I gave her a zealous smirk when I walked into my office, where she had unwearyingly waited for ten minutes. I had invited her there looking for some assistance in killing Lyne, or maybe a reassurance I was going crazy. If there is anyone who knows me, it is her. She lay in my bed for almost a year and when out vocation prospects didn’t agree, we had to part ways. But on this auspicious day, when my heart was foggy with rejection, rebuffs, and humiliation, I know she could mend it up.
She stayed there her arms crossed over her leather bag, a bag I didn’t buy for her. She had a seemingly sweaty forehead and her pink dress didn’t match her astuteness. It made her look fragile and rained on. Maybe Edwin, her current boyfriend, was not good as I was- I would never have let her wear that when meeting her ex, or maybe he didn’t even know. No matter how I looked at it, her relationship was also in trouble. But I knew she was stronger than I can ever be, she would never trade inside information with an Ex- Whatever that means.
We hadn’t said a word since she arrived. I fixed her a cup of black coffee the way she did mine every morning until we broke up. She held the cup tightly and I noticed her palms were a little sweaty too. Her hair was impressive but didn’t bout with her tranquility. Just above her wrists, I could see a ribbon of fear and confusion. Her eyes had a dark line of wishes and desires. And I knew she could see my pain too.
“Why did we break up” She asked swiftly after taking her first sip. She uncrossed her legs and stepped on her elegant four-inch heels, leaned forward and stroked her hair backwards- The cleavage was there for me to see but I didn’t.
“It is funny how things ended uh,” I said, stashing my papers away from the table to avoid the gaze. I felt so weak when she looked at me like that.
“It is not funny, it is pathetic- Okey, it was funny at first, but not anymore”
“How is your Job”
“You know that I can handle- Lyne is what I can’t handle”
“It is never easy, Edwin is becoming hard too but I must fix him; that is what strong women do, right? And if you can’t handle a woman, chances are you will choke on your career”
I didn’t answer because I knew exactly what she meant. I remember all those days she fixed me and pointed me in the right course. She was my collector and corrector of both ideas and mistakes. She was my alarm, a nurse, a mother and a boss. Lucie was a strong woman from birth. Women who can make a man by pushing, bullying, and later boob slap. She will push you to a meeting which you have no chance of winning and she know it. Later when you get home she will fix you a hot shower, well cooked food and later allow you to sleep on the couch resting your head on her boobs. At that moment, you brain goes to her soul. Some days, we could read to each other as the music hummed softly on the background. And I always slept, there on her laps like a baby and never felt weak.
I just stared and realized how much I missed her. I had left something excellent for an abused relationship.
“Do you go to church” She asked after noticing how sad I was to hear that she was now fixing Edwin and not me. That guy was literally eating my cookies and Lucie knew it too.
“No, I stopped that- I work 16 hours a day, two offices and a very cold home- Sometimes I sleep here, I pointed at the waiting couch just a few meters in the verandah”
“Maybe church might be warmer”
“I agree but how well can I talk to all those people? You always did the talking and now I am just a broken man-toy”
“That means you are drinking again”
I nodded and felt my eyes warm up with hot tears. I wanted to cry. Drop at her feet and beg her to come home, but we both knew that was not possible. Maybe I didn’t miss Lucie, maybe I missed a woman who can see me through 24 years of tribulations and failures. I needed a woman who understands that a man is not always complete.
“Maybe you should turn things around with Lyne- It is time you fixed her before she kills you”
“Leaving her wouldn’t be enough, she owes me a lot- And I am now mad at myself for wasting so much energy on her”
“You can be stronger than that, you just need some fresh air and a hamburger”
“No, I am fine Lucie, really, and I got some work to do”
“And you are wondering what is wrong with you?”
“It is Lyne, she is the problem” I was certain
“No, it is your Job that is the problem- Who works more than sixteen hours a day anyway? And who runs two offices, and anyway you look hungry and tired”
She was right, that morning I hadn’t taken my breakfast and I haven’t taken it for a long time. I no longer love resting on my bed. I loathed getting home and finding Lyne with her friends discussing dealings and money. I detested feeling a stranger in my own house. It has been two years of composure, but I was losing it now.
“Just get the damn car keys, we need a hamburger, at least I do”
I slipped into my jacket, which has hung on the chair for almost a week and stripped down the watch I had received from Lyne. As she fixed my sleeves and did my collar, I apprehended how much I overlooked the small things.
Two years ago, Lucie was my woman. She was a nag, a bully, but she was everything else. She had no secrets and very respectful. She knew how to be a woman with house rules. After we broke up, I started dating Lyne and she dated Edwin. Lyne is a moneymaker, power woman who has no regards for home. Her composure despite my shortcoming really troubles me. I want someone who can get mad at me and still fix my drink. Someone who is a little insecure but her trust on our love overrides the suspicions.
Lucie left her chair and went to the window with her coffee in her hand. She just stood there her back stunning back on my gaze. She has always been beautiful despite the fact that she doesn’t have an Instagram account. A committed executive with six lives; one of which she shared with me selflessly.
“You can be strong than this Nigga, Just remember all the lesson I taught you when we lay on that floor back then, when you couldn’t afford a bed”
“I remember those lessons”
“Now use them- Life is binary my boy, no woman will love you the way you want, so the first thing is never love itself, it is all about how far she is willing to make you the man you want to be. A woman will cripple you, and later she will leave you because you can’t afford a trip. Just make sure, no matter how many waves you face in your relationship; jump a career wave like the strong man I know you are. Back in the day, we never ate hamburgers, but I made sure you were relaxed, because I knew you need just enough peace to afford a lot more. In my own way, I was buying my hamburgers by making you a guy who can afford them. And now you owe me one, can we leave already? I should be back in the office in hour’s time”
I opened the door as she reached for her handbag. As she passed under my bicep, she halted and bent over to get something from her bag. It was Delcotte Pour Homme, a Swiss Men’s spray and her first gift to me. She handed it over and vanished down the stairs. I smelled the fragrance of the spray and remembered every bit of her. Lucie loved wearing my dirty shirts when she worked in the house. Every time I walked home, I found her in my shirt, a hot pant and no makeup. That spray is what defined my home lucie. I had learnt to love myself back then.
I locked the door and sank back on my seat. Holy crap, how I missed her, but now it was all gone.
Minutes later I joined her at the parking lot and we drove off. I remember her telling me to buckle up and be careful. When we joined Thika road at Globe, she became my speedometer as usual and insisted on hundred or below. And an hour later, we were at Thika taking the hamburger just next to her office. I waited in the car where she handed me a sandwich and a bottle of water.
“Duty calls, it was nice seeing you big boy, and you need to get a shave and stop being sad- I shall be in touch”
As I drove back to Nairobi, all buckled up and below 100 Km/h I realized i have been abused for so long. I will never have my Ex, but I am forever indebted that she reminded me of what I deserve. I couldn’t help thinking that I have only one hour to feel weak before I went back to the league. Barking over the phone and reasoning with unwilling clients. Handling bullshit from Jane the secretary and looking all rigid as a rock lest the world knows how this boy is afraid to live.
My phone ringed, and it was Lyne. My troubles for the day had officially begun. I steeped on the gas and exceeded Lucie’s limit. It was time to hate life all over again.