Short Stories, Tale Africa

Her Last Words

By David Tumusiime, Uganda:

My girlfriend just left me ten hours ago. What is that? Girlfriend? She is a woman. Hmmm. She was a woman. Hmmm. Three years, ten months, three hundred nineteen days and she is gone.

What's wrong with her?! No one leaves me! I leave!  The slut… three years, ten months, three hundred nineteen days and you know what she said? Hahahahahaha!

That's my mathematics brain working there! I remember everything! The slut! She has kicked me out…she has kicked me out…pass me a drink. After three years, three whole years and three hundred nineteen days and all I can think about right now are the last words she said to me. Her last words were “Leave my keys on the mat as you leave”.

Will I ever forget those words? “Leave my keys on the mat as you leave!!” She was a virgin! Doesn't that mean anything anymore?! She can't leave! I leave! I'm in her mind, forever! Doesn't she know that? I'm the best she will ever have! Has ever had! Can ever have! Am I? What are you looking at?

Mathias, what are all these people looking at? What are they looking at? Don't they know I can chase them out of my bar? This is my bar! Mine! She can't take this at least. This is mine.

That slut! She is going to cry! She is going to come begging me to take her back. I know that. She will. I'm the man and she's the woman. It will be like that. She thinks men like me are easy to find? She will learn! Hmmm. That house she is chasing me out of, every brick in that house is full of my blood! Every tile in those floors is slippery from my sweat. And she's telling me to get out?

“Leave my keys on the mat as you leave!!” I never ever thought she would say that. “Leave my keys on the mat as you leave.” I bought that mat! Hmmm.

Mathias, this Richot bottle is whistling!

 

Three years, ten months, three hundred nineteen days and all I get is “Leave my keys on the mat as you leave”. Three years. What happened to her? What happened? Three years ago she would never have said that? Two years ago she would never have said that. Last year, well, this year…things were different. But all I want to know is what happened to her? I didn't happen to her. Hmmmm.

I have been played. Yes, it has happened to me. I have been played. Me? I never ever thought that would happen. You know that song, “Man is smart, woman smarter”? It's true now. Madeline has made it true. Madeline “my mother doesn't want me to do those things,” Madeline. Madeline “I don't do bad manners before marriage,” Madeline. Madeline. My Madeline.

I was going to marry her. What more did she want? I'm a man! I'm a man! …I'm a man…I'm a man.

 

Maybe I should have been more a man. Women need a real man: A real man who can slap them a bit to show them who is in charge. I should have slapped her a bit more. God knows, she needed it. Kindness? Kindness doesn't work.

 

Do you know all the things I have given her? Do you know how much money I have spent on her? A senior six girl fresh out of a nunnery style school, A girl so naïve she didn't know how to kiss. A girl so poor she didn't know what 'Always' was, before me. I educated that girl! I sacrificed! I sacrificed everything for her! My money, my time, my….

 

I didn't educate her to end up blubbering, “Leave my keys on the mat as you leave.” I didn't do that.  I didn't…I don't know what happened to her. I don't know what happened to my…I don't know what happened to Madeline. What happened to Madeline? Madeline, Madeline, Madeline. Oh Madeline. I need another drink. I did not sleep last night. I can't sleep…because of Madeline.

 

I shouldn't have left. That house is my house! It's my house! It's mine! I built it! I didn't build it just for her! It's mine too!

Madeline…Madeline…what have you done? Madeline! Do you know me? Do you know what I will do? Hmmm. No one leaves me. No one leaves me! Hahahahaha! I don't even believe myself. No one leaves me…and yet she has left me. She has left me.

Do you know when you know she's not coming back? She leaves. Hahahahaha! No this Richot is not getting to my head yet. She leaves. Not for another man. She leaves to be alone. Madeline has left me to be alone. She has left me to be alone – to be alone in our house. How can she be alone in that big house? That six room bungalow? She had to sleep with the lights on when we were still living in a two room kazigo! Any sound and she was screaming!

When she was sleepy… I remember how she used to get so tired of reading and couldn't keep her eyes open yet she had to stay up all night reading/studying for her exams. In those days, oh those days, I only had to drop a cockroach in the book she was dozing over for her to yell I was murdering her! Fully awake again!

How can she stay in that big house alone? Naalya maybe an estate but everyone is on their own inside their high wall fence. Hmmm! She will call me. She can't live in that house alone.

I don't want any of her silly “Wasomerawa” friends in my house! She knows that I don't want any of them in! They always thought I wasn't good enough for her. Why should anyone judge me just because I didn't go to Makerere University? Just because I am a “Musubuzi” in timber and charcoal? They think I'm not good enough for her. Who connected them with jobs after Makerere when they were yawning for jobs? Hmmm?!

If she brings Timothy, there's going to be 'katemba!'. A woman's best friend cannot be a man! You're right my friend! Whether he's a side B or not, as long as he is a man, he is a man, and he does not get near my woman! He's a man! It's not right! Mbu “he is my study partner.” I know what he was 'studying' whenever he was with her mbu they were 'reading.' Hahahahaha! At least I once heard her telling him, “Timo, I like you, you're so like my little bro!” Hahahahaha! That woman could castrate!

My problem was that I wouldn't let her castrate me. I'm a man! Live with one woman…am  I a priest?! Oh sorry, sorry, you're quite right about that by the way, even priests can't do it. Hmmm. I'm a man! I was being a man. It's not like my affair with Madeline's sister was for more than two months. She's the one who wanted it! I was drunk most of the time. I didn't even get to enjoy it. She was terrible! I don't understand why Madeline is making such a big deal over this. It couldn't have been more than ten times that I slept with her sister! I really love her. You're right, she'll take me back. She will.

My girlfriend just left me. What was it? Ten, eleven or so hours ago. What is that? Girlfriend? She is a woman. She was a woman. Hmmm. Three years, ten months, three hundred nineteen days and she is gone. What's wrong with her? No one leaves me! I leave!  The slut… three years, ten months, three hundred nineteen days and you know what she said? Hahahahahaha! …she has kicked me out…pass me a drink. After three years, three whole years and three hundred nineteen days and all I can think about right now are the last words she said to me. Her last words.

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