Shanna popped up in our department that morning and my heart started beating fast and my palms got sweaty. How had the mystery girl I met years ago ended up in our office? I had looked for her everywhere after that night we met but I had never been able to find her.
The knock was quite unexpected. Friday mornings in our department were full of banter. Maureen was always inviting people to her niece’s or nephew’s baby shower, Dennis was plugging us with the nicest places to hang around in the city and Grace always talked about her fellowship. This Saturday, they would be celebrating baptism for babies and she was too excited to be her neighbour’s godmother.
I thought I had seen her when she slightly slid her head in before she presented herself to us. Her head peered through the door, and I immediately recognized her neckpiece. Something inside coiled for a brief prayer. It was an answered prayer when her voice echoed through the room, right in the middle of my prayer.
“Good morning beautiful people,” she said, grinning widely.
Beautiful people. Her charm had lived on, all these years. I quite place how long it’s been since we first saw each other, the only time we met but she was ever present in my memories.
“Good morning beautiful,” Dennis responded hand on his chin, twisting his head as if he wanted to get a better glimpse of her, from a different angle.
She quickly scanned the room, expecting a response from the rest of the team. Maureen unceremoniously sipped on her tea a little too loud. She had been doing this, ever since she bought her new pack of mint tea bags. We all knew the way to her heart was filtered compliments that weren’t true, to begin with, but would get her to do just about anything for you.
“Are you Calton’s new P.A.?” She asked.
“Yes. And Dennis?” Shanna paused, waiting for him to respond, before proceeding.
“Calton would like to see you in his office right now.” She added.
Everyone else turned their heads to Dennis, but I was glued on Shanna.
Her voice felt more womanly. She had grown. Her eyebrows had grown thicker, and evidently, she must have had them trimmed in preparation for her new job. The foundation covered her face all too pretty, there were no creases, and it was perfect, compared to Grace’s cakey face. Everything looked subtle, perfect.
Her hair was laid back, in a beautiful curly ponytail, with silver hair clips on the side. The middle part levelled it up. She seemed to like small details. A little detail but a lasting impression. It’s how she’d won her hair the night we met at the festival, the only difference was that it was a cute bun then.
“Gloria, good to see you,” she snapped me back to reality. She was holding the door for Dennis, and immediately after he walked out, Shanna closed the door. She didn’t wait for my response.
“You know her?” Church girl asked. We had nicknamed Grace church girl, because of the videos she’d show to us after their Tuesday fellowships. She was always whining her slim waist to the newest song on the chart list, alongside her other congregants. So when Beyonce’s new album launched, and we all vibed to church girl, we thought who better to rock the track than Grace who twerked her ass off in a ‘godly’ manner. Pretty obscene for quite a religious bunch that has very restrictive doctrines. But to each, their own.
“Yes, we went to high school together”. I lied, my mind still hovering around the place, expecting that she’ll pop in again.
Usually, I’d be so bothered over why Calton would have summoned, Dennis. But since my two-month leave, I had so much to catch up on, on my first day of resuming work. In fact, at that moment, I wanted to know if Shanna was the new intern we were discussing in our group chat.
We had called her an intern, until three days ago when Dennis said she was a P. A and not an intern. We had created a tonne of side chats. The first group was a side chat, talking about Calton’s tummy, his sleeping off during meetings and the “drinking hot water after meals” sermon during the team’s weekly Friday lunch. The consecutive groups were created after and it exempted the messy ones like me, and we gossiped about a new hairstyle, old shoes, cheap suits, unhappy relationships and all manner of things. Basically, we pulled to the side to discuss any developments or changes we had noted. I knew they talked about my sexuality, but I’m still not aware if they have a group for it, though it would be naive of me to assume they don’t.
Instead of sitting at my desk, going through the files and catching up on the two months I was in South Africa for leadership training, I thought I should go after Shanna. The room was chatty, someone was asking for the stapler, and Maureen was complaining about the dispenser. Everything was in the air that even though they noticed me walk out, they didn’t bother to ask where I was headed. A rarity for my nose-poking colleagues.
At the back of my mind, I rehearsed how I’d say hello to her. I was trying to envision how our conversation might play out. Before I could paint a clear picture, I saw Shanna in that tight dark green skirt and orange rustic heels. I took my time to stare. She looked in my direction while she opened Calton’s office door.
“Hey, Gloria!” She kind of tried to shout in a low tone, so that I could hear her.
She gestured at me to inch closer, and my weak legs moved before my mind could even comprehend what was going on.
“Get in,” she said, licking her lower lip, leaving it moistened. Her lips were her most outstanding feature. They are what struck me the first time we locked eyes at Furaha’s wedding reception at the Boma hotels in Eldoret. She was in the company of three guys, two of which bore a resemblance to her. We exchanged looks a couple of times. If she never followed me to the washrooms, I would have said I was simply admiring her cut-out neon green dress. But when I saw her reflection in the mirror in the washrooms, I noticed she must have followed me.
