Ali jumped from the bathroom to startle V. They had been apart for almost two weeks. He came back unexpected and was hoping to give her a fright. V was spooked. Not by his attempt to startle her but by the emotional reaction she had from seeing him. She knew she missed him but had just never figured out how much. She sat down all tensed up. She was bubbling with emotion from the inside and was scared to show it.
He was a little tense too. He shook her hand and stood beside her. She was seated on his bed. She looked at him. He could tell how tense she was. He seemed worried by it.
“Won’t you hug me at least?”
V stood up and moved closer to him. She then wrapped her hands around his neck and moved closer to him in a hug. He put his hands around her waist and drew her even closer. She grew tenser. She released herself into the hug and closed her eyes. She missed him. From his breathing, she could tell the feeling was mutual.
They stayed entangled in the hug even as they dropped onto the bed. She didn’t open her eyes, she trusted him. It felt emotional for her. She had longed to see him. She had hoped it would be good, but not this good. Now she felt safe. She felt secure. She felt loved. She felt like she was home. That might have gone on forever if his phone hadn’t rudely interrupted. He broke the hug to take it. She noticed her eyes were wet. She’d been carried away by emotion that she hadn’t noticed she was quietly weeping.
“Let me freshen up, I’ll be with you in a moment.” She stood from the bed to leave but he stopped her. He held her by the hand and pulled her to him.
“You don’t have to.”
“But babe, I’ve had a long busy day. I need to.”
“But I don’t want you to. I want you to stay here by my side.”
She sat back down at his side and smiled. She felt sweaty, but she had no intentions of arguing with him. He’d just arrived and she missed him. He placed down his phone and turned toward her. He then playfully pushed her onto the bed and held her some more. The urge to freshen up started to fade. He wasn’t going to let her out of his sight anyway, so she best get comfortable. He tried to kiss her, she resisted. He insisted she gave in. One moment they were laying around in a cuddle, the next they were rolling around on the bed. Then he was on top of her. They were both fully dressed and none of them seemed to be in a rush to change the situation.
“Did you miss me?” It was barely a whisper. She felt Goosebumps grow on her skin. A chill ran through her body. The sound of that question was about to unravel a fire. A fire that had not been ignited in her the entire two weeks they had been apart.
She had been emotional but that question brought about a new set of emotions. She sniffed involuntarily as a tear rolled down her right cheek. She fought the feelings. She was excited but she had to check herself so as not to spook him. He must have loved her reaction because he drew her even closer that she was now having trouble breathing. She did not respond immediately. He did not push for the answer. He did not have to. They stayed quietly for a while.
“Tell me you missed me.”
“Do I have to?”
“Yes, I want to hear you say it.”
“I missed you.”
He turned her and placed her on her back, under him. “Say it again.”
“I missed you so much.”
“Now tell me you love me.”
“I love you!”
He kissed her aggressively. She could feel his lips shaking with desire. She kissed him back, trying still to contain her tears. He broke from the kiss and looked at her.
“I love it when you tell me you love me.” He then pulled his left hand from below her back and unbelted her trousers. She was in formal pants and a chiffon blouse. “Say it again.”
“I love you, Ty!”
He pulled down her pants. She helped him get them off.
“Baby, don’t you think I should at least freshen up?”
“Doesn’t matter to me… I love you.”
He placed his left hand on her waist and slid it upwards. “Do you want me to get this off?”
“What about mine?”
“Why?” He was teasing her with his eyes, she could tell.
“I want to feel your skin on mine. And it’s only fair.”
He laughed softly, seductively. She unbuttoned his shirt and pulled it off. He smiled at her. He then got her blouse off. She now lay under him, breathing fast, in her underwear. He pulled off his own vest such that their chests were now touching he was still in his jeans. He kissed her again. V felt so close to him in the moment; and not just physically.
Then almost obliviously, her legs parted. She could now feel his jeans press on her clit. She was getting wet fast; she was scared she would leave an impression on them. He unhooked her bra, slid down and grabbed one of her nipples between his teeth. That always got her with him. Maybe it was about how he did it. He cupped one of her babies and licked it. She breathed heavily with desire. Her loins were on fire. She wanted him like she’d never before. She wanted his pants off but she didn’t care to get them off. Fortunately for her, he too wanted them off.
