He thought I’d forget. He’s always labeled me a forgetful twat. I had warned him about calling me a twat, but he always laughed it off. And I told him that one day, one bloody day, I will forget him for good. So, I never forgot that today was his birthday. He claimed that I saw it on his Facebook wall. I said, no. I told him that I had bookmarked the date and patched it on the walls of my heart. There was no way I could forget. He signed off with an emoji. I loathed his silly emojis. Real men don’t use emojis. Real men sign off with ‘I love you, hun’. He said it was too pretentious and cliché and he would rather use emojis, just like everyone else. But before he spammed my WhatsApp with his emojis, we made a plan to meet up the next day, which is today, Sunday, 14th February. I know you’re thinking about how lucky he was to have his birthday on the same day as Valentine’s Day. You are not alone. I was surprised, too, and I always told that he’s a lucky man. A lucky man born on the day of love. He had better ooze that love. He had better show that love to me.
Simon loved me.
He stayed in Kyanja. Me? Well, I stay in Munyonyo. And I have always told him that it seems like we are in a long distance relationship. Like we were oceans apart. He has always laughed hard every time I mocked his geographical location. “I loathe the city. Here, it is the only time I get to breathe unadulterated air,” he explained.
We made plans to meet today and celebrate his birthday and drink to the gods of love and smoke the ashes of Sir Valentines. He thought I’d forget. He’s always labeled me a forgetful twat. I had warned him about calling me a twat, but he always laughed it off. And I told him that one day, one bloody day, I will forget him. He cackled and told me that he might pitch up in a red suit to mark the day in style. It’s a day of love, see? A day of love. I told him not to put on anything reddish, that red symbolized blood and I wasn’t a proverbial vampire. Plus, we weren’t planning to make it bloody, or anything along those lines. He spat a swear word and hung up. I called him back and told him to instead keep it formal. “Don’t forget your tie, hun, will you?” I reminded him. He said he wasn’t a forgetful twat like me. I loved his dry humour, Simon.
The sun has been unforgiving today. Traffic has been gridlocked. And if you really want to know what happened today, I will tell you for free: we had fun. Maybe fun is an understatement. The plan was flawless. We met at some restaurant in Bugolobi. Every minute spent with Simon is always priceless. Look, he’s just made 27. And I promised to give him 27 wet pecks, to pepper them on his cheeks. Today, he looked dapper as though he was peeled off a GQ Magazine cover. He was a sharp dresser, Simon. Countless times, I had warned him about cheating on me with his wardrobe; he seemed to love his clothes more than me, especially his ties. I warned him that if he dared to divert my love and feed it to his clothes more than he did to me, I will use his tie to tie him on a tree and strip him to his bare butt and leave him there for the whole world to prod and poke. And he looked more handsome than usual; his dazzling good looks, his quintessential male charm, his facial hair that always made him look like a black David Beckham. We took selfies, if you want to know. The pictures? Shit, I don’t know where my phone is now. This is not the right time to worry about phones and pictures and selfies.
Simon was a teetotaler. He’s never drunk liquor. At least I had never seen him drink liquor or touch it. It was always me drowning in whiskey, teasing him to grow a pair and swallow a swig of whiskey and try hard not to squirm. He said, “No, thank you.” And I had never really pushed him hard to pick a glass of gin. I respected his choice of sobriety. But today? Well, I made an exception. I had bought a bottle of Wine. Sorry, I have forgotten the name of its brand (maybe I am indeed a forgetful twat). I never memorize French words. The only French word I know is Paris. And I don’t even know whether it is French. I know Paris because me and Simon were planning to visit the Eiffel Tower and kiss from there. I told him to take a sip of the wine I had bought. You have to, sweetheart. You have to. One sip, Simon. One sip won’t kill you. One sip won’t poison your lungs. It’s just wine. It’s sweet. And it smells nice. Here, take. Can I pour you a glass, hun? Yes? Yes. Pass me the glass then. And he took one swig. I could see guilt leap in his eyes, those piercing eyes that seemed to peek direct on my heart. He held the glass from its stem for a fleeting moment, soundlessly, staring at me, before busting in hysterical laughter and kissed me. He emptied his glass. I poured him another one, and I could hear a slur build up in his speech. He was that soft, one glass of wine could hit him flat. We kissed under a darkened Bugolobi sky. Kissed so passionately. The kiss smelled of wine. He leaned in my ear and assured me that he loved me so much, that I meant the world to him. I knew that, partly, it was the wine speaking, but he loved me, nonetheless. I told him that I loved him, too. And we kissed more, turning heads of people that sat a few seats from where we stood.
The clock chimed 1:08am. The sky was starless. I told him it was time to leave. He said let’s hang there for a few minutes and we shall drive home thereafter, to his place, to Kyanja, to overseas. I nodded and we cuddled in the restaurant seats. A cold breeze whipped us as we stared blankly up the skies, as though imitating a scene from a Shakespeare novel. Hell, we were in love. Later, we groggily walked to the car. Him, staggering and clutching onto my arm. Me, holding him firmly. He was drunk. Drunk from wine. Drunk in love. He pulled the car on the tarmac and we sped off. It’s 1:30am. The roads were busy. Love birds were flying with their dates. Insomniacs were chasing sleep. Party animals in a herd of unending graze. Dogs chasing their own tails. And us? Well, we were going home to make love.
I was in the passenger’s seat, tucked firmly with a seatbelt. Simon was on the wheel. On the stereo, J.Cole’s Forest Hills Drive album blared on. Simon rapped to Love Yourz, word-by-word. I weighed in, slowly. The roads started to clear up which, in the process, made Simon race as though he was fast forwarded. The music stayed on, his hands clutched tightly on the wheel. He was rapping to J Cole’s No Role Modelz. I had gone quiet. And he tilted his head to see whether I had fallen asleep. We were nearing Kisaasi. The roads were still clear. The skies were still starless. “Hey, Simon, look!” I remember saying those words, pointing in front of us. A truck rammed into us, head on. A loud bang. What ensued seemed like a dream. Suddenly, it seemed like the world held its breathe. The curtains fell. I was shouting, loudly. Crying. Weeping. I saw Simon smash his head on the wheel. I saw him crash like glass. I saw his face being sliced by glass particles, digging deep into his flesh. I saw him look as though he had bathed blood. I saw him die before me. I saw him die without saying a word. I saw him suddenly stop rapping to his favourite rapper, as if he had been muted, like he had been paused by an invisible remote. I saw him crash, which eventually crashed my heart, too. Life ebbed from him. The music faded off and it faded off with Simon’s life, my boyfriend’s life. That’s what I remember. I don’t know why I am still breathing. It could have been the seatbelt or God but whatever it was, I am lucky.
Afande, I think I have told you everything you asked. That’s how we ended up here, on this roundabout, my boyfriend dead. Please, Afande, forgive me for seducing him to drink the wine. All this is my fault, I admit. He shouldn’t have taken the wine, that French ‘piss’ of shit. He shouldn’t have sat on the wheel. He shouldn’t have died. I am sorry. Wait, before you take his body, Afande. Just give me one thing from him. No, not his wallet. Give me his tie!