I AM A FORMER BEAUTY (and drama) queen, better known for throwing tantrums than runway prowess.
In my days as the reigning Miss You, I met, and slept with, men of all sizes, shapes and ages, the old ones coming first, then the young ones later when my body was withered. It was a prison where warders got hired and fired anytime without batting an eyelid or issuing a sack letter.
The last warder who prompted me to break out of the prison was a mesomorphic ape with steroid muscles; a depressed, failed kick-boxer, frighteningly quiet. When one day, as had been the norm, his arm moved faster than my imagination supplied the abrupt motion during one of my tantrums where I had called him a ‘worthless piece of …’ (I never finished), I decided that I’d had enough. His forearm brought a backhand across my mouth. I went down faster than I blinked, not because I had seen the swift motion in time to dodge but because I was propelled by the force of the blow.
His arm continued to pendulum as it had been routine, like a cow twitching its tail to brush a tsetse fly away. I began to scream by default, but I stopped. I had seen in his eyes nothing but impassiveness. When he was done, I raised myself on one elbow, staring into nothing, nose and mouth squirting blood, eyes dry of tears. I lay there, unblinking, my mind blank like a hit-and-run victim.
I had liked him more than the others. He had a kind of forthright simplicity, not after my m(h)oney like the others who were doomed by military obeisance to everything I ordered and commanded as if they were not people but my mirror. When my tantrums, accompanied by bad and ugly names, became too much for them, they exiled themselves from the republic. I would harangue them for everything they were and should be, but they weren’t.
It took a beating for me to break free. I am now a self-proclaimed bachelorette, and soon I’ll be spinster of the millennium for the love of my skin.