31st December 2016
It’s the weekend that it hits me.
I’m alone again.
When work is no longer in front of me to keep me busy from noticing the word that lurks in the corner of every room I walk into.
Even the word sounds lonely.
What the hell happened to me. What the hell happened to my life. It’s like the past seven years of my life were a dream and boom I woke up to one empty side of the bed. Alone. I pick up my phone and see no missed calls, no unread messages, not even the network loves me enough to send me trash. I put my phone back on the bed and walk to the kitchen. A glass of cold red wine and cookies should do. Yes. Supper alone. On a rainy saturday evening. Maybe I should call a contract. Hmm he might be out with his girl. I forgot he ended our deal. So this is what being alone is like. How long have I been alone. Where are my friends? My real friends of course.
Probably busy of course. I’m acting like a lady who always has friends around her. I mean how did I manage kindergarten, primary and high school without them? So then tell me why I am alone. Oh yes. Him. The man whose pictures are still on my wall right now. He’s smiling in most of them, his smile so bright it still makes my heart ache. There is a woman next to him in each picture, she smiles just as bright; you can see her dimples, her little wrinkles on the corner of her eyes, her eyes sparkle like everything is going to be okay. She doesn’t look like that now. I look nothing like that tonight. I am slimmer, the sparkle is gone, the wrinkles seem to have spread around my face instead and my smile? Well let’s say I haven’t seen that smile in forever. One year, two months, three days, four hours and five seconds to be exact. I should take down these pictures. I shake my head as if wiling my mind to forget the memories I think are about to erupt.
“I hate you!!!”
Block the memory. Block the words I tell my mind. It’s all good. I walk into my bedroom and see my phone. Any missed calls? Gosh I’m so lonely. And the rain outside is making it worse. Feel of hands on my skin, lips replacing hands is what the rain reminds me of. I hate this feeling. When does it go away? Does it ever? Sip of wine, sweet, it’s so good, for a minute I forget my predicament and I savour the taste, this is the shit. Chocolate cookie in and the taste is mind blowing. Wine and chocolate should get married and have drunk baby chocolate. I smile.
I put my glass and plate of cookies on my makeup table. This won’t do. Wardrobe open I pull out my back jeans, black top, black coat and black boots. This just won’t do. Being alone is not for the weak hearted like me. I take my time dressing up, the right foundation, no eye shadow, no mascara, no lipstick and my thick afro is
all brushed up. Keys in hand I leave my flat.
I feel the rain touch on my skin, whichever part is exposed to it. Its so cold, I run to my car. Warm. I start my car and drive. I just to drive. Ten minutes in and I’m around the longacres roundabout. Cars parked and so much noise around, ladies under umbrellas walking around in skimpy dresses towards Annex Club as if it’s not cold, at least they are having fun. He took me here sometimes. We would make out in the car park, we would drink like there is no tomorrow. I had a few friends then, countable on one hand, before I lost them all because I made him my priority. Whatever he didn’t like, I got rid of friends and things including parts of my personality. By the time I was done getting rid of everything he didn’t want I was not the same woman he met. But I didn’t mind. I stayed with him while he keep performing surgery on me.
“You’re not the same woman I used to know.”
Block the words. They are unnecessary. Oh shit i forgot my phone on my bed. Now what will I do? I have no idea where what’s happening anywhere. I could drive back home to my wine and cookies and maybe find someone to talk to. But who. Everyone is busy. I turn into the next Road and head for home. I need that phone. Another ten minutes and I’m walking under the rain again. Back in my flat I find my phone where I left it. Screen on and no missed calls. Fuck. No one misses me. I’m all alone. Maybe I should watch an old movie.
“Ooohh old movies in bed huh. Before I eat you up.”
No. No old movies. No new stuff either. I sit down on my bed and look at my phone.
I want to. But will he pick up. He will think I’m stalking him. It’s not right. He’s gone. I’m alone. But he’s happy. He’s gone. After he changed me and couldn’t live with the me he created. Call him. No. Yes. Maybe. I’m lost. I’m desperate for anyone to talk to. It’s only at night when it hits me that I am alone and he is with someone else and happy. It’s been over a year and I’m still alone. Why did he demand I lose everyone I love if he was going to leave me. Are these questions necessary? I need loud music. Coming up. Loud music in the flat, loud enough for me and I sing along, not thinking about this. But my mind rejects the idea. What is about sad songs that seem to get to me. Increase the volume. But memories have a way of sneaking up on me no matter how loud my music is.
I turn my head and see his face. Who is he?
“Are you talking to me?”
He smiles. I think he’s smiling because his lips moved upward slightly, then I see his teeth. What a bright smile. He lifts one eyebrow up as if he’s assessing me. Did I zone out for a long time? I’m standing at the bar, a glass of red wine in front of me and a glass of whiskey is sitting next to my glass. Obviously his.
