I kept on swallowing hard lumps, one after the other. My eyes tense with balancing tears. I sat in this pain and let it consume me. Let me start from the beginning.
I had walked on egg shells all my life. Stuck by the book, watered a reputation and loved too, up until I met the love of my life. At least I thought so. It had been a smooth sailing for four years. We held hands in the rain, I caught him when he fell. I knew this was it. The good guy narrative seemed to be a tune I danced to. Then one day, the music stopped. This day, it was our 5th anniversary. We would probably pack a basket, hope in his jeep and take a long drive to nowhere. I had just turned twenty-seven, my career was finally at its peak and so, I settled for a soul adventure.
Meditation yoga had driven me to strange places with strange feels, but among them all, I made a new soul friend. She was a gypsy woman from the Carribean with a heart of gold and the laughter of a goddess. Her name, Efuru Chilombo. What I loved about her, she had so much soul. We are seated in a Tavern, I am faithfully holding on to my coffee while she enjoys her green tea. I look outside the window and throw in the cards;
‘Efuru, Mike and I celebrate our 5th tomorrow!’
‘Good woman, aren’t you? You’ve kept him for that long?’
I blushed and looked away. She takes my hand in hers. Her smile disappears as quickly as it showed up.
‘But where is the ring? He should propose now.’
‘We are too scared of that shit. You know formalities put out the fire in any relationship.’
She lets go off my hand and starts playing with her dreadlock. The air that sits between us, smells of nothing but coffee, marigold and uneasiness. I dodge her eyes, so I pick up my phone.
‘What do you want to do for your anniversary?’ She finally asks. Her voice is full of discontent.
‘I don’t know. I want to cook his favorite. Maybe a bottle of something at the gazebo, skinny dipping. I don’t really know.’
Her mouth drops in dismay. She throws me off balance and my mind goes haywire. I possibly cannot imagine what is wrong with my rendezvous plot.
She pulls me close and whispers into my ears, ’Sex.’
‘Huh! What does sex got to do with anything?’
She pinches my ear and retorts, ’Have you ever had an orgasm?’
I turn pink. I could not manufacture an answer, now or in the next ten years.
Efuru got me thinking. I should spice things up a little. I am a good woman so I will not wash our dirty linen in public. But I was walking around with a big screaming O in my mind. She takes me to this pawn shop. This fine young lady dressed up like an indecent nurse quips as soon as we walk in. In her hand, she has a whip. I take a look around and my womb crawls up into my stomach. Wharrathese!
These two women would joke around holding ‘adults’ toys’, I on the other hand was pink from embarrassment. For pits sake, where was the discretion. After much convincing, I ended up buying a lingerie. I made Efuru promise she would help me put it on because they were a bundle of straps. I couldn’t tell the brazier from the undies. The next stop, was this Guro Wara Spa. An Indian Spa. We are greeted with a dozen of naked women enjoying a steam bath. The masseuse who attends to us, wears a robe with nothing beneath. I swear I had seen enough boobs to last me a life time.
The things they did to me…
I cried a ton, scream a little and peed on myself a little. Walking out, I was a new being. A new woman who wanted to please her king. The anniversary falls on a Saturday. I knew Mike would be indoors, playing games on his PC. Efuru slept over on Friday, so that she could tie me up at 11.30p.m. We sat at the kitchen counter, sipping a Badia A Coltibuono. I wanted to sweep him off his feet at dawn. When the clock struck midnight, I show up at his door. I am in a maroon trench coat, beneath it I am strapped up in this lingerie and fishnet stockings. I ring his door bell. I am more anxious than I have ever been all my life.
I ring it for the second time. I hear footsteps down their stairs. I start unbuttoning my coat. As the footsteps get louder, I pop a button ~ one after the other. The door handle turns as I burst my coat. I stood there, aghast, holding my coat open, in front of me, Mike’s father. I froze for a few minutes. His old man, just stood there inspecting me as if I was fish in an open market. Mike came running down the stairs. His footsteps woke me up from this freakshow.
I started running for the gate, called an uber and left. Now that is where the story began..
I couldn’t hold back my tears, so they formed two rivers. The Uber driver kept peering at me through the rear view mirror. It was a loud silence engulfed in awkwardness. He was a well-built good looking chap. After thirty minutes of exchanging glances on the rear view mirror, I realize I had not buttoned up yet. I pull my coat, and stare outside the window. The city lights danced and the awkwardness settled.
He pulls up the car to a field. I should have been scared but I wasn’t. I just sat at the back of this Uber and watched this stranger open the car door. He jumped into the back, sat next to me and pulled me into an embrace. We locked in that embrace until I fell asleep. I was woken up by the loud city buses that drove by the main road. I was too embarrassed to wake him up. I sneaked out of the car, called another Uber and went home.
I knew it was over between me and Mike. His father must have written me off as a daughter-in-law. He was an evangelist who oversaw a flock of over a thousand worshippers. I sat in my bathtub, sipping on the Badia A Coltibuono, drowning in self-pity. I lost a good man. There is nothing more I could do than sip this wine and wash away the stranger’s embrace.
My phone rings. I grab a towel, dry my hand. Oh look! Its Mike calling. He wants to meet me for lunch. I try to read the tone of his voice but nothing comes up. I dress up and drive to his house. I am a little embarrassed to ring the doorbell. After the fourth ring, Mike comes to the door. He pecks me on the cheek and takes my bag. I am still pink from the night’s ordeal. I walk in quietly and oh, a full table. His mother walks up to me and in an embrace, she welcomes me to the family. I am dazed. I whisper a thank you and reach for a glass of water. He pulls up a seat for me. As I sit down, he goes on one knee besides me. My eyes fill up with tears I look around the table and I am surrounded with bright faces. Just then, my eyes meet with the Uber driver. The stranger who kept me safe when all along I thought Mike was the one.
‘Yes I will marry you!’