Shishir (Winter) 2019, Short Stories - Mwesigwa Bbala 




By Mwesigwa Bbala 


I was once in love with a woman. Her hair was black like charcoal. She had teeth that were white as snow; her breath was sweet as mint. Her body was like the number eight. She had the face that would grace any cover of fashion magazine without any need of makeup. All in all, she was a beauty. Her name was Melanie and she was my first love.


I met Melanie at a house party. I don’t remember exactly whose party it was since I had crashed it with a couple of my friends. The reason we crashed the house party was one of our friends who had been invited had told us there would be lots of free liquor and beautiful females who were single. And since we were broke and in dire need of free liquor, we decided to attend the house party so that we could get high before we went out to the busiest hangout in town later that night.


Before I met Melanie, I was the kind of guy who wouldn’t continue seeing a lady after three dates. Anything beyond three dates meant that we were entering relationship territory, something which I wasn’t yet ready to commit myself to. Most of the girls wanted exclusivity and I wasn’t yet ready to let my youth go to waste by practicing monogamy. At any one point in time, I would be dating seven women at once. One woman wasn’t able to satisfy my needs. I was the kind of guy who was always looking for a new phone number of a female to add to my phone book every day.


I guess you know that moment in movies where the movie is turned into slow motion after the main character who might be a boy or girl notices that the hot beautiful person they have a crush on is in the area. I for one used to consider that slow motion stuff as baloney until my eyes landed on Melanie. When I saw her, everything around me came to a standstill and it was just me alone in the room with her. I don’t know how long the moment lasted as her voice brought me out of my reverie.


‘Is there any chance I can get a refill?’ she asked me as she pointed at the keg which I was standing in front of.


‘Yes. Yes.’ I said while trying my best to act normal.


Now before I continue with my story, I have something to confess. It wasn’t Melanie that stupefied me. I was just saying it to make the story fantastical. The truth is it’s the song which was being played that made me go bananas. If you’re a good listener of Jamaican reggae music you’ll know about dub music. For those of you that don’t know, dub is an instrumental of a pre-existing reggae song where the bass is the loudest instrument and effects of echo, reverb are added to give the song a hallucinatory vibe. Now if you have been putting intoxicants into your body, this kind of music will totally mess with your senses.


And that is what exactly happened to me on that very day. I had just taken a hit from a bong and when the dub version of a song came on, the fuse in my brain short circuited. The whole atmosphere in the room changed. I felt myself walking out of my body and I started to float around the room. I was lost in the third dimension world until I heard Melanie’s voice which jolted me from my trance.


I wanted to yell at her for messing with my high but when I saw her face, I was like this is the kind of girl who would make my night. So, instead of shouting I said, ‘yeah you can have the liquor.’ I went ahead and pumped for her the liquor into the red glass she was holding and she said thank you.


Not willing to let her out of my sight, I quickly struck up a conversation with her and followed her back to the balcony where she had been chilling. Once we settled ourselves on the balcony, we started talking about the party, whom she knew, if she was single and searching, what we did for a living. When we got tired of talking, we went back into the house as the music which was being played was suitable for dancing and sweating out the toxins that were intoxicating us.


I woke up the following morning in abed which was not mine. I had no single memory of how I had ended up there. My head was foggy and my stomach was rumbling. I run into the bathroom where I puked all my stomach contents into the toilet. While I was in the bathroom, I heard someone enter the bedroom and when I looked outside, it was Melanie. I was happy that it was her until I saw the clothes which I had been dressed in the previous night on the bathroom floor. The clothes were all reeking of vomit and were soiled.


All the happiness I had quickly turned to shame. I thought of hiding in the bathroom but the place wasn’t my home. I flushed the toilet, cleaned up my mouth and went back into the bedroom. She asked me if everything was alright. I put on a smile and said yes as beads of sweat were forming on my head.


She went on to make for me a hot cup of coffee which I badly needed. As I was drinking the coffee, I mustered up the courage and asked her to tell me what had happened the previous night. The story was that the weed I taken had been tainted with some crack. I had gone on to thrash the party. I almost jumped off the balcony thinking I was superman and worst part of it all, my friends whom I had come with didn’t want anything to do with me. She had decided to bring me to her place after I had failed to access my house. Turns out I had lost my phone, wallet and keys of the house the previous night.


