Photography : Essie Amayo
Twelve year old Amelia is sat on my study chair eating her KFC .Her aunt , who brought it in, is an arms length away from her. She has now looked at the black and white portrait above my bed about 7 times already. She tilts her head now , as she stares at it and the ferry lights around it and says ‘your room is aesthetically pleasing.’
‘Thank you ,’ I say . She nods and bites into her chicken .‘I bet you’re one of those people who only eat organic food and stuff.’ Her aunt, embarrassed ,nudges her. I laugh and say ‘I’m actually vegetarian , been so for 6 years now . Well i was vegan for two then…’
‘See I knew it !’ She interrupts . ‘Wait does that mean I can’t eat chicken in your room…’ And the evening went on. Her voice and my laughter filling the spaces between us. Reminding me of the innocence I once had at 12. Reminding me also that I’ve become the annoying health conscious tasteful 20 something year old I secretly always wanted to be .
How strange? I thought, that a 12 year old should see me with such ease and more clarity than I often do.
You abruptly ask ‘Will you marry someone from Botswana then?’ As if nothing else matters, like there would be no other criteria. Stunned, I carefully say ‘not necessarily.’ But this is how I know you were listening when I said I cannot love someone who cannot pronounce my name properly . We laughed then, but I suppose I could have been more careful then too.
‘That’s why I stopped going to church,’ he says . ‘There is no love there.’
Heartbroken, I say something like ‘That is sad because God is Love. So if there was no love, then God wasn’t there.’
To this day, I wonder if I said the wrong thing because it’s been years now and he still hasn’t gone.