Caramel Dreams

Nnenna tilts her head to the left and looks around the pub. She hates the sour sweat smell. The dark wood and patterned carpet make her feel claustrophobic.

‘Y’know?’ Joe says.

She hmms a reply. She wasn’t listening but she’s afraid she knows.

‘There’s something about her. That’s why I was stuck in east London at three in the morning. I wasn’t even sure if she would definitely turn up to the party…’ Joe continues.

He has a small smile and shuffles in his seat, as if the mere thought of his fantasy girl might give him an erection. Nnenna picks at her fingernails. She knows.

‘She’s caramel,’ Nnenna mutters.

‘What?’ he asks.

‘Nothing.’

It’s a ritual now. When she has to listen to the boys she likes talk about the girls they like. The caramel girls. Sweet with a sexy voice that just pours.

‘Yeah, you’re right,’ Joe says. ‘Her skin. It’s that kind of caramel colour. Delicious.’

He laughs at his own joke, clutching his pint with a grip that’s too strong. He puffs out his chest; broad shoulders back as his mind revolves in self-congratulation.

‘And what am I?’ Nnenna asks.

‘What?’

‘Colour?’

She’s deliberately making him feel awkward. She knows she shouldn’t bring up colour to her white friends. She should pretend that every coloured girl fits in the rainbow.

‘Dark chocolate? 70%?’ she asks, mimicking him by stretching her large chest so her breasts balloon.

‘50% surely? More like a kitkat.’

She’s not sure if the dilution is a compliment. She wants to be a proud, rich cocoa, not a manufactured milk-chocolate. But she’s also glad that he doesn’t think of her as too strong.

‘But not…’ she says.

‘What!?’

‘Never mind.’