Excerpt From the Book I’ll Never Write

Last week we fought. Over what? We both fail to agree on the cause. Maybe I was being too dismissive and maybe you were being too passionate. Or maybe we were both just being stubborn.

We lay in bed for days and none of us said a thing. Each of us too proud, to truly hear what the other was saying in that very loud silence.

I cannot speak for you but for my part my pride wouldn’t let me say, “I want you,” so instead I spoke to my pillow, apologizing yet again for the dampness I left on it, when my head was being too stubborn.

The violence of our silence was unbearable and lingered for days seeping into the walls of our bedroom. The air was heavy with the smell of our egos instead of the scent of lovemaking, even the planets and stars from the pretty light you bought couldn’t dilute it.

My mind, a loud traitorous Judas which doesn’t know how to mind it’s own business took me back to when you sent me flowers at my apartment before I moved in with you.

It remembered the countless times you have crossed state lines to get to me because you were worried.

It remembered that ours was a love to span dimensions and universes. The kind of love that love songs are written about.

And then it started to wonder how the universe ever thought someone as unworthy as I am, ever deserved someone with a halo as blinding as yours. It must be a cosmic joke because all my cold heart ever gave to people, was frostbite.

So I buried myself in anything and everything that drowned out your essence from my brain, after all it’s the pretense that kept me going. But your face, a handsome combination of lines created by both worry and laughter kept showing up in my thoughts. Your voice blared through my earphones when I tried to listen to my music on shuffle because of the audios you send serenading me. And every night we would go to bed, each on their side with our backs to each other and an invisible Berlin wall between us. But in the mornings I woke up with your body too close to mine, your warm skin tempting mine, our limbs sometimes entwined. You haunted me.

As I lay next to you during the four day cold-war, I tossed, I turned but mostly I yearned for you. The curse of the mind is that it is deeply thoughtful when you want it shut off and sleep. It overthinks, over-suggests, over-remembers and over-wonders. This time, mine took me to the ghosts of my dead relationships. WTF! I didn’t want to think about that. I wanted to sleep & ignore the sexy beast lying right next to me! So brain of mine can you please reconfigure and find where the sleep drive is, can you do that? Thank you very much!

My brain being the boss of me didn’t even bother to respond. It just kept doing as it pleased and took me on a long stroll down memory lane specifically, the fights. The ones where I was told some harsh truths about myself that I refused to hear. So I did something I had never done before. I finally listened to the voices from the past and one chorus rung true,

People are different, Vanessa. They react differently to situations. You can’t always have them react how you want to. You can’t always have it your way.”

It dawned on me that you had said the very same thing to me. Me thinking I was self-aware had made me blind to the fact that you learn about other parts of yourself, from those around you. It’s tough coming to terms with my failures and unkindness but I must do it if we are to stand a chance.

When the fight was over you said that if I had kissed you, you would have kissed me back. But you give me too much credit my beloved. You credit me with maturity and an ability to govern my own pride. Oh how I wish I could! Lord knows I am imperfect.

See my love, I am an emotionally bundled mess who only ever learnt to use and be used. I only ever visited in love, I never stayed in it. I tested love, examined it and interviewed with it. Never learning that love does not care to be auditioned and if you try to evaluate it, it flees the scene.

That was until the day love decided no more! It said enough! It decided it had finally had enough of my teasing and so it exacted a revenge. It gave me you. A total opposite of everything I ever thought I wanted. A man, white, formidable, not a hardcore liberal and 100% manly, not even a little bit metro-sexual. I screamed to the heavens that I most certainly did not order this item on my menu of potential mates. But the heavens stayed silent. I fought hard against the current that was your spirit calling to  mine. I childishly played sabotage with our relationship. I texted exes, I flirted with strangers, I ignored texts from you, I went out and lied to you, I broke-up with you & blocked your number. But like Nelson Mandela at the Rivonia trial, my fate was already sealed. I was in love with you whether I knew it or not and all my struggling did, was pull me in deeper. I had avoided it for so long, this fathomless and unfathomable falling in love; shoes on,  hand out ready to take back the little piece of my heart I had rented out, always ready to run. Like I said, I visited and never put up roots.

It hurts to say but I know that there’s a part of you that wonders if I really love you as much as you love me, especially those times when I am indifferent and dismissive. Unfortunately the trouble with love is, fear and indifference look alike when you’re on the outside.

“Are you afraid or do you just not love me, Vanessa?” 

Yes, I am very afraid but it is only because I love you so much. I crave you as a necessity not just a delicacy. Soul and body together I realize I love you and it terrifies me because this version of love, tells me I haven’t been in love before. I feel it, it has always been you, it will always be you and it leaves me vulnerable on all fronts and the coward in me cowers. For my heart to beat for another, for it to let you take as much room as you do inside of it, that is courage in itself. The bravest thing I have done in my life by far is loving you. With you I lost myself, then somehow found more of myself I swear.”

You think I am an onion. Too many layers with some made to bring tears in your eyes. But my love what you fail to understand is, I am just cowardly. I cannot lie anymore. There are parts of me I have hidden so long from myself , so how can I let you see! I say you are asking too much, I ask you to let some things rest. But now I am asking too much, because it isn’t in your blood to leave a stone unturned. And once again, I feel undeserving of you.

You deserve someone who makes more of an effort to appreciate your effort. Someone who delights in the beauty of your spirit and cocoons you in a gentle mist of love. Someone who creates a fire beneath your skin to make you glow so others can exclaim that you look different. Someone who believes in you. Someone good. Someone decent.

