“Hope he hasn’t been causing too much trouble?” joked a perceptibly fervent Chinelo on the phone. “You know he still loves to maul”
I laughed. “Not at all. I’m yet to see him this morning. I only just woke up. In fact, your call woke me up. I’m still in bed” I checked for the time – 7:15am “But he’s fine. He had dinner, saw a movie and went to bed.” I was careful to avoid the gaming part – she and her husband would definitely go mad if they heard I had bought him a video game. That was the same reason they hadn’t let him own a phone yet – more studies!
“Ok then. That’s ok. Tell him his dad would be leaving for the village this morning and that he can talk to you about anything if he had a problem.” she was just the perfect mum.
“Of course Chinny. I would. You could wish my Engineer a safe trip on my behalf.”
“Of course D-baby. I should be going now. Oh…you should also tell Chiboy that Amara called. He should know who Amara is”
“Alright Nwa. I will.”
I will call later. Bye!”
“Bye baby!” she hung up!
I tossed my phone to the side and stretched like a waking cat! Chinelo’s call had put me off my sleep and I was sure I would have slept some more if not for her. I had had a tiring period the previous day with all the preparation and drive to and fro the bus park. And I needed a lot of rest. But then, it was understandable that Chiboy’s mom had to call. At least to know how he’s been faring. It was only funny that she thought he could cause trouble. What kind of trouble could he possibly cause? And that he was still MAULING?!! That was quite unbelievable at 17 years of age! ‘Mauling’ was the name myself and his mom gave his rather silly habit of fondling people’s earlobes, arms and calves. Not like that was the exact explanation of the word but given he usually kind of ‘manhandles’ the flesh when doing so, we tagged the act with the name; by way of exaggeration. It was quite surprising that he still mauled at his present age; even if I particularly wasn’t seeing anything awkward about it. He was still a kid after all, even at 17 and he was surely going to out-grow the habit. However, I couldn’t withhold smiling to myself, when memories of the tricks I had played on him as a child with regards to his desire to ‘maul’, flashed through my mind again. I wasn’t even sure he was going to recall any of them anymore given it’s been 10 years already. But I assumed it would be interesting to resumeseeking truthsfrom him, after promising to let him ‘maul’ my upper arms. It definitely was going to be interesting.
Anyways, incidents from the previous night inexplicably crossed my mind as I began climbing down my bed to join him! How the thoughts managed to get there again, wasn’t something I was certain about. I had basically forgotten everything and barely thought about it while waiting for sleep. But here I was again remembering it. He had actually sneaked up on me while I was dressing for the night and would have probably seen me totally Unclad, if he had got there before I wore my gown. It was just difficult to suggest that he had done so on purpose or was looking to voyeur on my nakedness. I had to believe he had probably bumped into me, after which his usual curiosity took over. Chiboy was only 17 and that should ring a bell. He may be getting set for the university, but who doesn’t know it’s norm nowadays to see pretty little boys and girls getting into higher institutions? Gaining admission into the university doesn’t make anyone mature or old enough. Growing up and being older, do. I simply had to get the thoughts off my mind, if I wasn’t going to begin using some silly reasoning against a young innocent boy who had travelled all the way to my place to enjoy the holiday. I was walking out to the living room the next moment.
Surprisingly, he was already up and gaming! He was sitting in front of the Tv with his back to me. That notwithstanding he still somehow told I had just walked in and greeted me without turning or looking up. I found that rather strange, but still ignored it totally.
“Good morning Chi” I replied “How was your night? Or have you been on that game since last night?” I tried feigning surprised
He then looked up smiling and then quickly looked away, while avoiding my eyes. “No ma. I woke up some minutes ago. I even heard you on the phone. My night was fine.” The fact he managed to smile seemed to reassure me once again. I wasn’t happy when it initially appeared like things were beginning to stiffen up between us – in relation to events from the previous night.
“Oh…that’s okay. It was your mum I was speaking with.” I continued, “She asked about you. She also said your dad was leaving for village this morning.” I was then about to include that one Amara asked after him when I suddenly held myself back! I thought I just had to know who the Amara was and even wondered how I had totally forgotten about it already! From what his mom had said, it looked likely that there was something between Chiboy and the said Amara. Did it mean my little Chiboy now had a girlfriend? That would be so very pleasing! And the girl should consider herself very fortunate. Whatever way though, I had to know more details about it. I was going to ask him specifically, but definitely not that very moment. So, I didn’t proceed with the message. Instead, I passed flying comments about other things I had discussed with his mom before proceeding to the kitchen to do the dishes from last night.
Beautifully, I wasn’t long into it before Chiboy would join me. He must have heard the clattering of plates and figured it would only be good mannered to assist me. So we both got on with it and in few minutes got them sparkling again. We also soon began chatting as I tried switching to making breakfast. We spoke about many things – from food and what kinds of food we loved and preferred, to what we loved about being home and on holidays. We also spoke about his growing up and the things he mostly missed about Port Harcourt. When I brought up habits, I noticed how he smiled and looked away in shyness. He knew were the discussion was likely going to land us and he was probably not cool with that. But then, I wanted to talk about it, even though I suspected I wanted to do so because I was somehow loving the fact that he still loved touching people up. It somehow made him feel like a baby. My beautiful little baby! I still loved Chiboy very much! Like a mom would love his beautiful boy. And remaining with a habit like ‘mauling’ only made him feel more like the loveable little boy I knew, than the very grown young man he seemed to look like this time around. So I began to ask him about it, to which he seamlessly admitted. He told me he still loved the feeling he gets when he rubs the cold soft flesh on an earlobe, a calf or an upper arm. But he also added that he hardly does it to persons other than his parents or friends now. When he wanted to mention friends, he almost put ‘girl’ in front, before rescinding. I nonetheless took note.