Femta had to listen to Tonton lecture her on her rude behavior toward Uthman as soon as they sat in the car. “Where are your manners Femta?” he had chided her. She couldn’t place any word because the plan was to interrupt their talk curtly and get out of sight quickly. Why? Because Curly Locks seemed like someone that didn’t like to give up. She pursed her lips as he also complained about her not greeting him when she came out of the airport. “Did you have to be so snappy? What was that all about?” he had asked her miffed.
“Nothing. I just wasn’t in a chatty mood. I bet you tried to match-make me again with that guy.” She had accused and his silence confirmed her fears. “Whatever. Sorry about not greeting you properly.” She made up for it by hugging and kissing him on the cheeks. Tonton humphed, shook his head in disbelief, and turned on the engine. Then, they took off. She glanced back to check on the baby still peacefully sleeping and she caught a glimpse of Curly Locks walking back to his booth. A pang of sadness spread through her bones and that feeling she knew all too well disturbed and alarmed her by the second. It brought back distant memories she had tried to suppress all this time. As they rode in silence, she let her mind wonder with the ‘WABAC’.
“You’re going to forget me,” Obê had told Femta not happy she had been accepted to an American University in Texas; Texas Christian University (TCU) to be precise.
“Of course not! I’ll never forget you. I love you too much Bébé for that. I’ll never do that.” Femta pouted sure of herself.
“I have so many friends who lost their boyfriends and girlfriends to the West. After a few months and when you’re horny, I’ll be history.” Obê who was an Ivorian leaving in Burkina Faso had told her that they should break up and resume their relationship if she happened to come back one day or if he also got a visa to go to Paris. He wanted to play soccer. Then they could meet a few times a year at the city of love, catch up, and make out like bunnies. Their puppy love was so naive.
“Tu blagues?” Femta had asked him surprised of his proposition. Her big eyes bulged of their sockets and her butt clad boyshort underwear bounced on his dorm room bed, slapping her thin fingers on the mattress with a force that made him jump.
“I’m not kidding. I’ve heard so many infidelities about star-crossed étudiants that I rather be realistic and make a deal now. Remember what my name means?”
She rolled her eyes and said, “Not with your name again.” Then, she pondered on his words for a minute, biting her bottom lip. She loved the idea of being free to date anybody in America but she thought sleeping with a multitude of men will make her a bitch so she made the decision to decline his offer. “Alright Mr. Soyons D’Accord, does it mean you’ll be dating all these skanks I had to fight off you all along?”
She eyed Obê for an answer and he muffled a laugh, staying silent; his tongue in his cheek, giggling softly. At least he was honest. Whether they chose to shake on it and agree like his name meant or not, Obê was a very handsome black man if she said so herself, and there was no way he would wait for her indefinitely before becoming intimate again with another woman. He was sometimes an insatiable beast. The realization downed on her painfully and she promised herself that she would strive to return back home and marry him because when they made love, she completely lost herself in him. In her mind, there was no way she could find someone of his caliber to fill his shoes. That day, she made the promise to herself to never give her heart fully to any man that wasn’t Obê. Any man she would encounter would just be a fling, a one night stand, or a non-exclusive relationship because she didn’t intend to live overseas. She would be be going in and out; just to get an education and come back home and help her country become a developed country.
After something that seemed like a long silence between the two, she said, “If you have to marry while I’m out there, stop at three wives. I’ll be the fourth and no one will come after me.” Obê agreed, laughing and they made love again tenderly that night. It was goodbye. It was fun and sad. It was heart wrenching for them. They shed tears as they climaxed. It would be a while before they experienced their unique connection again. They knew that. They weren’t fooling themselves with futile promises.
They got dressed moments later in a thick and tense silence. He couldn’t come to the airport, her parents had no idea she had a boyfriend. For them, their daughter was still a good virgin Muslim girl who one day perhaps would wear hijab. Femta kissed him goodbye and released him from her tight embrace by his dorm room while he said with teary eyes, “Aurevoir L’Américaine. Try your best to come back to me, though I have no big expectations. You’ll certainly find a white boy and never return again.” Femta puffed in laughter but her heart sank. He was thus far the love of her life. She held the tears at the corners of her eyes by remaining calm and controlling her breathing. When he closed the door behind her, she headed down the hall to go see her girl friends as she ran her hand in her bouncy afro weave, mentally shattered and drained.
