I have made peace with you, I will never see the longing look in your eyes again and respond, you standing by the window, occasionally looking out into the coming night, I seated on a stool with my Smirnoff bottle tilting in my hand, the last of the sunset on the uncemented wall behind me. All passion is spent, all fight is gone. You stand there and I sit here looking at you with my bottle, and a great kindness begins to suffuse the room again and I can look at you again and you can look at me and not want to turn away and retch.
We have come a long way, you and I, Distances further than the three man strides between you and I right now across this fine dust floor that this evening lies close to the earth hugging it lightly. All our defeats look like our victories then, but it all makes sense now that the fight is over. You’re gone already like am gone though I can lean forward, tilting the stool on one leg, and grasp your palm still. The Smirnoff will rise to my throat and I will want to gag but I will hold your hand, once more. But I will not reach for your hand.
I have learned all your deceptions and you have learned all mine. Till I stopped turning around at parties when I heard the ring of your phone and you walked away from your girlfriends to take that client’s call; and you did not stay up anymore, but I found yellow sticky pad instructions on the wall next to the light switch how to warm my supper coming home in the morning, you did not want to hear me say I could not hear you anymore, in this concert crowd I was in, decibels of music and beers and meat on skewers consuming me, and there was that soft laughter. But all that is gone.
We’re all adults here, you used to like saying, forestalling me from scrambling for a song lyric to complete that because you had not gotten it out of some song, not song crazed like me, believing the philosophies ingrained there. I want to believe you now but I’m finding it hard too when you want to believe that too, two full days later, the first Saturday and Sunday we have allowed each other to spend alone together, in this half complete house like the half complete halves we are now, out of the city. Well not completely alone, for all the ghosts here.
The night of the barbecue is always here, small town hunting, knocking on doors that close at 8pm, the startled butcher not understanding the Kampala English but the wad of shillings doing all the talking needed, to get that pork, when I had been told it was impossible to find any at that time. We have taken food off their table, you had claimed, but money back. Well there’s no amount of money that will buy back the hurt shock on a ten year old boy’s face whose father had promised him he would show him tonight how to roast pork right and now has to go back on his word. But we had quite a night, celebrating the future in the walls of this house we had built to window level, shells of our dreams, you were like some worshipper in an ancient rite, Pius pouring the drink into your upraised mouth, kneeling at his feet, laughing and choking, some strange baptism, some strange celebration, sleeping in the Carib car, our first, this piece of earth was ours, belonged to us, all this will be lost, with no photographs. Time’s monsters will rob us of everything.
Riding in a taxi with you here, bickering for the window seat, we sat apart; a flustered mother dashing for the last taxi to this place out of town to visit her own mother, distressed, told her 7 year old daughter to go to the back seat between us while she sat on the jump over seat. Thinking new lies to tell her daughter’s father who kept calling demanding to know where they were. All her 7 year old braided hair daughter wanted to do, 8:30pm-ish was sleep a young girl’s early night-in, and she found my arm as comfortable as a pillow, love rising in my heart, you saw it too, looking at each other over her sleeping head, this is gone too.