FOR LOVE AND HATE
“I love you, Sewa!” He said as he got close to the dining table. His eyes were moist, and veins protruded on his face, neck and arms. I wondered how long he had been crying, shedding angry, bitter tears for a love forever lost. I wondered how long he had kept those words buried in his heart. The words that he now poured on me.
I let the slice of bread and the bread knife in my hands slip freely from my hands. His words were definitely stronger, more metallic than the clanging sound the bread knife made as it fell on the plastic tray I was using to eat my breakfast of bread, butter and tea. I stared at him with my mouth agape as if wanting to swallow the words that dropped into the air from his mouth.
“I love you with the whole of my heart! I think of you every day. Your smiles. The sunshine in your eyes. The redness of your lips. I just love you the way you are.”
“Since when, you fool!?”
“From the day I first met you. The day we used to bathe with sand. The day you used to be the police and I used to be the thief. The day I used to be the husband and you the wife. The day of nascent laughter and childish glory. I have loved you from the sunrise of childhood…”
I had known Tayo for twenty years. I had loved that boy who tickled me, chased me about as my tiny legs ran in circles. I had loved that boy who defended me from bullies. That quiet but bold boy who held my hands to school and also to church. That boy that made people call us husband and wife. He was my dream husband before I met Francis. I had waited for Tayo to confess his love to me, and to even propose to me. But he seemed to be comfortable with us just being friends. Mere friends, can you imagine?
So when Francis came with flattering lights, I succumbed to him. I agreed to be his girlfriend, and Tayo saw nothing wrong with that. He often told me how Francis and I were a perfect match. He even advised me on how to treat Francis the right way, the way a guy wants to be treated.
Three years of meeting Francis, he proposed to me. The next day was my wedding day, and this fool, my best friend, my poet, whose words made my bones to float in the air, stood before me, proclaiming his love.
“Why didn’t you tell me before now? I have always loved you. You are such a big fool!”
“I’m very sorry, Sewa. I have been a big fool. But my foolishness ends today. Come with me, my love. Let us run away from here and begin a new life.”
He came closer, begging me to offer him my hands. I just stood still, looking at him. He moved closer, grabbed my face and kissed me like we were going to die after kissing. I stretched my hands gently, grabbed the bread knife and plunged it into his stomach.
“YOU! ARE! A! BIG! FOOL!” Each word was punctuated with a stab into his stomach. His blood washed my hands and feet. I sat, placed him on a seat next to me. Then, I placed his head on my lap, and stroked his hair, singing a dirge for a love lost, a heart broken.