About the graduation time
Adaeze and her classmates went through their 18th birthdays, and soon were to say good-bye to high school and to carefree time.
Adaeze was and was not a part of them. Some kids were talking about SAT tests and similar. But nobody ever asked her about any-if she took exams she would excel. In fact, she did, and she did, she excelled no sweat.
Her friend Edna asked:
E: You don’t like us sisters.
A: I do.
E. You like whiteys better.
A: I like all colors.
E: As long as you like me, I don’t care.
That’s how she was, excellent, be it academically or in sports… She looked gorgeous, and there were still no close personal girl-boy relations for her. A year ago, during a half-hour break from classes, a football star asked her if she thought that she is better than himself. Kids were relaxing outdoors, on a square between the school building and the parking lot. She ignored him, and he attacked her physically. She simply turned around the right edge of her body to her left. The Adaeze’s feet actually performed a dance, about a dozen of tiny steps. He went by her, while she quietly pushed on his back. This was a quiet explosion, and the poor student went up and down, ending on his face. He was angrily getting up to renew his action. Adaeze just wagged her finger at him. Suddenly he understood, got scared, and left the square altogether.
There was more to Adaeze aloofness. Until she was twelve she was a tomboy. Since then her feminine accents were ever more pronounced. That’s when her father attempted some liberties with her. Her reaction was always alert, she was getting away from any such situation promptly and decisively. Nevertheless certain psychological harm was done. Otherwise, she had good relations with her parents.
The young girl was curious about sex like most everybody else. She knew the scientific aspect, and she was familiar with porno too, and that’s where it ended. She had no romances. She didn’t masturbate. She did have erotic dreams, but whenever her father entered her dream she would wake up immediately. It would take her long to go back to sleep again.
The classmates parked at disco TipTop, left their cars, and before entering the local they got together outside Adaeze was the only one to park at the edge, where there was but one other car only. It was her jungle instinct. She joined the group in no time. Some kids had alcohol earlier, so they were a bit rowdy but knew well enough to behave properly toward Adaeze.
When they entered the premises, Adaeze-without meaning it, of course-ran into a tall guy, a stranger. His skin was almost as black as hers. She quickly realized that he was not just tall but a giant. She mumbled her apology, he nodded with understanding, and they stayed like this for a while before she had literally to force herself away from him. Only one word was on her mind: pheromones. She even called him in her mind-amant. She would not think of word lover, no way, but “amant” made her smile.
Adaeze would dance in her group, sometimes by herself. She could dance! Occasionally she would have a soft drink. They were strict at the disco about not allowing youngsters any alcohol. She didn’t care for alcohol anyway.
And all the time she would look discretely around for her amant. She would get only glimpses of him. It was difficult to explain his ability to vanish from her view. Possibly his black slacks, black T-shirt, black skin…-a ninja effect, but there had to be more to it. He danced very little. Suddenly she heard him asking: would you like to run into a stranger again?
She left her drink promptly, and they went to the floor. Pheromones. Pheromones. Amant. Amant. Was she going crazy? “Do you come often to TipTop?” asked Adaeze.
He raised his index finger. “First time? I have…,” Adaeze continued.
But the man finished her sentence: “…been here six time in the past three years.” It took her but one second to recognize that indeed, six in three.
He looked supposedly down to the floor while Adaeze had the feeling that he was aware of his whole surrounding. They didn’t say anything more, she simply felt comfortable. She just wanted more of it.
There were no breaks between dances at all except once or twice. This break came way too early, then he got lost again. She went back to her drink thoughtlessly. At one time she saw her amant leaving with a woman. First time in her life she felt pain of someone missing. Was she jealous? Nonsense, that’s impossible. Now she made herself to forget about him. She didn’t see him for the rest of the evening.
