By Damali of Kyanjja:
If you flirt with the devil you should be ready to sleep with him, or that is what they say. Who “they” are is a different matter and a discussion I cannot indulge. But, and this is important, there is no rule that if you flirt with the devil you should sleep with him, unless of course you actually want to sleep with him. And so begins the nightmare that was Friday 13th.
Contrary to popular belief, it was not a bad day. No one died – none that I knew of at least. No accidents affecting me or people I know. But it was both a beautiful and dreadful night, especially as the hour hand slowly worked towards midnight.
We met at the usual spot of an old building on old Rubaga road. It was used primarily for residential purposes, with six flats housing six families. Some had children, and some did not. We had lived here for the last one year and had discovered that the flat rooftop could be accessed by way of a light but stable steel ladder leading to an easy to move plywood piece. Sarah and I loved it there. We had met only a few months prior while each tried to find a space for solitude – a place to think, to be away from people.
The road was not too noisy at night and the surrounding lights from several buildings often made it seem like there was a carpet of stars beneath us. We spoke little and sometimes much. Often it was about dark veils and sinister desires – of recklessness, illegitimate desires, of hunger beyond hunger for food. Everything and anything could go. It was a different world. Very different. I found myself enjoying my time with Sarah more, perhaps more than I needed to. I looked forward to it. Longed for it. Planned, in my mind, all day how it would go – but whenever we met, I let it unfold at her pace. A light touch here, a giggle there – never a hug. It was too soon. I might scare her away.
She had spoken a lot about desiring freedom. Freedom from it all but she never spoke of what “it all” was. I understood. She could not talk about it. I did not need to probe. She spoke more and more of freedom and desiring to be free.
Tonight, her eyes lit up as usual, “It is the right time, and tonight is the night.”
She walked towards me, took my face in both her hands, “I am so happy, I could kiss you.”
She giggled, then let out a rippling laugh, letting go of my face. It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. It was also the first time I had heard her laugh. It was beautiful.
Running back to me and taking both my hands in hers, she said, “You have been the best part of this year. Thank you for listening and for understanding without asking.”
With that, she drew me in an embrace – odd, we had never hugged – and then her hands to my face again, kissed me tenderly. I closed my eyes, and discovered a sea of emotion I did not know existed in me. The world was perfect. It was as it should be. As she brought the kiss to an end, I felt my soul want more. She let go and I kept my eyes closed only a little longer as I felt her step away and walk away from me.
I opened my eyes in time to see her smile.
“Turn around,” she said.
“No. I want to see.”
“Thank you,” she smiled again.
I could feel the tears threatening to burst at the edges of my eyes. With a light blown kiss, she stood on the edge of the rooftop, looked at me one last time, smiled warmly and tilted backwards.
I knew what lay at the bottom but I dared not look. It was only a shell. She was free.
Time check: 23:47, on Friday 13th.
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