I talked to my lover on phone and I could feel her beautiful smirk fill up the entire room.
I let her do most of the talking becase her lisp is still the sweetest thing I have ever heard and all I had were questions which I didn’t want to ruin the moment with.
She told me of how she has missed ugali and kienyeji chicken and we both laughed because between the two of us, she left before she even learnt how to cook it well. Most of the ugali she savoured was prepared by hers truly.
“Life has not been as hard as I thought it would be” she said.
I paused for a second, feeling a little shaken on the inside even though I should have been happy for her. What if she got comfortable enough that she didn’t want to come back home?
One of her roommates called out from the background and without so much of a hesitation, she asked to be excused because Fridays are for Mexican cuisines.
“Okay, bon appetite cherie, or should I say buen apetito señorita” – to which I end up laughing alone.
“Talk soon A…”and she was gone before I even finished calling her name.
Until today, it’s been six months and 15 days of utter silence and uncertainty. At this point I have no idea which one I preferred; the ten minutes blanket conversation where we pretended like everything was normal or the silence, where Anna was just my Anna whom I longed for.
Our conversation reminded me of the days before she left.
We were both excited about moving in together; mostly because we’d each get to save almost half of our monthly expenses and also since morning sex is overtly underrated.
She was not much of a cook but she made the meanest scrambled eggs and the fluffiest pancakes ever known to man. That and her beautiful face every morning were enough for me to lock her down for life.
Anna working from home and myself working flexible hours at the agency, we were living the dream. Well, not quite the I can go for six months without working and still afford to go on holiday dream but we were happy with the progress.
Being the wanderers that we were, we went on adventures within the country at least once every month and the goal was to expand the horizon to Africa and the world eventually. We made plans together. We saw a future together.
This thing called life however, would be damned if it let people enjoy things. Anna’s parents soon began asking questions. The kind of questions that they ask girls in their mid twenties. What are you doing with your life? When are you bringing a man home? kind of questions. They didn’t even have the tiniest bit of clue that their daughter was into the sisters.
This was after I had done my own share of assholery and asked her when she thought she would have been ready to make whatever we were doing official.
Between the nagging girlfriend and the nosy aunts, she pulled out the letter of acceptance to the Kenyon Fellowship in Ohio.
“Eighteen months sounds like pretty ample time for me to make up my mind since you all seem to want answers ,” said Anna while she proceeded to make a phone call asking if she could get the opportunity back.
Feeling like the let down that I was, I didn’t even try to stop her. In fact I did nothing at all, not even goodbye. I came back from work to find seven different notes reading just the word good-bye in seven different languages.
At least she was still extra, I thought to myself smiling while tears rolled down my cheeks.
Obviously, her number would be out of service from that day onwards, but I still tried it every single day. I tried WhatsApp calls but we all know nobody ever picks those. All her social media accounts had since been inactive, even google could not locate her. I think we can safely say that her identity had been wiped and she had gone off the grid.
Well, until that phone call.
It left me feeling both angry and relieved. Angry becase all Anna and I were going through boiled down to fear of being judged by the society for who we were and relieved because at least she was well. In that moment, I made it my personal mission to make things right; for myself, Anna and all couples that were like us. That meant cleaning out my own closet first.
I had been going home every once in a while but this particular journey was my longest one yet. It felt like I was going to a place I had never been before. The fear of how the folks would react put together with my obsession of being the perfect daughter had my nerves all over the place.
My mother prepared a feast for me as usual. Pilau my personal favourite and her special chicken platter almost had me losing focus that night.
We sat outside, while father slowly downed the whiskey I brought him as mother sipped her ginger and cinnamon hot tea blissfully. They looked as peaceful as that beautiful night was, with the stars gracefully littering the sky and the moon giving just the perfect contrast to the darkness.
“I need to tell you guys something,” I began while still gazing at the sky and wondering whether I should have picked a different moment.
“Well, this might be hard for you to process. But… The thing is… Um…”
“Just out with it already” interrupted my old man
“I like girls.”
*Scoffing* “Well you’re just as dramatic as your mother, he interrupted again. Is that really what had stuck in your throat this whole time. I mean, everyone likes everyone, is that news?”
“No dad! You don’t get it. I mean like girls, they way you like mom.
I’m gay,” I concluded in a voice fading away.
The whiskey glass fell down almost immediately followed by whatever strength l had left. He stared at me with blood shot eyes that said anger all over them. I could hear all our hearts resisting the urge to jump out of our chests. His hands were shaking and so were his feet as he struggled to get up.
Mother on the other hand just sat there silently. Like I didn’t just drop a bombshell on her as well. Like she was was not even surprised at all. Or like she was the sane one in the room.
She reached out for my hand, pressed tightly in between her own and stood to follow her husband.
Just like those pieces of glass I tried to pick up would never be whole again, there was no turning back from this for me.
Re (formally Regina)
That marked the end of the letter Re sent out to the whole world and her own personal way of coming out.