Celebrating East African Writing!
I look at her and for a brief second I allow myself to believe her.
In this, she transforms to look like an angel as I envision lazy Sunday afternoons with Barry competing over whom should hold the groundnuts bowl as we watch a movie.
“Shiku!” Mwas calls and everyone turns to look at him. Poof! There goes the magic moment.
I am back to the reality, that is; Amina helping Barry up as he keeps his eyes on Mwas. Mwas says nothing. The drama is too much.
Barry once told me I had a flair for the dramatic, he was right. But damn, that does not hold anymore. It is frustratingly unbearable. And so is the pain screaming from my feet. I have to change my shoes. The chest up and butt out can wait. I have to get off these heels and over my hots for the groom.
I turn to leave and Mwas follows me. I don’t dare look if Barry is watching although I’m itching to. I want to see if he has that look I have had all day looking at him and Amina. No, he does not. I tell myself, it is his wedding day and I am not the bride. But Shiku said… No! Don’t go there. A wife and a daughter… a wife and a daughter… I whisper as I walk.
”Hey, we need to talk,” I hear Mwas’s voice and I feel his hand on my arm. I stop. His hand is cold. It must be the cold beer. I turn to face him. There is a familiar sparkle in his eyes. I know that look. He is about to say something serious. Shit! Not now.
”Not right today De…” I start to say before I realize I am about to use the name Dell. Dell is Barry; it was his persona in the play. I pause a little then continue to finish with dear. I say with the softest tone and the sincerest look.
I wait for him to respond. He stares for a little while and then I see him shift on his legs. I know he’s going to concede. A second later he affirms with a soft spoken “okay” and lets my arm go. I get a shiver. I should also get a sweater, I note mentally. After all, there are no hot singles for me to freeze and shine for.
I quickly walk towards the bridesmaids’ room despite my shoe predicament. It’s like I am searching for salvation. I kick my shoes as soon as I walk in. I sink in the only chair that is there. My tears don’t hesitate.
I am not really sure why I am crying. How I hate this, I can’t have puffy eyes! I take a few minutes to regain my normal breathing. In… out, in…out. I am in my third breath when a familiar scent hits my nostrils. It’s him. I open my eyes to find him standing over me. I get short of breath. The shirt fits him just perfectly; his face looks virgin and subdued. His hands are hanging helplessly about him. I fight the temptation to grab and comfort him.
No! I’m the one who needs comforting. I tell myself. Because… because…I pause at this juncture. “Because what? You weren’t good enough for him?” a voice inside my head mocks. I feel like crying again. He bends down, and holds me. I let him.
He holds both my hands in his. I cannot think of anything but the depth of his eyes. How I miss staring at them. He moves to touch my face and I don’t protest. It feels like a piece of heaven in hell. ‘’I thought he didn’t know you like that! ’’ That voice again! He doesn’t, I protest internally.
Barry is about to say something when; “effing dress!” Shiku walks in holding the back of her dress. I remove my hands from Barry’s quickly, but she has already seen them. A smile is creeping up her face. I hate her. I stand up and start to walk away. Nearly at the door I realize I am about to walk in a humongous room full of people barefooted.
I stop to go back. Barry looks surprised. I pick up my shoes. I will wear them at the door. I can feel them looking at me. He must be laughing at me right now! The nerve of him! I am embarrassed by my susceptibility to his outdated charm. I hear him start to follow me. I walk faster.
To the ladies room, I think as I hurry along. He won’t dare follow me there. He catches up before I reach the bathroom. “Go to your wife Barry, and stop playing games,” I hiss as I near the door.
” You tell him girl!” It’s the voice in my head again.
“You know this time it’s not a game,” he says close to my neck.
“Eva I…” I slam the bathroom door before he finishes and startle a lady washing up. I smile apologetically at her.
Now I can breathe. I move to wash my face when I hear Amina calling at Barry, asking what he is doing at the ladies’. She’s coming.
Hey! I know her, the lady at the sink. I walk up to her. She was one of the actors in Barry’s play. “Naomi, right?” I ask and she smiles in recognition. “Can I use you for a sec”? I ask.
The door is opening; I cannot wait for a reply. I grab her face and passionately delve into her mouth. She responds.
I hear them gasp in surprise. My heart skips a celebratory beat as the door closes after them. We unlock lips long after they are gone, neither of us talking.