You rolled up to the school that I was in and waited fervently behind the wheels. But as I walked out from the gates, I realised that the illuminating flames you had in your eyes had slowly diminished to that of black coal.
With a paintbrush to hold up my dreadlocks in a bun, I dusted white clay off my faded jeans with one hand, as I waved at you awkwardly with another hand that was covered in hues of red, blue and yellow dye.
I was a mess, and clearly not ready for a date! And I told you to give more time but time was not what you gave me.
You chuckled as I got into the car, and asked if I had just gotten out from war. I nodded and told you that the weapons in my battlefield were made of glitter bombs and a glue gun and that my soldiers were sculpted in earthen clay. And as brittle as they were, they had a mythical creature resting in a kiln that protected them when I laid them to sleep. We also had an indestructible fortress you see, made of wire and paper mache and a little bit of children’s imagination.
I told you too, that at the end of each day after I had won the war, I would pump my fist up in the air and exclaim “you are victorious” just like how they did it in Command & Conquer.
You looked at me when the light turned red and asked if I really did that. And I said, “yeah why not”. And I guess you found out on the first date that you were going to be stuck for 30 days with a weirdo.
21 questions. I had no idea how this one worked because I’ve never played it before. But you began by asking me a series of questions.
Coke or Pepsi? Ice cream soda
Bread or rice? Potatoes
Nuggets or sausages? Chicken wings
Ice cream or hot chocolate? Ohhh how about we go with waffles and fried chicken drenched with maple syrup? Oh, and add the pies. And cake. And steak. Mmmmhmmm
I guess it took you not long to realise that I had my own answers, so you ended the game by asking me to tell you about “stuff”. So I ended up telling you about how my world revolved around Bill Nye the Science Guy and Neil Buchanan from Art Attack. And I told you things like… “Hey did you know that a polar bear’s fur is hollow? And that his skin is actually black?” And I also told you how Dexter’s Laboratory made me believe that French was sexy and even if you said things like “omelette du fromage”, you can make girls go weak in the knees.
We stayed up the entire night because I told you that there was no other word in the English Language that rhymed with purple.
We didn’t find the other word. But at least we found each other.
I’ll never forget this day. This was the first time I heard a full grown man scream at the top of his lungs when a cockroach made his way up your pants. But I saw this as an opportunity so I bunned up my dreadlocks, and folded my arms in front of me. “I can grant you your wish of catching the cockroach but before a wish is granted, Pee Wee Herman has to chant a phrase for Jambi the Genie”
It took you 5 tries before you would echo after me, and when I finally did catch the cockroach, you swiftly pulled out your deodorant spray and lighter. Hands nestled neatly at the side of your ribs, you reminded me of Ryu from Street Fighter as you were all ready to Hadoken this poor little thing out of my hands.
But I didn’t let you. My fingers cocooned my little precious, and I told you that even though sprays no longer depleted the ozone layer, we shouldn’t be disrupting the food chain, or setting living creatures on fire. I opened the door to release it. “Be free my child” and even though I was distracted, and I could be mistaken but I think I heard you curse under your breath for the first time as I closed the door. “You fucking hippie”
I told you that 10 is my favourite number and because of that, nothing could possibly go wrong on this day. I brought you to a quiet place with earth under our backs. And in this solitude, we took in the wisdom offered to each other as we pointed out things we saw and acknowledged the things we did not.
You asked me what I thought love looked like, and I told you that love could not be seen but felt with. And love would feel like everything I’ve ever lost, returning back to me.
But I told you that people like me were a little hard to love because of the ghosts that we lived with. And I reminded you that I was not a graceful person. I was not a Sunday morning nor was I a Friday sunset. I am a Tuesday 3 pm. I am a broken window, with cracked hinges. I fall far away from elegance with a loud thud, and sometimes I feel like I don’t belong around people, that I belong to all the leap days that didn’t happen. But even so, my heart refuses to wear a helmet because then you’ll lose the magic.
I watched as your shoulders sank deeper into the earth below you as I spoke with words of a lullaby. I inched my hands towards yours and said “hey did you know that sea otters held each other’s paws while sleeping? Yeah just like this. It’s to prevent them from drifting apart”.
