I know you are hurt. If you weren’t, I wouldn’t be writing this.
It is painful not to be loved back. I don’t even love myself.
I am lying in bed drinking in your smell, my nose laments on the scents it is unfamiliar with — lavender; jasmine; and patchouli, earthy and musky smell, sweet yet smoky, a balance of sweetness and romance.
It’s barely two hours since we made love. I took you to the stage. I kissed you amid calls by touts to board their matatu. I watched you settle in, and the matatu leave. I got back to my apartment. It smelled like you. I stripped off my clothes and got under the covers. I am sleeping in your scent.
I am making love to you now, more passionate than when you were here with me. In my fantasies, you’re a goddess. It feels too real, hands on my skin, a hungry mouth, the warmth between your legs.
In my isolation, I love you the most. Not when I am with you. I don’t touch you when we sleep, even when awake, and no cuddling. Only when we make love. At that time, I feel like I don’t need anything else. I love you, I whisper. In the cold silence afterwards, I wish you say it back.
I lied I had to go to work, so you could go back to our children and leave me to love you in isolation. I’m writing letters to you, confessing how I love you when I am alone—surreal, but not when we are so apart together. When you push someone so far away, are they still your love?
Don’t get me wrong, love. I still want us. But I have learnt you can’t force together on the wrong people. They belong where they want to, giving exactly what they want. You don’t ask together. Definitely not demand it. I don’t ask for anything more. Your hands and the warmth between your legs are enough. Because, after the fact, I will get more in my isolation.
When I am angry, I fantasise about your corpse. It suits me then, when I want you dead, for ‘till death’ I vowed. But, I don’t love you alone. Our children do. I need you alive, that’s the fact, for them, but the closest thing to truth is that I want you animated, but not real.
I will see my other lover in a few hours. I love her, but not too much. We don’t share continents, which makes it easier for both of us. The distance between makes our love strong and us in love. When I am with her, it’s all cuddles, hungry mouths, explosive orgasms. I don’t fantasise about her when she is away, only you with whom I wish for eternities of golden nights and silver mornings. I touch her like a relic, and her juices anoint me like a king.
I like her because she is a free spirit. I don’t ask about the others with whom we share her because something about it is seductive. When she leaves, the patchouli she leaves behind lasts like a Somali perfume, and that’s what you smelt before leaving.
I like to look for new lovers, but not for keeping. Just that moment I crave human touch. Like the one who says I am her demon, her devil to worship. She tells all the boys—angels—no; it makes her feel good. She knows I will never be hers. After all, who wishes for hell, the devil’s abode? Ever since discovering places in her she didn’t know existed, she is single-minded—her face innocent and yearning. Girls fuck like that, desperate when you are their first. They think it is forever. They demand forever.
“I don’t believe in forever,” I tell her.
“I always miss you,” she says. “Will you call me?”
That’s what she asks. To hear the devil’s voice. To keep her demon close.
When we kiss goodbye, I hope never to see her again.
“I miss you,” she texts before she gets to the ground floor. Or bounds the stairs back up for another goodbye kiss.
Once upon a lonely time, when Samantha (the sex doll) was a craze in Kenya, I researched male sex dolls, with their almost alive still eyes and soft mouths, beautiful cold faces, and plausible skin. Well, they were above my salary, and I didn’t want to take a loan for a corpse to keep in my house; but I did get a sex toy, Fleshlight Pink Lady, something that I had to dip in hot water to pass as an inanimate human vagina. It makes little difference in the end, though, whether that body/vagina is flesh or silicone. Either way, I’d be alone. When I was out of the country for work, I met a Somali girl who told me that you are a bitch. You don’t cherish what you have, me. Yes, I told her about us. She moved into the space between my depression and happiness and saved me. With her, I was just me. When I hugged her, I held her too tight I wondered what would become if I crushed her.
“You’re the most beautiful woman I have ever met, had, and I will ever have,” I told her. And I meant it.
When she let me see beneath her beautiful, underneath her burqa, dirac, and shash lay my territory. When I moved inside her, I called out her name: Maimun. Since she left, she has been my moon.
Love, I wish you are the one to whom I direct my longing. They make me forget the continents separating us. When I lie naked in bed with you, not touching your body and seeing only the fantasy of them that I’ve created, wishing you were there with me, I imagine them on the scaffold of your flesh. I take a little comfort in the fact that you share bits and pieces of yourself with me from time to time. Even though we are worlds apart, it matters, travelling continents of our bodies with lukewarm fingers.
Instead of being alone together, I prefer this intimacy in isolation. It allows me to have lovers who fill the blank spaces between us. I don’t know about you, but I resurrect when we are apart.