I dreamed of a man yesterday night. Actually, I can’t tell if it had been a dream. Maybe it wasn’t. I can’t tell whether I was asleep or awake or somewhere in between. But my eyes were closed then, my mind floating, as I lay alone on my matrimonial bed. The air in the bedroom had been warm and humid, and the top sheet caressed my body like hands.
The hands of the man I dreamed about.
In my dream, he kissed me. His lips danced over mine, and his tongue found mine, and I felt all those dangerous sensations I hadn’t felt in a long time. My breasts suddenly felt heavy and overly sensitive, the cotton of my nightshirt chafing my swollen nipples, and because this was a dream, I could imagine that not my nightshirt but this man was touching me, stroking my skin. I could imagine his fingers, light and agile, playing across my flesh, sliding from my breasts lower, to my belly and lower yet, down where no man but my husband had ever touched me. I couldn’t stop myself. I waited with bated breath as his fingers slipped inside the warmth of wanting, a flick of his fingers causing a rush of pleasure to slam into me with the force of a volcanic eruption –
PEE-PEE-PEEEEE! The impatient blare of a horn shatters my abstraction, rudely yanking me out of the reverie. I gasp at the sudden intrusion of reality – the loud roar of traffic around me, the din of pedestrian voices, and the swearwords a driver spits at me as he pulls out from behind me and drives past. I am startled to realize that the lights have turned green, and I’d being so lost in my recollections of last night that I’d remained immobile right there, in the middle of the road, incurring the collective wrath of my fellow Lagosian motorists.
Shakily, I engage my gear and rejoin the flow of traffic, stifling all distracting thoughts until I get home. I feel suddenly weary as I pull up in the driveway and pause to stare morosely at the front of the house. I am overtaken then by the thoughts of how routine my days have become, and how I dread it. I love my children and husband, and I think my family is the most beautiful thing in the world. But sometimes, like now, I feel like I am helping them live their lives, while I sit on the sidelines having no life of my own. I am a housewife, have been one for the past fifteen years, ever since I had Emeka. I had planned on going back to work after he was properly weaned, despite the protests of my husband. But then, as if Fate was working hand-in-glove with my husband to keep me at home, Kelechi and Tobenna came in rapid succession. By the time I had Chisom, I’d resigned myself to never again rejoining the city’s proletariat. My existence quickly became centered on raising four very rambunctious kids, with the occasional assistance of my travel-savvy husband. My children are all grown now; at ten years old, Chisom has just gained admission into the secondary school that her siblings are attending, and Emeka is braced to graduate into the university next year. Soon, they’ll all up and go, get on with their lives, and then, what would there be of me?
Unwilling to indulge this train of thoughts that have been plaguing me recently, I heave myself out of the car. Today won’t be like the other days. I have an appointment, one I’m very excited about. The reason I am determined to be a different woman today.
I make my way inside the house, pausing when I get into the bedroom to stare at the laptop I purchased for myself about three weeks ago. I’d been very lonely and craved some sort of distraction during those periods that children, chores and family obligations had been put to rest. I spoke to my friend Cindy about my boredom. She is a housewife too. She laughed when I told her, and said, “Haven’t you heard about the internet? Nne, get yourself a laptop, get connected to the internet and be introduced to a whole new world of exciting possibilities.”
“Biko, what am I going on the internet to do,” I scoffed then. “To be doing Facebook and browsing for latest fashion – what am I, fifteen? No nau, Cindy, awum agadi nwanyi. I’m a grown woman abeg.”
Cindy then acquired a sly look in her eyes as she said, “There are all sorts of entertainment obtainable for all ages on the internet, my dear. Trust me.” And she dipped her eyes into a wink, before giving out a gusty laugh that had me intrigued.
It is her laugh that made me buy the laptop and an internet modem. The laugh revealed a happy Cindy, one I’d just belatedly noticed. One I envied. I wanted to laugh like that, to be that happy. So I did what she asked. I got connected to the internet.
The day I did, she was right there with me.
“So what now?” I queried with some exasperation, as I stared at screen with its colourful depictions of the Firefox page.
“Well, that depends, what are you looking for?” she asked.
I gave her a beady glare. “What do you mean, what am I looking for? Is it not you that told me to buy internet and get connected to exciting possibilities. Honestly, Cindy, if you’ve wasted my time and money ehn –”
“Relax, ah! I’m just asking because the action I want to introduce you to – well, your husband won’t like it o.”
She gave me an arch look, and my heart stopped beating for a microsecond, before picking up a faster tattoo at her implication. “Go ahead and show me,” I husked.
“Are you sure?”
“Oya nau, what we have to do is register you on a dating site. You’d be surprised how many lonely men and women are out there, simply waiting for someone on the other side of the connection to help spark up their lives.”
“A dating site?” I said incredulously.
“Are you going to do ‘Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus’ for me now,” she derided, lifting her brows at me.
“No, no, no…” I was shaking my head. “Continue…”
“Ok o. Well, type here” – she pointed at the task bar – “NaijaSingles.com.”
I stifled a chuckle as I began to type.
“Is that your top speed?” she interrupted me to ask.
I was typing by hunting and pecking. I looked up at her over my shoulder. “Are you faster?”
We switched places. She sat in the desk chair. I braced my arms on the back of it so I could see the monitor. She was a much more proficient typist. I watched and learned. She clicked the ENTER key and subsequently, the green-and-white coloured page unfurled on the screen before us.
“We are going to open a profile for you,” she said as she made some navigation. Her fingers danced over the keyboard as she began filling out information on the boxes. “Your profile name… Hmm, let’s call you ‘Lonely Housewife’ –”
“Hey!” I protested. “I’m not lonely.”
“Thirsty housewife then?”
“Thirsty… Wha – wait, why should there even be ‘housewife’ in my profile name sef?” I cringed at the notion of my life’s description creeping into this new persona I was about to create.
“Because nothing turns a potential hook-up on more than a woman who seems like she has so much untapped energy to spend on something illicit.”
“Illicit like what?” The bulb clicked on in my head and I recoiled in horror. “I’m not going to have an affair with any man from this internet o!”
“Who says you’ll be having an affair?”
“Isn’t that what you’re suggesting?”
“What I’m suggesting is not an affair,” Cindy lectured. “An affair lasts too long, is tedious and frankly too complicated for anyone. What I’m talking about is a one-off thing, a fling, something to spice up your life with occasionally. You meet, you hook up, wham-bam, you go your separate ways. Tensions are released. No complications. Simple as that.”
She made it sound so easy, and I was tempted, sorely tempted. But I wasn’t willing to give in. I resisted the idea of carrying on with another man, even if it was just one time. My husband had been my first and only, he married me right out of university, and before him, I’d been a virgin and unattached. I didn’t know how to be with another man. I wasn’t sure I wanted to know how.
“Can we not continue now?” I muttered to my friend. “I’m not sure I’m ready for this.”
“It will be good for you, Doris,” she cajoled. “Just once, get it out of your system. You’d be surprised how much it will change life as you know it. The experience might even better your marriage.”
“I’ll think about it…”
“Are you sure?”
I didn’t want to think about it. But a seed was planted. And it sprouted a springy, sturdy plant. The next day, I sat before the laptop again and started typing.
Curious and just trying this out…
I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be desired. I want to remember what it’s like to enjoy sex.
I tapped a key and a new world was opened to me.
And today, I am going to meet someone, someone who I met in this new world. The man of my dream from last night.
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