And then just when I am about to give up on myself completely, you hold me and whisper,

That someone is you.”

And just like that, all is well.

Now let’s make love my love. The twins did ask us to go to the baby store and get them a baby brother. Let’s not disappoint them.


Let life happen to you. Believe me, life is in the right. Always,” Rainer Maria Milke.

Life changes us. It humbles us. Takes us on journeys we never expected to take and puts us in situations so challenging that it causes a metamorphosis within us whether we want to or not.

A year ago I moved to the United States of America and like those who cross the vast seas to come to the land of dreams, I was full of naivete and very impressionable. In my head the dream was very straight-forward; study, find a job and earn top dollar because at the end of the day earning even one dollar is worth way more back home. I’d prove everyone wrong, I’d stay faithful to my relationship no matter the distance and I’d be a bad-ass. Cliche much? I think so yes.

Life had other ideas.

My background was one of a girl who had never not had her mother to fall back on. A girl so sheltered from life that she was left exposed and unprepared for it. Moving to America, exposed that vulnerability. With the arrogance of a mountain and the ignorance of a babe, I was cast into a very fast-paced world. No preparation, no favors.

Having close family here wasn’t a saving grace. I hadn’t talked to my family here in over a decade and even when I was leaving my home Uganda, my mother was worried about it. We both knew staying with the family here was always going to be temporary and our only hope was I wouldn’t get thrown out in the winter. In my mother’s eyes I saw fear, I saw hesitation, I saw regret because her little girl wasn’t fully prepared for the big bad world she was going to be thrust into. But she had to let me go.

That airport scene was really chaotic. My mom was there, so were two of my cousins who were from the village and had come with me because they had never been to the airport (we have only one in my country), one of my best friends was there, Bernie and so was my partner at the time. I was running late and only said quick goodbyes as I promised my mom to arrive safely and my partner that we’d see each other again and we’d make this long distance thing work. Never once knowing that the flight I was about to get on, would end my relationship and see me shed the last remnants of my childishness.

With my relationship, well that unfurled pretty quickly. I am a terrible communicator who doesn’t respond to texts immediately and in this case the time difference wasn’t on our side either. I’d be on, ‘Good morning’ and the other person was on ‘Good night’ not to mention I now had a job which meant I didn’t spend as much time on my phone as I had before. Soon there was a lot of fighting, jealousy, feeling neglected and I purposefully started to refuse to open texts or pick their calls because all we ever did was fight and I was tired of it. Soon we ended it. I think on my part, I was inundated with the deluge of everything else that was going on that the breakup wasn’t really felt.

Clarity being the child of hindsight, I know now that I should have been honest with my ex. You see days before my flight was to take off, I knew our relationship wouldn’t survive it. I had slept next to this person whispering to them promises of forever when my whole body knew that once I was on the other side of the departures, that was it for us. I don’t mean to sound callous, I just feel like the main reason I made lots of promises was to run away from that which I knew was inevitable. I was trying to convince myself more than I was them. I promised & promised but no promise can withstand the harshness of foreboding.

In the transit lounge, cold & alone, I felt a pain and guilt so deep I hunched over in my chair. I knew. But still even after I touched down, I tried to maintain the illusion with texts and phonecalls and those dreaded promises yet again. Maybe if I had been honest, it could have at least ended civilly and a friendship maintained because now, we don’t even talk anymore.

But I digress. Back to my new life in the new world.

I had never worked a day in my life and now my first job was in very developed country. Different accents, different expectations, their way of life vastly dissimilar to the one back home, their systems work very differently and you have to catch up very fast or fall out. It was a case of if you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen!

How I missed my mother in those moments! How I missed my best friends! With no one to turn to, I threw myself in the workforce. An immigrant even though legal, it’s tough living in a country where everyday the news is full of immigrant deportations and incarcerations. Having to look over one’s shoulder day in day out wasn’t something I was used to. Trading in my piece of mind for the almighty dollar. The American dream does come at a steep price.

I would give a detailed description of all that I went through but I hesitate to. I am reluctant to blog about moments in my life when life brought me to my knees and I cried so much to a point of being cried out. Forgive me, but I would like to preserve some of my dignity.

I realise now that foundation was too weak and I needed a stronger one. I had to be broken in order to be reassembled. Life didn’t ask, it didn’t warn. It just hit and like a tornado, it hit hard. I had two options, to bend like a strong reed before stronger forces and survive the aftermath or be as unbending as a hard oak and perish in the storm. I chose to swallow my pride, be strong and bend. Strong endures, hard breaks.

Picking up the broken pieces of myself, I remember thanking the universe that I didn’t have to do it alone because I don’t think I would have been able to. In this land of George Washington, I found new friends who have since become family. Boundless kindness and benevolence from strangers you have only known a few months is a divinity much more pure than virginity. A new home, a new life, being able to laugh again and somewhere to belong. Like a glow stick, I had to be broken so that my light could start to shine.

As a result I am tougher now, more resilient with a firm resolution to make it in America. To be successful in career, in love and life as a whole. The girl my mother put on a flight a year ago was a mere embryo helpless and clueless. She became a caterpillar and molted into something with a thicker skin but that process is still happening. I am still molting. A self-aware work-in-progress hoping to find inner-peace as a chrysalis and soon burst forth a beautiful butterfly. I am working very hard towards it. My name means butterfly. And a butterfly I shall be. For those of you that don’t know me, allow me to please introduce myself.

Hi, my name is Vanessa and I am becoming.