First thing that strikes me when I see her is how effortlessly beautiful she is. Her eyes are black, no piercings, I notice (so some millenials do not actually have piercings huh?), she’s petite and with beautiful skin. I can’t place the color, she isn’t too dark, neither is she too light, somewhere in between. Her teeth look lovely and the way she throws small smiles as we talk is just wonderful.
It’s a Thursday and I still can’t get over the fact that I missed out on Valentine’s celebrations last week. Haha, don’t even come at me with that ‘cliché stereotype’. Let’s get this clear, I wanted to treat myself, somehow it just slipped my mind. I had assignments to do and submissions to make so I couldn’t spare some time to really go out. But I shall… I really hope I get that chance.
So, back to where we were. We’re just the two of us, on a bench. Both nervous, because honestly, I have never done anything like this before. I’m not sure if she’s scared too…you know, trusting a stranger with the songs your demons play in your head almost all the time. It’s pretty different on my side, because I’m not sure if I’ll tell her story the way she would have liked me to. I am accustomed to telling my own stories, because it’s always been easier that way. It is my way of gathering myself up, my way of decrypting what my soul wants to say when I’m too busy to pay attention, it is the only way I get to connect with myself, and everything around me. I hope it works out well for the both of us.
I just kick it off with a casual ‘How are you feeling?’
And as if she already knew I’d ask, she says ‘Tired’. Then she does this thing with her eyes… Like making them pop a bit with a blank look on her face. I push my glasses up a bit, and nod. She has a lot to say.
“It is really easy to put up a show and act like you have it all together, but in all truth, it is the complete opposite. I have no idea what has been going on, and as days go by I just feel like I’m getting better at hiding it as it gets worse…I miss being young, and innocent and happy. You know, not having to worry about a thing, except maybe when your parents will get you a new book to read or something like that,” she ends with a laugh which is heavy with nostalgia, and sadness. I say that because I can see how the look in her eyes changes as she goes on.
She looks fragile now. Hurt, and in pain.
“You read, right?” She asks, as if to lighten the mood.
“I do, most times. It’s therapeutic,” I tell her.
“Well, I also try. Although nowadays I don’t read sana like I used to kitambo,”
Now we’re doing this language, heh. But I want to understand what’s got her to this point. Young as we may all seem, I have every reason to believe that she deserves only the best that the world has to give, I mean, she has it all.
” There are days I don’t want to stay under my skin. It feels too big for me to fit, and there are others when I just want to shrink and become a grain of sand…something that’s there and not really there, you get?”
Of course I do. But I’d prefer you become the wind because it’s the only things that’s there and not really there, but alright, whatever works best for you…I think to myself.
She goes on,
“There is nothing to look forward to. No text, no phone call…no one,” she says the ‘no one’ as if it’s just that one person. Like it’s the most important thing. I start to wonder who this someone is.
“Life is just passing by every other day, and I feel oblivious of everything that’s going on. I am there and not really there. Like I’m walking with a cloud over my head…so no one can figure out what’s going on inside.” And as an afterthought, she adds, “but there are days when it’s better. Like I laugh and it’s genuine, and I smile and feel like I’m not carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. Then there are days I want to stay in bed all day and feel nothing. Thinking is exhausting and staying in my own head drives me nuts. So I’d rather sit in silence and try so hard not to think of anything. But he never goes away. I don’t understand how just one person can make you feel so much all at once. It’s madness… I have no idea how I got here…
He made me feel everything and now I suddenly feel nothing. I don’t know what to feel now. So many significant parts of myself are gone. And he does not care. He’s happy, he is okay…”
“How along has it been?” I want to know. Because it is not just a heartbreak. There is so much anguish and pain, I wish she could just make a wish and let it all go away.
“Uhm, three months…three months of confusion, and questions and sadness, tears sometimes, and more questions.”
“He was a house on fire, and I insisted on touching, maybe because I needed warmth, but now I feel like I burnt to ashes and he still shines gloriously…I am the one who lost. And I feel sad.”
She talked on and on, and spilled all she wanted to. Or rather, as much as she let me. Some were like glass, I felt them pierce me too.
So, he said he loved her. She was sixteen, he was nineteen, meaning that by the time he left high school, she was still somewhere in school, dealing with assignments, punishments, compulsory games, and worst of all, teachers who ‘don’t understand’. She admits he’s the main reason she did well, she wanted to be like him. She adored him, he was smart, wore glasses and was tall, and good looking. Haha tall dark and handsome, she says.
We all like them tall dark and handsome, eh? (I like them with bad hair as well, LOL)
She tells me she was happy when she joined uni. She was going to get more time with him, no more restrictions and all that. She is a kalastborn BTW. The way these people are held with regard in families, I’d understand her too. So she says she went all in. It was always all about him. Friday to Monday. He’d call me his princess and I felt safe around him…she remarked fondly.
The fact that he didn’t ask for anything made me want to give him everything.