“Still with me pretty lady?” He says
I look at him again and smile. Who the hell is he? Why is he talking to me? Am I drunk?
“Who the hell are you?”
“Lady. I’m Caleb. Did you zone out. I’m disappointed. Heart broken. I believe you owe me.”
“Huh? Where the hell are my girls?” I ask
“Outside. Enjoying their drinks.”
“Why am I here talking to you?”
“Because you are drunk. Tequila does that.”
“I don’t take Tequila.”
“Fine. I offered to escort you here. Waiter was taking time bringing your drink. You decided to follow him. We met earlier. I’m Caleb. You’re Lushomo. Your friends call you Eva. Short for Evelyn. Hi. Your friends are Sepo and Whitney. You introduced us earlier.”
So he knows me. Did I drink that much. Caleb. Nice name.
Block the memories. No need for them. It’s the past. He’s gone I remind myself. But then why is my heart stuck with him? On him? What if it’s a sign he needs me. What if he’s in trouble and me thinking about him is a sign he needs my help. Music off, I look at my phone and dial his number, I know it by heart, I can’t forget it. Dialling tone, one two three four…..
His voice takes me back to moments in bed when he would wake me up with a kiss. When we would talk over dinner about everything and nothing.
“Hello. Hi.” I whisper.
He knows my voice. That should be sweet.
“Hi Caleb.” I say louder.
“Eva I can’t talk. I’m busy. Can I call you back later? Good night.”
And he cuts the call. And I’m left with lonely again. Lonely and cold with no way out. He cut the call because he no longer cares and I am desperate for anything to help me through. I will hold onto anyone who can get me out of my misery. I can’t go on like this. I’ve zoned out of life for too long. Over a year. I put my phone on my bed and I take off my clothes. I pack them in my wardrobe and walk to my makeup table. I look at myself in the mirror and all I see is a shell of a woman I once knew in unattractive underwear. What happened to me? I walk out of my room and into the hallway full of pictures. Where is she? The woman in the pictures.
I take down the first picture and put it on the floor. One by one I take them down. All of them. Until the walls are bare. Like me. For the first time in a long time I smile. I take a deep breath and smile. I think it’s the smile I used to have.
I walk back to my bedroom, take off my bra, throw it on the floor, get my phone and get into bed. So warm. Lonely is in bed with me. So depressing.
Switch off my phone. What if Caleb calls back? He won’t. He never will. Fine. Phone off. No just in case. The night is still young and so am I.
And then? What to do in the meantime.
That should get me through the night. Just until he calls. I have faith he will.
Goodbye lonely. See you tomorrow.
And then the phone rings.
“You may now feed your bride the cake…. Yes.. Now kiss your bride.”
She looks at her groom shyly like she’s seeing him for the first time. Lashes lowered with her hands patting her puffy dress and a hidden smile if you look closely, it is the first time she’s seeing him as her husband. Her forever and a day. She looks at him and somehow between them he encourages her to lean in. She leans in closer to him and he lowers his head and they kiss. The crowd goes wild. It’s official from the feeding and sharing of the cake – via mouth with a hint of saliva – that they are now a couple. It’s also official from their kiss that they have been at this for a while. Virgin power, virgin pride out with the trash. The crowd cheers them on. Can it end already.
I officially hate weddings.
I am not the bride.
Neither am I part of the cheering crowd.
No. I am the lady on table 10, black thick afro hair on a round face with big brown round eyes, a small nose and bright red lips in a body hugging, strapless knee length maroon dress that emphasises my curvy body. I hate the mirror that has me looking at it to make sure everything is still in place. I look at the mirror once more and give myself a smile. I look okay I think.
“Yes.. Mr and Mrs Banda. Now to serve the cake to their respective parents.. in laws now. Look at them. Beautiful is it not?”
I watch the bride carrying a layer of their wedding cake, her groom behind her to his parents. She someone manages to get close enough to the ground without losing grip of the cake. Whoever taught her to get down that low is good. Her mother in law gets the cake from her and hugs her. Blessings are whispered probably and the bride stands up and walks back to the cake ready to do that love again but to her parents. Amazing. She gets to go home with a husband just like that. Okay not just like that because she’s known the man for a while so it was something they had to prepare for. Either way she gets to wake up next to someone everyday forever and a day.
I look at the happy couple and I feel a hint of sadness. Not everyone is blessed with a happy ending. No. Some just have to live through life hoping, no praying that one day someone looks at them the way this newly married man looks at his wife.
And I am one of those people.
