“I didn’t believe you yesterday.”
She handed him the glass – whisky, one ice cube away from being neat- and folded herself neatly beside him on the grey couch. The smoke from the cigar he cradled between his right index and middle fingers swirled up and away, as if running from the uncomfortableness of the situation. Maybe she should open the windows, she thought. But, sadly or not, in the few seconds she’d been seated, she’d attained that perfect position, and only a hurricane would, maybe if it was really intense, move her.
“Oh?” He raised his eyebrow in that characteristic way she both hated and loved.
She signalled for his cigar, and took her time drawing out a long puff. She blew close enough to his face that it was sexy, but not too close that it was offensive. Smiling at him through the smoke, Adaku replied. “Some people would call it instinct or intuition, but it’s been part of my learning recently, that a lot of things we chuck up to instinct actually have logical explanations/reason. They are probably too small in terms of significance, or too fast, for the conscious brain to log, but our ever-so-sensitive subconscious picks them up and logs them anyway.
“I see.” His eyes were fixed on her in a way that made the ‘had eyes only for her’ seem very literal. “So, are you able to bring your subconscious to the fore? Or step backwards into that mire that is your subconscious and pull out these fast, tiny morsels of significance for me?”
She should just let it got. More like she should have, because she doubted he’d let it go now. But really, it didn’t bother her that he’d lied, if indeed he had. Because that’s the thing, the probability that he’d lied was equal to the probability that he hadn’t. There was no proof either way; just one’s word against the others’. But was it still truth if your audience didn’t believe you? If (successful) communication itself was made subject to the receiver’s interpretation, perhaps truth itself should be brought under that subjectivity? She would ruminate on that later, when she was alone, but right now, she had 6ft 2in of perfection staring at her with full heat of his intense eyes, waiting for an answer.
There was an unreal quality to their relationship. Almost like they had stepped out of reality to meet, and they had decided to stay in that non-reality. Nothing about it was real. Not his perfect caramel skin tone, perfect full beard, or perfect smile. Not the way his hands fit in the curve of her waist, or the way their minds melded together and flowed out in beautiful conversation. Nothing about them was real; not even this conversation they thought they were having.
“I don’t know, really, let’s see.” The thoughtful tilt of her head wasn’t theatrical.
“Maybe it was the forced flippancy in the way you answered the phone. Or the fact that you called me ‘Ada’. You never call me Ada.”
He slowly stubbed out the cigar in the ceramic ashtray, deliberately, eyes staying fixed in her. “Go on.”
“It was 6:15.”
“You said you’d be done at 6pm, and at 6:15pm, you knew you weren’t going to make it.”
“You’ve shown up at my door at 10:30pm before. How do you know at 6:15 that you aren’t able to make it if you haven’t made other plans? Or if you’d just rather not come?”
“Okay. Is that it?”
“You said ‘shit hit the fan’, your words.”
“What does that even mean?
By now their faces were so close, they could feel one another’s breath.
“So, which was it? Did you make other plans? Or did you just not want to share me with another?” The plan had been Scrabble with one of their mutual friends.
”Have you totally ruled out the possibility that I was telling the truth?”
She smiled. It really didn’t matter, it didn’t. Not to her. Truth be told, she’d only brought it up because she’d felt like she should; not because she’d really wanted to. Truth.
As their lips found each other, tentatively at first, her final thought before the fire consumed her was how she couldn’t wait till she was able to ruminate on truth, and it’s subjectivity or otherwise.