With a great deal of skepticism in me, I have never understood what people mean when they say they can feel butterflies in their stomachs. Or they cannot live without somebody because of love. And I probably never will because am an oddball; well, the oddest ball I know of. Much of the pleasures in life seem a bit too dull to me. Don’t get me wrong, I can enjoy a good drink just as much as the next guy and I can definitely savor a good dish slightly more than the next guy. The difference is that I live a perfectly boring life; devoid of the little pleasures that people die for. I live on a schedule and my engagements are laid out in a distinct pattern; dinner at a certain time, getting high from a certain time, eating meals in a certain alternating pattern, or watching music videos in a certain sequence, using shower gel and soap in alternating cycles, and exercising in a laid out plan. I know that sounds borderline O.C.D but that is a good thing if you are abnormal.
Which is why I was apprehensive of her at first.
She has effortlessly managed to tumble my world, and even though she has not given me butterflies in my stomach (because am not the butterfly getting kind), she makes the pit of my stomach tighter every time she is not happy. I can tell from the tone of her voice whenever she feels am being stupid. Which is pretty much most of the time. Because am a child trying to grow into a man, and am bound to make mistakes. Many, many stupid and avoidable mistakes. She never judges me though. Whenever she talks, I have to find a place to sit because she commands that much respect from me. We may be talking about something as dull and boring as the failure of Safaricom’s network but those discussion are deep and thought provoking. She tends to draw me into conversations about the future – conversations that I have always dreaded since I first went to boarding school those years back, when I feared thinking of the future because it meant I would miss home and later become homesick. I still don’t enjoy future talk because that creeps the Baby Jesus out of me. I tend to take the phrase carpe diem a bit too literally.
Her voice is the huskiest I have ever heard, with a slight ring at the back. That voice has raised me up more times than I can count – though I have never told her that. She laughs in the most invigorating manner, as if enjoying every second of God’s goodness. You may realize that her lips are parted like the petals of a blooming rose flower and are just as soft if not softer. The gap between her teeth makes her smile ever so inviting, and you would be forgiven for thinking that she is paid to smile at you. And because she is still young and just in her early twenties, her neck has small folds that make me think of tiny shock absorbers. She is my shock absorber; making the toughest of times a whole lot easier to get through. Her words are always so well chosen and have a tinge of encouragement even when I do not need it. She knows how to choose the right thing to say and she is blessed with the gift of swaying discussions and talks to wherever she needs them to go.
The first time I saw her, I recall freezing for a full second longer than I should have. And all the good sense in my head took a flight. I ogled very openly. My heart did not skip a beat though. It gained speed, and I felt my fingers going cold and my head getting lighter. I was just from a seven kilometer cycling bout and was still sweaty in my basketball shorts, gym sweatshirt and flip flops with my phone strapped to a holster on my left upper arm. So maybe it was all the adrenaline in my system; but I still feel light headed whenever she walks into a room. I remember I was listening to T-Pain and Beyonce and Christopher Martin and Tiana. She stood there by the counter, looking like an art exhibit on display; in the tightest-fitting black dress I had ever seen and red rubber shoes. She looked awesome, not just because I love red and black, but because I had never seen that choice of dressing before. She was staring at the screen overhead attentively and did not even spare a second to glance in my direction. I knew the encounter was not a normal one, and I tried to let it go, just in case I had been hallucinating. I remember the guy at the movie shop clearing his throat at me and nodding in her direction. I also recall breaking into a small grunt when she turned her delicate eyes at me for a mini second. I knew then that my goose was cooked. It still is cooked…
It has been nearly two years since that first encounter and she still makes me feel tickles in the back of my throat, and light sensations of cold on my fingertips, a lot more than I did on that first encounter. Her delicate features remind me of motion – because we were taught that curves represent motion. And Dear God does she have awesome curves… She makes each second of God’s beautiful days even more colorful and enjoyable. All my life I have never been insecure or felt inadequate for anybody; but for her, I feel like I need to do better and better and to get a lot more serious with my life.
She prays for me because she is a prayerful woman. And there is nobody more beautiful than a prayerful woman who actively chooses to ride and die with you. Even on those instances when you may not be worth your salt. I celebrate her every single day because she holds a special place in my heart – a big, happy and curvy place.
That deeply husky and smoky voice, with the beautiful chuckle that dots every few sentences, has a way of appealing to every sense of my being. And the content of her speeches are always meant to uplift me rather than crush my spirits – even on those occasions when my stupid spirits deserve a little crushing.
Our interactions taste like that heavenly spread of fruit jam on a fresh slice of bread taken on a cold Sunday morning.
She is zesty and zingy…
I simply call her My Marmalade