Boy 1 – Wazi M. Kunene

All boys who leave you are like flowers that fall for palms with curvy lines, they blush and lay their necks between fingers of thieves, they let them tickle their heads and compliment their complexion before they die. They think they have escaped the arms of a grave when they allow being uprooted. Silly boys! They forget there is a song underground, they will always return to.

This is the fifth boy who has left me, including my father and I am still waiting for his return. Mother says when my father left, grandmother said ‘I told you he would leave’ and she cooked pap that night. Something that would burn their throats and leave them with heavy bellies, thick arms and cheeks and knees and said ‘you need to hide yourself inside yourself or these boys will leave with all your bones and sadness will swallow you like a toothless beast.’

Boy 1: My father. Mother said he was a sweet man who was stolen by a woman with a big bum. I asked how do you steal a man and she answered, you show him your breasts and he forgets the girl he loved and promised to buy an aeroplane. As a child, I believed Boy 1 was kidnapped by a woman, who has candy like breasts. However it must have been something bigger, Boy 1 surely can’t leave because of breasts! Mother said Boy 1 said he was going to take care of us, she smirks when saying that, I think she knows Boy 1 was and is a coward! Boy 1 was always going to leave.

Boy 2: I was 8 and there was a girl in our class with a toffee apple. He stopped playing with me and played with the girl with the toffee apple. At 31, I still hate toffee apples!

Boy 3: When I was 15, I believed boys could buy you aeroplanes. Mother would beat me up for coming home late and sneaking out to taste a boy’s lips and open my legs for a boy who would make me my mother. I was pregnant and drank dirty drinks to make my child float and wash off for, Boy 3 said he would leave if my stomach were to swell. My daughter is 16 and I guess Boy 3 was also kidnapped by girl with candy like breasts.I think Boy 3 is Boy 1. I think all the boys I’ve been with are Boy 1!

Boy 4: He told me he loved me with all my flaws.My ohso great flaw of a daughter! I was 26 and married toa boy whose white collar kept bumping into a red lipped woman or women. My fists were red, washing and scraping the outside walls of my house so nobody would see I was cleaning up the moans of other women stuck on his thighs, with my knees on the floor, that Boy was my religion!

Boy 5: 31 and he leaves me with what will be Boy 1 to my unborn child. Boys are all like Boy 1, they are all Boy 1 or do they all have a Boy 1?

I remember my grandmother’s words ‘you need to hide yourself inside yourself or these boys will leave with all your bones and sadness will swallow you like a toothless beast.’ Boy 1 swallowed me before I had bones and could Boys really be flowers that fall on palms or is it something I tell myself to keep myself calm when boys grow into their Boy 1 selves and make sure no child grows up not having a Boy 1 experience?

My 16 year old daughter says ‘Mama, I have a boyfriend and his name is Modise.’ I think Boy 1 reincarnated to Modise. Boy 1 is many, Boy 1 is a flower that stands with all the soil and plants himself temporarily on all palms he lays on. Boy 1 is a playful wind that blows all the carpets for no reason. Boy 1 will have you undone.But how do I tell my daughter that Boy 1 is a flashback?Modise, Boy 1, I am waiting for him to turn his back and I will recognise him. I am waiting for him to disappear

Photo: Hazel Fasaha Tobo




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