Poetry, Tale Africa

For the First Time

By Emmeline Bisiikwa, Uganda

Last night,when you told me you still love me.

I felt it, the stirrings of my grizzled heart beat.

I knew that under all the hate and pain

I still loved you.

We had been through too much for you to become a distant regret.

 

Falling in love with you was so easy

It felt so right even as we hurt others

Just to end up together.

I thought having you as mine would fix everything that felt wrong .

We kept going trying to right past wrongs.

We only got even when we couldn’t stand being together.

 

I bet your new ex-girlfriend wishes she had erased me from your memories.

Just to make sure I never came up in your conversations.

I admit I smiled when you told me you called her my name. Several times.

After all, she worked her way into our downward spiral that I thought had no end.

 

See, I thought we would never end, not really.

We had ups and down, makeups and breakups the rollercoaster was scary but fun.

I thought however bad things got, we would fix it.

We always did.

I wanted you even at the worst of times.

 

And just to prove to me that every now and then love takes a little more work than you planned.

I remember how easily we messed up

Each choice was the wrong one and I wish we could have a do over.

I always believed that real love is kind of like a mix of goodness and pain

and wishes and forgiveness and sheer will.

 

The first time you held me,

I knew I wanted you never to let go.

You showed me that you would wait impatiently,

but you wanted to own me.

And you did for a while.

 

Last night, you told me you wanted to try again

but you were scared. And didn’t think I wanted to.

And I didn’t have the courage to tell you

I would take you back in a heartbeat.

See, I convinced myself I was over you and I forgave you.

Truth is, I want to feel like I did when you first loved me.

I want to feel the first kiss and the excitement

when we were together for the first time.

And then have everything we lost so I can know

that true love exists and if it’s meant to be,

Then it will be

Everything will be magical like it was

the first time you came into my orbit.

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