It has been threatening to boil over these past few months…
It started with you forgetting to buy me the pizza I had asked for on my way back home from work that Friday. It felt like you didn’t care enough about me. After all, I had specifically asked and you knew I was not one to ask for many things. Then on the Sunday that followed, I nagged you all day about watching the match the night before and hanging out with your boys while I stayed home, alone, watching episode after episode of Lost and feeling lost without you.
Within a short time after that, it felt like everything had changed. You couldn’t do enough and neither could I. When you tried to talk to me I shut you out and said you were complaining. When I tried to talk to you and explain how I felt, it was nagging. We still went everywhere together but it felt like we were worlds apart. I started seeing shadows where there were none. And you, you covered up even the most innocuous action just so I wouldn’t see shadows there too. It didn’t matter. I saw them still. Like a cycle…
We used to be best friends, not these strangers that tiptoe around each other for fear of cracking the thin ice that has replaced our strong foundation. I wake up at night sometimes and I try to trace the angles of your face in the dark with my fingers. Nothing has changed there except I am afraid that you will wake up and flinch or worse, pull away from me. You used to wake up to find me watching you and break out in a smile. Then you would ask me if I’ve found whatever it was I sought. I used to say yes. I can’t say that anymore.
The volcano finally boiled over this morning; this mountain of fears and pain we have been feeding with silence and bitterness. I said so many things, most of them unkind, most of them untrue. You picked up the car keys from the coffee table and drove off. I cried a lot when you left and swore I didn’t care if you never came back. It took 8 hours and a million worries rushing through my mind but you came back. It was late and I had waited up but you walked in, ignored me and went to sleep in the other bedroom.
You didn’t eat the dinner I had made to heal the heart that I had broken. I fed it to the dogs and took a walk through the streets of the estate we live in. I thought about what I had to lose if I left you. I thought about what I stood to gain. We were still both so young. We could always find other people to love. That was the easy part, easy like tomorrow morning…
I looked at all the well lit houses that surrounded me and wondered what sadness they covered. I closed my eyes and breathed in the scent of the bougainvillea that lined the walkways. I listened to the noise of the generators and wondered if broken hearts beat differently from hearts that were whole.
Our people say “Asiri a bo o”… It is a prayer that your shame be not made public, for your secrets to remain secret. Our people pray prayers but forget to tell us prayers are only one part of the story. You have to try, you have to work at life, or else your secrets won’t stay that way.
Asiri a bo, and yet there I was considering the path of open secrets.
We all have secrets. One of mine was that I am a stupid woman who was letting her insecurities determine her path.
I gave the stars a final glance, considered the path of open secrets one last time and started to make my way back home. I locked up after myself, shutting the door against the prying eyes of the world that were determined to unearth the secrets we have so well hidden. Then I made my way to the bedroom where you were pretending to sleep, took your face in my hands and promised myself and you that “Asiri wa a bo”.