Outside, the neighborhood kids were in their element: shrieking and running around. I looked through the window; the rain had brought the flying termites and the children were gathering them into bowls of water, swapping their ears while they were at it. They’d salt the insects soon and fry them to crisp. I stretched and rolled over; his side of the bed was creased and empty and the map of his sweat still was on the pillow. I buried my nose in it and inhaled deeply. He must have left when the rain reduced to drizzles.
I got up to ease myself. In the bathroom, the vapor from the hot water he showered with shrouded the mirror; suds that flew here and there while he sponged were blinking, melting away slowly. It is only six and this is Saturday. He left too soon.
I have grown used to the subterraneous nature of a liaison, but it’s the hurry afterwards I don’t like. It’s the agitation written on his face in bold letters; him getting quickly dressed, grabbing shirt, shoes and tie; it is the escape he makes from me, I, the one he laid beside few moments ago, like I have become a sufferer of a very communicable disease. It is the slipping away before sunrise and the neighbors awake, that is what I hate intensely. I tell him, they already know, this creeping about makes no sense. But it is a habit that comes with this. What is one to do? It reminds of the petty thievery of my childhood days, dipping hands in a large pot of soup to take meat or fish only to end up souring the whole soup.
It’s a cold morning and I have the blues; it is that sadness that pervades you in the light when you’ve made love to someone who doesn’t love you in the dark. It puts a slouch to everything you do, barricades you in a cul-de-sac of many bad memories. Such mornings, as this, you think of the person you once were if you have so changed into a stranger being. If you’ve been a bad woman, you seek the little girl in you who did it once and cried, drenching her pillow with had- I- known tears, how little of that self-righteous person you have become. Sometimes I find her in my soul, hiding beneath a closet of grown up clothes with a smug in her face. I try to reach her and ask her, Little girl, who brazened you up? But she just shrugs and walks away. Such mornings, if you’ve been lewd, you think of the many hairy hands that have crawled under you skirt. If you’ve known the ways of many men, you think of their eager fumbling and how lethargic those hands grow when they are done with you. Your first affair at fourteen and he more than twice your age, the swine, but you stop midway in your cursing when you remember you consented after the first forced attempt and you want to ask, was it no less a crime because it became consensual….
(To be continued....)