He is gone. He said he will be back in January of this year after taking care of vitu moja ama mbili. A simple slip-up, something secret, maybe even sacred, mentioned to the wrong audience, and that was it. He was told to sit it out until the furore died down.
But, we all knew he would not be coming back, me more innately than really. It has taken the morphing of sun into rain and back into sun again for me to acknowledge that. He said he would be back, more to himself than to me, I felt.
When I call him I ask how his family is doing and he says the baby is growing, his wife is fine, he is fine. I am too scared to ask how he is surviving, what he is doing for income, how is he really doing. Before he was excused, he had just quit his job and had back-pay.
Our interactions have taken on a sterile ken, pale like sun-bleached bone, banal for fear of the things that hide beneath the veneers of our smiling faces and calming words. Something went missing along the way and our flower has halfway blossomed without fragrance.
He may never come back, and we may never go back to even a close version of our shared childishly innocent pasts and present somewhat adult realities. And I feel guilty, for what I vainly imagine is my better slice of chance.
I do not know what to say or if there is anything to say, so I keep to myself and push him back to where the hidden things are, falling back on mundane and half-hearted attempts at forging more than just a hello-hi friendship. He is gone.
She is gone. One word, one word at the wrong time and said in the wrong way and the sculpture, our creation, that was taking shape was dashed against an unfeeling world. There was something there, there was something between us. Some might have called it love. It was for me in many ways more a kind of obsessional curiosity.
There was ever more beauty beneath the hard leather layers with which she protected herself. I saw the light beneath, the magnetic complexity and the simple ways in which her grooves seemed to fit into mine, the ease with which our demons danced together.
Then the word. The wrong word. At the wrong time and everything shifted. Where the warmth was now lies a blanket of thick suffocating silence. But, even in this greyness, I catch her shadows as she flits about her life. And they are beautiful! How much more their conjurer?
She seems happy, back to the airy, open-hearted person I….. fell in love with. This aches me a bit, like a blunt thorn stuck in a cardigan, oddly tickling but more annoying. I had wanted her to be happy with me. She is happy without me.
It would take a miracle, something I do not believe in, something magical, to get us back to a simulacrum of what we once shared. On this one, I feel lost, as unlike with many things. No books or philosophies will save me from me, from the still burning embers of this near-evil and ostensibly endless infatuation.
Content to sneak glances at her from across the ether, I hope her well and occupy myself with daydreams of what our reunion would look like.
There could be surprise and halting talk and a barely-veiled visual assessment: has she grown slimmer (she has been running in the mornings), have I become bigger (I have. I am happier and more comfortable than I have ever been in a long time)?
Is she still the woman I became endlessly enamoured with, the one with large and dark soulful eyes and full lips that I rue for never having kissed, the one who’s laughter and sunshine gave me wings?
Or maybe there might be nothing, nothing like I now imagine, that is. It is a big city and until the winds blow us across each other’s paths, she is gone.