Do you remember, the first time we met?
You dressed in that long flowing skirt that was totally out of line for the garden party I had invited you to. Okay, this was not really the first time I saw you. I’d seen you around campus for the past year. But I never got the courage to come over and say hello, imagine that. Even with my reputation as the campus dandy I could not walk up to a pretty girl and speak. So I did the next best thing, I befriended your friend, Belinda, remember her? She quickly fell for my jokes, even when I told her I was not interested in her. She was at ease with being my friend. I charmed her into inviting you over to one of the parties I threw every semester. Where a bunch of friends got together and got severely drunk. Good times those were, when I could drown a bottle of vodka and still show up for the morning class.
Belinda got really excited when I told her I was interested in you. I think it was the only thing she felt she could give freely. In her excitement, trying to hook us up, she lied that I’d come pick both of you up in my car. Which was a bit of a stretch, considering I did not own a license then. But even when you discovered her lies you still came, and you stood before me wearing the most beautiful smile I ever saw on God’s green earth. You looked at me, as I stood there unsure of what to say and you said all that needed to be said, “hello.” I knew then, I would have done anything to have you. To hold you in my arms and sing in my broken voice all the silly love songs that lovers treasure.
So imagine my surprise when you liked me back. Me, the short dark boy who had nothing but confidence in him. You said you liked that about me. My ability to pursue anything and everything I wanted. Which was fine so long as I wanted you.
Do you remember the first time we kissed. I was so nervous that I nearly missed. My mind fixated on how your lower lip was so pink. My heart daring me to pull you close, my hands sweating from the anticipation. Did you notice? I had chewed a full packet of breath mints in the hope that my mouth would be ready to receive your royal tongue. I worried then, that you would kiss me and wake up from your reverie. You would notice that I was just another guy with nothing special about me. Yet you stayed. Even when your friends wondered what a girl like you, liked about me. A daughter of the sun, with eyes that swore me to honesty every time you looked at me. Why did you choose me? I was scared always of losing you. I promised i’d give you the best in this life. You said you already found it…. in me. I thought you were terribly mistaken. Which is why I threw myself into work. Not for the money but for you. So that some day I could have been worthy of the man you saw in me. Remember how much debt I got into for the wedding? I wanted to give you a perfect wedding. You just wanted to be with me. In your eyes, the young dark boy, who was confidently arrogant was just enough.
Last week you walked up to me and said you were leaving. You are tired of always coming after the work. I thought you were joking, until you told me you had taken a lover. You have been with him these past 2 years. I wonder how I could have missed it. But when I think of it, the signs are a bit more clearer. The bounce in your step came back. The lilt of your hips every time that song came on. As if we were 20 years younger dancing in the dark halls of campus hostels. I thought age did that to you. It was him all along.
I hoped you would let me find a way to do better. I hoped you would give me time. But you decided it was over. You said it with such finality that I knew there was no point in arguing. You have always been stubborn. I like…liked that about you. You are moving out today. His car is in our driveway, he is waiting eagerly for you to come down with your bags. You pull the last suitcase to the door. You stand there looking even lovelier than you did the first time. You stop, and look at me. You ask if there is anything I would like to say. Of course there is, how can I have nothing to say when you choose to leave me after all this time. I want to ask you to stay with me. Even for just one more night, stay with me. Maybe in the morning you will have changed your mind, so stay with me. But I am a proud man, you know that. So I look at you, my expression blank, a million emotions cascading down my spine but I remain silent. You assume that I do not care, you open the door and head out to your lover waiting eagerly for you. I know this is the last time we will see each other in this life. You leave without me mustering the courage to say anything, even a thank you. Just like in the beginning.
As the door finally closes, the song that you love starts singing in my mind. It is Sam Smith’s, Lay me down. The lyrics coming clearly to me, after 2 decades of hearing it almost daily. They are engraved into me. “Can I lay down by your siiide, next to yooooou? And make sure you’re alright. I’ll take care of you. I don’t want to be here if I can’t be here with you tonight….” The song ends and the silence that fills the room is haunting. As if your leaving allows the ghosts of the past to come gliding into the house. I creep to the window and peer outside. He finishes putting your stuff into the car. He opens the door for you and you slowly slide in. Just before he closes the door, you stop for a moment and look towards the window. As if you know I am here, looking, hoping, wondering if you will come back and stay with me. You shut the door of the car. He runs to the driver’s side, eager to get you away from me. He knows the hold you have over me. He climbs in and quickly drives off. Glad to be rid of me. My heart wills me to go after you. I do not. I sit there in pain, not knowing what to do with it. I stare into the distance hoping maybe you will come back. The universe as if acknowledging my pain, allows the rain to fall. Grudgingly at first, then mightily. Each raindrop seeking to outdo the previous one in beating down my windows. I go to the kitchen and pour myself a cup of coffee. I come back and sit at your favorite window next to your favorite chair. The rain falling, the smell of coffee wafting through and a hint of your perfume lingering. I wonder how long it will take before every thing in this house stops reminding me of the pretty girl that chose me then left me. I think of the future. And I know sometime in the future, I will meet people who knew us when we were us. They will ask if we still talk, I will look them straight in the eye and lie.
I will answer yes. The yes will be my way of saying, thank you.
Think of this blog as a fine girl, and the readers as potential suitors. The more suitors we have the higher the bride price we can ask for 😉. So keep sharing the link to your friends and girl friends. I appreciate it. You are absolutely awesome.