(after JP Saxe)
I don’t want to read about the new man that you’re loving.
I don’t want to see those bright flowers, I don’t want to know how he got you a necklace & asked that you turn around so he fits it for you. I once ran my fingers through that hair, I once felt the pulse of that heart, I once drew out hymns from behind those lips.
I don’t want to stumble on tweets of how he “makes you feel seen”, because it makes me wonder if those Tuesday morning CityTaxi rides from Abraham Adesanya Estate to Falomo, where stolen kisses distracted you from the crushing gridlock, meant nothing to you. I don’t want to bump into an Instagram story where you gush about how it’s “refreshing to spend the Christmas holiday with someone you like”, because it makes me ask myself if Boxing Day of 2020, and the three days that followed, never existed.
The Bible talks about how Love is not jealous, but maybe St. Paul had no idea what he was saying, maybe Jealousy is a feeling stronger than love. Visual images of you straddling someone else unfold like a nightmare to me, and late evening dreams of you curling as you call out the name of another while water gushes from behind your walls, make me sink my teeth into my nails.
Wasn’t it almost rhythmic, the way you’d walk in, drop your bag on my couch, head to the kitchen sink to wash your hands, then use the baby wipes and fling them into the bin? I loved watching you take off your top and strut to the bed in lingerie. There was a ring to the way you did it; you seemed so comfortable and knew that the bra would go off before long, but you put it on anyway. You loved Process.
A whiff of your hair was all I needed to send all the blood rushing down there.
There was an earnestness to the way you slowly tucked me inside. In a way, it showed how much you wanted it, how much you wanted me. There was a melody to the way you breathed out when holding my refrigerator, or my reading table. I meant every letter when I said I didn’t want to ever think about you being like that with someone else.
Sometimes the best adventures begin with crippling anxiety, with intense cravings for company occasioned by vulnerability, with convenient arrangements fuelled by post-genocidal paranoia. But sometimes they also begin with a private reading session, with half-decent jollof pasta, with whispers of “hey, can I touch you?” on a mosquito-laden Monday evening by 11.43 pm. Did your sister ever ask about that air conditioner condenser we broke while we…?
You loved to remind me of how annoying I was. For a thing that never had labels, you got a pretty lovely package, especially when you consider the AITA stories that go viral on Reddit.
“I love your touch a little too much…it’s easy with you.”
Well, why haven’t you texted me for nearly five months then? Why are you posting photos of cake deliveries to your office? Why do you keep quoting videos of lovey-dovey couples with approving emojis, just to show everyone that you are now experiencing something similar?
“I want to fight back saying ‘I love you’ after you’ve eaten me out so good…”
Maybe we adored each other a lot more than we cared to admit, maybe my insistence on our genetic incompatibility was my own way of displaying cowardice, or maybe your rant about preferring someone from your denomination was a lie you told yourself to deflect from your fear of commitment.
“I get embarrassed whenever my body responds so wantonly to your…”
You’re right about the way your body spoke to me, Miss Moneypenny. You loved to tell me about how much of an asshole your boss was, and how he had you work way beyond your job description. I would tease you about it, and the nickname from James Bond’s sassy secretary was something you would get used to.
I don’t want to see your WhatsApp status updates waxing lyrical about how “being with your soulmate feels different.” I melted whenever you touched the nape of my neck, and I had fevers during the weeks we wouldn’t talk because we had fought over my attitude of not replying to texts.
“You are tender with me…”
What other words could I have used to describe Love if I wouldn’t admit what it was? How long was I going to refrain from conceding that my soul burned for you? But that’s the thing with time, I guess. You’re not sure of which moment to cherish, until memories are all you’re left with.
“What can you do with what you are feeling?”
Moneypenny, maybe tell me that I can have the fact you love(d) me to hold on to, maybe tell me there’s still a crack in the door.
A thousand “I-yearn-for-you”s will not open a portal for teleportation. Writing “I miss you” in all the lines of a notebook will not remedy what was unsaid…but what is love, if not sustained regret? Isn’t it easier to pine from oceans away? Despair is convenience.
I crave for you in ways that would have priests instructing me to do extended penance at confessionals. I will probably never reach out again, but just let me know this: is your debit card pin still drawn from your birthday?