Sometimes I wonder about my nine-month uterine life. The intimate cacoon of the placenta and the aquatic lifestyle in the warm amniotic fluids. The images and sensation of a tangerine aquarium with a musical accompaniment of a pulsating heart. A beautiful nine-month purgatory that birthed a series of events mashed up together creating the lucid dreams of nostalgia.
I was once a blonde blue-eyed white boy, I remember staying in an apartment in the heart of a bustling European city, not so far from a bridge that arched over clear still water. Its 17 May 1995 my eighth birthday and I am a cute little African girl, it is 12 midnight as I am deep in slumberland. I have urinated twice in my sleep on a springy single bed but unphased by the creeping cold of my urine. A gentle tap on my shoulder yanks me from slumber, the reek of cheap whiskey and cigarettes hits my nostrils and I smiled. It was my father in a drunken stupor, he whispered “happy birthday Penelope.” He fumbled in his pockets and fished out a slim pink Disney Mickey Mouse wristwatch. My face lit up with joy as he clumsily put it around my wrist. He gave me a forehead kiss before staggering out of my room. I sank into my wet blankets and slept with a grin on my face. The white boy dreams never revealed anything, except a deep sense of love and security, but nothing in comparison to the euphoric happiness of receiving that little plastic watch.
The little cottage along Lilian road has a hoard of all my childhood memories and although we moved out in 2004 my soul remained. We used the clay from the anthill in the back yard to mold figurines, sometimes I feel the thick clay between my fingers and when I look at my hands there is evidently not a single speck of dirt. Instead, I see the tattered report book flapping in the wind as a little adrenalin pumped me rushes to show off my good grades. At the prize-giving day, my feet thumped and violently defied gravity as I sprung four feet above the ground. The pounding drum in rhythm with my body, I led the traditional dance group in a half-conscious state that only responded to the drums as if entered by a medium. Parents watched in awe at the fluidity of the body and drums.
Two little girls huddled on a couch one night watching Salem’s Lot. My little sister clutched my wrists as the horrific plot unfolded on the 14-inch telly. The first horror movie we slept in our parent’s bed. Waking up in the morning to chirping birds, singing trees and Bubbles our Labrador barking in the driveway. I fell in love with a tall cute boy with a sly smile and slit eyes. He would hug me every day and wrote sonnets with the promises to plant his lips on mine. I spent nights in my room grinning like a Cheshire cat. But the shouts of joy of a proud mother filled my heart as I collected the prize for best Biology student. My heart missed a beat when the Zimbabwean Basketball Coach called my name as the new selection in the team. The cheers of my peers as I ran for that fast break and a clean jump shot that took us to the finals. That is the day I signed up to play for league basketball. Cruising past the South African border in a 3 series BMW blasting Lil Wayne Lollipop. “Call me so I can make it juicy for ya”
Lying topless on the beach without a care in the world. Dancing through the night in a micro mini, body-hugging dress with a plunging cleavage. Drop it like it is hot, drop it is like it is hot, drop it like its hot. The lecturer of Modern Linguistics asking for a copy of my thesis because it was the best he had ever read. Being washed anew by tears during an intimate prayer. Watching my husband on our wedding day cry as I walked towards him. Justine Timberlake “mirrors” was our song. Walking down the aisle to Mary J Blige “Be without you.” Holding my son for the first time. Don’t wake me up.
Nothing beats watching my son and daughter before they were even conceived. In a parallel universe, someone asked them to choose their mummy. They chose me.