Writers Space Africa-Rwanda
Fiction Issue 2 Umukarago

If Love Were a Person – Gisele Ingabire

Angel spent days in tears. Life was getting more challenging. She felt empty inside, and her mind had drifted into numbness. She thought that her story had reached its conclusion.

All she wanted was someone to hold her hand and tell her that everything was going to be okay. Missing John sickened her until it didn’t. Until she realised that if love were a person, John would have been hers for seven lives. 

Yet, stubborn as hearts can be, hers longed for him at times. Whenever it did, she sensed in its rhythm that it wasn’t about missing him more, but instead, loving him more. But ‘more’ was quite confusing. Perhaps Angel loved John more when she first flirted with the poet in him three years ago. She was fresh out of law school and was three years younger than John.

That morning, she received a WhatsApp message and immediately checked the profile picture of the sender (John). 

“I mean, what kind of handsome guy wears that black hat and those long-sleeved shirts?” She wondered, her eyes sparkling. “I guess his name is John or something.” 

John’s picture was intriguing. His eyes looked like a rainbow; one could stare into them for a lifetime. But it took Angel three minutes and fifteen seconds to realise she had no idea what she was doing. She sent a “Hi” text and fixed her gaze on her phone’s screen, eagerly anticipating a new message from John.

“Hola! Can I come over?He finally texted.

Angel paused for a moment, her mind racing with thoughts. She was about to ask if John knew where her abode was located, but decided against it. She wanted to keep the conversation flowing without sounding needy. She took a deep breath and typed, “Hey! It’s great to hear from you. Can I ask what brought about this sudden desire?

Angel hesitated to send the text, wondering if John’s response would reveal his intentions and align with her thoughts. She decided to type another message, “Hi! Your text just brought a smile to my face. I want to know more about you!”. 

She tried to shift the conversation towards something more personal, allowing her to connect with John on a deeper level. With a playful glimmer in her eyes, she finally hit the send icon.

As the conversation went on, Angel found herself engrossed in John’s stories and their shared interests in poetry and travelling. Each message drew them closer. They laughed and joked, and their friendly banter flowed effortlessly.

After some hours, their conversation progressed to a phone call as they were both excited to hear each other’s voices. They talked and bonded as if they had known each other forever. At that moment, Angel felt something she couldn’t easily explain. It felt like the flutter of butterfly wings in her chest. John had unknowingly awakened emotions within her. As the night grew darker, he wished her a good night before ending the call. Angel couldn’t sleep. She opted to play video games and watch anime until it was 2 a.m.

The next morning when she woke up, a fluttering sensation tickled her insides, causing unease to settle in her stomach. The lingering effect of John’s tender words compelled her to reach out to him once more.

“Good morning, handsome,” she texted.

“Morning sexy,” John replied.

Angel was ready to go insane as she texted, “You’re not the first to call me sexy.”

“You’ll never know how much that means to me,” John texted back, his message adorned by heart-eyed emojis.

Angel couldn’t help but blush. “You surely know how to make my day. I think we should meet in person. How about this weekend?” 

“I’ve been waiting for this moment,” replied John. “How about we meet at Camellia Cafe in Downtown on Saturday at 3 p.m.?”

”That is perfect! I can’t wait to see you!” Angel was smiling as she sent the text.

The day finally arrived. Angel sat at a corner table inside Camellia, her heart fluttering with excitement. The quaint cafe exuded a warm, rustic charm, with the soft and mellow glow of vintage pendant lamps casting a gentle light over the cozy interior. She had arrived a bit early, and her latte sat untouched in front of her. Her eyes wandered to the entrance of the cafe every moment, looking for any sign of John. She smoothed the fabric of her dress, fidgeted with her phone, and checked her reflection in the antique mirror on the wall. The seconds felt like hours as she eagerly anticipated John’s arrival.

The man finally arrived. Angel’s heart leaped in her chest as she turned her gaze towards the entrance. Her eyes lay on John as he stood in the doorway, looking as dashing as in the pictures she’d seen. A brilliant smile spread across his face as he made his way toward Angel.

Angel couldn’t help but admire how the outfit perfectly complemented him. The white t-shirt adorned with black butterflies clung to his body, highlighting his toned physique. Angel’s thoughts strayed to the tantalising view of his abs now that he had pushed his hood back. She realised that she had to say something. 

“Hey, handsome,” she whispered with a playful grin. “It’s a pleasure to meet you in person. I’ve been waiting for this moment to uncover the mystery of your appearance.” 

A faint blush dusted John’s cheeks, and it was an endearing sight that only added to his charm. He responded with a gentle, “Sorry about that.” 

Angel tried to hide her smile, but she couldn’t stop laughing. 

“I thought you looked cute,” she teased. 

 “Well, that’s not the reason why I’m blushing. You are a little shit,” said John, smiling.

“So, you are embarrassed to have called me sexy?” Angel enquired.

John cackled before he said, “No.”

“Then what was that?” Angel asked.

John lapsed into a thoughtful silence, his lips parting as if contemplating his next words. Angel couldn’t help but notice a subtle warmth on his cheeks. The way he hesitated spoke volumes, a stark contrast to the image he had painted of himself. He had often shared stories of his shyness around women, and Angel had regarded them as lies, wondering if he possessed such an endearing trait.

