It’s been 16 hours but I still can’t stop thinking of you. Sending you away was one of the hardest things I have had to do in months, since that time when I had to ask a 16 year old girl, “are you sure you did not make him think you wanted to have sex with him?” Sending you away, not in a restaurant, not at home slumped on my couch, not even in our favourite bar in the evening, my pirated films dealer pestering me to buy the latest Spiderman 3, sending you away not in any place you knew, was one of the hardest things I have had to do. Sending you away, standing under an ant bite marked old electricity pole, unable to look you in the eye, watching the road impatient to cross, you watching me with eyes so wide and shimmering with tears that would not fall on that sidewalk, was one of the hardest things I have had to do. Sending you away when I knew better than anybody else all the secrets in your heart and the things you have told me and have never told even the friend who lets you sleep in his house because he does not know how to send you away and he’s afraid to cook for himself, was hard, harder than when I had to face my first heartbreak, the chaining of my heart led slow stepping to death row when I learned that I was the fool who had been faithful in the quadrangle I had found myself in so I had stood by a road, 2004, a university student, not picking up my ordered Rolex chapatti, my Siemens first phone trembling in my had, knowing pain for the first time. It was harder, much harder than then, deciding I would never see her again or them. Much harder.
Because you were with me before they came. You were with me before anybody wanted to be with me. You were with me when I did not want to be with me. You were with me when I did not think there was any point in being there at all. You were with me longer than anyone except my mother has been with me. You were with me longer than that wonderful Sandra woman who took me outside the room where everyone was and begged me to go back in for her, because I had to do this, I was created for this. You were longer with me than anyone has been with me, believing in me when I had long given up, used to spend Saturday and Sunday afternoons walking the deserted, dusty playgrounds of schools I used to school in looking for a part I had lost, looking for the boy I used to be, the love I tipped into the soaking earth looking for my break-time juice and never knew I had lost. You were with me long before I knew you were with me. You were with me more faithfully than the shadow I have not looked to the wall for, or the moon that must still be in the night sky under which I trudge every night home, thinking of nothing but the DVD movie stashed in the side pocket of my latest blue backpack and the girl who is going to stay awake with me chatting until the miracle fairy of sleep dispensing twinkling sand sends me to a thoughtless slumber, a girl I have not told how much it means to me that by SMS she is holding my hand, in the night of terrors when I cannot sleep unless a wearied body snuffles out a mind that does not stop conjecting. You were with me before all these people and yesterday, I told you I did not want you to be a part of my life anymore. It was the hardest thing I have had to do in so long, tell you who I never asked in the first place to be a part of my life, to leave, to never come back because I did not want you anymore, telling you.
I’m still thinking of you. I did not think I would still be thinking of you yet here I’m, being accused by Annie Lennox, thinking of you, still, as if you’re the first person I have had to hurt. Like I did not hurt that guy when I declared that he would never be what he wanted to be because as much as he harboured his dreams, there was nothing in him to anchor those dreams, his parents had been right. He was born to do what they had done before. Here I’m, still thinking of you. Telling you to go away and never come back was like telling myself to never come back, remembering all the things I still had not told you that I had seen, the wonders of the night. Like the girl I found one night, vomiting outside her bed-sit, in terror that someone would hear, pregnant, sure this was the end of her life, until I came upto her, greeted her and thumping her back, we talked and I’m a godfather to a baby girl called Niwewenka who gurgles every time she sees me on my Friday afternoons when I do not have to go to work and baby-sit her through her teething and mood tantrums. I will never be able to tell you that, because yesterday, I sent you away. I told you to go and never come back. I told a part of me to go and never come back and you were that part. That part of me was you. And I sent you away, 16 hours ago, yesterday, and I can never ask you to come back. It’s been 16 hours but I still can’t stop thinking of you.