Her tone changes when she starts talking about how things took a sudden turn.
“So, turns out there was someone else, surprisingly, from my high school, although she was one year ahead of me. She was slim, and light skinned, but I didn’t like her guts. About how I found out, she stomped into the house one Saturday night, drunk, and shouting…apparently she was mad at him for rukaing the pregnancy.”
“He just told me to leave. It was ten thirty o’clock…and…” She shakes her head and wipes off a tear. “I called an uber and went back to school. I was so distraught. So the next weekend I went back to his place. He didn’t let me in. She was inside, and he said it had something to do with having to give her time to heal, then things would be back to normal. So I was supposed to go back after two weeks because she’ll have left.”
“Did you go back, or you chose to move on?”
“Haha, I went back. I was so happy. I was counting days left to seeing him. I got there and most things had changed, he now had his photos on the walls, there were pink crocs at the door, which were not mine. My clothes were no longer on the hangers. Someone else was here, and from the look of things, they were here take over and to stay. And the worst part is that, he was acting like everything was okay. I tried to ask but I didn’t get any straight answer. I asked to leave and he said no. He insisted that I stay. That gave me a bad feeling, because he’d never force me to do things I didn’t want to. So I was in the kitchen when I heard him on the phone. He was talking to her, I guess. About an abortion, and he was telling her that ‘they‘ would do just fine. So it was them now…I was just a prop, and I didn’t matter.”
She tells me that she couldn’t sleep all night. She felt dirty, she felt betrayed and lost. The next morning he asked her to leave because apparently he was having a guest. She insisted on staying, her reason being that she wanted to see what this other girl had, that she could not offer. She wanted to know how she spoke, and how she looked like when she smiled. She wanted to know why it had to be this other girl, and not her.
The ‘woman of the house’ came back eventually and she started with “babe this is that cousin of yours you told me about?”
“LOL, eti cousin,” she says sarcastically.
So all along she had been the cousin, or side chiq if you like, and apparently she had to stay at his house until she got her accommodation issues at school sorted.
Honestly if it were me, I would unleash holy hell. Seriously, people still do that? Cousiiiiiin?(read this like Burna Boy for full effect ) So, she had been her boyfriend’s cousin, all along.
“Sometimes I don’t even see the point in being sad. Like I wasn’t good enough, so what? He didn’t want me, so what?”
After the awkward cousin intros she was asked to go warm food…imagine. She couldn’t think of anything else, she carried her guitar and her sling bag and walked out the door. Later that night, she tells me, he called her and told her never to show up at his place.
Like this was the one person who was not supposed to hurt her. The one person she had trusted blindly, and gave everything. And now look.
The hardest pill to swallow is usually the fact that you never know. You never have full guarantee on whether someone truly means what they tell you. An ‘I love you’ can easily turn to ‘I don’t want this anymore’ and ‘I promise I won’t hurt you’ could turn to ‘s/he broke me into so many pieces, some which I’ll never find’. It is scary.
It’s been three months and sometimes it hurts just as bad as the first time, she says.
“And how does that make you feel?” I ask.
“I’m just tired, like what’s the point in immersing yourself into something and giving it all the best parts of you and still getting hurt at the end?”
“But it’s just been one time…”
She tells me that she understands it’s just one time, but can’t help but doubt the possibility that the next is going to be any better.
I just tell my friends I’m okay, and I’m over him, and everything will be fine, but deep down, I know I’m lying.
“Would you want to get closure from him? Because this story didn’t really end. It’s like he just put a sudden stop, but there is more to it,”
“If I went to him for closure, I’d probably fall on my knees and ask him to love me again, even if it was all a lie. Some days I would wake up so mad, I wanted to hit him up and ask him why he did all that to me, but in all truth, some part of me knew that I just wanted him back. But it’s not the same nowadays, I ask myself why, but I don’t want to ask him. Because I won’t get that closure and I’ll probably walk back into the circus, him being the clown, I would still play on, until the next heartbreak, and the next broken promise. And I don’t want that. I am past that stage where I have to walk a few steps backward with hope that he shall notice and run towards me to ask me why I never begged to stay. The closure is of no use. I might want to hear it, but it won’t change much. And all the things that were left unsaid should just remain that way. All I want is to heal, and to be alright. I want it all to go. It’s been too long already and most days I’m devoid of hope, because the healing is not forthcoming…but it shall pass, I pray it does.”
She is hopeful, and that is something wonderful. She shall heal, and I pray she finds the love she deserves, whether it flows from within or it comes from elsewhere, I hope she is loved wherever she goes.
And I hope all those who feel the tired that sleep can’t heal and the exhaustion that coffee can’t cure find happiness on the light days, and I hope they find purpose on the nights of tears. I hope they know they are not alone. Brighter days, no matter how few, are coming, so are more adventures and heartaches. And there will be a reason to push on, every time.
All of these things shall pass, as all other things do.
By Rose Georgina