A month after breaking my heart alongside my virginity, the man responsible for the crime committed the same heinous act with my younger sister. We were living in Mombasa at the time, on a beach house at the very edge of the Indian Ocean overlooking its warm waters. There were lush and colourful gardens where palms, tropical flowering shrubs, and Bougainvillaea formed a superb backdrop for a water garden and its many streams and fountains. The house’s architecture was influenced by the Swahili building style featuring coral blocks with Makuti thatched gazebos.
For one month, I knew exactly how to go to hell and back. I could map out its geography on the sketchpad I doodled for my arts class, or on the canvas where I did serious works. I felt like Dante himself, as though I was his guide during his journey in hell. I could feel the romance, the horror, the mystery, and the crime of falling in love evident in Dante’s Inferno in his epic poem, the Divine Comedy in the whole elegiac poetry of my short-lived romantic relationship.
When I fell in love, it was head over heels, then headed for the hills which abruptly became the edge of a cliff where, if a friend on Facebook poked me I would just fall over. I was so sure I was doing the right thing. It was an affaire so natural that when my parents knew about it and wanted me to end it immediately it was more criminal and exhilarating than to let it flourish. When he looked at me, I beamed. When close to him, I trembled. When his hands roamed over me, I transformed: I was no longer the obeisant teenager who shook right from the foundation when I heard my mother’s – the queen she-devil – voice but a woman for whom feeling came before thought heightening my infamous teen angst. But I wondered whether nineteen was really teenage or adulthood.
But when he broke my virginity and heart at the same time I wanted to blame a loose nut in my head, temporary insanity, hormones, my fragile heart, anything but my own stupidity. It hurt as it should be at nineteen, and for a girl who was out to ascertain how far her organ was designed for accommodation of phalluses. He broke it off three day after the fact, saying that we ought to see other people. That’s when I went to hell and toured it before coming back to earth.
Many a time I would sit on the balcony of our beach house doing nothing but reminiscing of the good, and now bad, times we’d had. The beach held the best memory I was to carry down memory lane to old age because it was there where I got my first kiss and ultimately got laid for the first time ever. But it still carried the most painful memory: the fool shattered my heart there and trampled on the shards before leaving them there for the high tide to wash them away. Every time I look at it I giggle and cry at the same time. It is the only place that wakes me up in the middle of my reality check – I was fooled like any other budding woman-wannabe.
The man who hurt me that much, as it turned out, was a mulatto with a litany of broken virginities to his name courtesy of the girls’ naiveté and lust to drink waters of womanhood. He liked them, virgins I mean, and old white women touring the Coast for the first time to splurge their dead husbands’ pension or their divorce share on sex-thirst beach boys who were up to the task courtesy of Viagra overdose. I felt disappointed in myself, not because I had perpetuated domestic sex tourism with the beach boy but because I was too over myself to think straight.
But when Cindy came from her evening walk the other day I knew that she had been up to some mischief – she looked a bit flushed.
“I met this drop-dead-gorgeous guy,” she said. “I like him, I guess.”
“Ah,” I muttered, with understanding of what she hadn’t said.
“Guess what?” I was about to say that I am not good at guesses when she continued, undeterred. “I’m no longer a virgin.”
Not exactly the mischief I had envisioned, and she had three more days as to be eighteen.
“It was on the beach. Gosh! I screamed my head off.” She said matter-of-factly. “My pussy is still fluttering like a butterfly.”
I looked at my sister with an indifferent fury. “That was my ex-boyfriend. I saw you…”
“What do you mean, Elsie? I know your ex...”
“Well,” I said. “You win some, you lose some. I never liked him that much anyway.”
It was the beach boy. I had seen them on the exact spot where he gave me my first kiss which I now wanted so desperately to forget it ever happened. I’m not a voyeur, but I had watched my younger sister lose her virginity and convulse in the aftermath. I wouldn’t have done anything to stop it, my sister wouldn’t have forgiven me if I interrupted her initiation into adulthood.
That’s when I knew that the beach boy was a perv. And I knew he was going to break my sister’s heart three days later, on her birthday.