Saturday, 15 February 2014
I am seated in the backyard of my house as I make this entry into my journal. The orange flickers of the sinking sun fall on the round wooden table in front of me leaving a lustrous surface that seems hard to stop staring at. It reminds me of the first time I met Georgie back in Asembo when I came to visit you after completing my high school studies.
I remember that it was evening and you had sent me to Akado Market to buy some fish for supper. I passed by a posho mill where a group of grownup boys stood by chatting merrily. One of them who appeared distinctively tall, mascular and black, came out of the group and stood on my way. I tried to find my way off but he incessantly kept barricading all sides of the path. I knew that that was the local way of getting a lady’s attention, but I hated it.
When I stopped right in front of him and cast my piercing looks onto his face, he asked rather politely in English, “I’m sorry, miss, but could you please spare me a moment of your time?” His voice was deep and soft.” But I was irked and replied rather rudely, “No. Get out of my way, you gink.”
“Please,” he insisted, ignoring the insult.
“I already said no.”
“Well, I won’t refuse to let you go. I am George from Seme, and those boys are my friends. I only wanted to say… er… I’m taken in by your beauty, by the way.”
Taken in? Did that mean anything like ‘I love you’ or ‘I need you’ or ‘you’re charming’? I wondered, looking past him into the group of boys who seemed to be reading our reactions from the corner of their eyes. Maybe he had decided to choose his phrasal verb carefully to make a hit out of the ballpark, I thought, now looking directly at him.
“Come ooon…,” he begged suggestively and smiled at me gaily, dimples rippling on his cheeks like harmless ocean tides, such a winsome smile! I would not even look at him again in the eye. I turned to the ground and went as if to begin doodling with my toes but stopped when it occurred to me that I would look antidiluvian. I looked sideways and pretended to be uninterested. But the truth was, I had already fallen in love with this son of the lake, and every passing moment seemed to be delaying our mutual destiny.
“Thanks. Let me go now, please, will you?” I said and moved past him without even waiting for response.
That night, dear sister, I could barely sleep. Geogie’s image – his lovely gait and lovesome smile, stood erect in my mind like sweet morning sunrays hitting my face. I wanted to see him again and, perhaps, apologize for being fresh to him.
When we luckily met for the second time at the market, I gave my apology without mincing words. “I am sorry for acting rudely towards you last time.”
He replied in that same falling tone, “Nooo. I think I should apologise instead. Why would a stranger block your way and demand to speak with you over something that does not even make sense? I am so sorry.” I nodded, looking away. He went on, “Well, would you mind telling me your name?”
“Linda, or Lin if you like. And you said you’re called George, right?”
“Yes. Wow, you have a clear memory. You can call me Georgie, that’s what my friends like.” I nodded. An awkward moment of silence fell between us, but he broke it off quickly, “Well, do you mind becoming my friend, Lin?”
I laughed to break the ice that had come between us and then replied, “Friends? We’re already friends.”
“No, I meant… um… close, very close friends.”
“How close?” I wanted him to be specific.
“Like I said, very close. Lovers.”
“Oh… See, Georgie, I think you’re going pretty too fast. You don’t even know where I come from, do you?”
“I know you come from around this place. From this other side of the market. Asembo.”
“Which part of Asembo?”
“I don’t know, maybe you tell me.”
“See. That’s why I’m saying you’re going way too fast. I don’t come from Asembo.”
“Then what are you doing here in Akado?”
“And what are you doing either? Oh, I’m so sorry in case that sounded rude. But do I need to apologise? I have to go now, Georgie. We can hopefully meet another day, luckily in the morning of that day so you can know me afresh.”
“OK. Your phone number, please.” He removed a button phone from his pants’ pocket.
“I’m sorry, I don’t have a phone yet. Bye.” I walked past him and proceeded to the market.
When later I opened up to you about him, dear sister, you warned me to be careful in dealing with him, saying the days were evil. But our frequent meetings on market days blossomed into a relationship, and finally into a marriage only months later. Now, I wish I had taken heed of your sentiments.
After begetting him Tony five years later (do not forget I had multiple miscarriages before) and then Harriet, my husband turned aromantic towards me. His assumed sense of command and withdrawal from me and the upcoming impasse over a gold ring paint a clear picture of a man no longer interested in putting his house together for a clear future.
And yesternight, he indeed came home, when everyone and everything else had fallen asleep, sweating and smelling like raw meat. And instead of taking a bath, he held me tightly and pulled me to the bedroom, without even saying hello, and demanded to exchange flesh with me. I felt tired and scared, my body itself not even tingling with sexual desires. But he siezed me and stripped me naked, and told me to make myself ready in bed. He then undressed himself and spread out his foul-smelling body on me, put his dirty thing in me.
I accepted my fate with an ingradable sense of abhorrence towards every piece of his action that night. His mouth seemed to have acted as a stench trap for dirty air emanating from his stomach and wherever he was the whole day he went missing, and his innerpants smelled like a putrid heap of gabbage.
I spent the best part of my morning nursing my injured heart with tears.
Since he has been home all day long, I wanted to spare a moment of my time to speak with him over the gold ring, but fear took the best part of me. Besides, I was still feeling uneasy with him over the vicious act he did to me in the night. I am taking time to harness my emotions before probably opening up another duel with him.
He wanted to leave home some time in the afternoon, but he suddenly became restless, and kept moving between his restroom and our bedroom, not actually clear about his real intentions. Then one of his friends showed up and he has since been spending time with him in a shade in the front yard.
At least, Harriet was glad to have her best friend back.
Just before I go, dear, I was really taken aback by what Tony asked me today. He came to the kitchen where I was preparing them lunch and sat silent for a moment, holding his chin up into his right palm. I had never seen him deeply taken into thoughts like that before. So I decided to ask, “Tony is everything okay with you?” And he surprisingly replied, “You know what, I was going to ask you the same. By the way, Mama, is Baba treating you well?” I nodded and remained silent, not knowing what else to say.