Candy Girl by Hawa J. Golakai: Valentine's Day Anthology 2015

 

 

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Candy Girl
By Hawa Jande Golakai

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Candy Girl
By Hawa Jande Golakai

“Grab her legs.”
“I should do whetin? Haaaay, mah pipo lookah troubo.
You nah serious for true.”
Shaking my head, I try to prop Leonora up by the
shoulders, making sure her head’s turned away
because that clotted spit oozing over the peeling red
lipstick and onto her chin is no wet dream. Then I
crouch low and heave; my wife is no small woman.
Once I’ve lifted her torso off the floor, I look up.

 


 “Ciatta! Really?” Was she serious? I’m breaking
my back and my so-called lover is over there with
her arms crossed looking on like I’m a psycho, like
I just asked her to kill somebody. Okay, poor choice
of words, considering the situation. I jerk my head
wildly in the direction of Leonora’s feet, urging
her to jump in anytime. Ciatta still doesn’t
budge, instead draws her arms tighter
and juts a hip. “Cia, come on!”
I lose it, then “Dammit!”
when my back loses it,
popping a tendon
or something
else that isn’t
supposed to
pop. Grinding pain
between my teeth, I
drop Leonora, who does
quite an impressive face-plant
into the carpet.
“Fineboy chill, I beg you, befo’
somebody come bust inside heah and find out what
we doin’.” “We?” I rotate my spine, trying to unclench. “More 
like what I’m doing. If you’re not interested in saving  
my neck, I don’t see why you’re here.”
“Mtssshw. I’hn blame you. I came, dah why you tellin’  
me nonsense.”  
She cocks her chin away from me, classic move when  
she’s trying to control that spitfire temper. She’s  
not pissed, not really, I can tell. Anger runs a whole  
different tier, in spectral shades, with her. She looks  
round the room, deciding if she approves, if I chose  
well despite the shitstorm this has turned into. From  
t h e tiny smile that crooks up the  
edge of her mouth,  
I did good. Clean  
and respectable  
but not high-end,  
romantic but  
seedy enough for  
debauchery. A tough combo  
in this nosy Monrovia. She  
beckons with the crook of her  
finger; I notice for the first  
time a French manicure with  
a tiny red heart stuck to each  
nail. Why would something  
I’d normally find so cheesy  
make me want her more?  
I go to her like a little boy.

“Dah wha’ happin’?” she coos,  
massaging me. Tiny knots dissolve  
like sugar to caramel.  
“You see what happened – my wife’s  
dead!” I point to the body, which  
I’m past the point hoping will wake  
up, stagger to its feet and cuss my  
ass out.  
Ciatta huffs. “Aay mehn, my eyeball  
dem nah bust. Whetin happin  
exactly, tell me it,” she flaps a hand,  
“articulate it, in dah yor fine-fine  
white pipo book.”
I ignore the gibe. She’s no trash but  
playing up our differences (many)  
is her thing and though I protest,  
that edge of forbidden  
frisson it adds ... hot  
damn. Who knew I  
knew how to mess  
around. In looks  
my jue is so like my  
wife I shouldn’t have  
bothered. Night and  
day though. Take for instance  
their outfits: Leonora, champion at  
making pretty love and eye contact,  
straight out of a corny rom-com  
with her red trenchcoat, fancy  
black frills underneath no doubt;  
Cia in the very lappa I tore off her  
the first time we ravaged, with  
those hideous tiger-print heels that  
slaughter me every time they’re up  
in the air.  
“She was sitting on the bed when I  
walked in. I don’t know how but she  
found out about your surprise and  
genuinely thought it was for her.  
What could I say?” I gulp. “Then she opened the box of chocolates …” My 
head slumps into my palms. “Once  
the reaction starts, it’s unstoppable.  
She’s so sensitive. She’s always  
careful about carrying her epi pen  
but clearly dressing like a hooker to  
surprise me took precedence.”
“De geh didn’t tink her husband  
was gon kill her on Valentine’s Day.”
“I didn’t –” I choke on a sob and she  
kisses me, silences me. “We ... we  
need to get rid of the body.”
“No. Now’days you can’t try dah  
one deh. You’hn do nuttin wrong  
but let’s get yor story straight.” She  
looms over my wife, unblinking.

When she looks up her eyes glitter  
so dark and sultry in the twilight,  
like oil dancing on top of ink, that  
I know I’ll wreck it all for her, now  
and always. “Nobody saw me since  
I came by the back way, so dah part  
okay. Jes pretend dis was like last  
year but one smuh sumtin’ went  
wrong.”
“How will that…” The clouds part.  
“Yes, yes! I always order candy  
for you, my Ma and a special box  
for her. In my hurry to get here I  
grabbed the wrong box and that’s  
how this catastrophe happened.  
Thank God the other boxes are safe at home. I’ll destroy the extra one 
meant for Ma and use the custom  
candy as proof of the mix-up.”
“Ehn-heeehhn, palaver fini. Dah  
was mistake. Dey say when bad  
luck call your name, ripe banana  
will break your teeth.” She laughs  
at my awe. “O-o-o you jek! You  
lookin’ inside my mouf like my  
teeth made o’ diamond. I nah only  
good for one ting.” She crosses to  
the bed and I drink in every muscle  
shifting under her thin wrapper. I  
shouldn’t be tingling right now …  
why am I tingling?
“It been how long?”
I check my watch.  
“Twenty, twenty-five  
minutes.”  
“Good. More than one  
hour and it look bad.  
After I leave be ready to  
give de performance of  
your life. After you give  
me de performance of your life.”  
She drops the colourful lappa. Her  
body is heaven turned on its head.  
She picks a truffle from the box and  
runs it over her lips.  
“Don’t,” I rasp.
“Why not? I nah de one who got nut  
allergy. Had,” she smiles.
“Why you make me buy it? You  
always say it’s too sweet.”
Ciatta shrugs. “Which geh can ever  
be too sweet?” The finger with the  
little red heart crooks at me again.
I’m going to hell a thousand times over.


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