It was important that you remembered the kiss because you knew. You don’t really know why, but you knew that you had to cherish that moment, that space in time that made life finally worth living. Your grandmother once told you that if we live long enough, we tend to forget the lives we have lived. But you think we never forget the love we had given and received.
Even though you knew that in six months tops, he might move on, or find someone better and he wouldn’t even throw a glance back to know how many pieces he broke your heart into, on that day three months ago, when you sat on the bed adjacent to him as he looked at the cake you had baked and pursued his lips in that way he does that makes it hard for you to know what he is thinking, you knew that this might not last, that this might be the last time you will be this close to him, sharing this wonderful feeling.
So, you committed every single sensation to memory. The way the light spilled in through the window against the cream green walls and marbled floors, the nonsensical political show airing on the TV, the pattern in the ceiling fan’s rotation, the tiny drip drop of water in the bathroom from the leaky pipe. You filed away the way he smiled at you when he turned and saw you looking at him, the way his thin lips pressed together and arched on their ends, the movement of the freckles on his face, the twinkle in his eyes, the way his chest rose and fell with each breath.
But most important of all was how he brought his head to meet you halfway as you leaned toward him and your lips met for the first time, unfamiliar at first. You felt a short burst of electricity. For a few seconds, it was just your lips meeting each other for the first time in a cautious handshake, pressed together but not really embracing. Then, simultaneously, they opened up and became more intimate. They became intertwined, of some sort. Your upper lip on his lower lip, his lower lip atop yours.
You didn’t know when it happened, but you realized that your eyes were closed. You have never really thought about it but you finally got why we kiss with our eyes closed. Because it’s a goddamned religion! You close your eyes when you worship the god or goddess in front of you and you can’t just get into it with your eyes open; the feeling is probably so good that even if your eyelids were open, your pupils would be rolled back into your skull in pleasure. You have realized that this is what they probably mean by sensory deprivation. Depriving yourself of sensation from sense organs to increase the quality of sensation received from the other sense. With your eyes closed, you didn’t know what his face looked like because you could feel it with the kiss; you didn’t need to know if he wanted you because you could feel his yearning in the way his breath came hot and hard against your face, the way his tongue moved in your mouth, dueling with yours, rolling over your teeth. His teeth grazed your lips and you felt blood pumping through the fleshy lobes.
You don’t know how long you both craned your necks, facing each other to latch your lips and suck each other’s face, but it wasn’t long enough before you needed more. The kiss was explosive but you wanted more, you needed more than just the taste of his lips in yours. Maybe he did too, because you both started tearing at each other’s clothing. You found a way to move and sat on his legs as you hastily unbuttoned his shirt and he pulled your polo shirt up your torso to your arms.
And then it happened.
The duel between your lips ended, and you both moved apart to help your clothes off your upper bodies. In that moment, things changed. This period in a kiss is much like what happened to your relationship. One minute, it was an overpowering and intoxicating wave, the next minute, when you pulled back to catch our breath, you lost it. That – in the words of Banky W – ‘strong thing’ you had dissipated in the blink of an eye. You just didn’t know it yet.
You both looked into the other’s eyes. You above him, straddling his legs. Him below, his lips hanging open. Fixated on the pool of emotion that leads directly to one’s soul. The longing, the raw need. The way your breaths were hitched and hurried. Your lips were singing from the onslaught it just survived but it wanted more, you wanted more. You wanted to attach your mouth to his again and suck on it like your life depended on it.
You don’t remember what went through your mind, but then you said ‘I love you’ in a voice you hoped didn’t convey your disbelief that you had actually uttered them. As soon as they escaped you, you realized that it was true. You loved him. Even though you shouldn’t, you loved him. Even though it might be doomed, you loved him. And saying that out loud was so different from thinking it, or typing it on WhatsApp. It was overwhelming on its own. Giving someone the knowledge and power that you adored and cherished them more than they probably understand isn’t as good or bad as you think.
It just is. Love.
It is important to remember what happened next. You need to remember this part for the future. For on that day that you will question yourself, the day you will wonder why you ever made the trip from Onitsha to Owerri to see him, the day you will feel that strong will to cuss yourself for being so stupid and such a loser, the day it all doesn’t make sense. You need to remember, for this is the key. Like orgasm, this is why you sweat and grunt and make all those sacrifices.
To hear those words.
“I love you, too.”
It came out more like a husky whisper in his voice that is surprisingly deeper than he looks. But you believed it. And that is all that matters. That in that moment, at that point in time, he chose you.
He loved you.
In six months time, when he would finally get bored of you, when he would start feeling caged up and limited, it is important to remember that he had shared this kiss with you, that he had also said the words.
And it was all that mattered. For when the days are darkest, you grasp happiness anywhere you can, even if it’s from the failed love you once had.
Written by Uziel