There were times when I felt like she was the worst mistake I ever made. Honestly, I don’t know how to say this without sounding like a bad person, but the truth is that I felt like there was nothing good about her. She was like a speck in my eye-irritating and keeping my eyes glassed with tears.

You see, I was just a boy who fell in love when I was not supposed to. And one thing about falling is that you get hurt. By the time pictures start swinging into focus and the missing pieces slotting into place, you are damaged goods-beaten into a pulp. You lie in bed in the dead of night and listen to the neighborhood noises die down, one after another. And then, at the break of dawn, when the earliest workers drag themselves to work, you stand by your window to nurse your bleeding heart and do not stop until all but the last stragglers found their way home. But one thing about a bleeding heart is that it stops bleeding. The gushes of blood slow down into not-so-steady streams that turn to droplets. You wake up one day, and your feet feel firmer on the floor, and coffee tastes like coffee. And then the next day, you beam with pleasure when you draw your curtains for the first time in a while and feel the sun on your face. Therapeutic. You feel alive. Awakened. And the day after that, you dress up and get out of the house. You even laugh about it because who cries over a woman after all? A woman who is not your mother. In a world with over three billion women, and you cried over one woman? Three billion with a ‘B’ not an ‘M.’

And just when everything starts to feel normal again, she reaches out, saying something about “missing you” and a series of other incomprehensible things like “you are the love of my life.” And for a moment, you feel like throwing that gerrrarahiiaa word in her face, but your parents taught you never to talk to strangers. So you block her number and continue sipping your tea because that was the most terrible joke you have heard in a long time.

If you read the first part of this story herethen you remember this girl I met at a party. The one that smoked weed as if she was in a dancehall video, remember? The one whose hair smelled of weed? You get the picture? Yeah, that one. This is her story. Or our story.

When this girl and I started talking, she gave me all the green lights a woman could give a man in the talking stages of a relationship. She invited me in. She held me by the lapels of my shirt and pulled me into her embrace. She had me tied around her little finger.

I would go to her place on cold evenings, and we would lie on our backs on the bottom bunk bed for hours, looking at the mattress above and talking about everything and nothing and nothing and everything. It was simple, but it was beautiful. She would be so close to me that I would hear oxygen rush into her lungs and carbon dioxide rush out almost simultaneously. And then, like programmed robots, we would tilt our heads and kiss. No, not, the dry split-second peck. We would KISS!! And then an awkward but exciting silence would follow. But we would kiss again because these kisses were a precursor to other indiscretions that would come after that. No, not sex. That came later. Just other indiscretions. That thing you are thinking about right now. Yes, that one.

And then the sex came. When the time was right, she let me devour her. Oh, and she served it on a silver platter, for my enjoyment-a three-course meal. After I swallowed my last mouthful of dessert, I rolled over to catch a breath and savor the electrolytes traversing my sweaty body. With my hands still cupping her breast, she threw a random compliment my way. That I had hit the bull’s eye. Nothing elates a man than a woman praising his food-eating skills. When she talks about how you hold your ‘spoon’ with the full length of your palm, and not with the tips of your fingers like every Tom, Dick, and Harry. How you slurp on the juiciness of the meat. How your fork and knife slice into the meat with surgical precision. How you take time to savor the sweetness and then let out a suppressed moan. For a moment, she made me feel invincible, indestructible, the greatest of all time, you name it. But for a long time to come, this would be the last time I saw this glittery side of her. She changed. She flipped the same way you would flip chapatti on a pan. She became sulky, distant, don’t-care, selfish, snobbish. But because I was in love, I thought, “Aaah, she will change. This is a kawaida thing. She is just being a girl; she will come back to her senses.” She did not. It got worse.

Let me paint the picture for you. When I noticed that things were going astray, I proposed a meeting-a date of some sort to right any wrongs that might have been committed. 

After all, one of us had to be the adult in the relationship. And when I showed up at the agreed place, she was nowhere in sight. But, I am a patient man. So, I waited. And waited…and waited. She stood me up. Do you want to know why? Because she had undone her hair. She didn’t even beat around the bush as a typical girl would. “I can’t see you, I have undone my hair,” she squealed over the phone. And that was it. The audacity, bro! You see, a girl who likes you does not care about her damn hair. She could show up with porcupine spikes stuffed in the hair for all she cares. And so I was baked by the scorching sun hoping she would pop up, somehow. Yeah, she did not.

Wounded, I would retreat to my shell to lick my wounds. She was like a hired assassin- paid top dollar to scrap meat of my bones. And she did. Her words cut through my delicate skin like a cleaver knife, and her actions crushed my bones to powder. When she was done, she would stand over what remained of me, adjust her sunglasses, and walk into the sunset with the knife dripping with blood-movie style. I had to learn to survive in tiny atoms, piecemeal, a day at a time.

And then months later, she would show up hat in hand, and I would go back running to her. Partly because I still had a tinge of affection for her and also because I wanted answers. The millennials call it closure. She was remorseful after all, wasn’t she? But she was not the same girl I met at the party. There was something about her that was not just right. On these rainy days, even sex didn’t feel like it. It was like going to work on a rainy Monday morning. She would ‘serve her meal,’ but it would be bland, tasteless, and uncooked. It wasn’t even served with courtesy, for Pete’s sake. Not even on an aluminum plate. It was thrown at me as if I was a hound.

But I drew the line when she pulled off the mannequin challenge on me. When she called asking me to come over, I thought, “why not?” So I showed up with my penis in hand because she sounded cheesy over the phone. You know, asking questions like “utakula nini? Is beef okay?” The kind of questions that are used as a substitute for other words that are too embarrassing to say plainly. Words that should only be spoken by two people at night with the lights switched off and the curtains drawn. Or with a red bulb on and the “put your hands on my shoulder” track in the background-silhouette challenge style. And when the lights were switched off and the curtains drawn, she did not respond to any of my advances. She did not even kiss me back. And for hours, I kissed and touched a live mannequin. So that night, we slept the same way John Snow and Daenerys Targaryen would when they learned that they were related. Brother and sister. And when morning came, even a good morning came, the cycle repeated itself. Not even an innocent good morning kiss. I mean, what was the essence of me coming over. She could have sent an email for chrissake. When I left her house, I swore never to come back. That would be the end of this vicious cycle. I picked the remaining pieces of dignity I could find and ran for the hills.

For the next couple of years, I tested the waters of the dating life. I belonged to the street, as some of you might say. I kissed every frog that had lips to be kissed. They taught me a thing or two about this other gender. I won’t deny it; some of them were the best moments of my young adult life. I wish others lasted more than they did, but it is what it is.

And, just so you know, she is back. Yes, the girl I met at the party. She doesn’t smoke anymore. She eats mangoes instead. She peels off the skin and sucks on the pulp gluttonously. And if by any chance you have any questions you would like to ask- I know you do- I am sorry to say that even I don’t have the answers. Oops, she is calling; I got to go. Ciao!

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