6 Years of Laughter
Sometimes, when I am seated with my best friend, and our random conversations drift to dreams of our future, she almost always asks how it feels to know someone for six years. I laugh and tell her there are people I have known for ten years. Others, fifteen. One or two, for twenty years.
“No,” she refutes. “I am talking about the knowing in that other aspect. The knowing of being together, for greater parts of the year. The knowing of sharing all your fears with them. The knowing of trusting them, and them trusting you, even when they are far away. The knowing of your stomach rumbling whenever you do not talk to them. The knowing of their name being the first that crosses your mind whenever something important happens to you.”
I laugh, shyly, and even though I know I do not have the words to describe you, I close the book on my lap and turn to face her.
I say it is different. Different in a good way. It is different because ever since I saw you six years ago, there has always been pieces of you in everything I do. Like when I am unable to tie my shoelaces, so you pick the shoe, laugh in my face, and tie them up. It reminds me of the first time I saw you; seated at a corner in a friend’s room, devouring fish and ugali. I remember your laughter when I said I do not eat fish, because it tastes like a mixture of sweat and broken ribs.
Even though I do not remember the exact period we moved this to the other level, I remember the laughter, frequent, turning into friendship, then familiarity, then comfort. I remember your phone calls in the middle of the night, asking how my day was. Whether I was happy. Whether I did something I was proud of during the day. You would laugh, then ask me if I ever thought of you, even for a second.
I remember my soul slowly warming towards you, so my heart raced whenever you called. Why? Because I knew I was falling, hard, for you. And when you didn’t call, it was like a hole formed inside my heart, and a darkness clouded my spirit. As if I was hanging mid-air, and the ground at my feet was wearing out from a whirlwind, so my head became light until I couldn’t sleep.
Sometimes, I look at six years and I cannot believe just how long we have been in this. Time seems to have flown past us, so now when we count the years, we always ask each other, “Uko sure ni miaka sita au ni kama tunaharakisha hii maneno?” Then we laugh, and laugh, and laugh, until our stomachs ache, then remember that it has to be the constant laughter that has made time seem so short. Like we have been laughing the time away. Laughing our fears away. Laughing our problems away. Laughing our love into our hearts and souls.
Sometimes, when we are laughing into the dead of the night, and you suddenly fall silent before you let out a soft breath, I am reminded of your tenderness and love. Your care and affection. Your unconditional love, even to the least deserving. Your kindness, even to those battling things that you do not know of. Your warmth in the morning, which reminds me of the reason why my heart is full whenever I am with you.
Like when we are working out at home and you ask “May I use you as the weights?” And when I am in the middle of my laughter because all this sounds absurd, you lift me up and then, I cannot stop laughing.
Or when I say I want to make chapati, and you say, “This time round, I want to know how you do it. Teach me.” So we spend the entire afternoon making dough, laughing at your weird shapes, and your constant “chapati ni utamu. Sio shape.”
Like when I am on an unexpected work phone call that requires me to note down stuff, and I look up to find you handing me an opened notebook with a pen on the side, gesturing me to go ahead and use it. It is times like these when I realise just how much your heart beats for me, unknowingly, even when I am lost in my own world.
Or when you are massaging my legs, then abruptly burst into bouts of laughter. And when I ask why, you almost shriek, “Because your little toe’s finger nail is the weirdest and ugliest thing I have ever seen. Are you sure you were born like this? Hata nail polish haitoshei.”
Today is the day I write about you. Like a child writes about its toys. Like a daughter writes about her father. Like a son writes about his mother. Like a street kid writes about their favorite chill spot. Like a toddler writes about their favorite their nanny. Like a river writes about the rocks beneath it, giving it more depth. Like the heart writes about its blood, whenever it tires, and is thinking of stopping. Like a lover writes about the one whose touch melts their whole existence.
These past six years have been nothing but happiness, love and life. They have been years that have taught us about our strengths, and what we can or cannot do as a team. They have been years full of lessons; learning and unlearning. They have been years full of discovering the words permanently etched in our bones. They have been years of dropping pieces that bring nothing but sadness to us, and picking up those that resonate with our dreams of the future.
These have been years of experiencing a love that knows no boundaries. A love that shows up, always, and prides itself in happiness and contentment. A love that gives us reasons to soldier on, even when sometimes the future seems so distant, and forever seems like not enough.
I do not know what the next six years have in store for us. But whatever it is, I hope that it will always be you and I, forever in love.