Dear Modupe,

I have formed a strange habit of writing to you every day, even though I know you will never read these letters. Today is day three hundred and sixty-five, and my new year resolutions include forming new habits, but I know already that sooner or later, these new habits will fizzle. Today, I write to you about this house, about us, because these are all I’ve been able to think about lately.

Modupe – your name is tattooed on the left side of my neck. The first thing I noticed when I saw you was the way your eyes popped out of their sockets. Next, was your oval face, lush lips, pointy nose, and afro bun. Right there, I was convinced that you were an angel in human form. I probably never told you, but when I saw you, I pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. That day, you caused quite a stir. I wasn’t the only one enamoured with your celestial beauty, you know? That day at the bank, so many men and women could not take their eyes off you. So, I had to try my luck before anyone there did. Walking up to you and asking for your number was one of the boldest moves I had ever taken. I knew you didn’t want to give it to me at first. You stood there, looking at me, assessing me in your hesitation, until five torturous minutes after, when it was almost your turn in the customer service queue, you dropped your complimentary card. It read: Model & Dancer. I did a little victory dance in my head.

You had no idea how many hours I spent scrolling through your Instagram and watching you move your body in Afrobeat styles on YouTube. I just couldn’t get enough. It felt as though I was under a wicked spell. Day and night, you were all I could think about, and after a month of suffering in silence, I called you. When you picked up, your soft voice swayed my senses. That day, I swore to myself that I had two options. One, to pursue you and make you mine. Two, to die, for I felt it was better to be six feet under than to not have you by my side. After several months, I accomplished number one, and moved in with you. My friends and family thought me foolish. Was it not a woman that was supposed to move into a man’s house? And there I was, driving miles with my box to live with you on the outskirts of town. The first months of living in your house, our house, was pure bliss, until things started breaking down.

Even though it’s been a year since you left, I still haven’t left our haven. I sleep in it once in a while, but there is something about waking up in this godforsaken house that makes me want to tear down the memories I have in it, wipe my slate clean and re-write history, for the history ingrained in this place is something I so badly want to blow up and forget it ever existed. Yesterday, I spread open the greyish-brown curtains, and sighed. Then, the breathing started. It’s what happens when one has carried the burden of everything that could have been on their heart. A weight so punitive. So, I breathed in and out, to release the burden, and when I was done, I felt as light as a balloon in the sky.

Today, things happen to be different in a somewhat good way. The large windows reflect rays of sunshine. The huge flowers around it are a proof that growth lives here. The clock ticks loudly, and I can only remember those days when the ticking haunted me while I waited through midnight for you to come home. I have always felt like time was an athlete running, and I could not catch up with it, no matter how fast I ran. I do not like looking at the bathtub and seeing its milky whiteness, for it is a proof that good lives here and that is simply deceptive.

Remember that night in the bathtub? That day, with your body pressed against my muscular frame, I ran my fingers through your hair and told you that I had always thought the first syllable of your name sounded like the word mould. I did not tell you that I thought I could mould you into a different woman, the kind you’d always wanted to be but never thought you could. That I could, while moulding you, remove residual stones and sands from your frame, so that you could become a masterpiece. My masterpiece. After I told you your name sounded similar to mould though, you laughed for what seemed like hours, and while running a finger down my spine, asked me how I always came up with strange theories. And I told you that you carried the heavy toll of all that had, could have, and should have been on your shoulders, and that if I could, I would love you long enough to make your hurt go away. Long enough to take on your burdens so you could be light, and I, the sacrificial lamb. You kissed my brows and told me I already loved you long enough to make your hurt go away. Shrugging and pulling you closer, I said, And after the loving, does it not come back? You wiped a tear trailing down your face and I smiled sadly. It does, you said, it always does.

On lonely days, the night we fought still plays as vividly as daytime’s blue sky in my mind. You said that I always tried to control you, to tie a noose around your neck and make you my slave. It was never my intention, Modupe. In my mind, I thought of it only as protecting what was mine. That night, you came back a quarter past two in the morning and I flared up as soon as you walked through that door. I want you to know that I wasn’t angry because you had gone out… no, not at all, because at the beginning, you told me the truth as it was. You told me that you were not the type to be controlled by any man. You were the type to live life on your own terms and do whatever the hell you wanted. In simple words, you were a free spirit. And that if I did not think I could handle it, I should not start a fire with you. But I was already too deep in love with you to care about your flaws. In fact, I did think I could handle it then.

Now that I reflect, I realize I could not handle you, I could not bear thoughts of you staying out at night at wild parties and doing dirty things with God-knows-who, while I stayed up at night and counted the minutes it would take for you to come back. A part of me thinks I was too obsessed with you, which was catastrophic. I ought to have found other hobbies to keep me busy, rather than make you the centre of my whole world.

That night, I pointed my fingers at you and raged like a roaring lion, asking you where you had been, and you simply told me in a quiet voice that you owed me no answers, and that you were a free being, not something to be watched over and protected. Immediately when you said those words, I did not know how my hands moved across your face. It was a deadly mistake, which I realized when you staggered and stood peacefully still. Maybe you were right to not consider my kneeling and rolling on the floor in begging, maybe you were right to spit on my face and pack your things. Maybe… just maybe.

My mother habitually said from the start that we were wrong for each other, and that you would be the death of me, but I was intentionally blinded by love. It was you, or no one else. Sometimes, I wish I could re-live my life, but when I think about us, I bite my lips for a while longer and laugh at myself. Who am I kidding? The irony of it all is that if I were to do this all again – that is, go out that day, stumble upon the fairest maiden I have ever set my eyes on, fall in love with you, make you mine, and break myself in the process – I’d do it without a second thought.

One cannot separate the pig from the mud. Maybe I’m like that pig. It loves the mud, which is its first love, and no matter the obstacles, it will always return to it. It is the same with me, Modupe. Even after everything we’ve been through, and the way you left this house after our quarrel that night, leaving to never return, I still harbour a small hope in my heart that one day, you will find a place in your heart to forgive me and come back. And if eventually you do, I will be waiting for you, Modupe. Every once in a while, I come to this house just to clean it up. I make sure the windows are sparkling and the bathtub is just ready for one to shower in it. All because of you. I want you to enter the house and know that you have, not for once, left the four walls of my heart. Even now, as I’m writing this letter, I’m biting my nails, listening to the slow and significant tick-tock, tick-tock of the clock, waiting to hear you knock on this wretched door, and walk right through it once more.

Yours lovingly,












Photo by Moon on Unsplash