I want to pull out my hair and gnash my teeth in anguish. I want to slit my wrists and gorge out my eyes. I want to cut off my arms and legs and breasts; breasts that now defy my orders to stay put, and are instead intent on serving the inevitable force of gravity.
I want to do all that and more. I wouldn’t hesitate to, if only it would bring you back. The question however lingers, would it? At the back of my mind I know the answer; and the psychological torture is worse than any physical pain these actions would have brought me.
I received the call yesterday and I haven’t slept a wink. Not for one single second. How could I, when you lie deserted somewhere in the heart of Somali (I’m sorry, I can’t seem to keep track of all the towns you visit….it’s a different town every week and the names all sound the same to Me) with flies swarming over you? Tell me, how could I? What kind of a monster would I be? I’m not sure exactly what kind of monster I would be, I know only that it’s the worst kind of monster, worse than the heartless people who sent you to an even more heartless country. A country that lives by no one’s laws.
I’m sorry I never paid attention to detail. Details of all the towns you conquered, all those victories you told me about belatedly. How could I, when all selfish me cared about was seeing you back home? All I wanted was for the bloody war to be over. Is all. I just wanted to answer the doorbell one day and find you standing there, battered but in one piece. I honestly didn’t care about how battered you’d be. I just wanted you there, in flesh. I didn’t care for the horrible stories of housewives who talked about their men being different once they came back from the war. About how their eyes looked cold and lifeless. About how nothing excited them anymore, not even their own kids. Of the flashes of nightmares and gutless screams every night. About how sex became unbearable, how their husbands went hard and ruthless and violent while inside them, as if maybe, just maybe that would release them from the shackles of whatever demons had now formed a permanent residence in their souls. And how they would stare for long hours at you, seeing you, but not really seeing you. I did not care for any of those; I knew I could withstand the violent sex and the angry outbursts and the horrible nightmares; as long as I had you by my side. And I harbored thoughts of bringing you “back to life” even though deep down I knew you would never be the same again. That everything would never be the same again. I had even booked an appointment with a good therapist. I still don’t understand how they’d let you undergo all those horrors and drop you back as if nothing happened. How they expect you to go back to your lives as if everything is normal. No counseling, nobody to talk to. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Who are these people? They owed you that, at the very least. I wish I had listened to you as you went on and on about your conquests, but I was selfish and so I didn’t. I preferred to live in denial.
Since I received that call I have been replaying the last visit over and over in my head. Darling, I don’t even know how I’ll ever live with myself again. Either the guilt or the loneliness will kill me. I’m counting on the guilt to destroy me first. In fact I’m betting my life on it; yes, pun intended. If only I could turn back the hand of time, if only we could do this all over again… I keep playing the scenarios in my mind and not once does it play out the way it really happened.
You and me, having an argument. I am shouting and throwing things around the house – I am the angriest I have ever been. I hate you at that moment so much. I keep asking you over and over again who she is, why you decided to have an affair with her. You are trying to be calm but your silence only infuriates me further. I’m screaming blue murder. I want out, I say, and you try to plead with me. You ask me to stay, that I am everything you ever loved and that no woman will ever love you like I do. You tell me how no woman will ever mean anything to you, not in the sense that I do. You remind me I am your whole family, seeing as your mother passed away and you never got to know your father. Literally, I am the only family you have left. But I don’t care, I am at the point of no return and I can’t bring myself to accept the fact that you got into another woman’s thighs. You say it’s nothing; it was a temporary moment of insanity. “Babe, you know it meant nothing to me. I had just landed from Somalia and I felt dirty, bloodied, helpless and angry. I needed to release the frustrations….and I needed to immerse myself somewhere and I couldn’t allow you to see me like that.” I remember every single word.
It didn’t do anything to calm me down though. I kept saying how if you felt dirty I should have been the one to share the dirty moments with you, I wanted to understand what you were going through, I wanted us to have this violent sex so that I could know what exactly you were undergoing. How could I understand? How could I understand what you were shielding me from? I was selfish, Is what. You couldn’t stand seeing me with that pained crazy look, so you left. You tried to talk to me the next day, tried to make me understand, tried to tell me over and over again how much I meant to you, how much you love me but I wouldn’t hear any of it. You left for Somali one week later.
Then yesterday…..yesterday…..THE call……
The scenarios play differently in my head. Scenario one, I hold you in my arms and rock you gently to sleep. I lie beside you most of the night, thanking God for bringing you, such a caring loving man, to me.
Scenario two, I slap you angrily and ask you not to repeat it again. I tell you how angry and hurt I am. I especially dwell on the fact that I am greatly disappointed in you, disappointed in the fact that you think I am not worthy of your violent sex. Then again, I rock you to sleep.
Scenario three, I listen to your words without saying anything. I tell you I understand where you are coming from and that what matters is that you are here with me now, not throwing a grenade at some idiot who is ready to lose his life for some 72 virgins somewhere. And I actually mean it. I then undress you and fuck you, slowly at first, then as violent as violent could be. I keep asking you if its violent enough, I want you to hurt me, I want you to hurt me so bad if that would help you feel better in any way.
In all the scenarios that play out in my head, one thing is constant; I FORGIVE YOU.
Oh how I hate myself right now! Chasing you off like that into a battlefield and for what? Sex? Just sex? Sex with a woman whose name and face you probably don’t remember. Come back daddy, and I don’t care how many women you’ll have sex with, as long as you are here next to me, cracking your dry jokes, telling me of all those towns you conquered as I pretend to listen, giving me that horrible back massage….come back my love and lets have all the violent sex you want. Come back and complain about all the pilau I make while all you want is ugali and beef stew….come back my love and let’s argue over ownership of the remote control, come back and scream all you want at night while I hold you tightly with tears in my eyes and try to understand what it is you must have witnessed to make you cry like a little baby, even though I know I would never understand.
You know what, come back and if you ever want to sleep with another woman, I’ll help you choose the best one. Heck, I’ll personally bring you another woman as a second wife. JUST. COME. BACK. Come back and go out with your crazy friends every Friday and come back at whatever time you want as I shift between worrying if you are okay and sulking in the house. Come back and let me touch you for just one more time. Just one last time let me feel you inside me…..one last time as we try in futility to make another baby….come back and I won’t try to stop you from talking about our son who passed away at four years old. I swear, I’ll allow us to talk about him, no matter how much it hurt me.
Come back my love, and let us watch the sunset in watamu together as we have some wine and your favorite meal; roasted red snapper. Come back and let us argue over which place is more beautiful – Diani or Watamu. Just come back please.
Say hi to our son Frank. Tell him I love him so much.