Article by Nnenna lzegbu

I Everything got ruined, from my hand- made coat pockets to my suede boots. I didn’t notice the dip in the pavement and by the time I did, I was already one an- kle away from a complete belly- op. As I arose from my unfortunate fall, most on- lookers shot me down with stares while some sparse, sympathetic smiles half-way healed me.The musky smell of dirt fol- lowed me home and salty trails covered my ushed, mud-crusted face.

Luckily I didn’t have that far of a walk home. Living 4 blocks from Café-Tu-o-Tu actually came in handy for something other than overdraft fees each month. Before I walked through the front door of my apartment, I tried taking off the mud- diest pieces of clothing but it didn’t make a difference: my feet were also collateral damage, leaving a mud grain trail across the oors. I know but I’m ready now.

I turned on the shower and sat down by the tub for a while, allowing the steam to begin melting the muck. Underneath the rain-shower head, I listened to the warm water bombinate its way through my muddied skin. I know but I’m ready now. It was everywhere: between every crevice, across every patch of skin. For what seemed like an hour, I stood in the heat, winkling mud out of every home it found. It slowly became a game; I grew intrigued by the unpredictable ways it latched onto me and molded itself to the unique curves of my body. I smiled as I scrubbed away the last narrow line of it that was faintly wrapped around my up- per leg, ending in the valley of my thigh. I know but I’m ready now. The soap bub- bles slowly replaced the mud and in turn the warm water, the soap bubbles. As I turned off the shower, a slight grin crept into my left cheek and a thought came to me: ‘I kind of miss you now.’

Unable to grip the marble oor, my wet feet nagled my body towards the foggy mirror. After wiping the ubiquitous ovate form into the glass, I stared at my bare body. I know but I’m ready now. I was calmer, wiser than before I left home this morning. I grabbed my towel and began to dry myself off, continuing the process into the bedroom.

Sitting on a cold wooden chair by the ra- diator, I nished wiping off the moisture around my toes and feet— my mind still sifting through the memories of the af- ternoon. The embarrassment, the disap- pointment, the last six words he told me before I got up to leave the café: I know but I’m ready now. And in that moment I realized…I still loved him. I picked up my phone, unlocked it and started typing a new text message: ‘You were right; love is a muddy thing…’

Nnenna is an English teacher and as awesome as her name is. She can be reached via WeChat at NnennaI.