I saw you again today.
Buying mandazi. At the same place that I like to buy my mandazi. Funny. We have so much in common. I ask Johnte to wrap 6 hot ones for me. As he does that, I turn and mention that the mandazis aren’t the only thing that’s hot. You laugh loudly, stopping only to tell me that that is the dumbest line you’ve ever heard.
But I only hear sprinkles, that turned on when you laughed. The splatter of water on concrete when you speak.
And I wonder if we could jump to that part of life where you like me already. So that we don’t have to deal with the messiness of getting to know each other. Me asking who you are, what’s your name, where you’re from or can I have your number? Because you already know me. You love me, and wouldn’t mind moving in with me.
Doing that, then…
Jumping to that place where you say you will marry me. Spending the next 10 days in bed. Making out a bit. Sometimes we do more. But mostly telling each other the dark secrets only married or engaged people share. Like how your family is more monied than you let on. Or how I already know I want to be buried under a mango tree in my family’s farm. Or how you felt when your mama left your papa. Watching a giant of man shrivel, rising up only because he had to. Realizing that we can’t exhaust it all. We have too much to say. Agreeing to spend the rest of our life saying it to each other.
Then jump again to us retiring. Spending our evenings walking down the road. You holding my hand. Pointing out to puddles because my eyes aren’t so good. Me still getting into them, now you have to plod along with a semi-wet old man. Watching you stop young men and tell them how handsome they look. Listening to you introduce me to 25-year-old girls. Lying to them about how virile I am, when we both know, the pipes are long dry.
Jump to the end. You on a porch overlooking a garden with a single mango tree at its center. On my family’s farm in Mathioya. Bordering a river to the south, and a tea farm to the north. Drinking tea in that red cup you love. Picking our daughter’s call. Letting her know you’re okay, and no she doesn’t need to be here. You’re not alone. You’re with family. Lifting up that red cup to your darkening lips. Sipping some chai as you look down at the tree. And at its foot. Me.
PC: Josiah Farrow
I know we aren’t as consistent as we should be. Bare with me for now, we should be back online by the end of May. Meanwhile, I will work on short stories for the time being.