By the time she got done with narrating the story to me, I wanted to sink and disappear into the floor of the house. Never in my life had I gotten so wasted like that. Since my clothes were dirty and needed some washing, I ended up spending the rest of the day at her house while I waited for my clothes to dry. We spent the whole day binge watching old black and white Hollywood film noir movies. When the time for my leaving came, I asked her out for a date and she agreed to it on condition that I didn’t drink alcohol.

The day for the date came and it turned out to be one of the worst dates I had ever been on. Without alcohol flowing through my veins, I was a nervous wreck. Not even the two cigarettes I had smoked helped me out. I would fumble in-between stories and I was incomprehensible. By the time the date ended, I concluded that she wanted to ever see me again. We each went to our respective homes saying we shall keep in contact.


I didn’t keep my part of promise as I never called her. She called me after two weeks and asked me out for a second date. I was elated after realising that she liked me and wanted to see me again. The second date turned out to be much better than the first one. From there on we went out on four more dates. And it’s only after the sixth date that we consummated our relationship.


I soon started spending more time with Melanie than I did with my friends. As time went by I found myself cutting off contact with all my side women. My hunger for sex with multiple women had ceased. With her, I felt complete and when my friends started asking me what’s up with me, I told them I had grown up and the knickers chasing days were over for me. What really ticked them off was when I would bring Melanie along on the men’s night out. It was hard to get my friends to understand that I was in love with Melanie and that I couldn’t spend a night out in a bar without her.


For the next seven months that I dated Melanie, my whole life was totally transformed. I was the happiest man on earth and I had started thinking about putting a ring on her finger. Only thing I didn’t know then was that fate had different things in store for me.


I had been away from home for three days attending the company retreat which we usually held during November. I hadn’t been in contact with Melanie for three days because my phone had fallen into the swimming pool and it had totally failed to work again. The retreat which was supposed to have lasted five days suddenly ended on the third day as the boss had got news that his wife had died in accident.


Everyone who was at the retreat was shocked by the news and felt sorry for our boss. It was then decided that the retreat be ended. We came back to town to support and help our boss in the burial arrangements.


I arrived at home when it was coming to eight p.m. I found the front door of the house unlocked and yet there was a new rule in the house which stated that all house doors were to be locked at all times. Two weeks earlier a thug had entered the house and stolen the flat screen television and my laptop which had been on the coffee table. Ever since that incident, we had made it a point to lock the front door at all times. I was greatly pissed that Melanie had failed to lock the door and I was ready to give her a piece of my mind.


Once I entered the living room, the first thing that caught my attention was the presence of two empty glasses and an empty wine bottle on the coffee table together with an empty pizza box. In my head I thought she must have had one of her girlfriends around for a visit. Before I went off to the bedroom, I realised that I too had forgotten to lock the door, so I went back to lock it.


As I locked the door, it’s then that I noticed black Italian shoes of a man on the doorstep. I didn’t know how I had missed them when I entered the house. When I closely looked at the shoes, I realized they weren’t my shoes.


I called out her name and she quickly came running into the living room dressed in a towel. Her cheeks were flushed and I could tell she was panicked.


‘Hey…You’re back. You didn’t tell me you were coming back today.’


‘Whose shoes are these?’ I said as I held up the Italian shoes in my hands.


‘Aren’t they yours?’


‘I know my shoes. Where is he?’



‘The owner of these shoes?’


‘There is no one.’


‘You’re cheeks are flushed and I can smell the sweat of another human being.’


‘I was busy playing with myself.’


‘Okay.’ I put down my bag and started to run towards the bedroom.


Once I reached the bedroom, I noticed that the bed sheets had been quickly replaced. Melanie stood behind me with her hands on her waist but I could see the fear in her eyes.

‘Whoever you are just come out now before I get my chef knife and cut you into pieces.’


It only took five seconds after I had uttered those words for the person hiding in the closet to come out with his hands raised up. Of all people, it was my father. I didn’t know what to say. All the energy I had mustered up for a confrontation left me in that moment. Melanie quickly ran out of the room.


