The girl at the bar

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tinsmush

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Her name was Love. She said it with a mischievous smile breaking on her face, like a joke, a trick. The trick certainly worked on me. She was the first Love I had met.

We met in a bar. She usually came at night, never in daytime when the bar was empty, music bouncing from wall-to-wall in the empty space. There was something daring and provocative about her. The dark glasses she wore, the tattoo trying to leap out of her T-shirt, the nose ring, the long dreadlocks, the golden laughter she let out sometimes.

Even though her eyes were always hidden behind the dark glasses, she never failed to smile. “Can you see anything with your sunglasses on?” I asked her once. “The big show is inside my head,” she said.

I tried to ask around who she was. Siyana nehure iro, leave that whore alone, was the refrain. She became my secret yearning. Her routine never changed – walk-in, order a quart of Castle, smoke, sometimes fidget with her Blackberry. Its screen was mapped with cracks of negligence. She didn't seem to care. Most nights, the phone was her only companion. She always stayed until Leonard Cohen started singing closing time. By the time I finished my shift, the night would have swallowed her.

We never exchanged many words. The intrigue of the unspoken. The day we kissed, she came in as usual wearing a red polka dotted dress that formed a V-line at the junction between her breasts. That night I became too distracted and too slow in service.

She left the bar as she always did. After locking up, I saw her standing in the dark, back to wall, smoking. She called out, iwe huya pano. Come here. I turned to look around. There was noone else besides myself. I walked over to her and before I could say anything she pulled me and gave me a long, dizzying kiss. She whispered, the name is Love, laughed, before turning away to leave.

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