BY: Dan Phale*
The sun had gone beneath the western horizon. Gabriel was feeling some fever. Right from afternoon several people had come to cheer him… These included Portia, one of those who lived in the neighborhood. Observing that he could not manage to prepare food for supper, Portia brought a dish of a very appetising food to fill his stomach… Everybody went home except Portia.
It was now about midnight. Portia still sat near Gabriel’s bed in his bedroom. Now and again she brushed her hand against his forehead or his face as if to give him some comfort. Even in that feverish condition Gabriel felt such a touch to be very mesmerising such that he was tempted to pull her into his embrace, but he was too weak.
“Portia, you can go, now… Go and catch some sleep,” he said, hiding the erotic cyclone which was raging in his mind.
“I don’t think it is good for me to leave you in this condition,” Portia said gently… However, she got up, picking up the bedsheet from near his feet and spread on him up to the bosom. Her soft touch continued to give him a soothing sensation.
While such a passionate gesture by Portia was worth an appreciation, Gabriel thought it was a very nice opportunity to establish an intimate relationship with her. It occurred that most of the times each of them felt a desire for the other, except that they had never expressed their feelings in very clear terms. Of course, unlike Gabriel, virtually Portia could not manage to say it because of the cultural limitations.
* * * * * * * * *
It was about 13:30hr on a hot summer Saturday. And almost everybody in the neighborhood had gone to the community center ground where marriage ceremony was due to take place. Gabriel and Portia were alone at their dwelling places. It means this provided an opportunity for those who would want some privacy. As it was, from several days, a desire was secretly reigning in Gabriel’s mind; and perhaps also in Portia’s mind.
Gabriel thought he could not afford to miss this privacy and opportunity. His feet began to automatically trace steps towards Portia’s house. While walking, he remembered her very enchanting touch when he was sick. He also recalled her angelic look that always lingered on her face.
As he was walking, Gabriel wondered if he would not be put to shame… It was better to have the best excuse. He thought that on a hot summer day under a scorching sun, needing water to drink would be a very convincing excuse, citing the fact that his servant had not supplied him with water for two days now… But before reaching in front of Portia’s house door, he stood for some seconds, observing if there was nobody noticing him. Then he stepped forward, and lightly knocked on the door.
“Who’s it?” a sweet voice came from inside.
In the first place Gabriel failed to utter a word in response. He felt like turning back… “But no, it is certainly not a sign of manliness,” cautiously he whispered to himself.
“It’s me, Gabriel…” somehow he blurted.
“Gabriel… come in… I’m in my bedroom, changing clothes,” her voice came from deep inside.
An image of Portia changing her clothes floated in his mind. He, thus, thought possibly it was time to see her body. His breathing became quicker than normal because it was not all that necessary for her say that she was changing clothes… To him that was, perhaps, an extraordinary invitation. He slowly entered the house, bolting the door from inside… While sitting on the chair he once again fancied Portia’s naked body.
“Portia, I need some water because I’m very thirty… For the past two days my servant has not fetched water for me,” he did not realise how he spoke this out.
“If it is only water that you want, then why all these explanations? Are you ever barred from coming to my house?” she teased him from inside her bedroom.
Gabriel suddenly began walking towards Portia’s bedroom which was left open except for a curtain. He pushed the curtain to one side, and stood in the door behind her scantly clothed body… Portia, surely, must have sensed his arrival in her bedroom, but she pretended to still be engrossed in combing her hair. By this, Gabriel felt encouraged.
One – two – three… He held his breath, and like a beast pouncing on its prey he rushed and wrapped his arms around her waist. Instantly he felt happy that he had done what he had ever thought of since long… Now he waited for Portia’s response.
Jerking her body free, Portia moved aside… And with a shocked face she asked, “What is it that you are doing?”
Feeling like slumping down, Gabriel was probably the most confused man on earth because he saw in her eyes a blended look of anger and love… Perhaps he should have done it more lovingly and carefully. Now he could not figure out what to do next other than getting out of the house… He was ashamed.