This life is a canvas. A blank canvas. And I am faithful to the ink. So I will let the ink take me wherever it will. This is not a story of a boy meet world. It is a tale of life and the beautiful mistakes we make. In this world there are two things that change a person; the books you read and the people you meet. But for a woman, it always begins with a boy. That tender touch on the cheek, or the quiver of another’s lips on yours and you world flips.
I guess it is in the way he mirrored my cheap thrills. Or his hearty laughter, but by the time he was done with me, I had drowned in the deepest mucks of addiction. I got high on his soul and drunk on his love. His name, Eli- tall, dark with big eyes that danced whenever he laughed and pierced into your soul.
He walked into my life during the cheerful festive season of Christmas. It was on the 21st, the place was the Barrel Lounge. I am seated at the counter, bored to the tooth, a glass of whisky in my hand, staring absent-mindedly at the screen. This guy walks up to the counter, pulls the stool next to me and springs up. He taps on the counter twice, cracked a smile on his lips and asks for a double shot of something. He grabbed the glass from Kimani’s hand and gobbled it up. He then sat back to his chair, looked around and whispered into my ear; ‘ Do you want to see the great perhaps?’
I was amused at the same time, surprised at his agility. His cologne smelt of ignorance and his eyes had a spark of adventure. For a minute, my mouth went dry and I strained to steal a smile from deep down. Its edges hurt. I took my lip balm from my purse. Eli snatched it from my hand, put some on his index finger and retorted coyly,’ Let me.’
I pressed my lips together, put back the lip balm and got up. I did not turn back. I was too scared to turn into a pillar of salt before taking a peek of the great perhaps. The night was tranquil with a million stars sprinkled all over the sky. He reached for my hand and I his willing victim let him. We walked into a leafy estate. The warming orange glow of the streetlamps aligned on both sides of the road made me feel safe. ‘
He stops suddenly in the middle of the road, looks up the sky and asks,’ Who fills your mind at 3a.m when the stars are busy twinkling into the morning?’
He woke up from this fantasy. If I had taken a pill in Ibiza, I would understand this euphoria. It was breath-taking and amazing yet at the same time, scary and freaky.
‘Huh!’ I exclaimed. I thought he’d ask my name. ‘No one really. Dreams, ambitions, the one perhaps…’ I chuckled and pulled my hand away.
He pulls me close and stares into my eyes. ‘Where do broken hearts go?’
My knees went jelly and my stomach rumbled. ‘Uuuum. I wouldn’t know.’
He burst into a soulful laugh. His laugh was so contagious I found myself rippling with laughter. ‘Oh well, broken hearts go into the dark of the night. They ask the stars to send them love again.’
No word was exchanged between us. We just stood there and stared into the sky.
It was getting too cold. The wee hours of the morning were knocking at our moment. He offered his trench coat and smiled again. I swear every time he smiled, I felt like I was peeking into heaven. His eyes beamed up and his lips, soft and rosy pink cracked into the most beautiful curve I have ever seen. We walked slowly towards the lounge.
‘I am taking you home.’