I have spent countless Valentine’s Days alone, locked up in my room, holding my pillow, tears streaming down my face, as I sing “Lonelyyy, I am so lonelyyyy, I have nobAdyyy. I’m on my own,” in auto tune.
Before that, my heart had been set on Thomas Birungi, a boy I met during a Physics Seminar at my school. It was love at first sight because the moment our eyes met, I went into a state of oblivion. It was as though I had been electrocuted.
It wasn’t long before Thomas and I started exchanging perfumed letters written on coloured paper, filled with sweet nothings and the promise of forever. Indeed, after two weeks I was his sunshine and he was the love of my life and we both said we couldn’t live without each other. Our love was simple and undemanding; bic pens, kenafric sweets, handmade cards and plastic flowers were perfectly acceptable presents. It was the thought that counted.
We were in different schools and sometimes we didn’t see each other for months but our love knew no distance. Besides, I had his photograph under my pillow and this helped me to...to be honest I still have no idea what the significance of putting the photograph under my pillow was.
Since we could only meet during the holidays, I started making myself available for chores, especially the ones that involved being away from home. Naturally, my mother grew suspicious since she had been accustomed to yelling and screaming before I could do a single chore. Her suspicions were confirmed when our nosy neighbour came to visit and told her that she had seen a certain boy towing me along by the hand on several occasions. Mother turned my room upside down and found stacks of letters and photographs.
The countless letters that Thomas and I had written to each other always had the ending phrase, “I will love you till all the rivers stop flowing, till the wind stands still, till the earth stands still.” I guess I forgot to add, “Till my mother do us part” because as soon as I was given lashes on my bare bottom, I made a new promise; to be celibate forever.