I looked around the kitchen and surveyed my handiwork. The onions were finely minced. The pepper ground into a smooth, ochre paste. The flowers on the dining room table had plenty of water in that expensive crystal vase that Ma only brought out during the holidays or when ‘important’ guests were over to visit. There would be no reason why she couldn’t spare me for the next hour or more. In reality, I probably only needed a few minutes, but my sudden ‘recovery’ might raise suspicion.
Ma’s back was turned, her slender frame contorted at the hip as she impatiently waited for the rice to come to a boil. This was my moment. As if on cue, beads of sweat surfaced around my temple and upper lip. Gingerly, I placed my fingertips on my forehead and liberated a soft moan…barely audible, but dramatic nonetheless. Ma had the hearing of bat where I was concerned. Usually, this did not work in my favor. Today, I used it to my advantage. She whipped around to face me and found me doubled over.
“Maame. What’s wrong?” Concern tinged her voice. Good. I grimaced to hide the smile forcing its way to my lips.
“I suddenly have a headache, Ma.”
I straightened up so that she might get a better view of my complexion, suddenly pallid. As a young child, I had earned a reputation for doing anything possible to get out of housework or studying. She accused me of that now, harshly. I denied it earnestly. I do not deny that I am uninspired where chores are concerned. But I can get the job done, given proper motivation. Ma glanced around the kitchen and hosting area to see if all of her instructions had carried out. Everything was in order, above reproach and beyond her expectations. Her expression and voice softened.
“I don’t need any more help here for now,” she said. “Go and lie down until you feel a bit better.”
“Thank you, Ma,” I whispered. “Can I take a Paracetamol?”
“Yes. It’s in the cupboard.”
She knows how much I hate the bitterness of Paracetamol, the sensation of that hard pill sliding its way down the narrowness of esophagus. That I would request one voluntarily meant my ailment must be genuine indeed. I made a great show of extracting the bottle from the first aid kit we kept in the corridor, slunk off to my bedroom and closed the door with a firm, determined click.
I eyed my bed, made with fresh sheets and sprinkled with rose water earlier. I wanted my first time to be special. I made quick work of my clothes and threw them in the corner. Spreading myself luxuriously across my bed, I unfurled the expanse of my legs and tenderly touched the moist space in between. A bird chirped merrily outside the window. I focused on its rhythmic melody and relaxed.
I discovered that I like to touch myself quite by accident. Florence, my mother’s other child, had come to visit us during Easter. She lives with her father in London. Her father buys her many nice things: lip gloss that tastes like cherries; blinged out t-shirts that read sassy slogans like ‘Bad ‘n Boujee’ and ‘Princess Prize’….silky panties with black lace trim…
I had never seen such panties before. Even Ma didn’t own anything so…seductive. Yes. That was a good word. Because when I slipped them on and took a look at myself in Florence’s forgotten panties, I felt I had seduced myself. The memory of that moment returned to me like a flood. How I had slipped my hands along the vertical seam of that rich silk lingerie, how my fingertips suddenly found a spot that until that moment had been completely utilitarian… The first glimpses of pleasure I would crave for many days to come.
Now, on Christmas morning before all the relatives came trooping in, invading my space and robbing me of my solitude, I had finally gathered the courage to see my secret desire to its natural end. I parted the softness between my thighs and gasped.
It felt magical; like witchcraft.
I slid the lengths of index and middle fingers around the slickness, finding my way to my clitoris. I pinched it. Didn’t much care for that. I rubbed it instead.
My thumb joined in the fray, swirling and coaxing the soft flesh until it stood on edge like a spear. I moaned, astonished by my body’s reaction.
As I explored this secret space with myself, within myself, I considered what the experienced girls in my dormitory had whispered boldly among themselves. They’d declared that only the touch of those pimply, swaggering, self absorbed beings known as boys could make you feel arousal. They could wake and excite a starving beast within you. The promises of Boys tempted you beyond the boundaries of compromise, but it was certainly worth it. Fools. Wait until I told them, after these holidays were over.
My nipples were on edge, something that only happened when it was very cold outside. My grandmother would usually throw a cloth over my shoulders in moments like this. I cupped my breasts and slid my palm across the rigid peaks, captivated. And that’s when it overtook me.
A grip that seized my soul, blinding me momentarily.
I rolled over onto my stomach, grinding myself into the threadbare sheets, losing myself. My senses were overpowered. The scent of rosewater mingled with the salty tang of my essence. I growled like a feral cat. Birdsong ceased as my audience of one fled, instinctively.
Ma and her bat ears were soon at my door, knocking and inquiring if I was okay. Did I need anything?
“I’m fine,” I groaned, the words forcing their way through gritted teeth and what I would later discover was an orgasm still forcing its way through the knot I’d tied in my thighs.
“Ok. But you’re making a lot of noise in there. I know your head is paining you, but do try to have some self-control.”
I rolled onto my back, sighed and caressed the molten part of me again, glancing at the clock. Still plenty of time to try this again.
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