We stood there in silence for barely a minute and she held me by the waist and turned my body to face her. The desire in her eyes is still my favourite thing about her. My heart ceased thumping in my chest. The touch of our hands felt electric, and when she stared into my eyes, I surrendered, to the desire seeping through my veins. She held my head, placed her palms on my cheeks, and took another long stare into my eyes. She placed her hand on my neck, tilted it to the side and kissed me, slowly, tender, and carefully. My body was behaving like a newly purchased disco lightning. Instead of the quick light swatches, it went hot and cold, as her hands swept through my body.
“Do you want this?” She asked, her eyes on my lips, her breathing, building up an intense fire on my neck. She held me like a fragile porcelain doll and I loved it.
I nodded my head.
“Do you want me?” She asked again.
I snapped back into the reality of time. We were in a public washroom, holding each other intimately, getting into unforbidden truths. Before I responded, she turned to the door and locked it. I was surprised by her audacity.
“I’ll get on my knees. Here,” she said pointing at the tabletops by the mirror, just close to where we had been standing. “Sit here.” I was hesitant, so she held me by the waist, and helped me up. Before she let go, she unhooked my skirt and run her hands all the way to my knees and pulled it up.
“Unbutton your shirt,” she said, looking up from between my thighs.
As I put my hands back on the tabletop, she clasped my right hand.
“Give me your hands,” she whispered. Her whispers made this escapade feel a lot like an overstretch.
She placed my hands on my boobs, smiled and said, “resist the temptation to pull me away.” She slid my silk white panty to the side and licked the fear out of my body. She was slow, calculated and ferocious. My hands dropped in a few minutes of her tongue sliding on my yoni. I pulled her head a few times, but the pleasure was getting the best part of me.
The banging on the door brought our pleasure escapade to an unceremonious end. Weddings are a family fanfare, so we were quite scared that anyone from either side of the family might walk in on us. Finding out what that could mean for the newlyweds and our families is not something we had set out for. So we called it off on the second knock, barely nine minutes since we got there. That was the first time and only time we had met in our lifetimes. We chatted under her brother’s watchful eyes for the rest of the night, then gave her that neckpiece and hoped she’d hold on to it, till love finds us. We never talked about what transpired in the washroom though.
We got into Calton’s office, and Shanna was smiling. The same mischievous smile she gave me in the washrooms that night at the wedding. It felt so calming that it arose the tinges of feelings surged through my body for the brief love-making session we had that night.
“The rumours are true. Calton has been hitting on me,” she said.
“Where is he now?” I asked. “Why would you think I’m here to talk about him?”
“He is in the boardroom, preparing for a meeting.”
“How long do we have?”
“Long enough for a long hug”.
“I’d like that but I don’t want to get into trouble at my workplace. If you wondering, everyone already noticed he’s on your case. ”
“You don’t want to talk about Calton?” She asked.
“Trust me, he’s the least of my concerns. I’m just so happy to see you. I looked for you everywhere but I never say you again after that night.”
“I left the country the day after we met to do my masters in the UK.”
This explains why I never ever saw her again even though I searched for her. My mind tried to calculate the amount of time that had passed since we last saw each other. Two months after that night, I ended my relationship with Evans and he still thinks he did something wrong. I have tried dating boys, and men too, but no one ever made me feel this way. I never desired anyone, as much as I did Shanna.
“Shanna, we never talked about what happened that night. I know it meant something to you because you kept that neckpiece”, I said.
“It’s been more than four years Gloria. But I must give it to you. You have a grip on me I can’t seem to get over” she said with a cunning smile.
“Are you out? Does your family know you are gay?”
“More like they outed me, but we are doing pretty good. My parents and my older brother joined a support group to learn the ropes of being supportive queer folks.”
“In this country?”
“Yes! But they are quite discrete.”
“That’s cute. They are so liberal.”
“It wasn’t that easy, but we are getting there, slowly.”
“Shanna I’d love to explore what we started we started in the washroom four years ago. Are you down?”
“Oh, Yes! Wait until you hear how I landed this job,” she said smiling.
“I have time now…”
“We have work to do.”
“Shanna, will you be my valentine?” I asked and felt like I had asked too soon.
“I would love that” Shanna replied.
Honestly, I have been planning for the day I’ll ask Shanna to be my girl since that night four years ago. I just didn’t know how I would find her because I didn’t take her number. For years now I have fantasized about what I’ll wear, where and how I’ll pop the question and the life I hoped we would have. But now, I just want to bask in the joy of meeting this woman that redefined my life in the most beautiful unexpected way before I start worrying about how this relationship will thrive at the office.
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