I woke up early that morning. I took a few moments to study your sleeping features, the contours that made you you. Arundathi Roy described it best when she wrote about the ‘you-shaped hole in the universe’*. In the relatively short space of three months, your presence had been engraved on my little universe.
A boyfriend? No, you were much more than that. More like the twin-soul New Age disciples often talk about. You knew and loved me – imperfections and all. I could tell you anything, and you’d understand. Not that I was the approval-seeking type. Far from it. However, having someone there, by my side, gave me a sense of stability.
I got up and dressed, quietly. As I reached for my keys, you softly sighed and turned on your side. I watched as you kicked the duvet off you. You looked defenseless and adorable.
The hours at work crept by mercilessly that day. I had difficulty concentrating on endless figures and when lunchtime arrived, I decided to go for a walk. As I reached the foyer, I couldn’t help but smile. You were standing at reception dressed in dark denim, holding a single arum lily in your right hand.
For a split second the picture of my life was perfect. With you there, nothing could harm me ever again.
The image disintegrated abruptly as she stepped out from behind you. Donning an uncertain smile, she asked how I was doing. You know, to the garden-variety passerby, it must have resembled a scene from the soaps. The caring, older women reaching out to the younger, detached girl. If they only knew.
I felt the blood slowly leaving my head, my legs giving in on me. Your betrayal a stab in my chest.
It had taken years to start over. To scrape together a life. To partially jik myself of what had left a permanent stain. My so-called high society parents. The trial. Our lives discussed over orange juice at breakfast tables throughout South Africa. My subsequent admittance. Shock therapy. Foul breaths in my neck, wardens looking the other way.
You knew everything. How a compassionate niece had helped me to ‘disappear’. The new identity, job and flat. My new life in a new city, with you!
Why did you have to spoil it and PHONE HER?
At the flat, I excuse myself to go to the bathroom. Sarcastically, I offer to leave the door open. You and my mother laugh nervously, thinking that I wouldn’t possibly escape through the small bathroom window, would I?
I open the tap. When you eventually come looking for me, like I know you will, I drive the knife swiftly into your neck. Your blood is a thing of beauty as it spatters onto the white tiles. A crimson river carrying life from your body. “It’s okay, I forgive you,” I reassure you over and over again as you stumble to the ground.
I kneel over you and kiss you on your mouth. With my index finger, I draw a little heart in your blood. Tying us together in eternity.
Soon you’ll stop shaking. And you won’t bleed anymore. You won’t be able to.
* From The God of Small Things
Design: Elsabé van der Walt and Words: Riehna Kruger