Open Secret by Anna T. D. Gowera
It is not a habit I am in because I hate it when people do it to me but hey, I was bored and had had a long day… So I looked over her shoulder; the lady on the seat in front of me in the commuter omnibus. She typed out her message slowly, deliberately. Erased a word. Typed in a different one. Perhaps, a better suited one, for whatever reason. A gallon of paint could have dried waiting for her to complete her text.
Finally, progress. She made her text out to one named “Mpofu” and I thought to myself, “Okay, girl texts guy; this could be juicy. Could’a given him a more appealing name though.” She went on with putting her thoughts to the little screen. “I love you too” – well hello, iris adjust to take it all in – “but I cannot help feeling guilty, I do not want to continue doing this to your wife, she does not deserve this.” Whaaat? Countenance fall. I’m pretty sure I made a throaty sound just then; the muffled version of a surprised, “Oh!”
I read her text again, and watched her click on send. I couldn’t help assess the lady, to see from whence the message had come. I had seen her when she crossed the road as the omnibus stopped for her; as she climbed on the seat and looked ahead of her; as her thumb tapped on the keypad. I had taken in, subconsciously, her weave that was neatly combed but needed a redo; her peach blouse and light pink skirt. Her small frame on her long legs; what one might term “portable”. I am pretty certain I could have lifted her and run away with her slung over my shoulder if I wanted to.
So I scanned her. Get me not wrong; I did not look at her with disdain or burning judgement. Nooo. But I suppose I looked for a sign that would point out to the uninformed onlooker that this petite tallness was sleeping with, aye being known (as Adam knew Eve and she beget him a son) by, a married man. I sure as heck could not find it. I couldn’t smell it in her hair, nor was it tucked behind her ear. It was not mounted atop her shoulder, nor did it appear as a hump on the nape of her neck. But then again, what does sin smell like, look like? What mark does a married man’s dingus leave when it goes? It certainly did not leave any marks of improvement on the girl. Her thousand year old hair attachment needed help. Her clothes could have been from that place that you just thought of. Her skin was not supple nor did it glow. She was just…plain. Damn you, Mpofu. You go back to the wife that Peach-Blouse is feeling sorry for, and leave her with your body grease and a guilty conscience and nothing actually tangible, while you probably waddle off to your house with smug look pasted on your likely-not-even-handsome face?
I digressed, my apologies. Oh yes, scanning the girl. Not to see how much better than her I could assert myself to be, nor to condemn her to the sulphur and brimstone and burning flesh of fiery Hell. Lawd knows I have my flaws. I looked at her so I could… I don’t know what I hoped to do. All I know is I got off that vehicle and took with me the memory of the text to Mpofu; my heart feeling strangely heavy.