I had stepped out of the house to only look at the skies, and maybe allow the wind to slap me around for a minute.
One minute turned into twenty, cloud-watching turned into bird-watching as small colorful birds perched on the balcony rails of the neighbours who live in the opposite apartment, and only the wind stayed true, slapping my cheeks and giving my grey-tinted mane a couple of wild swirls in the air.
The birds flew down from the sky onto the rails, up and away from the rails and back to the sky – they seemed undecided on whether to stay or leave. I had a bottle of water in my hand that I kept sipping from every once in a while. I am keen on hydration ever since I discovered that sometimes we lose our minds only to realize, when we look back, that what our body needed at that point was water. Or food. Every time you think you’re upset or overly emotional, just make sure that you’re not thirsty or hungry before getting all riled up. I was sufficiently watered.
I was hydrated enough to warrant a visit to the bathroom. It was while in the bathroom, book in hand, pair of tights pulled to my knees, taking care of business while reading about Judith and Michael, two adults in love yet married to different people and now having an affair behind their spouses’ backs, while reading about the two sharing a hotel room and exchanging anecdotes as if Michael had not just left his wife at home tending to their disabled son, and Judith hadn’t just called her husband Uri to tell him that she was stepping into a ‘meeting’ and would be getting home later than expected, it was while I was engrossed in their world of deceit that you so quietly and ever so effortlessly, snuck into my thoughts.
And you didn’t just come and go. You stayed. I washed away my business. I bookmarked the book. I washed my hands. I didn’t even bother going back outside for a final whiff of freshness, yet you stuck around. As I rubbed lotion between my fingers, just like a tick, you let me carry you around like a parasite.
I thought of the music you loved. Jodeci, and that other boy band you loved. The one which had Marques Houston in it. I had to google them. Immature. They were called Immature. You bought me their album, just so that I could appreciate their music as much as you did. It would be so romantic to say that I still had the album. Ha! I went online and looked for their song, Extra Extra, that you once ‘dedicated’ to me. Did I appreciate the song enough then? Because now, when I listen to it again, it is a good song.
The music you made. Your demo tape. I was over the moon the day I played the tape and heard my name in one of your songs.
I was down memory lane and I couldn’t stop myself, so I went back to the beginning. Back to the big A4-sized card you gave me and how I ran into my boyfriend while carrying this card enclosed in a lily-white envelope that was impossible to carry inconspicuously. I casually told my boyfriend that a friend had just thought of giving me this card for no particular special reason other than to tell me he was thinking about me. It wasn’t my birthday or anything. How naive was I? He wasn’t shocked though when I broke things off with him a few weeks later.
Your drawings that I hang on my bedroom walls. I especially remember that one drawing of a teary girl just about to be kissed by a boy. I remember staring at this drawing while I lay in bed wondering why the girl had tears in her eyes. I guess I was yet to understand that love is not love without tears huh? That girls always make their tears visible while the boys, not so much? I loved that drawing. True artist that you were, you’d not said much about the drawing when you gave it to me, giving it the chance to speak to me instead.
One time I called your house from a phone booth to say hi and I ended up chatting with your mother instead when she answered the phone to tell me you were not in. No one had mobile phones then. In fact, we used your friend’s workplace in town as our meeting point. We were still in school, so what did we know about workplace ethics.
Then the day came. This day was marked but I didn’t know it at the time. So the usual me went to seek out your friend to see if you’d left any message for me about when next we could hang out. He had a message all right. You had left. And then I saw it. I saw the writing on the wall that said, “The End.”
I didn’t cry or nothing.
I thought about the cakes we shared in that cake house in town, and your sense of humour that almost choked me with cake. Then I went back home and got on with life.
I met someone years later. He reminded me of you. I expected drawings, poetry and my name in his rap song. Except he didn’t care for poetry, art or rap. He couldn’t give me a rap song with my name in it.
So I thought about you today. And I realized that the man that I now call my husband, is actually my rebound guy.
I should have cried when you left.