Evans lay on his stomach, supporting both elbows on a pillow, while his hands held up the novel he had been reading. Having read all ink-marked paragraphs in the four hundred and two page novel, Evans knew the pages that offered a more detailed obscene adult content. His hands quickly made the search each time he thought of a relevant erotic content. Evans favoured the paragraphs where Amy, the main character, had sex with Jôse.
Evans smiled as he remembered a particular episode. “Page one-nine-five,” he muttered softly, and in few seconds he had opened the page. Evans frowned, realising it was not the page he had in mind. Still he started with the words of the first paragraph marked with red ink: Jôse gently slid his hardness into her wet, inviting core. She endured few deep thrusts before he pulled out most of his erect cock, leaving only his cone-shaped glans to caress the walls of her cunt. Amy laid on her back, both arms thrown apart. Her eyes shut. The only activity she allowed were the repeated circles her right toes made on the sheets and the moan that occasionally escaped her heavily painted lips. Jôse . . .
Evans heard the very-familiar squeak, and he turned his head, in shock, towards the door. As Nneoma walked into the room, Evans quickly slid the novel under the pillow. His biology textbook which he had left untouched in the last hour he pulled close.
“You’ve not slept yet?”
“No. I just finished studying. I have a biology test tomorrow morning.”
Nneoma nodded. “Did Jerry leave his phone at home?” she asked. “I’ve dialed his number repeatedly, but it goes off without any response.”
It was not uncommon for Evans to maintain an erect penis long after the source of his arousal had been taken away. Even the presence of his mother did not aid a quick transition to a flaccid state. And his shorts that aided his trousers in hiding his erection in school that morning would not attain such feat now, being the only item of clothing he had on. Evans knew this and he was careful as he turned on the bed, taking a sitting position. He was also quick to place the other pillow on his laps, while both hands laid on the pillow.
“I don’t know if Jerry left with his phone,” Evans said. He easily recognised the worried look his mother had. Then he added, “He only went to a vigil,” Evans said reassuringly, though the words did not come out easily. “after all, Jerry’s in God’s house. And he will be back in one piece in the morning.”
Nneoma nodded again. She heaved and turned towards the door. “Make sure you put the light off when you are done.”
“Do say a prayer.”
Evans felt his sins would triple if he failed to pray, as his first sin had been the lie he told to aid Jerry’s outing; and the second, the lie that he had just finished studying before his mother walked into the room. He knew the prayer was needful too, as he had barely studied for the test. And Mrs. Bassey’s tests were most times too difficult.
Evans fished the novel from under the pillow and gently he eased his frame from the bed. Immediately Evans approached the table where his school bag sat, he pulled back the zip, then he dropped the novel inside. After which he collected the small, blue Gideons Bible on the table; deciding that a highly erotic book would not be the ideal last book to read just before prayer. As Evans closed his school bag, he wondered if Jerry had noticed that his steamy romance novel had been missing for some days—Evans sometimes wished the novel had illustrations.
Nneoma walked into her room feeling a bit relieved—after all, Jerry is in God’s house; Evans had reminded her.
She adjusted Ruth’s sleeping frame before she laid on the bed. After her husband’s death, the family had moved from a three bedroom flat to a smaller flat wit two bedrooms. Nneoma did not like the idea of sleeping alone, hence the move.
As Nneoma laid on the bed, Izuchukwu’s image and his visit that morning swirled into her thought. She remembered his parting words, ‘I will come some other time’. Nneoma knew she ought to give Izuchukwu an answer when next he visited.
Nneoma turned on the bed as she recalled the events that followed after her husband’s sudden demise:
‘She has finally achieved her aim.’
‘A child can only act as a child, while it is the elder’s responsibility to correct—and discipline.’
None of her husband’s relatives had said those words to her, still Nneoma knew that those words lurked somewhere behind the faces that looked at her in feigned pity. And their action after her husband was buried had affirmed her fear. Her husband’s elder brother had chaired the committee that shared all that her late husband owned, leaving almost nothing for her. Nneoma’s family had done the best they could to support her, her few friends too. Izuchukwu had been the only one who went the extra mile for her. Nneoma recalled how Izuchukwu had showed up, helping her with funds to make her business bigger. Izuchukwu had also suggested that she added a new line to her clothing business. Izuchukwu had also contacted a friend of his who supplied her with the first set of cloth materials on credit.
Nneoma heaved as she thought of her late husband’s family. Though they only visited once in a while, Nneoma was certain that they still had their eyes on her. Nneoma remained awake for a long time, thinking of the most suitable means to tell Izuchukwu her answer; a—NO.
Emeka flipped a page as his father rose from the chair he had been sitting; a long, thin cane in his hand. Emeka had been staring at the illustration of the female reproductive system in his biology textbook before his father stood up. Emeka carefully—so as not to be caught—checked the time on his wristwatch: 10.37pm.
“It’s past ten-thirty pm,” his father started. “you can go to bed now.”
“Ok, sir.” Emeka responded. Though he remained on the seat. Emeka knew that if he stood up immediately, his father would accuse him that he had not been reading, merely waiting for his release.
Ten-forty, he muttered as he rose from the chair. He had spent the last two hours twenty minutes staring at illustrations in his biology textbook, while containing his anger that his father had switched off the television and ordered him to read his book. Though a considerable part of that time he had spent thinking about Jacinta.
As Emeka gathered his books and pen, he also gathered the piece of paper on which he had boldly written the word—GAY. He had earlier promised himself that he would tear the paper, then throw its pieces into the waste bin. He knew the possibilities if someone else saw that piece of paper. Just beside the word, Emeka had drawn an illustration which he had labeled—Evans.