The night was finally over, and the kids were leaving for the parking lot together. When they were passing the door, Adaeze blindly ran into someone again, oh-no! And she smiled. Pheromones, pheromones. No need for any apology. They managed to go through the door together. The kids and Adaeze were exchanging byes and farewells. The kids didn’t pay attention to her amant. He cut her parting procedure short by simply spreading behind him on his long outstretched arms a thin black curtain, and the kids forgot about the two of them. She moved in front of him like in a dance. He directed them between the regular front parking and the back utility parking, where he rolled his black sheet into a small package, to be lost in his pocket. While walking they had a conversation:
She: Sorry to bump into you. Twice!
He: Any time
She extended her hand to shake his. Her hand was not small, especially for a woman, but it got buried in his, together with half of her forearm. She introduced herself:
She: My name is Barbara.
He: Your classmates must like this name, Princess.
She: What do you mean?
He: Princess, I still like your real name-Adaeze-better. Yes, Adeaze means Princess. And what do you know, my own mother named me Abioye. It’s really my older brother who is the son of royalty. He himself is a king, except that after over more than five thousand years his remote African kingdom is gone, doesn’t exist anymore. We are half brothers. My father was Chinese, and not royal, but still very smart.
She: Fascinating! You’ll have to tell me more one day.
Adaeze stopped in her tracks… then continued:
She: Sorry, I didn’t mean to… At least tell me your present official name.
He: Reach into your jeans, into your left pocket. There is my business card. Anyway, these days my name is Stuart.
He: Another business card like this, identical, is also in your right pocket, and in your both back pockets. I’d like you to keep them.
She: Why?!-All the same, I saw you in the disco with a woman.
She: Whose restroom did two of you use? Her or yours?
Stuart stopped walking, which made her stop too, and he looked at Adaeze: “I was with tens of thousands of women, and we never-never did it in a public restroom. And one more thing…”-he took her left hand, massaged the slight indentation in the skin of her ring finger. She realized that her ring, given to her by her grandma, was missing. Stuart dove into his pocket, then let her ring finger reclaim its lost possession-here you go, Stuart said.
Adeaze was profoundly embarrassed by her own comment about the other woman. But then here she was, all of her eighteen years, and never even masturbating, and this amant with the tens of thousands… She felt so close to him, she couldn’t explain it, and he was like from another huge planet-perhaps they have zillions of lovers on Jupiter, and she could feel how cold it is there, she was trembling inside.
They continued to walk the short distance in silence. At the end of the utility parking, when he was about to enter the thick bushes at the edge, she stopped automatically. It was not her custom to hide in bushes with a stranger. Also, these bushes were too thick to enter in the first place. Stuart asked, “wait Princess, I’ll be back in a moment.”
There was a hidden entrance. He emerged back with two folded blankets. She looked questioningly at him. Have a look, he said. This time she did enter a short corridor in the bushes, leading to a small clearing. “Just for the two of them,” she thought jealously. She bent to feel the ground. It was smooth! She asked, “who did make this cave?”
Stuart gently pushed her aside, reached to his pocket on the right outside of his right knee, and got out a large police flashlight. She thought, hm, quite a weapon.
He turned the flashlight on, gave it to Adaeze, and asked her to point it to the edge of the clearing. Then Stuart reached to his pocket on the left outside of his left knee, and got out a large machete. Now another weapon!, she joked to herself.
It takes no time, Stuart said, and he cleared another square foot of bush under fifteen seconds. Faint liquid shine from the knife hypnotized Adeaze. Again outside, Stuart showed her two more bush entrances, and shrugged, “not much work…-I meant cutting the bushes”.
They walked back to the TipTop’s front parking lot. Next to her car there was only one car left. He let his arm fly behind her to open the back door of that other car, and throw the blankets inside. Your car or mine? he asked. She felt a little uneasy, concerned. “We will just talk”, he assured her.
OK, let me see your fancy car from inside.
Actually, her own car was almost as fancy. He continued, “I want to tell you something first”.
