It is just another valentines just like the last three. Her scent in the room has faded to imagination. Her T-shirts and pants lost the scent too, wearing out due to the changing fortunes of time. I still sniff her garment more often than not then put it back and make a silent prayer that the scent remains. What has been scaring me recently is that her scent has started disappearing even my memory. That scares me out of my own black skin. Her scent is the only personalised possession I still value and once that is gone I have nothing. I hold her T-shirt and squeeze it hard with my fingers until her scent comes back to my nostrils. The scent is no longer really in the T-shirt but in my mind. It just cannot disappear, I will not let it.
Valentines used to be no different from the rest of the things we used to do daily. We felt that if we overexpressed our feelings on that day then we would be no different from the rest of the world trying hard to prove how much they knew love. How much they could curve love like those loose rubber and mould it into whatever they wished. How they could tell the world how much love they were in as if they could measure it using a thermometer. We laughed at those people. Most of them were out friends so we only did it in private. She always laughed harder, which makes me wonder if she really was comfortable with that arrangement. Maybe I should have shown the world how much I knew love too, perhaps I had the ability to curve love like a loose rubber and mould it into whatever I wished, it could be, the amount of love we had could be measured using a thermometer. Now it is too late to find out, isn’t it?
I remember the private jokes we would share frequently and giggle like little kids especially when out friends could not understand. She loved doing that and I played along just like she carried along with a million of my comportments and reactions. She had owned me from the best sides to the worst, dirty and cursed. She wore my attributes like a good dress and showed it off so that I would not be ashamed. She was the one whose fingers the makers of life designed to fit perfectly in between mine. She was everything I could have asked for in this life and the next one. Come to think of it, if there was a parallel world, we still could have ended up together. If there was a parallel universe I would sneak in and drag her back here.
My imagination has been vicious recently, I have imagined all kind of ways to bring her back. I have imagined her hand on my face, I have felt her smooth lips on mine in darkness, I have seen her light skin glitter in the shadows and I have seen her expressive smile beyond the mist. At times, she tells me to cross the bridge and join her but I always wake up before I make it to the other side. She looks peaceful in my dreams, perhaps too peaceful. She was not that peaceful, she loved to ruffle everything up until you could not remember the original situation. I like her like that. I liked her when she would mess up the entire house during a weekend and not clean up until Monday. I hate the order of the house after she left. The kitchen is always sparkly clean and my clothes are always ironed. I do not like this at all. She could never put her clothes in order. There were always her clothes in my wardrobe and mine in hers. If we dressed up to go to a function, the situation that would be left behind in our closet would be a massacre. Like a grenade just exploded in the closet. That type of disorder made cleaning worthwhile.
I remember our arguments vividly, I talked and she would be silent. I hated talking. Especially when I talked more than she did. But she never talked when it was an argument. She would listen to me yap and yap like a frustrated puppy and after I was done I would shut up and walk away for barely ten minutes and when I came back she would make fun of how I was almost crying and we would laugh. I always came back. She always received me back, I guess that was why our arguments barely lasted fifteen minutes. I would get angry in one minute, talk for four, walk away for ten, come back and make up. She never would apologize using her mouth, her apology was rare than rain in the Sahara. She made her apology about her actions, she would do something that would register as an apology in my mind. We understood each other that much.
We were two totally different wild souls bonded by shackles stronger than iron. Our differences made everything we were. She looked out of me and I for her and together the world would roll on into seasons and nothing else would matter.
Of late I have started to wonder if there are two people out there right now who have run out of fucks to give since they met each other. I have started to hope that there is, that those two people can have what we had, that they there are two people walking home from work not because there are no cars but because they want to explore each and every possibility in life. This two people will switch phones the entire week and respond to each other’s’ messages just to see what will happen. Like they expect the network police to drop by their house and arrest then for fake identity or something. These two people are not out for the show but to live life and make a mark in each other’s’ lives.
It is the simple things that make life worth, not money and not your car or your house.
I’m old now, I have seen a lot of decades, perhaps enough decades. I have buried my most of my age-mates yet managed to stay alive and tell their stories. I have written my story too, I have to use my granddaughter to type them for me, poor girl sits here all weekend listening to my wallows. I have seen a lot and I have lived long to know about valentines and Christmas. Mostly valentines. I have learnt that true joy can always be found but the task comes with maintaining that joy.
Celebrate all holidays, go for swimming on Labour Day and make good food on world AIDS day. Have as many holidays as you can because you will not have that chance your entire life. Go hop in the bouncing castle with your kids. Skip job and do not even ask for permission. Life is not for those that follow the law to the letter but for those that make each moment count. Therefore, stop playing safe, the money will never be enough. Loose a race today and laugh about it tomorrow, leave your phone at home tomorrow and see what happens. I have had enough of this world and looking back at the decisions I have made, I can say with as sure as the inevitability of death that I was a happy person. Maybe I should have celebrated small achievements more. Held an open bar party when my son learnt to walk, made a toast when my website became premium (thank you to my followers). Break glass just to feel freedom. Kissed her on the streets so that people could sneer, walked shirtless and allowed her to put on a shorter dress. Made typos in a post and ignored the grammar nazis who tried to make the whole post about the typos, but over and all aimed tooth and nail to be happy.
I cannot possibly tell you what to do or what not to do, after all, I am an old man with no sight who forces his granddaughters to read Jeffrey Archer’s novels to him on Sunday Afternoons. But today evening I will fall asleep and dream. She will ask me once again to join her on the other side and since I cannot even remember her scent anymore I will gladly join her. I will not come back like she never came back but listen to me, it is valentines, find your love!
Photo by Mukiri Gititi