The large whites of her eyes were a deep bloodshot red. Red must have been the only colour her half-open eyes could see when she looked at me. Her lips were twisted into a scowl of disgust, and her eyebrows were fused into a bunch that dug deep between her eyes. Her thick curls wrestled against gravity, pointing in every direction but downwards. She stood akimbo, hands on her hips and chest heaving under the pressure of each inhale and exhale.I didn’t say a word when she burst into my room. I’m used to her anger – the tirade of abuse that her tongue shoots in my direction – sharp-tipped with a dab of poison at the end. Little does she know of how thick my skin has grown over the years, or of the mental block I place as a barrier against her barrages.
‘Devil incarnate’ she called me, the spawn of my father who was the devil himself. I stared back at her. Maybe she’d missed out on classes where she was taught the mechanics of baby-making. It takes two to tango and surely it’s a self-confession to having slept with the devil. I stared back at her and pursed my lips tighter.
I reminded her too much of him, she said, that’s why she had to get away. Wouldn’t it be better to simply put me out on the street in the same way she threw him out? What sense was there in running away from memories of Dad when her heart was set alight the moment she caught sight of me? I’m clear proof that they’d been together; I’m an undeniable fusion of two very different people. I have the same wild curly hair that lies atop her head and the same long round-ended nose that’s always flaring on her face, yet I’ve been endowed with smooth olive skin and almond eyes like Dad’s, which she must have gazed into lovingly once upon a time.
Once upon a time.
The opening sequence for tales of princes, princesses and happy ever afters – several light years away from anything I know to be true. It’s a far cry from dazzling silk dresses, maids and servants, and high-pitched shrieks of joy as one runs wild through a meadow. Not even images that dance past me as I slumber are full of such candyfloss delusions that fizz into an oblivion of nothingness. But I’m patient.
Her rant ran out of steam when my phone rang. I looked down at the name that flashed in time with the phone’s vibration. Gene Lewis. When I looked up, her eyes dared me to answer it. I’ve never been one to refuse a challenge – I pressed the green button, but had no intention of having a conversation. Her eyes grew wide in disbelief – she muttered a curse, kissed her teeth in the dirtiest fashion, then stormed out like the countless times before. 10 minutes. She’ll be back.
“Listen, Gene, it’s done. We’re done. Over. Finished.”
“B-but Habiba…” He stammered. Like he’s always done.
“Don’t ‘but Habiba’ me, Gene. Move on. This pasture’s been grazed on for long enough and died in the process.”
“B-but I don’t understand. What have I done?” After 2 months of explaining that the love affair we’d had had gone up in smokes like most things in my life, Gene still didn’t get it. At all.
“Nothing. And that’s exactly the problem. Don’t you see? You did nothing although you knew everything.”
“Bye, Gene. Please stop calling me.”
The script of my life’s been penned, the ink has dried and I hope the sequel comes soon.
© LaYinka Sanni, December 2011.