I don’t know what it is about her that holds me. Tethered to her like an anchored ship, I cannot move. I don’t want to move. I want to sink, into her. I have watched her so many days, all the more fetching because she is oblivious to my scrutiny. I want to know her, inside and out; maybe then I will figure it out.
I have a mind that will not let go of a thing, that will not let me rest until I find my answer. (The office HR person says my ‘doggedness’ is one of my best qualities.) Like a fly trapped in a glass jar, the question will play a game of pinball in my brain, bouncing against the walls of my mind. The feeling is a sweet kind of pain, like the moment just before you finally let out the stream of urine you have been holding in for hours. Or like that second right before you come.
Now I have her alone in this house in the middle of nowhere. She’s regaining consciousness. Soon she will begin looking around, fear rising in her stomach and questions clouding her mind. (I wonder if she is like me, with the questions.) I will tell her that she has nothing to fear; that she owns me. This is true. It is why we are here. But even though I say this in my most soothing tone, carefully cultivated over many years, her eyes grow alarmed. They start to tear up.
Maybe it’s her eyes – brown and ordinary except they are like saucers. In many of my photos of her she’s closing her eyes, and I wonder for a moment if she tries to hide them, if years of teasing have made her self-conscious. I want to share with her that in junior secondary I was teased for my very full lips (‘when God was sharing lips he kept doing Oliver Twist, hahaha’), the same lips that female people now call ‘kissable’. But I do not think she will appreciate this.
Maybe it is her eyes.
I fetch a strip of cloth like the one she wears as a gag, and I blindfold her, steadying her head with a gentle grip as she shakes it furiously from side to side and up and down. I stand back, walk thirteen small steps away. I look back at her and realise I can still feel the eyes. The blindfold is not enough. I will have to take her eyes out.
So I take her eyes out. I toss them in a bucket as I decide that no, it is not her eyes that hold me in chains. I am bound still. My quest will have to continue.
I stare into the holes where her eyes used to be. This could take the whole night.
PS: My very short story, 'Business', was published recently in These Words Expose Us, a new anthology by The Naked Convos. The anthology also features stories from Pemi Aguda, Osemhen Akhibi and other brilliant writers. In other words, get the anthology!
For more information and how/where to buy, please go here.