That’s what I thought of when my lover swept me off my feet — literally — and spun, as I screamed in dizzying delight.
Happiness swirled in my stomach in bright colours: bold red, rich purple, warm blue, brilliant yellow, cool orange, hot pink…
He stared into my eyes, and I saw promises of a thousand tomorrows together, each one better than the one before,
promises that were somehow more potent because they were unspoken.
‘You are beautiful,’ he said, kissing my palm. ‘I do not say it often enough.’
‘I want another sunrise, another sunset, another full moon.
‘I want another harmattan, another Christmas.
‘I want, not just another, but many more 365 or 366 days, times 50, at least. And I want them with you, nkem. Marry me, ifeoma’m.’
He carried my yes with him back to his base; I held on to his promise that he would be back, no matter what.
That’s what I thought of as I spoke with him on the phone: peach, silver, cream, sunset yellow.
He said he missed me in truck loads, that he could hardly wait to see me when he was on pass.
He said he dreamt of me every night.
He said he had to go on patrol so he would call me back.
He said many things.
Grief lines my heart in thick dark clumps of dull, endless gray.
They said his jet was shot down as he was returning from the patrol, that it was clearly an ambush.
They said they had recovered his body.
They said he was a gallant officer.
They said many things.
I didn’t say anything.
When my lover died, I didn’t cry for two days.
The day before I did, his brother, who had been with me since I got the news said he had to go to work.
What a reminder!
My lover died and the world didn’t even miss a turn, just kept right on spinning.
He was my world, as I was his.
I will always know the shape and feel of you, nkem,
But, like air, I can never hold you again.