I also told you that most lipsticks contained fish scales, “but maybe they won’t taste as yucky if you had your lips to mine”.
You must have woken up on the wrong side of the bed today. Because out of the blue, you were telling me about how I wasn’t spending enough time with you. You said that if I loved you enough, I would quit all my jobs and do away with working 7 days a week.
You added that you had seen me smiling at my phone several times and you were certain that I was seeing someone else.
The accusations were ridiculous because firstly, I was working 7 days a week and the only time I had out of work was spending time with you, so how exactly could I be seeing someone else? Second, the reason why I was laughing at my phone was because my good friend in Glasgow was having trouble sleeping because of the noise some cats were making near his apartment. So I sent him pictures of Cat dicks because I explained that they had thorns in them, and that was why they made loads of noise when they mated. And we thought it was funny because I said that cat dicks reminded me of strawberries. And third, quitting my jobs for the sake of a guy I’m dating is stupid. And this pissed me off. I can’t just drop my responsibilities and lean on you. And it puzzles me. Because your back curls into the shape of a question mark whenever it came to making decisions so how could I possibly rely on a backbone that never existed, to begin with?
I realised immediately that some of the words might have been too harsh but before I could untangle the words and swallow them back in, I was struck. I heard the crack of the bat and I wanted to turn to see where the ball flew but then I realised the bat had magically transformed into an iron glove and it was enclosed around my neck this time, squeezing every breath that I had left in my lungs. The right side of my face was slowly diminishing like sand in the top half of an hourglass. I shut my eyes tightly, and for once I understood why Van Gogh painted his stars in swirls because that was all that I saw. Every second delayed opened a papercut wound all over my body and when the iron glove finally set me free, I ran as fast as I could, to the sea. My wounded body submerged in the sea of salt, I paid no attention to the fishes picking at my carcass as I drowned in my own pool of tears.
Revived. After a 106 missed calls, I gave in and I forgave you.
I don’t think that things could ever go back to how it was after that night. Every time you raised your hand to caress my soul, I couldn’t help but flinch. For fear that the past would repeat itself. Like a rollercoaster that was only heading downhill, you, no, we started feeling insecure about what we had. But you finally broke the ice, and said: “I don’t know how this is going to go on”. I took your face in my hands and told you to speak from your heart, and “we’ll try to figure things out from there”.
Now that was probably the biggest mistake that I’ve ever made. For it seem like you were already pointing the gun at my chest, and I was handing you the bullets.
With things like “I wish you had too much makeup on. And I wish you cared more about your skin and didn’t spend so much time running around in the sun. I wish your tattoos could disappear. I wish you didn’t bury your head in books so much and I wish you didn’t have a tongue that matched up to it. I wish you weren’t going back to school. And I wish you didn’t write so much. And I wish your mornings weren’t filled with Thank Yous, and your nights weren’t filled with Sorrys. I wish you didn’t have that many stories to tell and I wish you didn’t feel so much”.
While I could have said “calm your tits bro, don’t get your panties up in a bunch”, I didn’t. In fact, the words tugged at my heartstrings more than it should have. Whoever who said that sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you, is a big ass liar. Because his words made me feel like I was a failure. That I was unbeautiful. Unintelligent. Unimportant. And unwanted. Somehow I felt that I was too much yet not enough for a man who had everything yet nothing at all.
Somehow I felt as if he already had someone perfect in mind, and he was trying to see if my bones could fit into her skin. It wouldn’t.
I asked you if this was the end. You said, “no, we’ve got 4 more days, let’s see if a miracle happens”. But we both know that this was a war we could not win.
It didn’t take a genius to know that this was the end. Like a chrysalis, you wrapped your body around this butterfly with clipped wings. Your limbs entangled with mine, your body so close that I inhaled your soul with every breath that I took. In a final attempt, I traced my fingers from the bottom of your spine up, and like a scalpel; I sliced you open to see if I could rearrange your bones to make room for a tiny piece of my heart. But I was right, there wasn’t any space left. Because sitting right next to your heart, was someone else’s.
You might not know this but an octopus has 3 hearts. And I guess after all this, I might have to borrow one from him. Because I think this one’s a little broken.
Featured image by:https://unsplash.com/@flo_karr