She didn’t say YES I DO, like any random Wanja Caro or Maggie. She said, “Hell yeah, I will fucking marry you Simon.” Or something close to that. Yes, her African parents listened to her say “Fuck” in front of roughly a hundred guests. Plus, two cameramen. Do the maths. Her aunties from Kenya covered their children’s ears as that “treacherous” word tumbled out of her blood-red lips. The last thing they wanted was their young ones saying the F word to a group of Chama women munching on groundnuts and sipping tea under a guava tree. The white folks in the crowd didn’t give a fuck that she said the word fuck in front of a crowd of a hundred and two people. Two different worlds coming together in a holy, or not-so-holy matrimony. The wind blowing through the beach on the South side of Chicago crackled the wrapper on her mother’s head, and blew strands of silky hair into her mother in-law’s face.
Oh, Simon didn’t say, “Fuck” His was a simple, “I do “. His eyes blinked rapidly, and he stuttered.
Now she is seated on a bathtub in a bathroom in her parents’ house wishing she had read into his stutters and uncomfortable blinks when their vows were read to them. A red light that she chose not see.
Her shoes are strewn on the bathroom floor like a terrible car accident. Snot runs down her upper lip, and she brushes it off with the back of her hand, smearing it on her cheeks. Her eyes are swimming, almost drowning in her own tears. Cold air sips into the tiny room through the window above her and massages her face, stops momentarily at her eye lashes, and pokes her in the eye. She blinks rapidly.
The ring on her finger, has turned from a source of joy and pride to a malevolent creature, nibbling and slurping her broken heart.
she pulls it off her finger, throws it into the toilet bowl and flashes. She hopes that when the water settles, it will have washed away her suffering. That the ring would now belong to a group of worms feeding on human shit.
But it is far from gone, it sits still at the bottom of the toilet bowl peering at her, beckoning her to pick it up and put it back onto her ring finger.
Now, this is not a story about a woman that cries in her bathroom and throws away her wedding ring. This is a love story. I hate love stories, and I’m not sure you’d love this one.
But this is a love story, and love stories have to be told. This is where you decide whether you want to keep on reading or get something else to do.
Theirs is not a fairy tale. It was not love at first sight. It was more of…I will sack you at first sight. Sack, not suck. Okay? Now hold the sacking and sucking part right there. They met in Northern Kenya, both working for an NGO. He was her boss. She was afraid of him. Everybody was. He looked like he could scan you with his ex-ray vision eyes and tell you that you are putting on the same boxer you did the previous day, or that one of the hooks on your bra was unhooked. He didn’t say it, but it felt like he saw everything.
That is why when she heard that she had been summoned in his makeshift office, her heart dropped to her stomach. It dropped all the way to the duodenum. The scorching sun felt hotter. The dry winds blowing across the camp dried the lip gloss on her lips.
She always loved the feel of the wind on her face. She would close her eyes and let the wind kiss her; hold her by the waist, pull her close, and kiss her passionately. Then it would whisper in her ears and disappear. But the same wind she kissed every day was choking the air out of her lungs as she set foot into his office.
She had missed her morning shift because she overslept, and she knew she would probably lose her job. It had happened before. She had stayed up late the previous night, kissing the wind and texting her friends back in Nairobi to complain to them about how this wretched place did not have a liquor store or even smokie pasua guys.
She stood at the center of the room, her arms wrapped around her like a wet cloth. The room felt smaller every minute as if it was closing in and pushing her closer to him. He sat behind a rugged-looking table toying with steam coming from the steel mug in front of him. She could see his long legs penetrating from his pair of side-pocketed jungle green shorts. “These are the ugliest legs I have ever seen”, she thought to herself. She hated guys with these skinny hairy legs. She loved her guys with smooth legs like a baby’s bum. But this one? NO! In capitals letters, with an exclamation mark.
He didn’t sack her or suck her. No, none of those. He asked her on a date. Her worst nightmare, she thought. So she went for the date, and many others just to save her job. Then it hit her that this white guy with skinny hairy legs wasn’t so bad after all. That his skinny hairy legs could hold her weight whenever he scooped her off the ground and swung her around. That these skinny hairy legs could run on the rocky terrain of Northern Kenya and not break like a dry twig.
Then she started liking him. She didn’t say that she liked him. Girls never confess when they like a guy. They start asking whether you have eaten and why you are using a dirty towel after a shower. They hope that you will join the dots and kiss her and then she will act as if she wasn’t ready for it. But guys are not good at reading signals. They have read too many morning pill prescriptions to start reading your signals. So save everybody the hustle and tell him you like him. Ninety-nine percent of guys, okay one hundred percent of guys won’t say “No” to your advances. Unless you eat human testicles for dessert.
So she begun to like his skinny hairy legs, and before she knew it, she fell in love, and the babies came fast. The first one was conceived in the bushes of Northern Kenya. They made love on a rock one evening, the wind caressing their bare bodies. Geckos on the rocks and mongoose in the bushes stopped to take a peak, and then looked away.
He popped the question a couple of months later in a nondescript restaurant in the Nairobi Central Business District. He went down on one knee, held out tiny burgundy case, and said, “Be my wife”. She shed a tear and said “YES!” Unbeknownst to her, the tears she shed this day were creating a path for gallons of others that were yet to come.
And then more babies came after the wedding. A set of identical twins this time. The most beautiful creatures she had ever seen; tugging and pulling her nipples. She was happy. She did not have sensual morning sex every day but she was happy.
But he was not happy. She noticed that he did not kiss the babies when he came back home. He did not smack her derriere as often as he used to, and when he did he it felt like a light tap to scare away a housefly.
Then one day, he disappeared into thin air for a couple of months without a word. He just vanished. But she had fallen in love with his skinny hairy legs, and she convinced herself that he probably was overwhelmed with the new responsibilities, and needed some time off. That he would come back. And he did.
He showed up at the doorstep with a black pack hanging loosely on his left shoulder. He looked clean, polished, and healthier. He was in the company of somebody else. A man of African-American descent. He couldn’t be a day older than thirty-five.
She was happy to see him but she needed answers. Every girl needs answers. So she propped herself on the door frame, her hands crossed on her chest and gave him with the “where the hell have you been? look.
He turned around, held the guy’s hand, smiled, and said,
“Angie, meet my boyfriend Leon.”