Leaving Nothing Behind.

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When he said I was light like a grain of maize – forgive my extreme exaggeration, but matters love, let me prosper- and that he could run with me, I instantly started floating on air. I send him the blushing emojis. I sent more of them. A total of eight or thirteen I don’t know. Not 13 definitely, must have been 14.

I am serious. He added.

I feel heavy. I need to shed off some weight. I say and use the emoji lifting the dumbbells.

You look perfect! He replied immediately.

My heart. My knees. My thighs. All were shaking like a girl about to undergo FGM. Or when you are among the top three finalists and they want to announce the winner. Perfect? He called me perfect? Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego, my life is picking up pace. Eh, where is that ex who said I am a psycho and would never find love? That I am a derailed woman? That I am bipolar, just because of the little anger I had last time and threw a little pebble at his windscreen and the entire thing came off?

He thinks I am prefect? I want to screenshot that sentence, print, laminate and hang on my wall for constant and future reference. When a guest comes to my house, they read, you look perfect.

Seriously I want to lose few kilos still. I text, hoping he doesn’t stop texting back.

Well, let me help then.

How do you intend to go about it? I want to send a winking emoji but thought better and deleted it.

Are you free this Saturday?

Don’t tell me you want to start making me sweat! I text.

I want to delete it and rephrase because he might interpret sweating as sexual innuendo, like he would make me sweat…in bed. But it’s already blue ticked. Goddammit!  

I was hoping we get to hang out, plan your program and stuff. Have coffee, lunch or something, you know.

Phew. He did not interpret the way I thought he would. I should stop reading erotica, no? My mind is in the gutter.

I love food. Food is life. Food is the reason I find courage and strength to wake up, the reason I don’t die in my sleep when my neighbor chases me with a machete in my dreams. In fact in Greece, there is a goddess for food. In my community, there is a deity we pour libations to so that we never lack food and when we pray to it, we say, “Flood our granaries with food, generous mother, until we cannot see our enemies. Make our stomachs healthy and may they never grow small.” It is better you lack clothes, but not food.

However, I was not going to say yes yet to that coffee, lunch or something. A girl is supposed to play hard to get, right? Who knows maybe ovulation had compromised my reason and the hormones were playing tricks.

When then will you be free? He texts.

I am free, I am free even now. In fact, baby, I am free to start a family. Take me with you. Let’s have babies. I am ready to give you three sets of twins if you want. Take me baby. Take me whole. Leave nothing behind.

But I don’t text him this nonsense. Instead,

I am not sure. Let me tell you on Thursday after I confirm with my schedule.

Even though there is no calendar, no engagement, no dates, no visits, no work, a girl has to be busy. Even if it is just busy looking at wall cracks and imaging what if a snake lives there? Busy unrolling the tissue and pulling out the hard brown paper, busy checking why some forks have four teeth, while others have three. A girl can get busy reading all shampoos and lotions in the supermarket checking if they contain paraben.

No problem, I will wait. He says.


We settled for Saturday three weeks later. Coffee/Dinner. I know, I said yes too quickly, but my stomach urged me to take up the challenge quickly. That I should do it for its sake, not the vagina’s sake with its 90 day rules. That it would behave itself.

I called my best friend and explained she needed to help me. She sent me hundred and one links of dos and donts for dates. That I should refrain from sarcasm. She beseeched me not to put on jeans.

Should I use red lipstick or is it scandalous? I was asking her.  Is that black dress we bought in Gikomba too tight? Skimpy?  Is mascara appropriate? Would she please just come and draw my eyebrows? Will she please bring her perfume along too, mine had run out? She was at my house in no time.

‘Please, just smile. Smile. Breath. And smile,’ She said as she styled my hair.

‘Are these teeth white enough?’

‘Ah, yes. Just smile. Smile even with your eyes. Purse your lips a bit and expose little teeth. That sophistication needs to come out. Don’t laugh loudly, please.’

I am a villager, I don’t even know how to smile the way she suggested. In my village, we smile with all our teeth out, our mouths stretched like a banana. We laugh from the pits of our bodies; you laugh until you feel your spinal cord twist. We laugh until our buttocks shake and our bellies move like waves. We laugh like there is a reward for the loudest laughter.

‘What if I get tired of smiling?’ I ask madam expert.

‘You can’t. I always tell you that your smile is one of your strongest charms. Use it.’

‘Pfuuh, but has it kept anyone?’

‘You are the one who pushes them away’

‘I hope this one won’t leave.’

‘Are you that into him? Ah, why I’m I asking stupid questions yet we can see you are wearing a dress for him?

‘Me staki kuchoma picha.’

Armed with the proposed smile, pursed lips, and a clutch bag, I walked into that diner where we were meeting. It is one of those dimly lit places with walls the color of chocolate or some grades of grounded coffee. Had four or two cushioned seats around each round dark brown table. It offers just enough privacy for stolen kisses. In fact enough privacy to grope. I should actually stop reading erotica.

I spotted a mountain on table 20. A shiny head, probably the only bright thing. Broad shoulders that displayed how much hard work he has been putting in the gym for years. I discovered that his huge physique made me feel small. I liked it. Once I approached him, he stood and hugged me like a boyfriend should hug his girlfriend. Lingering in his arms, I felt good. God, why do we have rules? That we should disentangle after a hug? Can’t society allow us to just remain hugging this way for hours?

‘That perfume, I could hug you forever.’ He beamed

I did not know if it was a compliment or a diss. Like hasn’t he seen the dress? The smile with pursed lips? In fact my jaw was hurting already. Thankfully he added, ‘You look ravishing! You actually dressed up for this!’

‘I had to.’

‘Brayo says you don’t put on dresses. I was ready for something random.’ He winked.

I crushed on the seat. Those high heeled shoes were like hundreds of needles digging into the soles of my feet. My calf was aching. I was afraid I was about to get a muscle pull. Those heels had endured so much carrying me without misbehaving. Such loyal things. I’ll clean them after this in appreciation. And make them glint. Those nice girls.

The waitress dashed urgently when I was settling down.

He ordered mochaccino. I wished we could skip these avoidable, appetite-chocking things and do dinner. I wish as a society, we unanimously agreed that main food should start, then things like coffee. I had no option and I painfully had to order something close to his.

‘Why do you hate the gym this much mmh?’ he said crossing him arms and leaning forward.

‘Coz every time I go there, everyone seems to have reached their goals except for me.’

‘But we are not in a race.’ His eyes were sparkling in the dim light.

‘We are! I am the only one left behind. It seems to me there was a secret race, the gun was shot, people ran and I didn’t know.’

‘You are insane.’ He laughed heartily, that laugh I was telling you about my people.

That laugh expanded my lips and they opened. That laugh made me forget the aspect of slightly exposing my teeth. I joined him in his infectious laugh; my 16 front teeth could be seen clearly, even the gum.

‘Don’t worry,’ he added, trying so hard to stop laughing, ‘I am going to start your race. You will compete against no one. Sounds better?’

I nodded. His brown eyes, somebody make me blind. He looked so handsome. Laughing made him just too much sauce. His lips… I am not commenting because how will you people judge me if I say I wished he could kiss me by the end of the date? As he talked, I was staring at his lips. I wondered if I was a good kisser. Would we rhyme? Was he a good kisser? Or would he chew up my lips? Lick me mouth like a cow does to its new born calf?

Sometimes are against meeting new love because of the burden of repetition or out of laziness. When someone worthy sneaks into your life, you have a full time job to repeat stuff about yourself, something you did with your ex-lover. You feel like a teacher who has taught for years, the same content. It is a burden, this repetition. But if it is worth it, I’m game.




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