Once I thought I had you and you had me. Woman, I could not get enough of you. Just hearing your voice on the phone got me more excited than a teenage boy unable to control his nightly wet dreams, the snuggled morning happiness before the terror of how he would have to lie on the cream wetness as his mother pulled the bedroom curtains open, chirpy, asking him if he was not going to get up.
My need for you was a Sipi Falls tumult-all energy but no dam-you were a muse, an inspiration. For the first time I wanted to get out of the lethargy of self confidence and do something. But oh God, the wanting you was so volatile, lyric bursts were all I could manage, then I wanted to have you, wanted to be with you, talk with you, make you laugh, slowly start to make promises, I who never made promises-not even to myself or my talent, which, for a decade and more, I tried to disown as soon as it started making demands.
I did not know, until you, that to love was to grow adult, was to change, was to love less to love more. Yes, it did not make sense at first. But then it started to. When you had been signed on for a trip to Luanda-3 women, 4 men-that was not the trouble, the trouble was in Luanda and the southern Africa regional manager who had specifically requested you be on the team representing your company. You love travel, 20Giga Bytes of travel photos tell their own truths, I could not stop you though I could have-having no idea until two years later, in a hotel bedroom in Mbarara, New Year’s Day night, you told me, “I liked you, but I started to fall in love with you when I was in Luanda.”
You turned me into a Michael Learns to Rock actor who did not despise the Nollywood theatrics of the Ebonies Sam Bagenda, starring in own private soap opera until it was like a full time second profession. Exchanging debaucheries. Before I learned while that amused you, you still wanted the man, and with each year-the implanted demands of childhood were waking like sleeper cells to remind you what your man must get you, what your man must be. I lie, if I do not confess my own too were wakening, genes on a pre-determined destination, nothing could get in their way, not even the crowds that jam the Namugongo-Kireka road to Namboole to support the Uganda Cranes, a human crush.
Now where are we? We are here. A little out of love with each other, more committed than ever. You forgive a little less, I sin a lot more-we get along. Meet other lovers, who come to visit or we go to visit, trying to look behind their relationship corporation brand-the simplicities are gone, the contracts more labyrinthine. Who would want to get into all this? The heart still.
You have lost your girlish poutiness, I cannot stand lyrics or poetry or romcoms any more. There’s a camcorder porn clarity to what’s going on that cannot be escaped. Your lips move and I ‘have heard anything. Red bow-tied presents of chocolate from me can go unopened for two days, four, before screaming delighted nieces visiting discover them like Saint Nicholas treats. Now this is no longer a sprint, it’s a marathon.
Love is a marathon.