There is nothing ever glorious about the demise of a loved one!
It is a very stressful circumstance anyone would have to face in a lifetime and now that it was my turn to grief, my heart did not function normally.
Heart sickness makes you untidy, forgetful, slim, clumsy and careless. I wasn’t different from every other patient and in my own case, my roommates and friends helped with walking me to the bathroom, rubbing my back to sleep, handing me slices of bread to eat, calling to remind me of classes, constantly asking about my assignments and prayers.
“Common Boy” (we shall henceforth call him CB) and I met in school through a mutual friend in 2015. In a short while we became very good friends because we seemingly had similar interests (aside politics and football). This handed us so many interesting topics to talk about for long hours; we only talked about our highs and lows, ups and down, faith and fears, trials and triumphs, thoughts and truths when there was nothing new outside ourselves. Our morning routine was to encourage each other through motivational messages, bible passages and commentaries. It also gave us a chance to share our gift of writing and talking with each other. Doing all these were effortless, felt appropriate and worth it because iron sharpens iron and we bloomed from such watering.
We ate parcels of junk food, consumed bottles of sugar together almost daily in school and shared financial responsibilities equally some days. We played together, argued over every darn thing, made jest of each other, laughed at things and people that were laughable and had these codes only us could decipher. These memories were stored in photographs truly precious to us. I knew we were admired and envied by a couple of people even though they kept asking funny questions. There had to be something “better” than friendship as everybody thought but we were genuine friends who were innocently determined to nurture a very promising friendship by the bite sized efforts we made.
He was a people’s person, the kind of young man greatly admired by all, undoubtedly considered a complete package by the old and young alike. Tall, elegant, humble, intelligent, fashionable, godly, respectful, a born leader with a very bright future. He was well known by his approving personality and that made all the difference.
Our connection was rare; people didn’t understand how we could be really that close, yet call it ordinary friendship so they didn’t just let us be. Human hands destroy everything they touch so we deviced a means to protect our bond which was by laughing at their curiosity in dismissal but they still wouldn’t let it be. In an attempt to “runaway” from their accusations, we took on an adventure we were unprepared for; we had a strong desire with no strategies. When I painfully discovered our souls were first knitted as friends, it was too late to redeem us; the wind had completely blown away the roof top, all I could do was sit and watch it all fly away.
I was attracted by his simple intellect, carried away by our lively bursts of conversations, fascinated by an accent of peculiar charm that pronounced “Airtel” as “ear-tel”. This ordinarily wouldn’t sound good coming from another person but it amused me only because my romantic side agreed to its charm. He was dark in complexion, had eyes like shirt buttons deeply planted in their sockets, arching brows and was a very charismatic person with a good heart. A very very good heart. I had never met a person who didn’t like him even from a distance, gentlemen and ladies alike. Since he was the kind of man people thought girls like me should be in love with without questions or doubt, it was really easy to fall in love with him. Indeed we were the greatest OTP (One True Paring), the chemistry was real but interpretation and understanding mattered!
Our relationship began in September 2016 but it was short-lived; I had him for some time then I didn’t anymore. So fast and incomprehensible!
Everything became strange. I know mishaps happen in relationships but ours happened so fast and we were too naïve and lacked the essential skills to rightly manage our new communication problems, quick temper, impatience, issues of infidelity and doubts so it led to our first separation.
Months later (now in the new year) with the help of friends, we managed to confront our issues, tried to resolve some and swept the rest under the carpet. We forgave and rekindled our friendship then a little while later, we started saying longer hellos and spending more time than necessary. He peddled gifts across to me, called often, sent me early morning messages like he used to but this time they bore loud undertones of direct affection. He did things only people in love did without hitting the nail on the head and even though I cracked the code, I didn’t know how to react to these activities so would only express simple gratitude. Later on I thought his efforts deserved some compensation before he got tired; the earlier I stopped feigning ignorance, the better for me so in an attempt to save the bird at hand, I reciprocated and we were fine enjoying this emotional rollercoaster.
This ride didn’t take us too far because I started feeling the need to define our relationship. I asked questions like What are we doing? Are we now back together or not? What do you really want? I needed clarity, I needed to know if I was safe. I didn’t want to assume, I just wanted to know what to really address him as or tell people he was to me when asked, to know what all those posts and comments on social media really meant. I was convinced it was the right thing to do but I was wrong for doing it because they made him drift away so this separation was my fault, again! I became angry with myself for being pushy and trying to take the lead instead of just waiting until he said a thing. He showed me he cared. He said he loved me and I believed him. What else did I want? A title! I should have just enjoyed the moment without getting obsessed with having the title. But how is that done, being with somebody but not really being with them?
Inside my head I heard “I wasn’t ready for you”. Why didn’t he just tell me?
We spent months apart from each other but we were still just beneath each other’s noses, sat in the same class, were involved in the same extracurricular activity, lived in the same compound (for a while) had the same circle of friends, knew almost the same people who readily brought memories back. They did not know so I condoned it with a smile since I couldn’t explain.
During that time I kept trying to navigate my feelings and emotions away from the real meaning of his disappearance but I lacked the confidence to admit that in reality, actions should match words.
This time around, I became a shadow of myself. I lost my life. My eyes were pale, my thinness was real. I became shy and fearful like an infant, socially withdrawn with people’s faces making me sick. I was uninterested in the affairs of my life, stood and thought from a place of pain, spoke without elation in my voice. No matter how hard I tried to bear my unhappiness with grace, distinctive etiquette, experience and style; to create a balance between my education and this failure my strength always betrayed me. Bearing this burden seemed like my spirit was just lingering on earth far beyond its allotted time.
People must have thought I was too busy with my life that I couldn’t have time for a relationship. They considered me too ambitious and I could tell from some conversations that I was the typical daddy’s girl who was totally obedient to “boys will distract and destroy your future, stay away from them until you’re ready for marriage and the right one will come”. So I didn’t talk about these things to people. I only said I had malaria. My classmates must have really wondered if I had a genetic bond with Malaria since it resided in me the entire school year.
This was the most embarrassing thing I could ever talk about or do; admit I was suffering from a heartbreak that was whizzing me into deep dark depression. I managed for a long time on my own until I couldn’t write exams without professional help. Therapy was a foreign idea, an absolute waste of time and money but it became necessary since it was free.
Regardless of all these, he remained my first gleam of daylight so my eyes still traveled across the classroom daily seeking the thing I knew I’d never find. I still had hope because we didn’t die a natural death; like the wilting flower is watered back to life, there was still a chance no matter how slim!
I feel quite embarrassed that I am not even talking about death here, that I am talking about being jilted by a lover and abandoned by a friend, the same person. I am painfully talking about the emotional devastation rising from an under ripe romance.
Thanks for reading to the end, the tale continues next week with PURSUIT IN PAIN where I’ll talk about what broke the camel’s back.
One quick question though, what do you do when your once very happy relationship becomes epileptic; give up or fight for it? Let’s continue this convo in the comment box; someone may just find your trick or tip useful. 😉