Big Black Body

Big Black Body

I turn to lie on my left side, again, for the fourth time in the past one minute. I try to pull the blanket all over my face, nothing. I remove the eye mask, nothing. I try, in vain, to let myself fall asleep despite the hurricane of emotions bottled up in my head.

Beside me, a big black body, nude to the core, snores the night away. Like it owns the world. Like every time it goes to sleep, the Lord miraculously lifts all its burdens, and places them right on my chest. Like when it breathes, its nostrils find pleasure in keeping me awake.

Beside me, lies a big black body I hate to mention its name.

In the farthest corner of the wide room, lies a smaller version of the big black body next to me, breathing softly into the night, despite the smell of its fermented urine that finds pleasure in my nostrils. Like it finds closure every time it falls asleep, ridding me of my own sleep.

What is life? Phew!

I slip my hand beneath the pillow where my phone lies, oblivious of the tribulations of its otherwise beautiful owner, who sleeps naked with big black bodies. Who hates the very existence of the people next to her. Who hates her own existence, but has continually lied to herself that she was meant for this life. That she cannot kill herself.

Please be 5am. Please be 5am Please…

3.02am.

The digits are splattered across the screen, with my face in the background smiling at me. Right now, the smile looks like a grin. A mock. My own image, looking at me and wondering Who the hell is this woman?

I throw away the blanket, sit up, slip into my sandals and begin to make my way towards the bathroom.

“Where are you going?” A distant, familiar sound booms behind me.

I thought you were asleep, shit! I mean, I hope you were dead.

Too afraid to voice my thoughts, I stop in my tracks and turn to face him, stick engulfed in pitch darkness.

We’ve been through this, Zawadi. It sounds hard because you haven’t tried it yet. If it comes to worse, just yell ‘Fuck off’, and watch his ego crumble like a pie.

My sister’s voice is still fresh in my head. I can still feel her small soft hands against my skin as she nursed the scars from last night’s ordeal. I still hear the begging in her voice, willing me to pack my things and leave.

What about the baby?

Did you make it alone? Heck, you do not even love it! Just leave.

But then again, she has always been the bold one. Talking back at my father whenever he beat my mother. Asking to leave home for three days, when we were barely teenagers, and not taking no for an answer. Storming into my younger brother’s school, the one time he was fat-shamed.

I am not like that, Tammy. I can’t.

As I said, just try.

“What do you want from me, Jabali?” My voice surprises even me.

Silence.

He stirs, then flips on the light switch.

“We have been through this. Come back to bed.” His voice still unchanged by my little act of strength.

“Why?”

“Because I am your husband.”

“And so?”

“You do as I say. Nothing more. Nothing less.”

Shit!

“Oh hail, Jabali. Husband of the husbands. Most articulate human on earth. Bearer of words that turn into orders once they leave his mouth. Devoted member of the two-seconds-men. Hail, beholder of the throne of blackest man on earth. Is this the time you notice I am your wife?”

Silence.

I can feel his red rising towards his face, as beads of sweat start to break on the bridge of his nose. I want to drop to my knees and apologize, like I always do. I want to cry to him, and ask him to punish me. I want to assure him that it won’t happen again.

But I don’t. Instead, I flip off the switch, and make my way into the bathroom.

With my heart in my mouth, I slide against the walls to the floor, bury my head in my hands, and cry my eyes out.

I cry for my twenty-year old self, who had grown so accustomed to hatred that any little amount of love, albeit insincere, was enough to sweep her off the floor. I cry for the days I fell for him; his robust body, and an odor masculine enough to make me drip with want. I cry for the nights I stripped naked as he paraded me in front of his peers, in the name of ‘bragging’.

I cry for the night he invited them, one by one, to our bed, and coerced me into sex with both of them.

We are still young. Wild and free is the name of the game.

I cry for the single rose delivered on my doorstep on February 14th, in the cold company of a bottle of cheap red wine, and a note scribbled with, ‘Tonight will be the night of your dreams.”

I cry for my shameful innocence. I cry for the rounds of sex I lost count of that night. I cry for the naked bodies I woke up next to the next morning. I cry for the headache thereafter, and the bouts of diarrhea that followed.

But even more, I cry for the fact that nine months later, buried in shame and guilt, I held a baby in my arms. A baby I couldn’t even look at, and it took the intervention of my grandmothers before I could agree to breastfeed it.

I cry for putting up with the big black body’s ‘I am not even sure it is mine, I am just doing you a favor because no one else will’, every time I asked for help with the baby.

I cry for the obsession with Valentine’s day, and the single rose of death that has led me to this hole I am unsure I will be able to crawl out of.

I cry because I am not even sure what I want any more from this life, seeing that my self-esteem now looks like broken pieces of wet dreams, cheap alcohol, bad sex and addiction to big black bodies.

I cry, for so long, and when I think I cannot cry anymore, I feel a blinding light against my face and cold fluid flowing against my butt.

I open my eyes to find the smaller version of the big black body staring at me, flashlight in my face, his urine making its way to my toes.

I want to scream and hit him with my pale hands, but I don’t. Instead, I scuffle to my feet, readjust the nightdress on my body, and make my way back into the bedroom. The big black body is still snoring, his hairy butt up in the air, like someone waiting for the apocalypse.

That he didn’t bother to wake up even after I left, was the last push I needed to get myself out of that mess.

I pack my bags, slip into my once body hugging jeans, now a tattered mess of baggy grandmother pants. I make my way past the smaller version of the big black body, which stares at me like it is seeing me for the very fast time. I make it to the door, and when I step into the fresh morning air, I can feel my lungs struggling to take in the freedom.

The rose of death has left, as abrupt as it showed up.

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Miss Mbabazi

Miss Mbabazi


Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy.

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