As I sat there on the woolen mat with her, I gazed deeply into her eyes. I liked them. But I wondered what exactly it was that I liked about them. I have always wondered what people mean when they profess to like someone’s eyes. For me, eyes have a je ne sais quoi quality about them. I can’t exactly place my finger on the physical attribute that draws me to eyes.
Like most African eyes, hers were brown. They seemed deep. It was as if there was a deep, deep passage inside them and what I was seeing was merely the doorway. ‘I like your eyes,’ I told her unconvincingly, prompting her to smile in an equally unconvincing manner.
‘I just talked with your father and he told me to take good care of you.’ I said this seriously, without blinking an eyelid.’ She smiled, a bit more convincingly, probably wondering how I jumped from one topic to another without warning!
She was an interesting girl. Tall, slender and lively. Her oval face was pretty and her long legs were pleasant to behold. I beheld them rather surreptitiously as I commented on her lips, ‘your lips are like the tiny morning clouds that gently drift towards the rising sun.’ She laughed. My poetic observations to damsels often prompted a similar kind of blushing, yer-right laughter. It was as if they welcomed my observations even as they dismissed them.
As I sat next to her on the woolen mat, I found myself reaching out to stroke her braids. She gently brushed aside my hand after a while, as my strokes tickled her. I moved my hand from the head to her stomach. ‘It is out of bounds,’ she said with a smile. I replied with a grin, ‘so which part is not out of bounds?’
Even as I asked the question, I found myself wondering if men were forever doomed to intense exploratory tendencies whenever they were in the company of women and romance was in the air. And what about women, I wondered. Do they all have the innate ability of brushing off a stray hand without turning off a thrilled heart?
Six hours. This is the time that I spent with her. Six hours of small, yet big talk that oozed with teases, laughter, restraint and hesitant exploration. It really was like two kids playing around and having a good time. More verbal than physical, even as intensity hang in the air. After she left, I pressed the rewind button in my mind and gazed again at the six hours. I should have done more, I felt. Or maybe not. It was a stalemate.