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I can’t stop talking about you. When I’m alone with my thoughts, you barely come to mind, but every chance I get, I remember something you said or did and I share it with whoever I’m with at the time. So I guess the memory of you is stuck somewhere in my unconscious mind, and try as I may, I cannot shake it loose or flush it out. I also think that our last conversation, the changing weather and the month we’re in are all to blame for the current state of things.
You have a serious girlfriend now. The type to get you to tell me to keep a respectable distance so as to allow what you have to thrive. I should respect her tone and understand why she dislikes me so. Yet I kept telling myself that I would believe she’s good for you when you started drinking less and spending more time at home. I cannot confirm the first, but the second part is already happening. You told me yourself that you watch movies on weekends and order in. You also cook together. That last one was our thing. Baking chocolate chip cookies or muffins after we got high was our way of getting over the long and dull weekdays. Maybe I’m just jealous. Or unhappy because you moved on without my permission. Because somehow I had believed you when you said that it wasn’t serious and somehow I felt that you owed me an alert to when things did actually get serious.
When we started this, I’d told you that all I wanted was a human blanket. You didn’t seem to mind for a while. And then you did. For a time, I didn’t care . And then I did. So round and round we ran with our mixed feelings and pretentiousness until you showed me how badly it could hurt to give someone the deepest part of yourself and have them show you that it could not be enough to satisfy their hunger for more. You had promised that you would wear me down. I did not take your condescending seriously. You were simply a young African man whose past interactions with women had brought to light the power of his whit and fine looks. Then you hurt me. Right after I let you in, let myself be my real self around you, you cut me down. And because I had grown attached to you and your shortcomings, I let it go. With one phone call and an almost apology. I shouldn’t have let it go. Because that was when the real trouble started. That was when I started to let my misguided understanding of what we were to each other override the natural urge to flee from you in the opposite direction.
You officially became my very first human project. As such, I came responsible for your actions and words, putting myself in the line of fire as the first place to hit before you got to everyone. I would attempt to explain away what your cutting words really meant, excusing you as direct. I would psychoanalyze your actions based on your background and lack of religious inclinations and how badly women had hurt you when thy left you and never looked back. At your house, I would survive the role of emotional punching bag between the other women you slept with and tales of how they were nothing like me. The summary came off something like this: I was smart, but not nearly as beautiful. I would feed off of your energy until I became what you needed whenever you needed it. Then it started to unsettle me. I began to feel inadequate, to draw a grossly vivid pattern which left me feeling ashamed of this shadow I had grown into; a sad and cynical shadow of your definition of me. When I attempted to write my final chapter on you and move on, you reeled me in using the one power over me that I couldn’t seem to hold over the man after you – you always seemed to really need me to help you figure things out. You made me feel useful.
June is one of the worst months for singles in Nairobi. You wake up one morning, accustomed to weeks of endless sunny days, and find a chilly fog settled over your neighborhood. This change startles you. It forces you to reconsider your outfit and makes you start carrying around a heavy coat. At the office, you eat a little more and make endless cups of tea. Afterwards, the fog gives way to an occasional downpour. At home, you bring out your heater and let it blast for a while before you get into bed. Boiling water for your hot water bottle becomes a regular part of your bedtime routine. Then you start to wonder why you stopped talking to the man you’ve had an on-and-off fling with for the past few years. You send him a message with a line from a movie you watched together. He does not reply for three gut-wrenching days, but calls on the fourth because he is drinking at a new pub and you’re the only woman he knows who takes Guinness. He just got paid. Before the night is through, you’re both drunk in Westlands, waiting for the time to come when you will share an Uber to his house. There you’ll fall asleep wrapped around each other and for a few wonderful hours, fill a void you each have. It is a void that you have taught each other to fill perfectly for a time. This will become your regular routine, between work and visits to your respective homes to see parents and siblings. Then one day, towards the middle of August, you will fall into weekend habits involving other people and not talk for weeks at a go. You will cross each others minds often, but manage to steer clear. You are both afraid of what the other person may not feel. On particularly dull days, texts will be composed but remain unsent. There will also be a few missed and unreturned calls. The seasonal mutual needs will have changed and with them the consistency of reaching out even as a common courtesy.
I cannot point out exactly what is wrong with this situation, but my gut remains restless about it. There too many new gaps which need filling and too many feelings of dissatisfaction in our arrangement. Numerous oaths have been sworn to the wind, saying this will be the last time. But it never is. Life isn’t perfect. You play the cards that you are deal. Real relationships aren’t perfect either. So I will wait until the wind blows in the right direction so we can start over at the end of May. I only need to wait nine more months for your fairy-tale romance to fall apart.