Your mood has dipped. It started from the dim in your eyes to the shrinking of your smile, to the death of your laughter, and the stiffness in your body, then the gradual loss of your words — a finalizing and imposing switch from plump long sentences to words, sparse, trickling out of your mouth in crumbs. I probably know why it dipped. Scratch that, I know why it dipped.
Ten minutes ago, we were perfect lovers. You, in your red bum short, my easiest favourite, in the way it hugs your non-existent bum to life. Don’t get me wrong, I love your non-existent bum. But I digress. You, in your black crop top, the one just long enough to hide your short upper body but short enough to give me unfettered access to your amply sized breasts and their generous peaks. My God, I love them the most when they peak to my touch; the way they fit so perfectly, like a match-made in heaven; your moans, so divine, they make my eyes water. I digress again… You curl inside my arms in your messy glory, unwashed for at least a day, but beautiful everyday. I spoon you from behind in just my shorts. I like to keep it ‘brief’, especially when with you. Hormones are always in a rush and I hate to keep them waiting, when they surge in.
Anyway, we are seeing a short movie. I had stumbled upon it on YouTube and thought it would be a quick easy watch before we start to see the weekend movie you chose that I promised we would see. We pick out movies on turns every weekend but I had picked twice in a row, and you let me. How generous of you. This weekend, being the third weekend, I had made up my mind that no matter what, we would see your choice of movie. And I made up my mind real good. I mean, when I saw the short movie whose duration was only 4 mins, I thought we could squeeze it in easy and we would have; except ten minutes later we are still here, seeing the third part of the same movie, another 4-minute version.
Maybe I’m a terrible guy, right? I know what you’re thinking right now. I know I can stop this movie right now. I know we should not have even started to see this movie in the first place, short or not. I know I gave you my word. I know I shouldn’t have had to give you my word in the first place, I should just have let things happen easy the way you make them do. I know these things but the knowledge of it is stressful. Wearisome.
‘How are you?’ I ask, unthinking, but concerned. I am thinking many things that are probably true but it is easier when I’m not making my own theories. I can be a terrible scientist.
‘Good.’ You respond.
See? You’re good. I knew I could be a terrible scientist. The whole conjecture about a mood dip was probably just in my head.
‘Okay babes. I’m good too.’ I hate to bother my head with flimsy things like: why did she not care to ask how I am too? I know you mean to ask but are probably too tired to do so, so I answer anyway.
We continue to see the movie. It should end anytime soon. But you fall asleep, just two seconds before the actual end of the movie; scratch that, series. I fall asleep beside you too.
‘Who makes movies like that, anyway!?’ I ask, incredulously, three hours later. We are both awake and I am narrating to you how you slipped off into sleep just two seconds before the end of the movie.
You smile your shrunk smile. The type that disappears from your eyes long before it appears on your lips.
Maybe you are tired. Right? It’s kind of been a long weekend. We have not really been up to much, but it is probably exhaustion from the busy week.
‘What will you like to have for lunch?’ I try again. Food. You love food. Plus it is good for tiredness. Or rather, good for you and bad for tiredness.
‘Whoa. That tired huh? Sorry, babes.’
You slip back into bed, this time with one of your half read novels. Only this time, you slip back in alive. Your smile, true. Your laugh, ticklish. You are in your own world and it is beautiful to see. But I am by myself. And I hate to feel that way when with you. Together but alone. Did I do something wrong? Or do you just need your space?
‘What are they saying in that book, anyway?’ I ask, jealously– a knock on the door of your world, asking that you let me in.
You spare me a shrunken smile and no words. Ouch. Access denied. I’ll try again later. Hopefully, you let me in then. And we can get back to being chummy and seeing our movie. I wait it out, watching other short videos on YouTube and do my best to create my own world of happy too. It is difficult though, especially when you’re here. I miss you and hate it when you get this way. I wish I can help.
When I hear the tu-dun sound of your netflix app one hour later, I quickly round up my YouTube session and wait to be called in. I would hate to barge into your world uninvited. But three minutes into the movie, all alone, no snuggle, no cuddle, no invitation, I feel deeply hurt. Why would you do that?
‘I thought we were supposed to be seeing that movie together.’ I blurt, half-question, half-statement.
‘Well, I didn’t think you were interested.’ Your longest words to me I wish you had never said.
I let you watch the movie while I nurse my pain. I sleep. I exercise. I cook. I eat. I work. I stand up. I lie down. You ignore me.
I replay the day. I think I know where it all went wrong. The movie time. But can that really be what has got you riled up all day? No, it can’t be. You are probably tired. Or just having your worst mood. It will fly by before we sleep, hopefully.
It is night time now and you prepare to sleep, your countenance towards me very much unchanged. How can you want to sleep when the room is this fucking cold?
‘Is there something you want to say?’ I ask, near my wits end. Out of questions and answers.
‘Like?’ You ask in your most calm unfriendly tone, averting my gaze. You have not looked at me since 10:00am this morning.
‘What’s going on, Darasimi?’
I know by now to just ask you what the problem is. Or rather, to not ask you what the problem is especially when I have an inkling. I also know to not suggest non-existent problems. But…
‘You have barely talked to me or looked at me all day. Is it mood or you’re just tired?’
Shit. I did it again. I knew I should have just come forthright with what I thought the problem was. This isn’t you tired, not wanting to talk to me. The tired you wants a snuggle, the tired you wants me in her head to keep the world at bay. Or are you tired of me? Is that it? Is that why you’re keeping me at bay? Dammit, I hate this! Why can’t this be simple? Why can’t you just fucking tell me what the problem is? Why do I have to do this unmerry-go-round in my head and trace my steps back and contemplate on what’s wrong and what’s not like I’m deciding the fate of the world?!
‘I’m not sure what is going on but I feel deeply hurt. You are ignoring me. You saw the movie without me. You refused to eat and you’re willing to sleep like all is well with the world? I don’t get how you do this but it’s amazing. Kudos to you.’
I crash into bed angrily, my back turned against your back. On a good day, sleep finds me before my back finds the bed. Today is not that day.
‘We were supposed to see my movie but we saw yours instead. Again. Third time in a row.’ You begin, ten cold minutes later. ‘We had an agreement. First, you said the movie would not take long and even after you realised it might, you made a conscious decision to keep watching. Not for once did you ask how I felt about it. You did whatever because it felt cool to you. And you didn’t bring it up after then. Until I started to see it. I’m sorry, this relationship is not just about fulfilling your needs and what makes you happy. I matter too. When you make a commitment to me, it should be binding. When you break it, you should be mindful enough to address it.’
Wait, what? Really? That… of course you matter too. You matter. How… why…? This is tiring. And hard sometimes. Should love really be this hard? I sit up. I want to say something. I turn to look at you; rather, your back. Your back is still turned to me. My eyes bore holes into your spine, hoping they make you uncomfortable enough to sit up and look at me. For once. Again. Since the past 10 hours dammit! We have had this type of fights before, and here, two seconds after you spill it, is when you turn to me demanding a response because I always do not know how to articulate myself at first. But tonight, you don’t.
I lay back in bed, tired. There is a lot I want to say. I know I should say something. Especially start with I’m sorry. But I can’t find my words. Atleast not the right ones. But wait…
‘Are you tired of me?’
Wrong choice of words, maybe. But I want to know the answer. I have to. Yet, as your silence stretches into the night, I am really not sure I want to hear it any more than you want to say it… but are you?
The Short Black Girl, 2021