When you told me I would miss you, I did not think it would hit me the most as I stand in the kitchen with an onion on the counter and a knife in my hand. The tears on my cheeks can be explained as the effects of the heavy sounding chemicals and reactions between the onion and those eyes that enthralled you, but I know different. I know it is you that makes my eyes wet and pulls my heart downwards.
I am in the kitchen with him, ‘this one’ who wants to replace you so badly
“Sorry” he says as I wipe my left eye with my left arm.
“Ndo” he says again, standing under the kitchen doorframe, clearly unwilling to come closer.
“Thank you” I mutter, although it is ‘fuck you’ that dances on my tongue and my left palm stings from the strain of imprisoning the slap that belongs on his face.
I rotate the half-cut bulb to another side, getting those tiny onion slices that nearly melt in the oil as I sauté them involves moving the onion around until the whole bulb becomes a mass of translucent chips.
“Is the onion hurting your eyes”
I stop chopping, rinse the frying pan and turn on the gas cooker, I do not answer him.
“’Should I come and help you cook?” he continues, “You know I am a wonderful cook”
“How can you watch me slice an onion? How can you fucking pretend that this makes any sense? Can you not see how much this hurts?” I look at his face, see the warmth in his eyes, and swallow my tirade.
I pour the oil into the pan and wait for the sounds that tell me it is time to pour the onion chips into the hot oil, he hugs me from behind and whispers something I do not catch, but I can bet my life and my love for you, that the words were stupid. I shake my head and think of you.
This one likes to dance; he would play slow songs from the 80’s and pull me to him. He would close his eyes as he moves me from one end of the tiny parlour to the other and whisper ‘I love you’ in my ear while I desperately root my feet to the ground to keep them from flying out of the room. I remember when I was ranting about him to you, telling you how the things he did annoyed me, how his frequent phone calls made me angry
“You no like the guy,” you said and my lips clamped by the truth in your words
This one doesn’t know an argument should always end in laughter and kisses tinged with the threat of more. He beats a point until it becomes unrecognizable, until my thoughts are too battered and I have to agree with him. Ok, that’s a lie; stop smiling! How can I lose to him though? When his brain is barely thicker than cold akamu, I let him think he has won and there is peace in the land.
“You make me happy,” he tells me and I bite my cheek to keep from laughing.
The calendar tells me it has been years since you loved me, even though my heart still has your name stamped across the entire circumference. This one wants to sleep at the corridor with my heart’s door, he wants to be the one with I think of when I think of love. I wonder how he thinks that makes any sense, this one that doesn’t know in all the years I was with you, I never sliced a single onion.
Please tell this one here that love is not fluffy words, forgotten tomorrow or dancing like drunken butterflies to dusty music, tell him how to love me… Please!
Or I could just get a food processor and hug my pillow and think of you again.