There were times when she would look up, say from reading the newspaper, and he would be looking at her. Staring at her. With a look, then, she found hard to explain to herself. A look that, at first, would make her jump from her seat, shaking her shirt, asking, frantically pleading, ‘Is something on me? Is it a spider? Please remove it.’
It was not often, that look, that she would turn, and see it in his eyes. But she often felt, when she looked into his eyes and met it, like she did not know him. At all.
That she may have seen him in his most intimate moments, seen him cry, seen him freer than even his own family had probably ever seen him-but when he had the look, it was like all that had not happened. When she saw the look in his eyes, her interest momentarily distracted from the telenova, she would find herself wondering, if all those moments she had had with him were real. Wondering, had they all been a show for her-to know that him, while he kept away, even from her, the person she sometimes thought, with heart pounding, she might be seeing in that look.
Then she just did not know...
This is what all the arguments were about. All the fights. That often ended with him heaving the metallic door open and going out in the night to, she would sarcastically yell-even as she knew she would have to apologise for it later, ‘Your other women!’
It was just not ‘normal’ that a man should not want t drink. But take so much pleasure in buying rarer and rarer vintages of wines, liquors no one else in her circle could find, so she could drink them with her friends.
It was just not ‘normal’ that when they were at a party, he would not wade through feet sprawled on carpets, to ask her , demand, who was that guy who was holding her so tightly in a P-Square dance.
“Do I mean anything to you?”
“Yes, you do.”
“What? Tell me what?”
That was about it.
Brenda had told her, “You know...he’s there but he’s not there...”
But he was there.
He was there when she needed to move from her one room rental, and no else could come up with the money to lend her to be able to. When one more night, skipping flowing sewage streams, gritting her teeth to the live band in the born again choir racket, she did not think would stay sane much longer.
He was there when Mummy had to go into hospital, get ‘a bed’ because her high blood pressure condition had deteriorated so much, the doctors said to let her go would have been as good as sentencing her to death, did she have someone to pay?
He was there, on Saturday mornings, when she would look in her mirror, and start with horror, because that is what gazing back at her in the mirror-a horror with bad hair. He was there.
She knew so many of her girlfriends who sighed... who wished... who hoped...
He was hers, she was his...even with that look that sometimes...made her wonder...