A Love Story

I had a roommate in college. She had a boyfriend who loved books more than he loved her. I should not tell this story, it’s so wrong.. tihihihi.. Ok, I will tell.. but chase your kids out of the room first. So one day her boyfriend came to visit and she was not there.

-Sema Sospeter (not his real name), I greet him

-Sasa ***** (my name at that time, now defunct), he responds

-Where is Siprosa? (not her real name either), he asks

-Alikua tu hapa / She was around here, I say. That’s a Kenyan response that means I know a lot and I’m not snitching.

Lately, Siprosa had taken in a new man. A priest in the making. The ones who take 11 years to become ordained, he told me so himself.

The man had taken a vow of celibacy, but he had discovered the guy in heaven to whom the vows were made was not keeping a score on the use of consecrated body parts.

This celibate side dish came around often, and I knew to leave the partitioned room because the spoons banged on the plates rather loudly when dinner time came around.

Sospeter was a good man from the village, simple and honest, and I did not want to hurt his feelings with the truth. Siprosa was betraying her humble village ways. The city of Nairobi and its throbbing rhythms were swallowing her live-live. Me, I watched.

What I did not know was that good Sospeter already knew about his darling Siprosa fetching water from another well.

Now, Sospeter was also from a community that does not have an h in their alphabet when the h follows an s. This is important to the story, stay with me. Every time he spoke and dropped the h, it seemed to me letters that are neither vowels nor consonants were taking up unnecessary intellectual space in his mind. He loved his books like a fis loves water.

So on this day, he stood by the door, stared at Siprosa’s bed, and said-

“iii, Siprosa. If it is more sex se wants se sould just tell me.” I have never forgotten that tongue twister, a melancholic alliteration that marked the end of innocent loving. I said quietly- yes se sould. Sospeter never came back looking for Siprosa. iii.

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