image credit: Mutua Matheka

I am no longer the girl who had her life put together: the fun loving girl who used to find happiness in small things. I am no longer attractive, I have added weight and I drink way too much. I am off putting in a lot of ways. It’s not just the weight and the drinking it’s the wounds life has drilled inside me that feel open to the world—naked to the public eye, as if everyone can see the wreck that I have become. The way I stand, the way I walk it’s all stamped damaged goods.

He was here this morning, we just had another argument and he stormed out like the queen he is. Did he really storm out? Was he really here? I feel befuddled, as if my brain is playing tricks on me; I can feel it flapping in my skull like a caged bird. I need something strong, like a whiskey or vodka. The bitter tang of a stiff drink makes me forget my sorrows. I had told myself I would never allow myself to get here. I have seen women spiral into a mess because of a man but I never thought that could be me. It was always them and now it feels abstract that I’m the woman going batshit crazy over a man.

I get up and walk laboriously to the fridge and open a fresh bottle of gin, it will be done before the afternoon winds up. Don’t look at me like that, you’ve been here before too it’s just that you were never weak enough to spiral this far down the rabbit hole. I pour the contents of the bottle into a glass and take a swig and I close my eyes and feel the stiff drink sting my insides as if uprooting my sadness and applying a fresh coat of paint on my damaged parts but I know its destroying me, leaving me worse than it found me because nobody ever found salvation at the bottom of a bottle of gin.

I want to call him. I want to tell him I love him. I want to tell him we can make this work but I know he will hear none of it. I feel like a dirty dog. A dog that gets kicked and kicked by its owner but still runs towards him wagging its tail in excitement whenever he shows up. I take another swig of my gin and feel a big lump in my throat, it is hard as a pebble, smooth and obstinate. Back when we were kids we used to call it kiwaru. It is so big in my throat it is chocking me. The man I love abandoning me for that average thing of a woman. No no no. I attempt to wash down the kiwaru with another swig of gin.

I knew this all along. I knew what I was getting myself into but I wanted more because I’m a human being and human beings are never satisfied. I pick up my phone, I had vowed to keep my phone away from me when I was drinking but that was proving to be just as difficult as putting down my bottle of gin. “Jack I miss you, I fell asleep last night thinking of you…” ‘Please leave a message after the beep’ Bloody hell he’s put me on voicemail, it’s just a matter of time before he blacklists me all together. I take another swig of gin.

The first time he took me to bed was at a hotel. We met at a work seminar and I melted into a puddle after he introduced himself: his essence was cathartic, it gave me a high that I knew I would never get enough of. He didn’t bother hiding his ring, we made love while it was still on and I did not mind. We started sneaking in his house and it felt like we were two wayward college kids. I loved his boyishness, his virility, his mischievousness and after a while I wanted him all to myself. I started asking him to remove his ring, I started feeling a corrosive jealousy and he started pulling away. “We can’t keep doing this.” He chirruped “I know we can’t but we will.” I thought silently to myself.

I want to call the other woman and tell her I have been with her man. In that very house she calls home. I want to ask her how it feels like sitting on a sofa that we made love on. Sleeping on the same bed I had my back on; mourning with bursts of pleasure. I want to ask her how it feels to prepare a meal on her kitchen table, that same kitchen table he sat me on before he went down on me. I’m thinking all this in my head but my phone is on my ear and a voicemail beep does not come on. I take another swig of gin.

I call his cell again and it goes to voicemail. I call it again and again and again till my battery dies. Did I call the other woman in the process? What did I tell her? I can’t remember. I get up and almost topple over the table but I steady myself on the sofa. The bottle of gin is now two sips away from being empty. I walk to the kitchen and pick up a knife and I start toying with it. I feel like dragging it over my flesh just so I can feel something other than missing and yearning for Jack’s affection.

I close my eyes shut and snap the knife back in the drawer. I open my eyes and I see a stream of bedraggled blood on the kitchen floor. Did I cut myself? But I don’t feel any pain nor nausea. I decide to walk to the sitting room to examine myself and just before I can settle down with my bottle of gin I hear sirens. Is it an ambulance? I push back my curtain and I see a trove of police cars parked outside my apartment. The stupid woman must have called the police on me because of a silly phone call. I stagger out of my apartment to explain myself. A couple of police officers mumble something incoherent to me then go inside my house and I stand there trying to explain to one of the cops that it was a prank call.

A few minutes later, I see the cops coming out of my house carrying what looks like a body covered in a black bag and one of the cops next to me reaches for his handcuffs. Shit! Where is my bottle of gin when I need it?

The process: I wrote this story with a painting in mind, the kind that tells you something but at the same time leaves room for imagination because different things have different meaning to different people.

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