To The Man Who Left Me Without Saying A Word
Your eyes fly open at the sound of the alarm. That damn thing still makes your heart skip a beat, or two, even though you decided to move it into the living room to help you manage your chronic snoozing, I bet its time to go back to that table top alarm that used to annoy everyone. It’s 5.30 at the crack of dawn, the time when the witches are rushing back to sleep. Your beetroot eyes betray you’re drunk with sleep situation. Lazily turning over, you gaze at him in his sleep, wondering how he could dare sleep through that goddamn vociferous alarm, ‘He looks so peaceful. “What tale is weaving inside there?” you wonder out loud. You place a light kiss on his forehead and pull yourself out of bed. You hear him stir. So now he wakes up. “Bae five more minutes” with his deep sleepy voice as if he just slept, he says patting the sunken spot in the bed you just got off of. It’s tempting really, five more minutes and you’ll need to conjure the gods to work the Moses magic and separate traffic for you to scoot across town and make it to work on time. He’s lucky it’s his day off, so five more minutes or five more hours. He’s spoilt for choice. You pick the towel and walk into the bathroom and wash away any hopes of five more minutes.
You dash out and leave for your hustle as he enjoys his good sleep, you weave through the traffic almost getting overlapping tickets as you dash in and out of lanes to avoid the notorious matatu, they got no manners and will pick and drop passengers in the middle of the highway. You finally get to your workstations and manage to hold up things before any goose is loose, graveyard shift goons can be quite dramatic if you late for a few minutes.
He calls you at 8.18, to ensure you got to work, his groggy voice stirring pools deep in the pit of your stomach. You tell him you’re just changing into your uniform, and you’ll be leaving your phone until ten, your first break. As you end the call, you grin sheepishly and thanking the stars for placing this pot of gold on your path. The day moves swiftly. He calls you for half your lunch break. And you waste away the minutes talking the usual nothing that couples do. From trying to figure out how tall Jesus was to things he would do to you if he walked into the locker room as you change in. It bends a wire in you. You bite your lower lip at the thought. Because like taxes and common folk, you will never understand how it gets to you. Every Single Time.
By 4:00PM you are constantly looking at the wall clock hopping that no ambulance dashes in the ER with someone indeed of oxygen as your instinct would jump in even before you know it. It’s now around 4.30PM. Your shift is over. As you change back into your clothes, you notice that there are no recent messages from him. Weird. As you hurry home you pass by the market and get some vegetables. You feel like blowing up someone’s son’s taste buds tonight. All this time you even restarted your phone hoping that jack had thrown you out of network that’s why you cant receive texts, you try calling him up. He does not pick up. ‘He must be busy,’ you think.
It’s almost 7:00PM in the evening when you get home. You take out your key to open the house. The bags weight you down as you maneuver our key holding hand into the small box. The keys turns effortlessly as its not locked, he forgot to lock the house.
You wedge the bags in the space left by the jerrycan underneath the sink. You walk to the bedroom to change into those bum shorts he likes so much. His phone is charging on the bedside table. He couldn’t have gone too far. He takes the damn gadget with him to the toilet. But you check it and your messages from as early as 4PM and calls are unchecked. Weird. Where could he have gone for all that time? He isn’t a heavy drinker, so runs to the local usually last an hour or two. But then he would tell you before he went.
As time goes by and you finish cooking you called him twice only for the phone to ring behind you, by 10PM, the nagging feeling in your stomach is now full blown paranoia. You try to eat but still you going through this phone to see who called last and texted.
By midnight, you have called his whole group of friends, colleagues and family. No one has seen him. You’re crying so hard now you’re oblivious of it. You have a bad feeling.
You pace back and forth. You can’t catch a nap either and every tick tock, tick tock from the wall clock becomes so loud in the room that you fear for the worst.
As dawn breaks, you’ve called in sick and your distraught self, a sight for sour eyes, walks to the nearest police station, it became a chase of a world goose with not trail, you join all social media platforms posting is photos and written appeals to anyone who could have seen him to come forth with the information, as you will for the next year, a drowning man catching at a straw, a leaf, bait, anything. You lose count of the number of times you drop by the mortuary. The dead don’t even scare you anymore. In fact, it would be welcome. Like those guests who come with embroidered cloths covering a well fed kiondo. In a verse sea of options, good or bad, it would be an answer. A source of closure. Something you’ve prayed for to God and all things Holy.
It is now three years. You still hold on to hope. But the light at the end of the tunnel is only as dependable as your country’s power supplier. You can’t bring yourself to touch his clothes, even the unwashed ones, but it worries you how they don’t smell of him anymore. It drives you insane how your senses overreact when someone is wearing his perfume on the street. The way the blood drains in your face and you stop in your tracks, frantically searching the faces for his. The cycle never ends. It’s like Dorothy in that house in the tornado except it never fucking lands in Oz.
You ask so many questions. Is he dead? Is he alive? Did he run away? Is he a merman that returned to sea? Was he kidnapped by aliens? Did he owe some cartel money and they made him swim with the fishes? Was he married and he returned to his family? Was i dreaming this entire time? Is the rabbit hole from Alice in Wonderland real? Why isn’t he sending me a sign?
Yesterday was the day of the disappeared. I don’t know if it was forced disappearance or something, I just thought of general disappearance. Of sons and daughters who left to find work in the concrete jungle, running away from the clutches of poverty. Others who got a one way ticket to a country with a different name than their own. Men seized by authority from their homes.
I always knew that you were a man of few words. You always had trouble verbalising your emotions and opening up to someone, even if that someone was me. This quality of yours caused a lot of trouble in our relationship. I was never sure where I stood with you and I could never be certain of your feelings and this would drive me crazy. When I come to think about it, we never actually fought. Whenever there was something bothering you regarding me, you would stay quiet about it, so I was the only one dealing with all our problems. I was constantly questioning myself while trying to reach you. And of course, I never managed to do that, because you never let me in. No matter how hard I tried, you were always distant and I simply didn’t know how to change that.
Of course, I also questioned your emotions and our relationship. Although you never said it out loud, deep down, I firmly hoped that you loved me. And whenever I confronted you about this, you would tell me that you were by my side and that this was proof enough of your love for me. Although I always wanted more of you, I settled for little crumbs of your love and affection.
The fear of the unknown is torturous. In the meantime, I would spend hours and sometimes days trying to figure out what went wrong and what I did wrong. It takes a small bite of your soul every day. One day, there won’t be anything to take a bite off of. I pray you never find out what happens when that day comes. Maybe it will give you five more minutes