We knew John was still a virgin the first time he sat us down to tell us the tale of how he got laid. We were in our campus hostel which was musty with the smell of unwashed socks, sweat and the excess energy of idle youth. He sat on the lower bunk of my double decker and told us how the bird he laid sat on her muff on his divan with her legs crossed and how he knelt on the floor and removed her chemise while looking up at her like she was a goddess. Drool slipping off the edges of his lips which were singing songs to her about her beauty then he went on to part her legs. The delicate petals in her inner thighs blooming like a sunflower at his every touch.
We knew he was inventing things when he went on to tell us how his fingers went sloth-squish-sloth in and out the girl. He was always dropping fragments of neat lines like that. We would be waiting for dates in some local pub and John would say something like, “I need to know if these girls are going to put out before I spend my money on them.” And then the girls would come and he would go mute. A lump in his throat, his nerves frazzled, his eyes darting, his body frigid almost going into shock and he would excuse himself and we would all know he had gone to bury himself in books.
It was Kanyi who burst his bubble when he asked him who the lucky girl was.
“I don’t remember her name. I don’t get hung up on the nitty gritties but if you must know she’s the one with an air of entitlement. The one who swings her buttocks like a golf club while walking.”
We laughed. It was such statements that made us love him and his fecund imagination. Besides, Kanyi was in no place to elbow anyone about girls. He was no Casanova. In fact, he was the complete opposite. As we spoke he was making a flower out of cardboard and painting it in a red fresco. Then went on to ask if we thought she would love it. To be honest it looked like something a kindergartner would make on a bad day. “It’s a masterpiece.” John smirked and we all nodded in agreement.
Kanyi was dating this promiscuous girl whose saucy stories had traveled far and wide. You would have thought the girl was a looker who deserved the ‘cardboard masterpiece’ but far from it. The girl had a roasted skin tone that almost turned purple in the glare of sunlight. She hard sharp features and a high cheekbone. Her eyelids were always charred black from too much eye pencil. He told us she was Gothic but we thought she was devilish.
She was always hanging out in restaurants and pubs with older men. Men with white hairs and big bellies. Kanyi never poked the issue. He didn’t want to shake that tree, afraid a rock would fall and smash him into a pulp. We hated when she came around in her short linen dresses and tower high heels. Because when she did come around Kanyi turned into this delirious numbskull who talked about Linkin Park and Evanescence even though he was a kind guy, the type who listened to soft pop music. After Goth girl’s visit, Kanyi would magically go broke and become a problem to all of us.
“I had to give her the money, her mom is sick.”
“Last time it was her sister. What’s next, her pet cow?” Martin opened his mouth, the sound coming out of it dripping with chauvinism.
Martin had come from a family where girls were treated like second class citizens. A family where the woman really belonged in the kitchen and he was having a hard time adjusting. He would hyperventilate and go into a harangue whenever a girl topped him and say things were doctored in her favor because he didn’t want to believe women could be the same or better than him. We would enter a lecture hall and if the lecturer happened to be a woman Martin would groan, a fat ugly vein cutting across his forehead and he would start burning up fervidly like a pneumonia patient and after a short while he would leave the lecture hall and bang the door behind him its hinges almost flying out with him.
It got out of control one day when we were out in the club and there was this girl in a tight, short, lilac dress seated at the counter; sipping vodka while puffing out rings of Dunhill. Martin couldn’t stop sneering, it was as though his seat had nails. He approached her and from where we were seated we could only see his jaw moving. The next thing we saw was the girl splashing her drink on his face. “Bitch! Bitch! This bitch made me blind!” He shrieked, rage Frenching his gut as we approached to neutralize the situation. John said something in the lines of, “Look on the bright side, you now don’t have to see them, only hear them. Worst-case scenario, you become Stevie Wonder and unlock your singing potential.”
After we got kicked out, we went to a nearby fast food joint. John who had taken a few sips of something that wasn’t water approached Martin,
“You have to stop behaving like this. Women might look different and behave different but they’re just like us, and we’re just like them. Human beings.”
“If I want an anatomy lesson I will go to a biology class.” Martin barked, discomfited while rubbing his sore eyes which were now as red as a beet.
“Oh man, life’s a bitch. You continue like this and you will get one of those mad women who will sit on you like a sack of potatoes. One of those women you have to notify before you go to the bidet.” Only John could use the word bidet casually in a conversation to mean the washroom. “You know those women who post naked pictures of themselves online and when you ask what is happening they tell you it’s art. One of those, that kind should cut you down to size proper.”
Kanyi laughed, but if he knew what was coming, he wouldn’t have.
“That girl you claim to be your girlfriend we all know she’s not a one-man woman eh, Kanyi?”
“Damn it John, shut up and go wank with your books.”
“Look man, you deserve a belle femme. A girl worth her weight in gold, not that cipher who turns you into this person you’re not. Always making you do donuts trying to catch your tail. You’ll burn out.”
They started cleaning up the fast food joint and we were forced out . Martin was as silent as a clam. Kanyi flashed an insidious smile and put his hand on John’s shoulder,
“You really need to get laid eh, forty year old virgin? Maybe it will stop all this tommyrot.”
“I might be wrong about that girl of yours if you can afford to use a word like tommyrot.”
I laughed against my better judgement and said, “Yes, John does really need to get laid, hopefully to a real muff and not petals of a sunflower.” He turned, “At least we now know you can talk, what are you trying to become with all that silence, a mime?”
“Maybe, what of you John, with all your tommyrot?”
He blazed a fetching smile.
“All I ask from this life is a warm muff, a quiet garden and a truck of books.”
Martin groaned, Kanyi sneered, I had a half smile. John who was in the middle opened his arms and wrapped them on our shoulders, although he couldn’t quite reach Martin’s as we disappeared into the darkness back to our hostels.
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