That memory made her smile. She thought of many things and smiled. She turned to Angela and with a sigh of resignation admitted, “Getting over this guy is going to drain me.”
Angela smiled and nodded with affirmation. She hadn’t had a break the entire two weeks she had spent with V. She had listened to this conversation one too many times, but being the friend she was, she kept listening. V too knew she had to stop talking about it at some point but she couldn’t help it.
After two months of silence with Ali, a five minute hand holding moment, a one day phone chat, a morning fight over something she considered considerable, V realized she did not like Ali as much as she had initially. She loved him, sometimes intensely, but with every fight they had, she liked him less and less. Consequently, the trust and regard she once had for him started to fade. She hurt with everything he did or didn’t do. He took too long to respond to a text, she felt insecure. He said no to anything she asked, she felt upset. She felt tired. She had begged him for things and sometimes felt like if he liked her at all he would do some of them for her minus the begging. V felt desperate and sad. She hated the feeling. But what she had most was the helplessness she felt. She wanted to tell him how she felt, he dismissed her and switched off his phone. Then V felt like she had to let go. The pain was no longer bearable for her. She started to feel like she was fighting for a love that would never be: like she was waiting for something that was long gone.
She was being unfair to herself. She was hurting everywhere. She couldn’t focus on anything anymore. She decided she’d had enough. She decided she would throw caution to the wind. She would try getting herself back together. She would give herself a chance to heal. She would take another shot at happiness. She was done fighting. Everything she said to him had only worsened everything and she felt like he hated her. She had hit rock bottom. She was glad because she felt like she couldn’t go any lower. She probably would never restore her dignity with him. So she made that final leap and just let go. She had a strong feeling it was the last time. Her pain had made her numb. She wanted to start over. She would focus all that energy on something else, something constructive.
Theatre! That was her answer. Or just a job perhaps… Anything that consumed her time was welcome. She had recently quit a theatre group three days after passing the auditions. She’d been excited about the whole idea, acting was something she loved. Then one morning she’d woken up to attend rehearsals but had been hurt by Ali. She’d tried to get to the rehearsals but her mind was in a totally different place. She’d tried to give herself pep-talk, that it would be fine. But when she saw the big red billboard a third time she realized she was lost. She had been rotating around University of Nairobi trying to find her way to the Nairobi Arboretum. She used three different routes and they all brought her back to that billboard. Over an hour later she retraced her steps and realized the wrong turn she’d made that had brought about the entire problem. She could have gone for the rehearsals anyway but she realized she didn’t have it in her. She walked and walked away from town and towards Kahawa. She didn’t want to get to the house. In the state she was in, she didn’t want to be anywhere. She wanted to walk and walk till the end of time. At some point, at Pangani, she figured she couldn’t go all the way on foot. She took a bus and went home. She had no intentions of going back for rehearsals. She knew also that her trainer wouldn’t understand her absence the previous day. Maybe she would audition for another group, this chance was gone.
It was after this that she realized she was an unhappy woman. She had too much baggage that she had to deal with on her own. Maybe she had to let her fairytale idea of love with Ali go. She had to sort her life. She would meet someone else someday, maybe. She didn’t care though. She just wanted peace. She didn’t want to have one single person render her insane and incapable to make sound decisions. Ali was never going to say the words. He was never going to tell her that it was over. So maybe she would pull the trigger. She didn’t care in that moment if she was making a mistake. She was unhappy and was well aware that only she could do something about it.
“Give yourself some time. You will be fine.” was Angela’s response.
“Yeah, I don’t doubt that. I just thought he was the one, you know.” Both girls went silent. Then V lifted her head from the pillow and looked at her friend with a mischievous smile. She was still in bed at 12:22, too worn out to get out of it.
“What?” Angela was lounging on her couch, watching friends.
“I’m just thinking. You know, even the toilet fills sometimes and stops taking shit.” Angela laughed. “Yeah, and there is a reason we change rags and mats after a while.”
“Yeah, they wear out from the dusting and sometimes they start to remove dust themselves.”
The girls laughed. Day one was almost over. All was well.