Before these girls opened the doors, she dried her eyes and plastered a big smile on her face while her hands were in her jeans back pockets. “L’Américaine!” they all chanted as one of them opened the door. “Let’s see what else you have left to gift us. On t’envie oh!! We’re so envious!!”
Femta mustered all the strength in her to show a happy side with her girlfriends Maryam, Fatou, and Natacha. She owed them that much. They had helped shop for her imminent trip. Something told her that she would never see her first lover again and that depressed her mood but she tried her best to not show her sad feelings. They wouldn’t understand it. America was the dreamland they all wanted to conquer, and she chose to be grateful in their eyes. She forcefully chatted with her friends for half and hour or so and then took a taxi from the University of Ouagadougou to her parents’ home.
The next day, her family accompanied her to the airport. Two weeks before, her mother had split all her things between her five younger siblings and cousins. Femta was a bit disheartened that the gifting had happened so prematurely. What if something ominous happened? she thought. Besides, as the hoarder that she was, she wanted some time alone with her things to say a proper goodbye to them. Her mother told her that she had to start early because not everything must be gifted to outsiders since they could give her the evil eye with it by taking it to a witch doctor. So, her mom made a prayer to God on her clothes and things before handing them to all the recipients. Annoyed, she left it at that. Parents know best. She had inferred.
“We’re here,” Tonton said, bringing her back to earth. She removed the toddler from the old carseat that had seen better years when her uncle’s children were younger. Femta smiled because Tonton Kaboré was definitely her mother’s brother and her relative. He was a hoarder too. His children were in college now and he still had this old carseat.
On the heel of that thought, baby Ahmadou cooed and stretched as she held him on the hip.
“I’ll bring the rest of the things inside,” Tonton told her and added, “Your aunt is inside busy cooking because she knows you have an ogre appetite.”
Femta gave him a throaty and warm laugh before stepping inside the house by the garage entry. “Oh, I love your outfit,” Aunt Gigi exclaimed, putting her cooking gloves down the kitchen counter before closing the short distance between them to hug and kiss her niece and little nephew on the cheeks.
Surprised to hear her non-Muslim aunt compliment her modest clothing, Femta indulged her and twirled on her flat shoes with the baby in her hands. The cord of her handbag was still nestled on her shoulder as she pirouetted in her cobalt blue maxi skirt. She had tucked a long white sleeve blouse in the skirt and wrapped a white hijab with red roses on her head.
“You like? I need to get used to your compliments on hijab since they come once in a blue moon Tantie!”Femta joked and stuck her tongue out at her aunt who wore skinny jeans and a brightly colored African camisole hidden behind an apron.
“Stop it! I never complained about your choice of clothing. I just wouldn’t opt for covering my whole body for the sake of any religion.”
“I know. Anyways, what did you cook Tantie? I’m starving!” Femta asked as her aunt started playing with Ahmadou. Her mouth watered at the sight of sauce gombo (okra stew) with palm nut and white rice, tô (lemon shea butter corn meal patties) with sauce pklala (jute plant/molokhiya) and a soup of meat and fish. For dessert, her aunt had made dêguê (sweetened millet in yogurt). She couldn’t wait to shower and stuff her face. She made a mental note to get the baby out of the way by cleaning him up and breastfeeding him first so she could have peace as she ate and licked her fingers in delight! Then her eyes landed on the crate of Fanta glass bottles just like back home without the high fructose corn syrup in the corner of the kitchen. They knew she loved orange soda on hot days.
Next, the word ‘Femtastic’ flooded her thoughts and Curly Locks had finally lodged himself in her thoughts. The word would never be the same again because her stomach knotted and her appetite suddenly vanished. She felt light headed and sick. Oh no, ya Allah please let me not loose sleep and miss good food over this joker. I beg…
To be continued …
Read part 1 here and part 2 here .
©Papatia Feauxzar 2016