She dreaded what she was about to hear: hm, he is going to tell me *something*. There is a man and a woman alone in the middle of the night. They don’t know each other. What is there so important and unexpected that a girl can learn? Fine, she knows that he is a gentle thief, that he is tall, that he carries a machete, that he has bedded tens of thousands of women… and another three in the nearby bushes. And there are those pheromones, pheromones. But otherwise she knows nothing about him, and he knows nothing about her. Except that he knew about her six visits to TipTop, and that her real name is Adaeze! How?
Stuart told Adaeze that he followed her for years. So strange, but she was happy for a moment. He explained that he follows hundreds of thousands of people. She was disappointed that it was not just her, and she was also threatened by these astronomic figures: tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, …
Stuart continued, “I was attached to you already when you were still small”.
If anybody else said anything approximately as crazy or stupid, she would dismiss him immediately. But the way Stuart cleared the bush at the other parking… Thus she knew that he was saying the truth, and never mind that he was a thief. Should an intelligent girl, concerned about her education, should she trust a thief? Why shouldn’t she just leave, drive away in her own car, and lead her own meaningful life? She was not very sure anymore though that her life is still going to be meaningful. Till now, she thought that in a not so far away future she will meet a reasonable guy, that they would start their family, and so on. Why the first interesting man in her life has to be a sex freak?
I am not a freak, said Stuart looking at her, I am unusual.
He can say it again.
“Look there far through,” Stuart said pointing to a direction, “concentrate. Imagine that you can see far away, disregard the obstructions…”
Adaeze squinted her eyes. Yes, I know that place, I call it Garden of Eden, said Adaeze. Indeed, she could see that garden each school day, from the square. She even passed by, once, without stopping her car. It was at the edge of downtown. The trees and bushes were dense there, deep green, not inviting. Just a green wall, dark. It looked more friendly from distance, from the school yard.
They went inside the Stuart’s car. She wanted the car roof down. Of course. Stuart was telling her his story: I own that garden, and a company-Investigation & Law, the company’s buildings are virtually hidden inside the garden, and I live and work there when not in terrain.
She joked, “like now?”
to which Stuart softly said, “my customer is just coming.” He emphasized, “he is mine”.
She understood, especially after the sarcasm of that “customer” description, and she waited, watching the scene. Stuart left the car and stopped halfway between a big white guy and Adaeze’s car ten steps behind Stuart. “Sir, do you want to see my friend’s car?” Stuart asked.
The “customer” waved Stuart away but Stuart didn’t move; so he promised Stuart, “I’ll fuck you and your bitch!”
When Stuart smiled, the customer got mad, he reached with his right hand down his neck, behind his back, under his shirt, but in a moment looked puzzled at his empty hand, Then he lunged at Stuart. Somehow clumsily, he landed on the ground, and even two steps aside further from Adaeze’s car. It looked like some accident but Adaeze felt that it was no accident. The customer-like a sprinter from starting blocks-took off up and at Stuart again, to do a better job this time. Instead, Stuart repeated the same earlier minimal move but added a push on customer’s back. The guy went up, made a one-and-one-half front salto, much faster than a diver would, and his head would meet not water but cement. Stuart put his hands and arms under the customer’s upper body and head, and let the customer land down relatively softly. Finally the customer went back the way where he was coming from, and only after a few steps he turned to Stuart, shouting, “I’ll get you, nigger!”
Stuart got again next to Adaeze. She was shaken up by the incident.
She: Did you know each other?
He (smiling): He has met me just five minutes ago.
She: And you?
He: I watched him on and off during the night. He is a small pawn. I investigate these days some people, so I wanted to see him too, it helps. Look at his photos on my cellphone, inside and outside TipTop.
She: What was he doing at TipTop?
He: Why did a racist redneck go to a disco? His girlfriend made him.
She: Did I see her?
He: Perhaps not. She left soon.
He: …after I did her. She left him without seeing him after that.
She: Oh, that’s a nice way to talk about women.
He: Sorry, I meant… after I had offered myself to her. Forgive me, please.
She: Stuart, I didn’t know till now, how humbling, that I am just a dumb chick. Are you going to do me too, right here?