1. If you ask me how my navel ring ended up in the back seat of his blue Subaru I will pretend I do not remember.
2. We are on our way to class. My mouth feels salty again. Just like yesterday and the day before. I get back when the class is knee deep in a problem question, trying to understand the impossible Skill of Integrating by Parts. Everything is okay. Until a puddle of grey vomit stains a desk at the back of the room. Two hours later a nurse gives me a smile and tells me I am expecting you. Later that night I find out what time the bar across campus closes. I learn a lot about myself. I also find out how many shots of vodka it takes until I lose all my senses. How many it takes till I cannot hear the sounds of waiters telling me to go home. How many more it will take me until I am unable to coherently tell them I won’t have a home. How many need to be added till I cannot smell the vomit on my shirt. How many more till I can’t taste the cheap liquor I am taking because I am too broke to afford something more pleasant. I learn how many more tots I need until my wrists fail me and I can’t hold the glass I have been cradling since lunch time. But the lesson that has stuck with me is that unfortunately there isn’t a spirit strong enough to make me forget the sense of regret that is burning every faculty in my being.
3. After pretending you do not exist I decide to take matters into my own hands and nullify your existence myself. I tell him about you. And end that conversation with how I want to end you. I steal the money from his wallet. He finds me just before I meet with a stranger in a dark room that smells of dried blood. The tenderness in his eyes as we walk away is so pure that for a moment I almost believe you were really created out of love.
4. This is the story of how it happened. After church. At youth fellowship. I knew him because he was the one leading worship that evening. It was rainy and cold. I was snacking on samosas. I served myself a cup of tea. I went to tell him his voice is so full of the Holy Spirit. His music so inspiring. I do not remember anything after that first sip of tea.
For a moment they almost believe the bullshit story I have just fed them. Until they hurl a stool at my face and shove me out the door, swearing that they would rather die than see my face again. He is on his way to rugby training with the boys. He finds me bleeding, crying and throwing up on the side of the road. I am falling apart. He holds me back together. I still channel that memory every time I wake up in the middle of the night sweating from my nightmares of you.
5. I think I have received a second chance at purity that time I trip on a pothole and there is a stain of red on my pants after. But the doctor tells me you survived it. And you rub it in my face by making sure nothing I own fits over my belly. You start showing. Everyone stares at me because of you. Passengers offer me their seats in buses. At restaurants I get served first. And no one lets me stand in a queue for anything. There was a time I never minded the attention. But now you make me miss what it feels like to be invisible.
6. I feel you kick for the first time. He is studying for his finals. I am stretching my legs and staring at moving pictures on a 49 inch screen. The moment you move for some reason he looks up from his books and our eyes lock. I say nothing and shift my gaze. In another world this milestone would have been beautiful. In this world I have stretch marks on my belly and evil thoughts keep racing in my mind every time I feel you… living. In this world you make me feel ugly.
7. Today I show up in school to defer my semester. They ask when I am due I say December. I ask when I can come back. They say when you are ready. Not me. Because yet again I cease to matter in your presence. I fill out a few forms. Sign a few more. On my way out I waddle through a hallway of people who clearly make better decisions.
8. I can’t sleep. Everything hurts. My back. My legs. My bones. When I sleep my thoughts are painful. Before you I was just okay but never good enough. With you. I am worse. All the voices tell me that. All the voices tell me I fucked up. And I will never make this right. I try packing my things. But my aching back wont let me. My body says I’m too tired to run away. I think you are just forcing me not to drag you into another one of my messes. So I make a final attempt to silence you. Stand at the top of the staircase and bend my knees. He holds me back before I can leap.
9. A part of me wishes I could have made the story of how you came to exist more magical. An evening illuminated by the pink rays of the sun setting over the deep blue waters of the Indian Ocean in an old tourist house in Diani. Lots of expensive red wine and an Instagram timeline filled with beautiful honeymoon pictures of exotic meals and white sandy beaches. A journey filled with glowing skin and foot massages from everyone. Constant spoiling and endless gifts from parents. Growing excitement and endless happiness. I wish I let beauty be your story. Instead I gave you scars.
You make a grand debut on New Year’s Eve kicking and screaming wildly.
This is how I know you are born resenting me.