Hoping and praying hasn’t helped much. I’ll never have what she has. And I think I have finally come to terms with that. Being alone just sucks. That being said, I shouldn’t have come here alone. That’s what happens when you decide to attend something last minute. Gosh I was supposed to come here with Sepo but something came up just as I was about to leave my house and I couldn’t go back and take off everything I took care in wearing. To me she saved my ass from being home in sadness but I’m still alone againl. I guess whatever Sepo had to do -her boyfriend literally out of nowhere – was more important. I was livid but what could I do? I decided to attend the wedding alone. No harm done. But now I regret it all.
I sigh and take my glass of wine of the table.
The only thing nice about this wedding is the wine. Sweet and smooth with a promise of ecstasy.
Just like me.
“Happy almost twenty-fifth birthday Lushomo. A toast to another year all to yourself.” I whisper.
I deserve a night of fun. I deserve a life of fun. Why should I wallow in self pity over a man I can’t have? This is my day. I might be alone but the sun will still shine tomorrow.
Fuck it. I’m going to be me. Starting now.
First I gotta find my smile.
I turn and face a man with the most beautiful smile. Well his face is fine all around, you know the evenly well placed face – the usual dark skinned, almond shaped eyes, the perfect nose, the perfect everything- but his smile is his beat feature. Gosh those teeth. White. He looks at me as if he’s waiting for something. I smile back at him. Out of courtesy of course. Okay maybe out of something I can’t explain. His brown eyes meet mine and for a second they remind me of Caleb. But I know they are not his. Will I ever let go of the man? He haunts me everywhere I go. I need to let him go.
“Hello.” I respond
The man smiles even brighter. Gosh. Can he get anymore handsome than he already is? My ovaries just found their daddy. This is crazy. I don’t know this man. I’m crazy.
“I’m picking you to dance with me.” He says out stretching his hand towards me.
“That MC..” He starts as he points in the man’s direction, “Said we should choose guests to dance with. So I’m picking you. Lady in the maroon dress.”
I dont understand . And that’s when I notice his black shirt, jeans and sneakers. He’s part of the wedding train. A groomsman. Oh my. No. No. No. Surely he can choose another lady. Shit. No. Gosh. Why me. I shake my head at him and give him my best apologetic smile. But he’s not having it. He grabs my hand and pulls me up from my seat. I grab my clutch before he drags me towards the dance floor. I see two ladies sneer at me as we walk passed them. Oh they want to be me. Being pulled by this handsome man to them dance floor. What is with ladies when it comes to men. It’s like we just lose all sense when a man chooses another woman. Have the balls. Tell him the truth. It works. Sometimes. He keeps holding my hand even after we get to the dance floor. He knows I will run off the dance floor the first chance I get. So now it’s the couple and their wedding train with their guest choices. Eighteen in total. Pretty awkward as I watch them dancing, shaking their waists to the rhumba track. Jeez. Or what’s awkward is me simply moving from one foot to the other. Old school. Mr grab my hand and never let go is well still holding onto my hand following my lead. He must be pissed by now. I am not dancing to the horrible song. He chose the wrong woman. Regrets on his part. The song lasts forever and a day to be honest. I must have grey hair by now. Koffi should be sued for destroying waists and time. What a horrible song. I just want to go back to my seat. And my drink. I deserve a bottle. And when the song finally ends -six minutes and forty three seconds later, yes I was counting and it seemed to be the longest six minutes and forty three seconds of my life – I sigh and look at the man holding onto my hand. Time to let go, I pull my hand but his grip is quite strong. The next song starts – From this moment by Shania Twain – oh no. That means I have to slow dance with him. I’m stuck here because of his hand. He must notice my unwillingness to do anything because he pulls me closer, his other hand on my back and leads the dance. I follow.
“You’re stiff.” He says. “Too stiff.”
What the hell. Who the hell says that to a woman. He laughs when he notices my shocked look. He finds it funny? What? What an idiot I think. He’s no longer attractive now. Who the hell does he thinks he is? Judge of all rhumba dancers. Koffi’s son? I will show him how stiff is can be. I smile at him and shrug.
“You chose it. Says alot about you and your bad choices.” I respond.
He laughs then. It lights up his face. It’s a handsome face. He must laugh alot. I notice the wrinkles around the corners of his eyes. Gosh his smile is amazing. Caleb never smiled like that. He never smiled like that at me. And this stranger is. He looks at me, really looks at me, making me feel like I’m the only woman in the world. Watch out Rihanna. I’m losing it. Can’t Shania Twain sing any faster gosh the moment should have passed by now. Why do people love this song anyway? I hate it. Officially. Gonna have to write this in my diary. I’m super losing it now. And this man us holding onto me like I’m his life line. My feet in these heels might start hurting at this rate. I don’t even like dancing. I want to….
“I’m Eric by the way.” He says.
And that is how I met Eric……
From me to you:
I wish you all and amazing 2017… I hope to see more of you in the new year. Greater things are coming. More stories. More is more. Have an amazing evening. Fireworks? Yes? Tell me how it goes. 😊