A playful smile curled Angel’s lips as she gently teased, “Well, isn’t it interesting to see the shy side of this handsome, charming man? Who would have thought?” 

The gentle mockery in her voice was lighthearted. Her eyes sparkled with amusement, offering John affectionate reassurance that his shyness only added to his allure. Her heart raced as her eyes met John’s once again. In that unspoken connection, her lips curled into a smile, which silently confirmed her love for John.

John hugged Angel tightly, and when she was still confused, he whispered “Ndagukunda” in her ears, confessing his love for her.

Angel’s eyes widened in shock, and her jaw dropped slightly. It was as though the weight of John’s unspoken affection had built up over the years, catching her off guard. The sky seemed to conspire in their favour as rain descended with intensity. It was as if the universe had a secret plan to extend their time together. Across the street, an elegant hotel beckoned with its warm, welcoming lights. They crossed the road hand in hand, their fingers entwined. Their passion spoke of a deep, unspoken longing.

Entering the hotel, John and Angel matched their proud, defiant steps. Each footfall resonated with a connection that defied mere words. After checking in, they made their way to a beautiful room that contained a master bed. Their bodies pressed together against the wall. Their breaths melded and produced a fascinating rhythm as their lips met and fused in an ardent kiss. John then slid his hand lower and lower, caressing Angel and leaving trails of flames on her skin. She could taste their shared breath and feel the thud of their heartbeats as they fumbled to take off each other’s clothes. In that dimly lit bedroom, their fingertips danced along the curves and edges of their bodies. The room was filled with a serene symphony of sighs and murmurs as they explored the landscape of desire, their hands painting the unspoken form of poetry.

Although Angel longed to stay with John for more hours, the moment to part finally arrived. 

“Until we meet again,” John whispered in her ears, his voice quivering with emotion. 

With her eyes filled with tears, Angel smiled and said, “I’ll be counting the moments, handsome.”

She knew that John had to go to work. 

The door closed slightly as he left her with the echoes of their shared moments and the promise of their reunion in the future.

On her way home, all Angel could think of was John’s kiss. It was more meaningful than any kiss she’d ever received. It filled her soul with bliss. She was already thinking about the proper “hello” she would utter the next time he called. However, a loud, jarring vibration from her mobile interrupted the moment. 

In a calm yet concerned tone, the caller introduced herself as Maria, a nurse from Kanombe Military Hospital.

“What is it?” Angel asked, her voice racing with uncertainty.

“John just told me to call you. He had an accident, and an ambulance brought him here,” Maria revealed.

Angel’s heart skipped a beat. A cold shiver ran down her spine as she struggled to find her voice. 

“Is he… is he okay?”

“He’s stable,” said Maria,” but he had a terrible accident. We’re running some tests to make sure everything is all right. You should come to the hospital as soon as you can.”

Angel’s mind raced, her thoughts filled with a whirlwind of concerns as she swallowed hard.

“I’ll be there right away. Please take good care of him,” she finally managed to respond.

“Sure, we are trying our best,” Maria said as the wail of an ambulance siren faded into silence.

Without a second thought, Angel took a taxi to the hospital, her heart pounding with each passing second. She needed to see John and make sure he was safe.

When the taxi reached the hospital, she exited it and ran through the entrance. Everything around her was blurred as she navigated to the reception desk. With frantic breaths, she asked where John was.

Upon realising the urgency in her eyes, the receptionist pointed her in the right direction. She passed through a corridor and headed to the emergency room. And there he was, John, lying on a hospital bed, his face pale and bruised. Angel was filled with both relief and anguish at the sight of him. Tears welled up in her eyes as she rushed to his side. She then weaved her hand into his. 

“I’m here, John. I’m here. You’re going to be okay,” she whispered, her voice quivering.

The corners of John’s lips, weary and hesitant, also quivered. With a fragile grace, they lifted into a tender smile like a sudden beam of sunlight, illuminating the darkest quarters of the room. It also illusionised Angel’s heart. In that beautiful moment, all the weight that had pressed upon their hearts seemed to evaporate. 

“I know that God does things in mysterious ways, and bad things happen for a reason, but I am having a hard time finding a reason for this,” Angel murmured.

John smiled and muttered, “Life is so much more beautiful when you know you can die. Every blue sky, every potion of love, and every kiss feel so much more precious when you realise it could be your last.” 

John’s strength waned, and his body grew frail from the battles he had fought to keep his breath just to see Angel one last time. He turned his weary gaze toward her, his eyes reflecting a lifetime of shared moments, laughter, and love. He lifted her hand to his lips and kissed it gently as if letting out a farewell. 

Sorrow stifled Angel’s heart as she watched John slip away. Her eyes watered as she leaned in closer. Her voice broke as she whispered, “I love you, John.”

With one last effort, John whispered, “I love you, too, Angel.” Then he closed his eyes and went the way of all flesh.

The hospital room was filled with a heavy silence, and Angel was left with a profound emptiness that now consumed her.


Gisele Ingabire is a Rwandan writer and a poetess. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law from INES-Ruhengeri. Books are her siblings, and she believes that writing and reading heal. When she is not writing or reading, she travels, try new restaurants, hikes, and have fun with family and friends. She also likes to watch movies. She can be found on Instagram as xandagiselle.

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