Maybe This is How I die by Rumbi Makanga

Maybe this is how I die.

It’s past midnight and there is no one else around. The darkness has a sweetness to it, like the smell of earth right after the rain has fallen. I want to lick the pavement. I want to run off the beach, maybe even throw my clothes off on the way, and go kiss the pavement. Maybe lie down and feel the wind whip around me.

When the wind whips my vagina it makes me think of him, which is weird, because he’s right next to me. I shouldn’t have to think of him.

I think of the urgency he sometimes has when he grabs my body and kneads, over and over. It feels good, but it’s strange. The way he’ll lie next to me, his head nuzzled into my neck, and knead while he breathes heavily in my ear. His breath usually smells of stale beer. Eventually I start to move with his hands: my waist starts rolling, I gyrate back into him, and my clit swells up.

He kneads, I rise.

I want to look over at him, to make sure he’s the same person I’m thinking of, but I’m held in a trance-like lull as I watch the waves crashing into each other. The sea is so angry it is frothing. I like the brooding blue of the sea and the sky. It’s not moody enough to be uninviting, and there’s a shimmering, unsteady silver line right in front of me on the water, as if the moon were a slug that’s crawled there. I wonder if that’s a sign, if I’m supposed to walk into that line and go where I’m supposed to go.

I’m very drunk, but I still know what that means – the line, the colour of the sky, the way the sea and the moon are inviting me with that carpet of silver-white light: I want to die.

I want him to leave. I want to be alone right now, but if I do die I want him to see it happen. I want to gather myself up and head towards the water, shedding my shoes and saunter away, swinging my hips. I want to turn around and smile at him and wiggle my fingers goodbye.

I know he won’t get up.

Let that bitch die.

That’s what he’ll be thinking, until the panic washes over him and two things hit him at once. First, that people might think he killed me. Second, that he’ll have to explain it to his parents when he returns home without me. I wonder what he’d say, to stop me from walking into the water and never coming back.

I laugh, and only too late do I realise I’ve laughed out loud.

I was thinking about how sometimes I’m on the train and I see wooden benches on the platform illuminated in the pregnant glow of the evening summer sun. I think of him in those moments. How nice it would be, I think, to just sit on that bench together and laugh.

I was sat on the train when it occurred to me to apologise for the times he had to hold my hand over his penis and move it up and down. I could have done it myself, but I hadn’t known then that it took such little doing to make a man feel unwanted. And he didn’t know that it disgusted me when his penis turned soft and shrivelled in my hand.

I can feel him looking at me so I laugh harder to make him think I’m really crazy and not just a little bit crazy. I figure what’s the point in being just a little bit of anything.

Besides, wasn’t that why he liked me? Why he gravitated toward me with the same predictable attraction of a moth to a flame. He likes reckless crazy girls who will unbuckle their seatbelts and get on their hands and knees to take his dick into their mouths. Smack their lips and make moaning sounds like he’s the juiciest mango of the summer. So what if he had to beg for it?

He’ll still say he likes me because I’m a nice girl and when I ask him about her he’ll say she’s a nice girl, funny.

The sea is moaning.

It groans with the weight of carrying itself to the shore and then dragging itself back again.

Where does it go? I want to find out, so I get up to ask it.

I can tell he hasn’t moved. Close up, I’m not sure whether the sea is inviting me or warning me to stay away. The sounds are so close they don’t quite form before breaking on me.

I don’t know why, but in that moment an image of the cracks on her breasts comes to mind. Her. She can be named, but I prefer not to. I have cracks on my thighs and she has cracks on her breasts.

“I’m the best you’ll ever have.”

I don’t know why I say that, but it feels important that he know. The sea has nothing to tell me. I sit back down and nestle myself into him in the way that I know he would like. I stroke his face, his neck, and his back.

I suppress another laugh. He still melts at my touch.



There’s something about being wanted.

A magnetism that pulls downwards from the head through the groin to the feet. A throbbing, palpable in the imperceptible changes in your breathing, in the way your eyelids drop down a fraction. The small pout in your lips, the smile framing it. The way your entire body readies itself to become more familiar with another’s.

To become.

Long before your head starts lolling from side to side or your hips start gyrating and you squeeze your thighs, your wanting is out there, and it is wanted too.





Rumbidzai Makanga is a Zimbabwean writer residing in the UK. Her short fiction and articles appear in Afropean Magazine, Black Ballad, Munyori Literary Journal and The 1980 Alliance. She is an expert at writing excerpts of great novels that could have been.

  1. This is just awesome. And lovely. And delicious.

    And I? Envious. And bowed

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.