The letter lies silently under my study lamp. Purely white, a flamingo postcard on the top right corner and a note that has changed the course of my life.
The parasitic sense of hopelessness clings to me, sipping my energy. Even the bonfire outside can’t liberate me from what’s coming.
At first, I was overwhelmed at the prospect of studying overseas, but now, am not sure anymore.
‘So, this is growing up, so many decisions to make and so little time.’
Pulling a pull-necked sweater over the jumpsuit, I go outside and seat on the bottom staircase.
Being a swahili night, the men seat around the fire drinking the local brew, sweat smelling aroma wafts from sizzling African dishes from the women’s side while the younger one’s race after one another in the moonlight, all caution thrown to the wind.
‘I wish I had that kind of peace.’
My agemates have their spot too. I should be among them, giving senseless stories, meeting up with new people, but am not in the mood.
The night takes on a black shade with an occasional glimpse of the moon. Cold temperatures adorn the coastal areas. The ocean stares from a far, coercing me not to leave. It emanates a breeze that jingles like Christmas bells. I hug myself tight and wish I wasn’t this grown woman supposed to be living.
The African drum beats rouse me from my reverie, calling me to join in the dance, one last time.
Immediately, I get sucked into its rhythmic monotones. A sad note similar to what I am feeling at the moment; confusion and fear of new beginnings.
The vibe steals away the thoughts harbored in my sleeves. All I want is the night to never end. I don’t want to miss moments like these, nights outside with flames as the only light. The waters of the sandy beach that change color at different times of the day. My culture, traditions. My people…
I feel nostalgic already. I bump into the one person I don’t want to see, at least not tonight. His arms circled me abruptly, saving me from the inevitable fall. Like many other times, our eyes meet, cling and hold for what seems like an eternity. I see his thoughts, promises and a lifetime deeply etched within.
The memories swarms about us, drowning us into a sea of tumultuous waves that has never really been calm. He is the one person I want to run away from, yet here he is. Holding me like everything is okay between us.
“I am sorry.”
Not an excuse, not a justification, but a simple apology. I drink in his scent with a thirst that can’t be quenched. Like a desert whose rain has come in torrents, the cracks fill up.
I hug him tight; I don’t want to let go. I’ve never really been able to let go.
Remembering the letter, a door shuts, its bolt clicks into place. Turning, I walk away…
It is a goodbye.