The toothbrush is new. It’s purple because that’s all the lady at the shop had, you’d prefer it was blue but you weren’t going to walk around with a temporary case of halitosis just because you didn’t get your fave. It only cost thirty shillings, and maybe it feels rigid in your mouth, as you brush your tongue because it was so cheap. It was Colgate though so it shouldn’t be hard on your tongue. You shake your head and keep brushing.

The Huawei you’re avoiding is in the house. The blue light an annoying reminder that it is charging. She texted but you don’t want to look and see what she said. You were angry when you texted, and she’s not used to this side of you. This angry, fed up side. This side that told her happy holidays and a bye in a tone that spoke of finality.

You stick your brush in your mouth and undo your zipper. Its cold outside and the dew from the grass makes your shoes wet. The sound of your hot pee on the grass is loud, and you regulate and slow it so that the neighbours don’t ask you if you don’t have a key to the toilet. You stare into the sky, the clear night sky and as you shake the final drops, you figure she deserves your anger.

You were in bed, naked, her hands making curls out of your hair when she said it to you. That he had a long list of licensed guns, and a short temper. That because she couldn’t handle his brutal beatings is even why you were laid in bed with her. She swiped right on your profile because you came off as having what she longed for. Young, free spirited, and without the confines of a nagging relationship.

After that, her fingers had felt like a dentist rubbing your gum to check the spread of the anaesthesia. You knew he existed and they had marital trouble but you weren’t about to die just to get laid.

A woman comes to fetch water from the tap. Even in the dark, you can feel her stare burning into the sides of your face. She won’t verbally ask, but her probing eyes demand why you had to come spit out the toothpaste at the tap when the bathroom doors are open. She looks old enough to have been raised to not question men though, and she sighs and leaves, her bucket and its contents bobbing beside her as she drags the water to her house.

You refused all her money. Access to her car. Her business networks. Felt like she’d feel like she could ask more from you if you took her freebies. She didn’t understand why you’d refuse to be financially taken care of when your clothes and nonexistent passport said you needed it.

You shut the door behind you. Slowly because your friend is sleeping. The blue light is on. You yank the phone from the charger, and the room is pitch black. Like it was when you stayed up until morning. Unable to sleep as images of waking up to a loaded Smith and Wesson in your face. Your face on the front page. A click bait headline as your age gap played into the hands of news-hungry breaks fast show hosts.

She’s replied. Says that she understands. That you’re not to contact her and you’re to ignore her if she ever drunk calls you. You write, delete and rewrite a text, and finally send “K”.

You sit on the couch. Mosquitoes dig into your skin, but malaria is the least of your worries. She’s gone now, and you won’t get shot by a jealous husband, a cheating, abusive husband, but a husband all the same.

You take the purple toothbrush back into its case. Nobody would notice it’s been used, if you didn’t tell them. Nobody needs to know an older man with a gun made you free up your phone’s memory. Made you sleep with your eyes wide awake, your heart beating like an out-of-control boxer. You turn on the PlayStation console and hope the fear in your heart will remain encased like the purple toothbrush on your friends wardrobe.

Categories: Fiction

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