Here's A Story

Monday, November 17, 2014

A portrait of a freshly-baked 26 year-old. 16th November 2014. 

It is the worst day: the day after my birthday. Like Boxing Day but worse because there are no leftovers. So in keeping with the melancholic mood, here is some of my personal anguish in letter form...

So here's the thing: I started writing this story about two years ago. I thought that there was a real, proper novel somewhere in my brain waiting to be shoveled out. Now I am not so sure. I think most of it (this is just a slice) is pretty shoddy, this part I kinda like, but again, I am not so sure. I think that I should abandon it and start something else but then I lose five years of my life on Instagram and next thing I know it is bedtime. 

Here it goes:

John outstretched his arms and took both of her shoulders into his embrace. He held her with an earnestness not commonly found in young boys or even men who had not seen their mother’s weep. Thoko and John had known each other’s faces since they had known their very own. 

Growing up with their houses kissing, it was only a matter of time until they kissed and never stopped. The first one was the best one. John and Thoko had been racing each other; they danced through the urban obstacles, the faceless women selling fried food, the stray dogs yelping at a yet to be announced death, the small and hungry children clutching the knees of passers-by.

They ran until they laughed soundlessly, their thumping hearts pleading their legs to stop and so they did, right under the old wizened tree with roots escaping from the cracked soil. Panting in harmony, they smiled at each other as if they both knew a joke that no one else had heard or ever would. John touched Thoko’s cheek with his full palm unembarrassed by the obvious show of affection. Thoko did not flinch and she tried not to blink. She thought to herself that this is what it felt like: happiness.

He moved his hot and glowing face right into hers, nose-to-nose his eyes never left hers. Years later when she was all kinds of lonely, Thoko would greedily recall how moments before her first kiss John did not say I’m going to kiss you now, instead he said something far more heavy, he said I’m going to love you now.

She had always thought that what she needed was lightness. She had believed that the death of her mother and the paper-cut disappointments of the world had made her heavy and tear-sodden. John made her see that what she wanted, what she actually needed, was to be bound to this world. She had been floating just above the ground for so long. Lightly tethered, John’s words made it important that she remain here. 

Someone loved her and that was her responsibility to bear. 


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