She was plucking her eyebrows when I got home, seated in front of our bedroom mirror in black lingerie. Her braids were in a messy bun, and her shiny lips and her white toenails were more visible than the perfect dentition she always displayed when happy.
“Pure poetry in motion. Lack of inspiration don’t you think?” Sarah shifted her gaze in the mirror to meet my shaken eyes and words fumbled in my mouth.
“You look splendid”, It felt empty, so empty that I added, “like a thousand splendid suns” and I regretted it immediately.
“Plagiarized compliments now huh?”
“Sarah, I’m sorry! You understand the pressure. I need to say politically correct statements for our own sake. Please understand” I pleaded.
Since Sarah’s nomination to the Senate, things had gone from better to worse in our marriage. I felt little, yet I had expected to feel small. Little because all of my work was revised, criticized, debated and discussed concerning her. Every comment, question or caller wanted to know if she inspired every character I’ve ever written about. One caller with a strong Briton accent asked if she inspired Shola, my short story about a feminist student leader who outrightly called out politicians who picked up girls from campus, impregnated them and forced them to undergo abortions, yet they couldn’t fight against the criminalization of abortions.
I made out her voice when she proceeded to the second and third questions without allowing me the chance to respond. Maya Aswani, she had joined the BBC after her Journalism doctorate in 2018. She termed herself a gender reporter and had quite curved a niche for herself since then. Seated on that expensive, bright yellow Chester seat opposite Amina in the studio, I wanted to ask Maya if her questions were personal, or if another research for her Women in Politics series that had grown so popular.
“She’s powerful, pure poetry in motion. Sarah is a believer in the rights of women. She fights to the extremes to ensure that women are heard, respected and represented. She bears stark similarities to Shola. A fearless leader, one that is driven by passion, anger and the desire to prove her beliefs. But still, I wouldn’t get in the business of comparing my adorable wife to fictitious characters. She’s the woman in my life, these characters could pass as the women in my dreams”. I didn’t pause, lest she posed another question that would throw me in limbo.
“You mean to say she’s an angry woman? Maybe most of the things she does are fueled by anger?” Maya went in.
“No, you must have misunderstood me on that. She just has the power to turn everything good or bad into magic. It’s her superpower”.
“So she’s a magician now?” Amina and I laughed before she intervened.
“One last question please!” A classical Maya move, she always went in hard.
“You said your characters are the women in your dreams. Do you mean to say that these made-up characters are what you wish your wife was?”
It had to be my most significant relief when Amina announced that the show would take a short commercial break before I answered that question. It never occurred to me that people might have comprehended my creative work in this manner. That I wrote about the things I wished for, couldn’t have or hoped to have. Especially, those vivid descriptions of women I gave, were always about Sarah.
We celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary in Diani last month. Her Instagram posts received positive and negative comments in equal measure. Most of them from unverified, pseudo accounts thought she should be submissive, give birth and spend more time in our kitchen than on campaign rallies, speaking for women who were in successful marriages with beautiful children.
A few recognizable names had shared intimate notes, gushing over her vacation body, the political impact she was making across Africa, a happy marriage and the beautiful future ahead of her. She spent most of the entire afternoon deleting the mean comments, checking those profiles and screaming at strangers on the internet who knew nothing about our marriage.
“Did you not hear me Luca?” she was standing, right leg on the bed, exposing her thighs.
“What babe?” I asked.
“Why would you and your ex discuss me on live TV? Have you no respect for me, or our marriage at least?”
“She’s a journalist. That’s her job, while I don’t appreciate the platform she used to ask such personal questions, I believe it’s for the best intentions”.
“Is she the woman of your dreams then?”
“Don’t be delusional Sarah! Do you also share the same sentiments? Why did I expect better from you?”
“Like I expected you to respect, love and support from you!” Sarah screamed.
