Literary Zone

Short Story—The Aphrodisiac

20 January 2006 at 05:44 | 560 views

By Karamoh Kabba.

Safiatu was in her prime when she arrived from Sierra Leone. Her beauty charmed both young and old men in the community at first sight. With seductive lyrics and sardonic rhythms of Soukous and Makosa, she wiggled and twisted her slender frame, and massaged her buxom chest with extraordinarily long fingernails, song after song. Most intriguing, was how she lowered her height with kinking hips in heap swerves that raised crotches and induced giggles and mirth. Her admirers’ heartbeats were tempestuous-enamored of adoration, they waited in line to waltz or chat with her.

Everyone called her, Just-cam-titi, meaning ‘new arrival,’ especially men enthusiasts. Unlike these men enthusiasts, many married women called her by this moniker as well, but mockingly. For a recent immigrant to the United States through a family reunion visa that her uncle, Joe, and his wife filed for her, her character had become quite stricken. Joe was a modest and barely known man in the community before Safiatu arrived. But he had become well-known now in the community. And it all began when a recent sonogram report showed his wife was pregnant with triplets.
Joe and his wife worked extra hard, saved money and bought Safiatu’s air ticket. The couple’s intention was for Safiatu to help take care of their triplets. Instead, men who barely knew Joe called his house, “Bra, den say yu niece don cam? Pa yu know - ee good for leh we know. Because we sef go dae na di same position some day and we go need you help. We understand how ee difficult for bring pursin cam na dis contry from salone,” they said, to establish a reason for visitation. They also established friendship, but only visited him when he was at work just to see Safiatu.

In the short time she had been in the Untied States, Safiatu’s tastes had become quite ostentatious; she shopped in the most upscale women apparel and accessories’ outlets with money she received from these visitors that came to the house, pretending to visit Joe. Above all, she left Joe’s wife, a postnatal-depressed mother in the house, with her triplets all alone, and went on endless dates. She bundled her bulky haunches in skimpy low cut jeans that showed a whale tail she rolled at her. She joked and laughed copiously with her friends over Joe and his wife’s original intention for her to help take care of the newborns: “Den feel say mi na babysitter, but ah! Den go lan nor for bring other pursin kan na Amerika wit da kine slavish mentality.”

Joe was now under serious pressure from his wife who vowed to kick Safiatu out of their home if she won’t help her, “bor ah sweh ee go pay me hard-woke labor, me sweat money back way ar spend for buy ee ticket,” she avowed her intention. Joe’s countenance was sour from the constant pressure coming from his wife because of Safiatu’s ingratitude when he began to talk to Safiatu.
“Safiatu,” he began, “we heard you told people in the community we brought you here to enslave you?” he asked.
“First of all, ar nor wan for be part of any hypocrisy-‘talk-talk’,” she replied.
“Safiatu, this is a simple “yes” or “no” answer question,” Joe admonished her.

“Yu need for ask den wan dem way wuna all dey sidon talk ‘but me, norto me for ask,” she replied rather sharply for Joe’s comfort.

Astounded by Safiatu’s reaction, Joe stated, “Well it happened that you are an adult and there is very little we can do to help you. But let me tell you Safiatu, your body is like a machine; you can work it hard and get the utmost out of it within a short period or you can work it steady with good maintenance to last you for a very long time. It’s all up to you.”

“Well, ten God yu know dat, ‘it’s all up to me’,” she mimicked.
“I think we were wrong to have sponsored your coming here in the first place,” Joe stated more submissively in an effort to keep her niece’s sardonic tongue under control. “My wife and I will appreciate if you can just refund our hard earned money we spent on your air ticket, at least,” he continued.

“Ar know say-na dat yu go say!” she snapped, fumbled into her purse and took out ten crispy hundred-dollar bills, tucked them in her uncle’s palm, “here!..., how much more ar owe yu,” and walked out, slamming the main door behind her before he could react.

The extra money Safiatu was making did not come without feuds with married women over their husbands. Many of them called her at home and cussed her out for hoodwinking money from their husbands by peddling herself to them. She had been in isolation for two months following an awful incident that had sunk her in a somber mood.

