When it rains, it pours, and then some.
I have been writing nonstop all week and loving it. I started this story (the first paragraph) sometime this year and abandoned it. This week I was tying loose ends in preparation for 2014 and thankfully inspiration was on my side.
Merry Christmas everyone. Here is wishing you a full fridge and a heart filled with love and Christ now and always.
He had not changed the locks; a fact that meant everything and nothing at the same time.
Sikemi closed the door behind her before she could change her mind. Everything was just like she remembered: the house plants had grown a few inches and there was some dust on the mantel but aside that nothing had changed. Kitan had always been the neat one and she, the scattered one; the one who failed to put anything back in its place and left Kitan’s house in disarray every time she visited, the one who left one day and failed to put back the scattered pieces of his heart.
She sighed as the painting she had made of him caught her eye. She was surprised and glad at the same time to see it was still hanging in its place over the mantel. In the painting, his lips were thicker than they really were, his eyelashes, longer than God made them and his ever present smile was non-existent. There was a seriousness in his eyes that was not his but she had painted Kitan the way she thought he should be.
It was the way she painted. She would look at something and immediately see in her mind’s eye how she could make it better. She was always trying to make things and people better than they were. She never stopped, not even when the people or things were like Kitan and had no need to be better.
Her first painting had been of her father or at least the father she wished her father could be – kind, with a rotund belly, and smiling. Her father never smiled in real life. In real life, he didn’t have a potbelly either and was not known for kindness but Sikemi had taken care of all that. She had painted him kind and into the father she wanted him to be.
“I don’t think we should be together. “ She had said to Kitan the last time she was here. He had been facing her, with his back to the painting and it had crossed her mind that for once he looked a lot like her painting; serious and missing his smile.
She took off her sandals now and let her feet sink into the plush rug they had bought together at a flea market on their first and only vacation together. They had made love many times on the rug so that as she looked at it, she could see them entwined on it in her mind’s eye. It was a painting on its own, a painting of a life that she wanted back.
She walked to the kitchen, tiptoeing even though there was no one in the house to hear her. She had written the note before leaving her house. The plan was to leave it in the fridge, just like she used to do.
It was stupid really, all of it; her coming here, her falling in love with someone so good that saints would have gladly given him their halo, her still being in love with him even though she knew she did not deserve that kind of goodness and could never paint herself into deserving it.
She had spent more than three hours writing the note but as she stood by the fridge, she realized that words would not do. Words were the weapons with which she had torn his heart out of his chest in the first place. Words were the excuses, the ‘I am sorry’s, the ‘goodbyes’, the ‘no mores’. Words would not be the balm to heal them. Words would not do. Not this time.
She crushed the note in her palms and started to cry. The tears flowed fast and freely as she looked around the kitchen for how to make it right. They continued to flow even when she found a fresh sheet of paper and a pencil.
Kitan would get home late. The traffic was worse than usual but he never noticed anymore. There was nothing to go home to anyway; Sikemi was gone so traffic and the mad drivers of Lagos were a welcome obstacle to the emptiness that awaited him at home.
It was late evening when he finally arrived home and he needed a drink badly. He didn’t bother to turn on the lights but made his way in the dark to the fridge. He stopped just before opening it. It wasn’t really a drink he was looking for. He had done this for every day since Sikemi left him. He would come home and go straight to the fridge hoping that she had finally realized that she needed him as much as he needed her and left him a note in the fridge to say so, just like she used to.
Most people looked to their fridge for food and drink, he looked to his for love and forgiveness and hope.
It was time he moved on, his head whispered to him. It was time to pick up the pieces of his broken heart and to stop waiting for the woman who broke it in the first place to heal him. It was time he got rid of that horrible painting of him that she had drawn. It was time.
He slammed the door of the fridge loudly and walked fast, almost running to the place where the painting hung.
The thud of the fridge door woke Sikemi from the rug where she had cried herself to sleep. Kitan was home and from where she lay, she could see him standing in front of the place where her painting of him used to hang. He had turned on the lights and now they blinded her.
She waited for her swollen eyes to adjust to the brightness of the room and of the man she loved.
“It is perfect” he said when she came to stand beside him.
“I love you.” She said.
“It is perfect” Kitan said again, never taking his eyes of the new drawing that she had done on paper.
The drawing was of a fridge and a man standing beside it. The man looked like he could stand by that fridge for the rest of his life; his eyes were filled with hope for what lay within that fridge, for the treasure that lay within, for the happiness the treasure would bring. His smile was content and sure of what lay within that fridge and what the future held. The man looked a lot like Kitan and he was alright with that.
He reached for the woman beside him and kissed her hair. Because words would not do. Not this time.
Song of the day: Lauryn Hill – Turn Your Lights Down Low