This is how it ends.
Me wanting to peel back his eyelids, crawl into his eyes, wriggle through the membrane and swim my way through his pupils to get at her.
Have you ever looked at someone and seen yourself in their eyes?
Have you ever looked into someone’s eyes and seen the you that you used to be?
There, with the smell of fat drizzling through hot grills onto blistering charcoal. There, with the sound of lamb chops sizzling in the milky darkness atop the jiko. There, with the taste of acid on my tongue as red wine slithered down my throat.
I saw her, there, naked on her back, floating in his silky liquid hunger.
She looked like thirst. And brazen curiosity. And wilderness. And freedom. She felt like roaming, seeking, searching tentacles, feeling, caressing, stroking life. She sounded like laughter propelled from a belly button, and loud shuddering sobs.
She tasted raw.
The me I used to be.
And I gasped.
As if for the first time in years, my jaw had finally loosened from its frozen position of wide-open silent scream.
As if my fingers had found the rope I had used to tie the invisible respectability cloak tighter around me.
Slowly. Bit by bit.
At first it felt good. Cinched in at the waist, oozing at the edges. I had taken pleasure in my new defined curvy shape. Prancing self-importantly down shiny corridors and into imposing boardrooms. Sashaying my way through a day’s work. Mistaking productivity for purpose. Drowning in the insignificance of busyness.
Until inconsequential amend after rejected idea, punchier headline after snappier copy, meaningless campaign after dangerous propaganda, my edges and curves got sanded away.
I had turned into a caricature in a mannequin factory, watching my dreams stream through perfectly poised plastic fingers.
But still I kept tightening the cloak.
Tighter. Tighter. Tighter.
Until she couldn’t breathe.
So she fled.
And somehow she had jumped into his eyes, sought refuge in one who would let her explore without judgement or expectation.
Now she had found me, staring out through the reflection of his eyes on a Saturday night, as we leaned against the car and a kitten weaved between our legs, nuzzling then scampering. And I wanted her. Urgently. Impatiently. Desperately.
I drove home that night fizzing in recognition of the memory of me.
And later in bed, I smiled into the darkness.
If I had seen her, it meant she was there.
The next morning I got dressed and I could hear her whispering to me, I could see her shadow dancing around my feet, her scent snaking into my brain, her brown arms wrapping around my neck, fingers curling into my hair, pulling me closer, till I could see the black beauty spot on her lower eyelid and the scar below her eyebrow.
Then I felt her lips on mine.
And I could no longer ignore the scratching at my soul of the things I must birth.
The books I must write. The shows I must stage. The life I must explore.
So that day at 5.05pm I stood up from my desk, walked around the corner, past humans staring at bright screens with vibrating globules in their ears, ducking the sound of clicks and taps and groaning spines, through the cloud of artificial client induced stress, making sure to gingerly hop over the tapestry of trampled dreams.
And I knocked on the door. When he looked up from his shiny computer, I said,
‘I need to talk to you.’
And this is how it ends.
But this is also how it begins.