“Are you the Safiatu who’s sleeping with, Sorie, my husband?”
Sorrie is one of the men who have been spending their fortunes on Safiatu. But he had taken it one-step further: his feelings for Safiatu had become very emotional more than any of Safiatu’s other bed partners. This situation had caused him an awkward relationship with his family.

On this day, Sorrie’s wife asked Safiatu at the entrance of a party hall most Sierra Leoneans often patronise to have a good time. But she ignored her, swayed her hips, as usual, away from Sorie’s wife. And it was a wrong move..., Sorrie’s wife felt provoked and thought aloud, “Now I can see why he wouldn’t leave you alone,” she chased Safiatu and confronted her in a bitter argument. A crowd of married women, who were victims or at least had heard of Safiatu’s character, joined Sorie’s wife to humiliate Safiatu. A raucous exchange of cussing ensued amongst the female partygoers that escalated to a point that the county police stopped the party and dispersed everybody home.

I Wish, I didn’t go to that party to face such humiliation, Safiatu said to herself.
"She was not going to have anyone to fight with,” she stated aloud unconsciously as she sobbed with her head limp on Sorie’s shoulders.
She could not stand living in Maryland any more. She frequently broke down in tears with her head flaccid on Sourie’s shoulders in invocation of that terrible encounter with his wife.

Often, Safiatu avoided fights with the women who were always longing to cuss the hell out of her for what she did to their husbands. She always ignored them without uttering a word. But the tactic did not work this time around. The partygoers cussed her out and booed at her. Mortified, she isolated herself to avoid any contact with the public as news about the fight whirled around the community like a bushfire.

Nonetheless, Sorie used the incident to his advantage because of his love for Safiatu: delighted that the incident had taught Safiatu a lesson he was unable to hammer down by persuasion. For him it pleased him that most of Safiatu’s boyfriends avoided her after the incident. And so he visited her regularly, gave her moral support, and consoled her to overcome the disgrace to which her promiscuity had subjected her.

But Safiatu had her own agenda, which Sorie did not know about. She must teach Sorie’s wife a lesson. And that lesson was to show her that she was more of a better ‘woman’ by snatching Sorie from her. She persuaded Sorrie to abandon his wife and relocate to another state with her, where there were not many Sierra Leoneans. She let him know that was the only chance he had if he should continue seeing her. Indeed, Sorie was too madly in love to call off Safiatu’s bluff.

***

Sorie was a Computer Engineer. With the prevailing information technological job boom, he secured a job with relative ease with a multi-million dollar software developing company upon moving to Atlanta, Georgia. But the job demanded constant out of state traveling. Well familiar with Safiatu’s past, traveling out of state, away from her, was not to his cup of tea. But the money was too good to pass on. As planned, he completed the divorce process with his wife, and married Safiatu nine months later. Initially, their relationship was warm and cozy. Sorie traveled more frequently with the increasing out of state contracts his company won.

Meanwhile, Safiatu became bored and lonely at home. She developed an urge to see someone else while Sorie was always away. She re-established a relationship with a younger man she was seeing when she was living in Maryland. She invited him to Georgia and enjoyed good times with him each time Sorie was gone on his computer wiz appointments. Rumor riffed around town that “A man comes from out of state to visit Safiatu whenever her husband was on such a trip.” Sorie was aware of the rumor, but yet to confirm its validity.

The rumor of his wife’s infidelity made him to become anxious. In a pensive mood, he reflected on Safiatu’s past. He avowed his aims to validate the rumor, I must catch her in the act, he made his resolve, after which, I’d not waste more soap and water on that metaphoric black-handed monkey. So, he set up a cloak and dagger plan to catch her with the boyfriend white-headed in white cloud in her.

He gave the rumor deaf ears, instead, he showed her more love; he brought flowers and gifts home every time he returned from an assignment. He continued to surrender his paychecks to her as if nothing was wrong; she in turn deposited them in the bank, paid the bills and spent money at her will. She also bought plane tickets for the younger man who continued to visit, and was financially responsible for his stay.

