CIRCLES – Prologue and Chapter 1

There were a lot of things that made that afternoon’s kissing session an awesome one. Selorm was really good looking, in the sweetest way. He was fair, tall, and rather lanky. He had sweet safe eyes that made you feel he was laying it all out there. He didn’t seem pretentious, or full of it. He had such soft lips and soft hands. And here we were, two people who barely knew each other in junior secondary school, lip-locked just days after meeting again. I liked that part. The absurdness of it all, the randomness of what we were doing.

Our little kiss fest was cut short when we heard moans from the bed. We froze, pulled apart and then we waited, just to be sure we had actually heard what we thought we heard. When Lynn moaned again, louder, we both burst out laughing. Those two were ridiculous!

“Do you want to go for a walk?” he whispered softly in my ear. Darn it! That’s what they meant in the books—“he whispered softly in her ear.” It felt like cool air on my neck. I tingled.

“Yeah, sure,” I said.

We stood up slowly, and I really tried not to glance at the bed. But I didn’t see much even when I did. They were under the light-brown silky spread, covered from head to toe. Someone was half on top of the other, but I wasn’t even going to try and figure out whom. Selorm held my hand and we walked out of the den of shame, through the kids’ TV room, out the back door and to the front gate. It was only then that we really started laughing.

“Did they really have to start with us right there?” I asked.

Selorm shrugged. He wrapped his long arms around my shoulders and we started walking.

The next few days were like carbon copies of that day. I woke up each day knowing I was going to have another kiss-a-thon with Selorm at Lynn’s place. We camped out in her living room now. On rare occasions, we subjected ourselves to a few moans from the bedroom carpet. I am not sure if what Selorm and I were doing constituted dating. At times it felt like it, when we were together, kissing, talking, walking and holding each other. Then there were times that he and Selassie would be gone for ages. I was a little anxious, but I was also completely giddy. I really couldn’t wait to see him each day. It was bliss. But that’s the thing about bliss, right? It has to tumble down eventually.

It was Saturday. The event was called Recognize. It was the summer event. What we had all been waiting for, the Ghanaian teenager’s version of a networking event. Shows at the National Theatre over the summer really had nothing to do with the actual show. This one, I think, was a variety/rap show. It was more of an opportunity to show off everything. To show off your boyfriend, to show off your hair, your clothes, your friends and the car your parents just bought and have no idea is gone from the garage. Anything that could be displayed was going to be displayed.

I was going through an Aaliyah phase at the time. If I had an iPod back then “Back and Forth” would have been at the top of my favorite list. I loved her style to bits. She reminded me of my inner self. I say inner me because I was definitely not her size. I was 5’7” on a thick frame. But she had a tomboy flair, a casual “couldn’t be bothered with beauty, make up and clothes” attitude. And that was me, to a T. So I put together my best Aaliyah outfit; black Dr Martens boots and black heavy jeans, sagged low. Yes, I let my jeans hang low, with my older brother’s CK boxers just peeping over the belt. I topped it off with a cropped bustier and threw over a light see-through top. I rocked that look. I nailed it from top to bottom and I felt good. Selassie, Selorm and Lynn picked me up. Selorm and I sat in the back and kissed. I was glad I was with him. He said I looked good.

The guys dropped us off and said they had to go get some more friends. Lynn and I went in to mingle. An hour later, I couldn’t find Selorm anywhere. Selassie was back, and he said Selorm was with some friends somewhere in the building. The National Theatre was huge, full of screaming excited kids. Looking for a tall lanky boy was tougher than I expected. After half an hour or so, I found him on the second floor. He was with a bunch of girls. Three of the girls were in my school. We were not friends, but we knew each other. I was not happy. He came toward me and hugged me.

“Hey, sorry, I was looking for you,” he said.

Liar.

“Where is Lynn? Where are you guys sitting?” he asked.

“We’re downstairs. Are you coming?”

“Yeah. I’ll be down in a second, okay?”

Liar.

I took a deep breath, glanced over his shoulder, gave the girls my best dirtiest look and then mumbled “fine.” I went back down to the main auditorium. I found Lynn, and someone else was in my seat—just perfect. She probably hadn’t even noticed. She was busy chewing Selassie’s face off. Our seats were on one side of the main auditorium towards the wall, and there were some other familiar faces standing around in that corner. I noticed one of them, a friend from primary school called Jon. I hadn’t seen him in like a year. I smiled and he waved me over. We hugged.