And so I went back to the Shrine that Friday. And this time I made certain to go alone, as on the previous occasion I had accompanied a group of my friends from university. And of course, I was sure to arrive early, in order to enhance the likelihood of meeting Moses before the performance began (let us call him that for the purpose of this post). On arrival, I made my way to the backstage area, feigning the innocuous wide-eyed curiosity of an excited and awe-struck Fela fan, primarily to bamboozle my way past the burly bodybuilder bodyguards who were the scourge of any foolish troublemaker at the Shrine. I successfully made it into this inner sanctum, not quite believing how daring I had been at the entrance and as is to be expected, there was a lot of activity going on, Fela's female dancers darting about backstage, giggling, as women are wont to do, while preparing themselves for the night's performance. And as everywhere else inside the Shrine, there was the ever present cloud of cannabis smoke hanging in the air. The lighting was low so it was quite an effort moving around the backstage, from darkened room to darkened room trying to locate him. Thinking back now, I can only wonder how easy it would have been if this was happening today when everybody owns a mobile telephone. Back then, the thought of a personal mobile phone was still in the realm of science fiction.
Eventually, out of the corner of my eye I spot him bending over something on the floor, at the far end of a corridor. It was dark you see and I wasn't sure if that was him. Yet I was very sure that it was him, Moses, that man because of whom I'd laid awake at night, every night since last Tuesday when I first heard his voice and felt his touch. There could not be another person backstage at the Shrine who looked anything remotely like this man, whom I had been unable to keep out of my mind since I left this place three nights ago. So I moved closer and had almost reached him before he sensed that he was being approached. And then he looked up and recognised me, the expression on his face a combination of shock, surprise and delight. He beamed, flashing that dazzling white toothed smile at me. Oh Lord, I wished we were alone, I should have leaped into his arms. But no, I just smiled back, genuinely feeling a bit shy about the fact that I had taken the bold step of coming to find him backstage. He must have noticed too, so he made me comfortable by rising from what he was doing, walked up to meet me and said
"Hi baby" and then he embraced me.
I felt as if I had died and gone to heaven. The hug had happened so naturally. I held on tightly to his body, feeling as if I had arrived at my destination after a long and tortuous journey, never wanting to let go of this man who made me feel so special. It was hard to think that I had met Moses only once before, because being with him now at this very moment was as if I had arrived at a place I had always wanted to be.
I felt so safe and secure. This man was strong and he pulled me close and held on too, but we were both mindful of the fact that we were in a space that was accessible to all the members of the troupe of performers. Reluctantly, we let go of each other. I was a bit shy (or pretended to be), so I turned my face downwards, towards the floor, smiling. We didn't talk much, we just let our facial expressions and our bodies do the talking for us. Moses crooked his finger under my chin and turned my face upwards towards him. I raised my head and looked up into his eyes. I knew he could tell that I had fallen desperately in love with him and he pulled me close again, this time being careful not to make contact with that part of our anatomy that is below the waist. I put my head against his chest and I could feel his heart pounding. We held on to each other again, tightly...
In my head I could hear myself saying
"My love, where have you been all my life? I'm so glad I've finally found you..."
But that line of thought was abruptly disrupted when Moses suddenly jerked and let go of me. I looked up at him and followed his gaze down the corridor towards a female figure who was approaching us. She did not seem to have seen us, but Moses had seen her and had reacted in the way that he did for some reason... (To be continued)