Picture Perfect

I grabbed the glass from the side table and headed for the door. At the same time she emerged from her bedroom. She was all dressed, speaking on the phone and carrying a hand bag. She was leaving. I wanted to be surprised, but how could I when routine was so easy to look forward to, to predict.

We had made plans earlier on of going to pick some vegetables from the market since it was the weekend. I didn’t know why I had expected her to honor the agreement. She looked at me for a split second. I was still holding the bedroom door with a glass in other arm. Immediately, she held her phone between her shoulder and the ear and balanced. I was given 2000KSh (Kenyan Shilling). Probably for the vegetables and food. She mouthed a few words, I nodded. I didn’t hear what she said. It was probably the usual, something came up, business calls, meetings. You know, the slogan of a lady’s got to do what a lady’s got to do.

I retreated back to my room without a second thought and collapsed on my bed head first. I folded enough fabrics of sheets in my palms and allowed it to absorb my anger. I breathed out heavily. At least I tried. From a distance, I heard a car pull outside the gate and a few seconds later it was gone, she was gone.

I started shaking. My head became clouded. I sat up and crisscrossed my legs as my eyes got fixed on the door. I strayed a little, looked at the money on my bed. I thought of going to the grocery store. Maybe if I did, there won’t be any reasons for him to get mad at me. Maybe I would avoid the encounters. I quickly grabbed the money and slipped it in my sweatpants. I ravaged through the pile of clothes on the extra bed for a hoodie. I rushed to the kitchen, placed the glass in the sink and picked up a shopping basket.

G was at the gate. Perfect. I remembered about my earphones on the bed. I rushed for them, and as I was about to leave the front door, I bumped into him. I didn’t hear him come. I look at G for a second as he closed the gate. He apologized with his eyes. What could he do? A fresh cloud of mist covered my eyes as they darted between him, G and the gate. He is smiling at me.

‘I saw your mother leave. Where are you going?’

I moved out of his way without talking to him. He grabbed my hand with a sift sweep of speed and such energy like the one you impact on a criminal. I flinched. I didn’t cry. I know what pain feels like, and this was not pain.

‘Didn’t your mother teach you any better on what to do when people talk to you.’

‘I have to go get groceries’ I reply in a sober and sort of calm voice.

I was shaking but hell knows I could ace a drama test of acting. There was fear in my clouded eyes. I looked away. He tells me that vegetables are not important. We could get them tomorrow. I try to protest but the grip on my hand tightens. I’m not scared of the grip on my hand. I’m scarred of what will happen after. I’m scared of what is in his eyes.

He says he is tired. He says he needs coffee, he has had a long day. He shoves me in the house. As I stumble inside, I take a glimpse of G. He looks away quickly. He didn’t see anything as usual. That is always the case, in this side of town neighbors and have eyes but they don’t see. They have ears but they can’t listen.

As I head to the kitchen, I hear the lock being turned and the key being removed. I practically sprint to the kitchen. I know he doesn’t want coffee. There is no coffee. I try to be comfortable. In this hell of mine, I try to adjust to the familiar heat. His feet, I can hear the sound he makes as he approaches. I am standing by the sink. I am thinking of the park and ice cream and stories of unicorn. But the more I think about it, the worse it gets. The unicorn gets destroyed.

‘It’s gonna be alright’, I tell myself, as a blow lands on my back.