They are friends again; now that the traffic has turned that sleepy green, allowing cars pass and there are no customers on the pedestrian walk to juggle over.
“How much did you make?”
He smiles into her face.
She chooses their normal route of conversation. He twitches his lips. His almost empty blue bowl begins to dance on his head. He tips it, reaches for and bites the corner off one of the two unsold sachets, showing his half broken front tooth. As he downs the water, he studies her, like he does every morning before their goodbyes. Her small beautiful feet in the charlewote meant for a girl a year older, her rounded lips, freshly licked.
He would remember every line, skin texture, even into his oldest age; he can swear. His watching her doesn’t end, even as she faces him with her own empty bowl beating lightly on her hips, rhythm to the words she only can hear.
“I said you first.”
She teases. She enjoys how he suddenly stops looking and truly struggles with keeping this truth from her. She understands. The decision to tell or not to tell is a hard one. She sees it, in her own truth she’s keeping from him. This afternoon, her Aunt says she must be sent for the cutting; a mark of all the women she comes from. She, her Aunt, says it will pain her but she cannot stop her going. She knows it too. She heard the loud barking from the clan messengers when her Aunt mentioned rescheduling, the need for her not missing her first exams. That hasn’t bothered her like the gnawing dreams she’s woken from each night. The present knowing that her goodbyes said today will be the last she’d ever say.
She sees now that they are only a few feet from her turn. She steps in front of him, kisses her palms and places it on his budding chest. The two lovers said goodbye this way, in the Korean series she watched last night. Only he doesn’t understand. He once said he only watches the fight in the rings like boxing. That is for men. He looks silent at her, knowing nothing of the sand storm she’s holding in her own chest, afraid to let free against their always finding each other here. Especially on days like this, days with less sun. She remembers how he whispered you are beautiful their second walk down together. It was a soft ball rolling gently from his tongue into her heart. Then always caged. She will always remember. This kind of love does not die with a goodbye.
Before she can be sad, she smiles, watching the sun rise.
PS. I’d like to make this story more complicated. Add some more layers to it later. So, feel free to suggest any. For now, I hope you liked it.
© Awo Twumwaah 2019