I edged closer to the closet, a little taken aback. Sarah amazed me in every little and big way. From the beautiful, dark shiny curls her afro hair made when she took out Bantu knots to the shape of her Luhya legs. She logically expressed herself and confidence perched on her skin that it shone so bright. From that blind date, I knew I wanted to get lost and find myself in her, this magnificent, bold woman that made the air around her majestic.
She inspired every feminine character I wrote about after meeting her. Her vulnerability was so fragile like a porcelain doll, that somehow built a china wall well within her. Her elegant self always showed up and showed out. The sincerity in her laughter, the safety in her smile. I hoped that through every character made up, the world would experience the majestic beauty of my wife with me, in limited bits, but powerfully.
Would a confession tone down the rage in her eyes? If I said that I meant it whenever I described her as pure poetry in motion, would she believe that it still feels as though I’m saying it for the first time?
“Your silence is deafening Luca. You’ve spent years in communication lectures standing there and saying nothing”. She was exuding the part of her that I found so hard to put into words. She called out my unprofessionalism even at marriage. Often, I wonder what expertise any married couple should possess. In our countless arguments, she’d point out how I should go about apologizing, asking questions or handling our marital affairs. Most of these times, I was a listener, later, she’d allude to a new awarding story I churned out to my great listening skills. But tonight, I want to be more and do more than just listen.
I made a few measured steps towards her and stopped in my tracks. I was waiting for her reaction before I could make the next move.
“Your eyelashes look pretty messed up love. Let me please”.
Calmly, she made as if to move away, but stretched out her right hand to mine. Had she been reading my thoughts? Her eyes were calmer now but wandering as if looking for answers in mine.
She plucks out her eyebrows when she’s furious about something. For some strange reason, she always dresses up and patiently waits to initiate a fight.
“I know we have a lot to talk about, but do you mind if I take these off you before we do?’
The longing stare in her eyes was pretty much the answer I was anticipating, sometimes, if I misread her response she would go from hot to cold. But not tonight at least.
He was doing it again, pressing me so hard instead of touching, and rubbing. After our last sex therapy session, he was trying to meet my needs, but he just couldn’t.
“Fred, you are hurting me,” I said, shifting uncomfortably.
“But You like this Sarah. Don’t you?”
“You are not doing it right though,” I said, pissed off.
His head was between my thighs, hands stretched far wide apart clasping my hips, somewhere close to my waist, his lips glossed with his saliva, but would taste like my vagina. He was staring at me again, looking defeated. He looked like this often, and I had grown accustomed to it.
“This is not working, and you know why”
“Why Fred?” I had been waiting for this conversation. He’d always tried to bring it up, but he’d often chicken out.
“Your sex toys. I can’t possibly meet the threshold that your machines do. I’m human. not some battery-operated toy” he said as he looked at me.
Everything about Fred felt generic these days. The compliments he gave, the dates he took me on, the depth of his thrusts, his vibe, the stories he wrote and even the conversations we had. It’s almost like his creative tap was running dry.
It was his resolve that we see a sex therapist and I was surprised that he initiated it. I had grown content with self-pleasure that I was always half asleep when he made love to me in the mornings.
“This more about your bruised ego than my toys sweetheart. Do you see the way you look at my security detail every morning, I leave for the office? ” I asked, scared that I might open a can of worms.
“I couldn’t care less Sarah, Do what you have to do, I don’t care anymore”. He had pulled away from the between of my legs and was looking away, his body giving in to the sense of loss showing on his face.
I pushed away the pink duvet close to him, hugged him from behind and planted some kisses on his neck, stretched my left hand to his member and playfully touched it. On my knees, I took him in my mouth and I could hear him moan with pleasure. He liked to be dominated, he knew it, but not enough to admit it to himself, or his readers.
So it so happened, that he stayed up to finish another story. Deep within, I knew I inspired all of his novels, some too good to be true and some ruthlessly harsh.
As I got into the shower that midnight, I wondered if my political career had affected him this much – if I was the man of the house like most tweeps and trolls had labelled me.
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