Pete Kalu


Tunde is back from hospital. It’s a miracle. He kissed me and said I was the only person who ever mattered to him and I was why he pulled through. Then he broke down and cried and me with him, so help me God. He’s quite unsteady on his feet. I didn’t sleep all night in case he had a relapse.

This morning I had to remind him how to cream his skin and brush his hair. I suppose memory loss is usual after these types of accidents. I still blame myself. I wasn’t looking. The doctors said he died twice on the operating table and they used new surgery on him.

He sleeps with his arms around me like he’s scared I’ll leave him. He’s creaming his face now. His depressions have lifted, but he’s no longer ticklish. I suppose it’s a good trade.

In the morning his eyes are like Saharan pools. I can’t pull away whenever he looks at me then he asks me why I’m gawping.

Two weeks home and Tunde is still not his usual self yet. I suppose I shouldn’t expect it.

He doesn’t murmur my name when we make love the way he used to. He’s clumsy as well. It’s different though, he takes longer. It’s what our sex life needed. Afterwards we watched the Cartoon Network. He didn’t know where to laugh. It’s hard explaining cartoons.

I was asking him about how Franz Fanon had left an important legacy to black people the world over and did he think Fanon was still read today? He said who’s Fanon? I went upstairs and cried. It was his PhD thesis.

I’ve missed a period. Will do test.

I came back early and found him with the landline at his ear, not saying anything. He stayed like that for ages. Could only be his mother. Bought little blue bootees. Should I tell him?

He puts his ear to my stomach and listens to the baby for hours when he thinks I’m sleeping.

Picked up the extension to find out. He was listening to the Internet static sound – we’re on dial up. Maybe he is ill. Phoned Melody, she said she’s knowledgeable about these things and I should think about getting him to a psychiatrist.

He was very calm at the suggestion. He says the baby will be like him too. A hybrid. He says there is a higher intelligence to human beings but it only exists in software form and our technology’s mostly too primitive to host them. They are a benign force, he says, I’m not to worry.

It’s night time. We’re at the bedroom window, I’m gazing at the stars. He says the baby is from one of the stars, then kisses me. I prefer this Tunde. He never slept with his arm around me before.

© Peter Kalu, first published in Chimurenga 12/13 (Cape Town, 2008).

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