On that day, after a long pretence that everything was normal, Sorie told Safiatu,
“I am going to New York for two weeks this time.”
“Baaabyyy, why two weeks?” she asked.
“You know, my assignments have increased at my job after nine-eleven,” he replied.
“Hmmm...,” she muttered in anticipation of two weeks in good times with her boyfriend.
“My company has extra workloads in New York, and I’m the most qualified candidate..., but guess what baby, I’m going to have the whole of the following week off,” he explained with excitement.

Sorie went ahead to purchase an air ticket to New York and booked a hotel room at the Grand Hyatt hotel in downtown Manhattan. When he arrived at the hotel, he called Safiatu to announce his safe arrival as a husband would do normally. At the other end, Safiatu was pleased that the caller I.D. registered the following message:
Grand Hyatt Hotels and Resorts; 212-765-1234.

He stayed in New York for three days before he returned home in the middle of the night hoping to surprise Safiatu. He was even more anxious because of the prospect that he was coming to catch his wife having an affair with another man. He inserted his keys into each slot and turned them carefully to reduce the noise. He was rather disappointed to find out he couldn’t open the door as fast as he wanted; Safiatu had secured it with the extra security bolts from inside. He rang the doorbell, knocked, kicked and pounded the door with both fists and feet violently and furiously. But there was a long delay instead before Safiatu opened the door, which further aggravated his feelings.

Meanwhile, Safiatu had hidden all traces of her infidelity, including her boyfriend inside the closet in the room. She adjusted the whole room free of any romantic milieu as the doorbell rang, and feet and fist pounding ensued. Confident that she had managed the situation well enough, she came down, very well in control, pretended to be very sleepy when she opened the door. It all seemed normal in the house when Sorie came inside.
“Are you trying to break the door?” Safiatu asked in a soft tone in a pretentious sleepy mood.
“But why aren’t you opening the door in the first place?” Sorie asked nervously.

“What do you mean? Can’t you see I was sleeping? But who was expecting you any way? Common baaabyyyy, don’t be silly,” she conjured his temper down by running those long nails through the back of his head. She pulled him by his neck-tie straight to the bed, breathed warm air in his ears, “I missed you baaabyyyy, common..., I can’t wait any longer..., I dreamt making love to you every night while you were away, hmmmmm, Yes!, my dreams have come true, common baby..., make love to me..., now!, give it to me now, do me now! - I love you baby - I missed you baby.”

It pleased Sorie to learn that the rumor was in fact, according him, a black lie. He felt more affection for Safiatu now that the rumor of her unfaithfulness was unproven. He followed her lead straight to the bed and proceeded to a prospective romantic entanglement with his vixen. She had craftily aroused him sexually, diverting his attention from her boyfriend who had taken cover in the closet with a determination to sedate him with much lovemaking that would knock him out to sleep in order that her boyfriend could leave without an incident.

In the closet, the boyfriend slammed his fist in his palm in frustration as he listened to husband and wife’s groaning of pleasure, especially Safiatu’s moans. The boyfriend imagined Safiatu’s coke-bottle-naked-shape and her agility in bed. The thoughts and feelings were very intensive for him, and he could not contain himself any more-came out of his hiding and jumped on Sorie in the middle of his making love to his wife.

Amazingly, the boyfriend and the wife ganged up on Sorie and beat him senseless. They grabbed whatever they could from the house, drove by a twenty-four hour drive-through bank, cashed a check equal to Sorie’s total savings and drove off.

They were still counting the money and laughing aloud at Sorie, calling him “stupid,” when Safiatu pulled up into the ramp that merged into highway 95 north in the little sports car Sorie had bought for her. It was too late for the boyfriend to prompt her, “Hey! Safi... an eighteen-wheeler truck...”. Before they saw a cannonball of fire, Joe’s words flashed through Safiatu’s mind like the cannonball of fire before it all ended, “...your body is like a machine; you can work it hard....”

Photo: Karamoh Kabba

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