Small love. Big love. Skinny love. Toni Morrison’s “love is or love ain’t, thin love ain’t love at all”. Early in the morning love. Love and honour your parents love. Love at the ends of its tether. “I can’t do this anymore” love.
Here Efemia Chela considers love as relief.
Fernando appreciated novels; he had once told his fiancé Sienna that anything shorter felt like a hit and run. He started a new one in Portuguese every day on the holiday. Pessoa read under the palm tree that arched like a cat or clutching an Ondjaki with his ankles in the sterile pool water, whose clarity struggled to compete with the Indian Ocean. She watched him hold fast to this intellectual routine. Sienna had predicted how Fernando would disappoint her the moment they met and that was her power. She relished the idea of an easy ride where only she would be the one to detour. Her sin was a known quantity and she hated having to account for the vagaries and cellars of another’s heart. He was so in awe of her, he hadn’t bothered to look too closely at all her parts. The relief from scrutiny he’d given Sienna felt to her like love. She would be the biggest surprise of his life so when she eventually broke his heart, he’d find himself thanking her for it.?
Efemia Chela is a Zambian-Ghanaian writer, literary critic, and editor. "Chicken", her first published story, was shortlisted for the 2014 Caine Prize for African Writing. Chela has had short stories and poems published in New Internationalist, Wasafiri, Token and Pen Passages: Africa.