I shuddered slightly in the chill of the harmattan evening. Cupping the mug in both hands and closing my eyes. I took a deep breath. The sweet aroma of the peach and rose hips herbal tea travelled up my nose into my head and infused my thoughts with sweetness. It was a beautiful evening. The sun cast a soft orangey glow as it set over the rusted red roof of the local bakery down the street.
I had gotten off work early and since I’d had a late lunch with the girls at the office, I settled for a cup of herbal tea instead of having dinner.
I settled in my favorite armchair just by the French windows that looked out into the street and waited for him.I didn’t wait for long.
As soon as I heard the familiar purring of his car engine, I looked at the time displayed on my phone screen. 17:57. Right on time.
He opened his door and the familiar strains of KCee’s “Limpopo” wafted out of his car stereo. He walked to open the gate to drive his car in. He had this peculiar habit of looking a little up and to the left as he got out of his car, then narrowing his eyes as he squinted at the sun.
He wore a cerise pink short sleeved linen shirt over a pair of pre-washed blue jeans. It was a Friday, so he could dress that way to work. I loved the way his broad shoulders filled out the shirt. He didn’t have a six-pack, but he was rim and fit. I didn’t like skinny men. And the jeans….well, let’s just leave it at that. He wasn’t overtly handsome, but was attractive in a subtle way. When he spoke, it was as if his voice smiled at you, causing you to smile back. His hands were….hmm. They made you think of satin sheets and rose petals. And then, the piece de resistance – his lips. Those are the kind of lips you’d want to brush against in the dim light of the movie theatre. Or that poorly lit stairwell. On that moonlit evening. Or in the back seat of the taxi cab…
I went out to meet him, floating as it were on cloud nine. This was very easily the best part of my day. His face broke into a smile as I approached him. There was no need for words here. With his left hand on the small of my back, drawing me close, his right hand under my chin lifted my face to meet his.
Short. Sweet. Kiss.
“Why are you crying, sweetheart?” he asked. Tears gushed out like water from the rock struck by Moses’ rod. He tried, in vain to wipe them as they ran down and I felt the front of my tank top dampening from the tears.
The sound of a car door slamming brought me out of my dreamy haze and I realized I still held the mug in my hands. The front of my pale yellow top had turned a reddish brown hue where the tea had spilled on it.
“Shame on you, Tolulope Wright!” I said to myself. As I rose up to go change, I saw him out of the corner of my eye, walking to the staircase that led up to his flat, with his phone to his ear.
Yes, it was sadly true. I was in love with my neighbor. And he was in love with his wife.