I do not know when I fell in love because I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love her. I first met her at a book signing, I was there with my Aunt and she was there with her friends. It was one of the increasingly popular ‘Afrocentric’ gatherings and every one present was a shade of brown with amazing, stylish natural hair . I couldn’t stop staring. She claims she noticed me before I ever spoke to her and I choose to believe her because I want it to be true.
It is amazing what the mind does, what it chooses to remember.
Of that day, I remember the smell of the sweat that coated me after my rush to get to the venue and not keep my aunt waiting. I remember the tightness of my braids, freshly done that very day. I remember the colours, so unusual in London, even on a summer evening. I remember my aunts eagerness to introduce me to ‘her friends daughter’. She.
I remember her smile and her bare forearms. I remember her dictating to me that I must take a picture and I remember complying. I remember most vividly the feeling of loss when she said she was leaving and I remember shrugging it off, waving goodbye and accepting that I would never see her again.
She told me today, she doesn’t want to be with me.
The second time I met her by chance at Spitalfield Market. This time I first saw her, smiling at the florist while picking out sunflowers for her bouquet. I stood watching her for a few minutes, wondering who the flowers were for, then I crossed the road to say hello. That was the first time we had a meal together. I enjoy eating with her. I didn’t want to leave her so I invited her to my favourite book shop and we spent hours browsing and reading out loud to each other and laughing. From that meeting, I remember her laugh, her mouth, her fingers, her perfume, her coffee breath and her eyes.
She has a girlfriend and wants to be friends.
I went home after our second meeting on cloud nine; we scheduled another date for the weekend. I was to plan everything and I was looking forward to showing her ‘my London’. On our first date we went to see a play called Zhe, she loved it. I packed a picnic for after but it rained. I was distraught. She smiled and told me to take her home. I did. Of this date I remember her moans, tracing the path of her spine with kisses, worshiping at her collarbone, ‘tipping the velvet’. I also remember whispered conversation, stifled giggles, warm cuddles and waking up to an empty bed.
She loves me but wants to explore other options.
The last time I saw her, I refused to say goodbye. We laughed, loved, conversed, pretended but refused to discuss our situation. I asked her to marry me jokingly, seriously, pleaded and threatened. I don’t wish to own her I just want her to come home. My last memories are of her vacant stares, secret conversations, jumpiness, sad smiles during my tantrums and the smell of quiet despair.
This is my response: I am sorry I am not enough. I love you, Go in peace.
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