Moji agreed to visit my office three weeks into our supposed friendship. She was still her calm self, not saying much, but I knew a fiesty woman was beneath that hijab and I was bent on discovering. She was also cold to our friendship, not offering anything. She agreed to visit after much persuasion from me. She came in, led in by my secretary in that her mighty hijab flowing at all sides, giving her the impression of an angel ready to fly. My secretary seemed surprised but said nothing. Moji entered my office and she shut the door. It was Friday and it was 3:00pm.
“Hi,” she looked around and sat on a sofa by the wall, putting her knees together.
“Hi pretty,” I teased her as I do, but she didn’t smile. She was yet to smile at me. That was another thing I need to get out of her face. Her large bright eyes looked at my table, taking in all that was on it- my system, files, pens, stamps and the rest.
“What is it exactly you do?”
“Monitor sales, sign documents, approve projects.”
I stood up and went to my fridge. “What drink do you want?”
“No nothing, I”m okay.”
“Come on, you just had a stressful day screaming at stubborn children. Let me give you water.” I took a bottle and poured a glass for her and gave to her. She nodded a thank you and I went back to my seat and continued with my work. The minutes flew by quickly without much conversation between us. She asked me questions now and then and I replied, nothing more. My secretary came in and said she was leaving and I nodded at her. I was finally done and stood up and arranged my table, set to go.
“Okay Moji,” I said to Moji who had her head buried in her phone. “Let’s go for lunch before we go home.”
“I have had lunch,” Moji stood up and grabbed her bag.
“Is it lunch you had at 11 or 12?”
“Well, it’s still lunch, and I’m sure you have had yours by 1 or 2?”
“Okay let’s call it dinner then.”
“Isn’t it too early?” She went towards the window and adjusted the curtains. “Oh mehn!”
I turned and noticed it was grey outside. “Oh! When did the weather suddenly change?
“Well, that is the weather saying I should get going,” she turned on her heels and started for the door.”
“Come on Moji, that’s…”
I heard the angry sound of the rain and went after her. We got downstairs at the same time and it was already raining cat and dog.
“What is wrong with Lagos rain?’ Moji sounded frustrated.
“I was about saying it was a bad idea, let’s go back inside and wait it out.”
“Let us just stay here, we might see a bus.”
“Come on Moji, the probability of you seeing a bus is taking that corner over there, and don’t tell me you prefer the cold here.”
I won again and she followed me back to the office. She sat heavily on the couch and a look of annoyance painted her face. I sat beside her and turned so I faced her.
“Don’t you see?” I started. She slowly brought her eyes to settle on my face. “This rain means something.”
“And what does it mean?”
I went a little closer and touched her face. She didn’t look alarm only more annoyed, and I knew she trusted me. I said nothing and adjusted her hijab. She gently stopped my hand and brought it down.
“Can’t you remove this hijab?” I moved back a little.
“Do you sleep with it?”
“So why can’t you remove it?” I’m sure you still have a cap covering your hair, I don’t have to see the hair.”
She smiled a little, “it’s not about the hair–its…”
“You smiled,” I cut in, smiling at her. I’m sure I looked sheepish.
She looked confused for a second. “Oh, I did?”
“Yes you did. I was beginning to think you never smile.”
She smiled again. “Well, you can see I do.”
“And it’s beautiful.”
She eyed me and said nothing.
“So why don’t you remove your hijab?”
“Well it’s just the way we were brought up. I wear the hijab to public and I never remove it.”
“So if you remove it, it’s like a taboo in your house?”
“No, my senior sister doesn’t wear it much. I just love it.”
“Okay if we were in a private place you will remove it.”
She turned fully to look at me, amused at my confusion. “You are the public.”
I looked more confused.
She pointed her finger, poking my arm. “I go out to the public, I don’t remove it, but here is private enough, but I can’t remove it because of you. But if it were to be my father here or any of my family member I can remove it.”
“Oh I get,” she was touching me the whole time and I grabbed her hand, surprisingly she didn’t withdraw it. “So even if I visit your house you won’t remove it?”
“Well, I don’t wear it at home. But I wore it that day you came because I knew you were the one coming in.”
“Really? So the problem is me?”
“Because I knew from the beginning you wanted me out of my hijab.”
I looked at her, a look of wonder on my face. “But I really was concerned that you were cold that day.”
“She looked at me and didn’t say anything.
“But would it be that bad,” I moved closer to her, “if I see you without your hijab?”
She remained quiet and we stared at each other, the rain beating louder and it’s sound echoed in the room, enveloping us.
“I think I know why you don’t want me to see you without it,” I continued. I longed to caress her face, but I didn’t want to scare her. “Because you like me.”
“Hell no!” She suddenly broke out and I almost laughed out. She tried to shift back but she was at the end of the sofa.
“Okay, because you are ashamed of your body.”
She pushed me lightly. “Oh get out!” She seem to catch on on what I was trying to do. “I’m not removing the hijab.”
I laughed out loudly. “You will someday, baby girl.”
She blushed lightly and I enjoyed the glow on her dark skinned face. “I’m not a baby, neither am I a girl.”
“Oh, big man then.”
“Don’t be foolish, I’m a woman.”
“I need to see that,” I muttered under my breath.
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