrieved a cable and then we went to the computer lab.
“What are we doing here?”
“What’s his email address?” she asked.
“Let’s give him something to jam to.”
She showed me a video of us dancing, but it was just the two of us.
“Who was recording this?”
“oKitso,” said Maria. “That girl is feeling you!”
She sent the video to me and I loaded it onto the computer and then emailed it to him, feeling the mischief build inside me.
“Ooooh!” said Maria.
We ran back outside and instead of returning to the party, we lounged on the grass.
“I used to know the constellations,” she said.
“And then what?” I asked, gazing at the stars.
“My baby sister died and I kind of went crazy,” she said. “She liked the stars. Then she fell down the stairs and broke her arm. She died on the table when they were repairing her arm.”
I shook my head, unable to hide my sympathy.
“Threw a clot… That’s why I’m here.”
“That’s epic, Maria. I’m sorry…”
She nodded her head.
“I never want anyone to go through what we went through,” she said.
“I’ve never lost anyone close to me before,” I said after a moment.
“They’ve been protected,” she said.
“It’s not that,” I said, staring blankly ahead. “I’ve never been close enough to anyone to feel their loss…”
Not until Imo.
Not until Dom.
When Dom had told me what little he had about his time in the Marines, I feared for his life. I couldn’t imagine him absent from this world.
“It’s not nice…”
We sat quietly for a long moment.
“Did you wanna be a Nurse?” she asked. I shook my head.
“I’m more of a writer,” I told her.
“So I’ve seen.”
I looked at her.
“Found you on Instagram.”
I couldn’t help but smile for this.
“You shouldn’t let your dream go, Dilia,” she said.
“That’s what the poetry is for,” I told her.
But then my attention shifted.
I could hear it coming from a way off.
“What?” said Maria.
I spun in all directions, trying to find the source but it was too dark.
The engine rumbled to a stop nearby and I was already on my feet, looking for him, waiting for him.
“Dude, what the fuck?” Maria said, pushing to her feet.
“He’s here…” I whispered, barely able to breathe.
I turned to face her and she turned me around and there he was, approaching.
Class was only scheduled to start at eleven tomorrow so I could enjoy staying up late today.
I had not banked on seeing Dom until Friday.
But I was not complaining about seeing him two days earlier.
Maria’s fingers were digging into my shoulder and it took all of me not to swat her hand away.
“Dude – dude! Give him a sponge bath! Then towel dry him!”
Dom stopped before me, his hands linked at the wrists before him, his eyes only on mine.
They were heated even though his expression remained open and friendly.
“Maria,” I said.
“Dilia,” she said in response.
“This is Dominick.”
“Hello Maria,” he said.
“Hello,” said Maria.
But then we were both laughing when Dom scooped me up in his arms and carried me away, tossing a wish of good rest over his shoulder at my friend.
Maria howled excitedly and I reciprocated, feeling a crazy mixture of joy, excitement, anticipation, arousal and love for this man.
He folded me into the passenger’s seat and closed the door.
Some minutes later, we were in his penthouse, heading up the stairs in the dark.
“I so did not mean to wake you up,” I told him, mocking innocence.
“I wasn’t really asleep,” he replied.
“Oh,” he said.
“What were you up to?”
“Work,” he said. “And then you happened.”
He led me to the study, never letting go of my hand.
He sat down in the wing-backed swivel chair behind his desk and pulled me into his lap.
We fit perfectly.
The computer was still on, the light from the screen being the only source in the dark room.
He tapped a few keys and the video popped up and started playing.
His one hand rested on my shoulder, the other on the arm rest.
The music seemed louder to my ears, the colours brighter. My heart was racing furiously in my chest and my skin was prickly with heat.
And I wanted to move, but I forced myself not to.
But then I stopped thinking altogether.
I removed myself from his lap and I moved around the table, slowly.
And I danced.
He pushed the screen aside and leaned forward, watching me in the darkness.
I could swear I was back in that moment, that feeling.
But there was nobody here but us.
And I was dancing for him.
And it felt good.
And I felt so sexy.
He got up, but I didn’t stop, even when he came around the desk, perching on its edge.
He leaned against the desk but I could no longer see his face, so I decided not to look at all.
He grabbed my arm and I stumbled into him, my body filmed in sweat. I was pressed right up against him, my axis of balance lost and surrendered completely to him.
The word rumbled deep in his chest like thunder and I gasped amid my deep breaths.
He pressed his forehead to mine and I closed my eyes, tasting his breath and taking it in.
I wrapped my arms around him and he held me even closer.
I thought I could stay there in his arms, like that, forever. I wouldn’t have minded waking up to this over and over.
I felt like every part of me had memorized every part of him, even the parts I didn’t know yet. I felt like I had taken him in and he had become a part of me in a way that nobody ever had.
I pulled away so I could look at him.
Even in the poor lighting, I could see him clearly.
I pressed my lips to his and we shared a kiss so intimate, so passionate, I found myself feeling it in my very bones.
Yes, I could do this forever and never ever get tired of it.
I looked at him again, my body buzzing with this feeling that I had never been able to name. It was like every single cell in my body was ready to explode out of my body.
And more than that, I just didn’t want to leave him.
I pressed a kiss to his nose and he laughed at this.
Suddenly, I felt like crying. I didn’t know why.
I wasn’t in pain and I had nothing to feel sad about.
But the tears were there and I couldn’t stop them.
“Dilia… What’s wrong?”
“Nothing…” I breathed.
I wanted to hold him close, so that we stayed united.
“I love you.”