“Stolen water is refreshing; food eaten in secret tastes the best!”
I blink rapidly as I try to take in my surrounding. The harsh glare of the lights taunts my pupils. I squeeze my eyes shut and open them after counting slowly to sixty. I grunt as I roll on my back. I could get used to this life. I really could, but the real world is like the mocking audience of a talent hunt. It knows exactly what you are about.As I try to quietly roll off the bed, my waist is caught firmly in his left arm. I let myself get dragged into his embrace.
I sigh in contentment. I turn so that I am facing him and I bury my face in his chest. I have to go. He releases me reluctantly. I whisper a tentative, ‘I love you?’ He grunts his response into the pillow. I dress up quickly and move to his side of the bed to pick up wrist watch. He grabs my right knee playfully. I squat and hurriedly drop a wet kiss on his forehead.
The slamming door swallows my reply.
I dash to the bus park and dash into the last seat. I feel my face burn under the dagger being shot by the other woman who could have taken the seat. I glare at her in return. I settle into my seat and clasp my hands as they rest on my thighs. My engagement ring beams at me. I sigh again. I had been worried he wouldn’t ask. I run my palm over the ring again. I stifle a giggle. It is quite ticklish.The engine of the bus roars to life and settles into a steady hum. The woman behind me clears her throat.
‘Good morning, beloveds…’
Oh no, not today, please. I search my bag for my earpiece. I must have left it at his house. I guess I will just have to zone out this time around.
‘… It doesn’t matter at all. What matters is it is not too late for you to turn your life around. We are all held to one standard. X is an armed robber, I just take change from my mummy’s purse. Bukky is a runs girl, I only have sex with my fiancé. Beloved, before God, X, Bukky and I are sinners. There are no levels…’
I clear my throat.
‘Jesus came for all of us – liar, petty thief, armed robber, runs girls. He loves you. He died for you to be more than whatever label you thought you came with. Believe in your heart and confess with your mouth. That’s all. Say this prayer with me…’
I tell the conductor I would alight at the next stop. The words of the woman echo in my head. I hope they stay behind as soon as I am out of the bus. They are killing me.