CW: compulsive hair-plucking
Dear Boy I’m missing you again. I am that kind of secretive person who for the longest time hid her deepest feelings from herself. Did you know that I have always had diaries but thought myself far too smart to use them as most people do? I didn’t want to be one of those girls whose secrets were stored some place where rain could smudge them —where unwanted eyes could chance upon them. I thought I was so clever, bottling up my feelings—being my own personal diary. I was so dumb. No wonder I pluck out my own hair. It starts with an itch somewhere in my mind. A red idea trickles down the tips of my fingers and to uproot it, I do away with one follicle and another and another until I have a bald patch and an idea still burning hot. For four years, it has been the memory of you. I refused to believe at first that I was weak enough to succumb to love. I was too smart for those boys who masked sweat with borrowed perfume. This pandemic has taught me that the worst lies are those you keep chanting to yourself — these children of pride. And so, I miss you. I write this diary entry about you now because we’re locked up by borders, curfews and masks. You are one district away from me but we might as well be oceans apart. I miss you. I miss you. I swear on my mother’s brown purse. Let me be a cliché of a girl for once and admit it, not in the antechamber of my heart but on a ruled piece of paper with a blue Bic pen. Let me catch feelings and leave them in a place where the nosy world might find them. It’s not as though I am ashamed. I am not ashamed of you. I know that one day, events will overtake this page; America will find a cure for this thing and our third-world country will get it last. We will be able to get out of the house and I shall follow you and your cool friends to your favorite nightclubs hoping to meet you by chance once again. You might see me and say hi. I will give you a little smile and turn back to my girls because I’ll try to look like your cool, non-clingy ex-girl. Perhaps I’m not the only girl you DM all through the night. You’ll meet someone online, a girl I will definitely hate. She will be light-skinned, two feet taller than I am and her name will end with an e. She will be fluent in Swahili, French, Arabic and her own mother tongue with sculpted eyebrows and 4C natural hair running down the length of her back. Each time you gush about her, you will forget that you stand amidst the glowing embers of my childish love. You will post images of your glossy babies every day on Instagram and I will bawl into my cat’s fur, listening to ‘When we Were Young’ on repeat and wishing I could sing like Adele does. Perhaps you will forget my face and name the same way I tattooed yours on my heart. Perhaps we will lose at this tedious, heart wrenching, waiting game… This was supposed to be a break but we’re texting again. Your voice notes during this pandemic make me wish it would never end. When this is over, will we be an ‘us’ again? Will I have to delete all the-miss-you's and the sleepy goodnights from our archived chats? I know that even then, I will still have this page to look at and it will still tear me apart. Or perhaps (since I am being that cliché of a girl) this thing will work out beyond my nebulous dreams enabling us to do that thing that all boys and girls do—get married that is, (get your mind out of the gutter)—and this book will be mildewed and join my garbage pile. Perhaps that brown girl—that daughter of ours you fantasize about, the one whose hair I promised to shear off as soon as she turns six —will find this book at age twelve or fifteen and ask me what a pandemic is. She’ll wonder who got her mother thinking in such long and winding prose. And perhaps, oh Lord Jesus, perhaps he will still be you. But if it is not and if we never get that forever I too often dream about ever since you came into my life, then I want you to know that you had all of me on the 25th May 2020, a Monday on which I took my diary to the blue-tiled toilet during a lockdown which had entered the third month, my skin repaired from all damage from the sun. Maybe it was the estrogen, the hot water bottle inside my sweatpants, the over-chilled ramen noodles or the hibiscus tea that I downed as I penned these words…but I missed you in a way I could no longer deny. I still really, really, really, really miss you. You brought out the softest parts of me and if one day this page comes up dog-eared and dusty, I know I will not be ashamed to have been in love with you. When this is over, I will take off this mask and say this to your face. ‘I lied. There was nobody else. I’ve always been yours.’
Beeper Peddle is a writer and healer living on the East Coast. She lives with her partner and their beloved soul puppy. Beeper writes about sorrows, lies, and deep loves. When you read her work, you will dip down into her heart and end up in all manner of body parts. Should you find yourself reflected in these words, it is merely coincidence; however, it does not surprise her you share the same heart. Find her at bethpeddle.com and @beeperpeddle on Twitter and Instagram
J. T. Nagundi (she/her) is a Ugandan writer with work published in midnight & indigo, Months to Years, 101-word short stories, Havik, and Writers’ Space Africa. She has a block on WordPress titled “Smoke & Leaves.” Currently, she writes under this pseudonym to hoodwink her friends into reading her work, but plans to reveal her real name upon publishing her first novel. She is a stage actress with the Footlights Playhouse.