We no longer made love the same way we did, nor did she greet me with the same excitement she did earlier on. I was distraught, I couldn’t concentrate at work; I thought I was about to lose the most important person in life. And I was.
—————-I met her late last year————————-
My face still bleeds from the hit I got earlier today. My eyes still wet from the tears. This bruise reeks of betrayal, loss, a journey to self-acceptance, her sister denial, and an almost happily ever after. But this bruise is also a journey of self-awareness.
My hands shake as my fingers dance around this keyboard that has been my estuary since I was a little girl, unaware of my sexual orientation or even of myself.
The first time I heard about valentines, I was a class six pupil going through adolescence, hating it and seeking solitude that I never could get. Primary school was a difficult time of my life. It’s when the media made my family a pariah in Kenya, so much we had to move from our home after an attempted arson from our neighbors. But thanks to the short memory of Kenyans and the smothering nature of news, people eventually forgot.
You see, my parents didn’t have the best marriage, to be honest, they had the worst kind of marriage. Theirs ended with my father in the cemetery- good riddance, and my mother in one of Kenya’s women’s maximum facilities- I still miss her but she wishes not to see me. I should go see her soon, if I don’t join her, that is. It’s been eleven since I last saw her.
On valentine’s day, a class 5 boy sent a class 4 girl to bring me a flower after school. I had heard that people got flowers on valentines but I didn’t understand what it meant. I had seen girls receiving flowers from their partners, and they seemed excited, I didn’t understand it. I put the flower in my bedroom, only for my sister (who I was living with) to find it and cause unnecessary chaos over it.
—————First forward to late last year——————-
I got a job as a deejay four years ago. I quit high school, which I thought was a waste of time, much to the disappointment of my sister and her cant-keep-his-hands-to-himself predator of a husband, left her house for the streets.
I got a job cleaning a small pub for food and a store room in which to sleep. That’s where I met Jack, my brother from another mother. He was a struggling deejay of the pub at that time. Right now, he is one of the biggest households in East Africa. I am sure you know him, but I will keep his identity hidden for now.
He taught me everything I know about deejaying and that’s when I started it. Two years ago, I got a gig at a better club in Nairobi, moved out of my shanty to a better place with a bathtub. I am a Sagittarius; water is life to me.
I met her in the same club. I had worked at the club for a year by then.
I remember it was Thursday and as always, I was doing a throwback roundup for the fans. It was a good night, no fights, easy and responsive audience, nice lightning and I was loving the new decks I was spinning that night, didn’t know I was spinning a bambi at a corner in the club.
I went to smoke a blunt at around midnight, same time I did every night. Get my mojo back!
“You want to share?” A very soft voice said behind me. I turned around to find this goddess with piercing eyes glaring at me. For a moment, I froze. Her head was adorned bantu knots. She was wearing a short white denim dress; dungaree, a neon green sports bra inside, and this amazing cowgirl boots.
She extended her hand towards and I obliged. I think she noticed the effect she had on me. She strode in front of me, as if showing me her entire nature and leaned on the wall next to me.
“I have never met a woman deejay in my life.” She said, breaking the silence. If this was my first time hearing that statement; I would feel like a goddess. But it wasn’t and I was feeling it.
“There are many of us out here.” Said I trying to sound modest and hide the fact that I was smitten by her being. “But there’s none like you.”Oh, my Gooood, what is happening? She passed the blunt back,at least I had something to put in my mouth.
That’s how our relationship began.
From smoking a blunt together to her asking for my number to spending a weekend together, talking to too many people because she was an extrovert, and I, the introvert followed her. We party-hopped from one gathering to another one. Everywhere we went, she seemed to know people and people, her.
She was intoxicating. She was the life of the party, carrying the entire crowd with her, making them sing to her rhythm. She was a wonder! We got together on Saturday, and by the time I was leaving a shared uber on Monday morning, exhausted but still excited, I couldn’t leave her. And she didn’t hesitate.
Every moment seemed out of this world and right. We stayed in bed for three days, making love, rolling j’s, staring in each other’s eyes, marinating ourselves in my bathtub and ordering too much food. She was like coke and I was addicted so much that when Wednesday came and I had to leave for work, I told her to stay a while and she agreed. Coming home to her the next morning was paradise.
Ivy was in her final year in campus doing a course in communications and she was good at interacting. She made me feel so comfortable with her so much that when I looked at her sleeping in bed one morning, after four months, I could hardly believe that she was real. But she was. And when she turned and put her leg around my neck and called me, “freak” I believed she was mine.
I don’t want to deceive you into thinking it was perfect. We had our moments. We fought and sometimes were silent to each other but we always made up, apologized, compromised and cried with each other. There was honesty between us that was just out of this world.
Then Just Last Saturday
“What do you want to do for valentines?” I asked her as we were watching her usual serial Killer documentaries. It was just eight days ago.
She talked about taking a day away from our usual lives, away from the noise and just being the two of us. That sounded serene but it was weird coming from her since she liked the spotlight.
What’s weirder is that she became withdrawn as the week progressed. This was unlike her. She became quieter, more aloof. During the last few days, I would find her awake at hours that were too odd for her to be. When I asked, she said, she was fine, she was just listening to herself and we would be okay.
We no longer made love the same way we did, nor did she greet me with the same excitement she did earlier on. I was distraught, I couldn’t concentrate at work and I thought I was about to lose the most important person in life. And I was.
I came back home on Thursday morning to find her bags packed. She was waiting for me in the living room. When I came in, she looked at me with pitiful eyes, and I knew what that meant.
“Don’t leave me. You know what you mean to me.” And she knew I meant it.
“I think we both knew this would happen. It was too good to be true. But we were both lost in our heads. Look at where we are, Kenya, baby. Am I supposed to introduce to my parents, as what, my girlfriend? Will you marry me?”
I had been terrified of this day since I met her.
“Don’t leave me.” Those were the only words I could summon.
She stood up. Came to where I was seated and gave me a hug, then a judas. Then she grabbed her small bag and left.
I found myself flying down the stairs, begging her to stay, she fighting me off, me telling her how much I loved her and that we could work it. She pushed me away and sped off, left me tumbling down the stairs, where I fell and hit my head on the floor and passed out.
I woke up to find myself alone, with a bruise on my face and in my heart. I picked up myself and climbed back to the house, without her but with the solace of my keyboard.
Photocredit: Mariah Tato