By Omobola Osamor
Even in the dimly lit hall, where the floodlights were focused on the stage, his eyes were beautiful—dark brown framed by thick eyebrows. His hair—an afro a couple of inches away from his skull—was high enough to take notice of his broad forehead. The nose was tapered; a pink, full lower lip that I later discovered to be remarkably soft, cradled a faint mustache. I saw him slamming the door of a red Chevy in the parking lot, and when he turned around, the raised black fist, synonymous with the maestro, contrasted the white T-shirt at the center of his torso.
Our eyes smoldered for a couple of seconds, and then I looked away.
The concert we were at was a large one. It wasn’t often Abami Eda came to town.
I marked the date on my calendar a year in advance, 13th of March. My sophomore year in college. I was nineteen.
Dad says it was the only music that stopped the tears when I had colic as a baby. My early memories are wrapped in the heavy upbeat instrumentals, the deep, enthralling voice wafting through the speakers. I imagined myself pulled into its micropores—traveling in time, suspended into space, watching him from above while he sang and danced the night away.
My Dad collected all his albums. By the time I was three, I knew all the lyrics. Today, I was giddy with excitement, or maybe it was the blunt I smoked earlier. When the instrumentals picked up again, the dancers spilled on stage.
“Don’t you think this dance is inappropriate for a child?” Brian, Dad’s friend, laughed once at my tenth birthday as I gyrated my hips to the music.
“It’s the African way, bro…nothing inappropriate.”
I knew Abami Eda was about to appear as the music reached a culmination. The darkness spat him out, the floodlights steady on his bare upper torso—lean muscled, sleek with sweat; lower limbs covered in bespoke, platinum-colored earthy prints. His saxophone between hands, eyes closed—he and his instrument, one body moving to the beat. A sudden heat rose between my breasts, spread to my navel, traveled further down, and hit my core.
As Abami Eda lifted the mouthpiece to his lips, and the orchestra accompaniment ramped up, I felt the heat from those eyes again. I swung around to find him standing a couple of steps behind me; my eyes fastened briefly on the closed fist firm on the taunt chest; the crowd receded, and it was just the two of us. He closed the gap between us with one stride, and we simultaneously wrapped our arms around each other, his breath hot on my cheek.
The music washed over us as it reached a fevered pitch.
“What’s your name?” His voice was deep.
My eyes locked with his.
We didn’t crash and burn in the intensity of that night, but raged, glimmered, smoldered till we found the proper simmer. And when he popped the question two years later, on bended knee, it was to the song that started us, Abami Eda’s “Ololufe Mi.”