‘Hi’ he said.


‘I thought you were in hospital.’


‘I got cured. I’m going to take a walk out now. I’m I allowed to take a walk?’


Now I know you’re expecting that I should have jumped for his neck and beat the crap out of him right there but no. I didn’t do anything. I just stood there stupefied. Of all the women available in the world, my father had chosen to have sex with Melanie. He knew I loved Melanie so much and that I was even planning on marrying her but he had still gone ahead and screwed her behind my back.


My father is the kind of guy who loved women. He was always on the lookout for the next woman to bed. You could be talking to him but the moment a woman walked into the room; his mind switched off and started focusing on how he was going to get in between the woman’s legs. One time he had gotten into trouble after messing around with a Minister’s wife. He had gotten the phrase, “I’m a whore” branded on his chest instead of getting his balls tied with a rubber band. Not even that near death experience had made him change his ways.


What shocked me about my father’s affair with Melanie is that he didn’t connect with her. From the very moment I had introduced her to him, he had failed to like her. He usually warned me about her by saying; ‘she’s going to dump you for a rich old man.’


And the funny thing is that the rich guy my father had been constantly warning me about turned out to be him.


I would be lying if I said my relationship with Melanie was doing well before I discovered the affair she had been having with my father. The truth is things had started falling apart as my office work had taken over my soul. I had become a heavy drinker and a workaholic.


I had lost the urge of sex and if we ever tried to do it, I would have no interest in it or I would just snore off to sleep. But that was me. Her on the other hand, she was a money spender. She liked shopping shoes, clothes, perfumes, jewellery day in day without any care about how she was wasting my money.


She had at one point forced me to buy her a dog. When I brought the dog home, she totally failed to look after it. The dog would shit all over the house. It loved to hump everything that it saw. It would bark endlessly and in the end, it got knocked by a car when it went out on an evening walk with Melanie.


The story she told me was that it had run across the road to chase after a female dog but it never reached the other side of the road as a driver knocked it. She totally failed to acknowledge that it was because of her refusal to chain up the dog that the dog had died. To her, putting a chain on a dog was an act of slavery.


After breaking up with Melanie, for the first time in my life I understood what it meant to be broken hearted. I understood the pain which I had caused countless of women in my earlier life before meeting Melanie.


As my life went downhill, my father’s and Melanie’s lives were going uphill. They were happy while for me I was sad. From Melanie’s photographs on Instagram I could see she was having the time of her life with my father who was taking her to all the exotic locations which she longed for. Never in my entire life had my father even paid for an air ticket to take me out on a Christmas Holiday.


The most I got from him was a trip down to some run down zoo. I was completely jealous of them and there were days when I would want to cut my wrists open and let the blood flow out. I did try it once only that one of my friends had come into my house on a random visit and interrupted me. I had wanted to make my father and Melanie feel the pain of they had caused me but I came to realize that killing myself because of love would have been the most stupid thing I ever did.

Only three months had passed since my breakup with Melanie when my father told me that he was going to marry her. I had considered it a small time affair in which he would dump Melanie and then Melanie would come back running into my arms regretting why she had dumped me for him but alas my wishes had totally failed to come true. I really didn’t understand what my father meant when he said he was going to marry her as he had spent his last fifteen years single. He had once confided in me that marrying my mother was the worst thing he had ever done. The statement hurt me but everyone knew they were incompatible. All of them had their vices which I wouldn’t want to delve into right now.

Anyway, the wedding between my father and Melanie took place. I attended it but I don’t remember a thing about it. I was way high out of my mind and I didn’t manage to complete the wedding as I blacked out midway during the reception. They went ahead and stayed together for a year or so before they got divorced. My father had slipped back into his old ways and Melanie had found him screwing her mother.




Mwesigwa Bbala is a Ugandan based author, scriptwriter in Uganda trying to make ends meet in the not so favorable arts industry of Uganda. He has a degree in Journalism from Makerere University and has published in the Kalhari Review. He is currently working on a Short story collection he hopes to publish in the foreseeable future.


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