They always flood his consciousness at times like this; rare moments when the loneliness really gets to him. He enjoys loneliness – he cherishes it. He’s far too comfortable in his own company. Maybe it’s a problem but he’s eternally grateful to have such a problem. His loneliness is a door he shuts against the world. However, in moments like this, the loneliness becomes an open door – unused. He didn’t fight it this time around; he just let the memories flow. They never come in the same order but they’re all too familiar for him to miss a thing.
Of them all, Nike appeared to be the one that hurt him most. “Don’t call me again,” she said. He did. She never picked. It wasn’t that he expected what they had to last – he knew it was a disaster waiting to happen. It sure did. What hurt the most was not knowing why or what he did to make it all go south. For someone who thrived on figuring everything out, this didn’t make any sense. Was she tired of him? Did he screw up somehow? But she still visited three days ago and they left on good terms, after she succeeded in waking him up by smothering him with kisses. No it was something else. But what? Maybe he’ll never know. He hated not knowing.
Mary’s case was comical. He wasn’t in the mood to laugh now but he did, almost spilling the vodka he’d mixed with soda – to keep the evening chill away. He was in his second year then. She was in her first year in another school. Girls had come and he’d acted like a complete idiot just so they’d leave him the hell alone. He didn’t want anyone coming between him and her. Sure, they fought but they always sorted their issues out. So when he felt at a point in time that something wasn’t right, he called her. She said she didn’t feel a relationship existed anymore – she was done. He asked if she was sure. Yes. It was February 13. The next day, his cousins’ girlfriends arrived and the Valentines Day shenanigans almost made him puke. Bags packed with books and a few movies he hadn’t seen, he went off to Biodun’s house. Exams were a week away and he’d die first before failing his papers because of a girl.
Four years later, he met her again. He’d graduated. She’s single. His Facebook status said “it’s complicated”. She blamed him for not calling back after the break up. She was bluffing when she said they were done. He said he thought her mind was made up. She said his pride stopped him from calling back. To him, it’s simple logic; you don’t say you’re done when you’re not. This was what was amusing; she broke up over nothing.
Dale was a curious case though. Free spirited, he thought she was just perfect. He wanted something real, serious. She felt they should remain friends. He wasn’t content but he’d take the consolation prize – for now. He was good at breaking out of the ‘zone’. Her boyfriend saw him as a threat. He was right. She eventually broke up with the dude because of him. She didn’t know that he knew but he did. Schadenfreude. They remained friends. They had their first kiss in the kitchen and it lingered till the burning rice told them to give it a rest. Still friends. She said they were too close to date but she’d get jealous when other girls were around him. Months later, they kissed again; one that didn’t stop till they were a tangled, perspiring, naked heap minutes later. Friends or lovers? They still had no idea.
So it was only natural that the fire fizzled out. He didn’t want it to, she didn’t either but it just turned out that he took her more seriously than she took him. At least that’s what he thought till she told him years later that she thought all he wanted was to roam free. He’d never roamed free; he actually hated it. As much as he valued his freedom and privacy, all he needed was an anchor to keep him grounded. He thought he’d found it but he was wrong – again. He’ll have to keep searching.
Then he met Dorcas. The first girl he met that could go toe to toe with him, in almost all things. She was just as stubborn as he was, and just as gentle. She could be smiling now and tell him to sod off in a moment. She challenged him and he loved it. Their first year was a battle, of wits and of will – never mind the fact that they wound up in bed within a month of knowing each other. After that, he thought she was his. She made him see different. For the next three months she didn’t speak to him – not a word. Whenever they crossed paths, she didn’t as much as give him an acknowledging nod. He thought he was the king of the silent treatment until that moment. He was going crazy. She was enjoying the thrill of watching him do so.
The next two years were the best he’d ever had in a relationship. She found Jesus within that period and decided from then on to save herself for marriage. She didn’t know but her decision will even help him become better because that’s the one thing that kept him on the wrong side of God. He didn’t care as long as she was with him. He’d even use her pillow whenever she was away just so he’d smell her perfume – It helped him miss her less.
There was however an elephant in the room. She wanted him to commit and make things ‘official’. No it wasn’t marriage. Not yet. She just wanted him to ask her out properly. He never did. A lot of water had passed under the bridge and he thought she knew him well enough to know he was committed to her. “Why ask her out when we’d gone through all we did? Why would she think I was just for sex – we’ve only ever had a tumble in the sack just three times in three years? A man does one of two things after sex, he stays or he goes after the next score. I stayed for three years even though I was rarely getting any. What more does she want?” He thought. In his logic, he underestimated a woman’s attachment to words and their affirming nature. He was never really given to too many words and that proved to be his undoing. He paid the price of his stubbornness by losing her.
He thought he was done but he met Lola. Young, naïve, optimistic and a hopeless romantic, she fit his description of ‘mummy’s girl’ perfectly. He naturally ran away from her type; choosing not to let his cynical nature shatter her rose-tinted glasses. He ran, she chased. He realized too late that she was way into him and he wondered what he did to get her so whipped. In no time, she got to his friends and they started doing the wooing for her. “You don’t know her kind,” he said. “They lose interest just as quick as they fall for you.”
This time around, he was right. Cynicism pays off sometimes. They had a fantastic start, and it was a breeze. Then the lull came and he was now doing the chasing. He chased, she ran. It would be better to even say she didn’t run, but that he was chasing shadows instead. It sucked. He couldn’t get through to her and he felt like a crashing pilot screaming mayday and getting static as feedback. And just when he was giving up, she’d show up. He gave her another chance but she sucker punched him again.
Strike two. He knew very little baseball but he’ll be damned if he let her have three strikes. He’ll keep searching for his home run instead…
PS: Looked through the relationship tales of my friends – real stories – and decided to make a just one story out of it. It’s never pretty when a relationship ends; and it doesn’t matter if it’s a clear cut case of cheating or those that don’t just work out, or even those with so many grey areas where no one’s right and no one’s wrong. But we keep trying to get it right no matter how many times we get shot down. Some even take a sabbatical from love (I’ve done that, it helps). Some just shut the door permanently – till they meet someone who cares enough to pry it open (Done that too with little luck).
Most importantly, this is about those dudes who aren’t really jerks. The guys who make mistakes now and then when all they’re looking for is the peace of home but haven’t yet found the key. You’ll find it. You might need to be a little less stubborn and think about her too. It’s not all about you bro. Keep calm.
And girls, not all guys are douche-bags. I heard someone say that most girls wouldn’t think twice before saying all men are dogs, forgetting that dogs are one of the most loyal animals out there. Take him for walks, feed him now and then, pat his head. He’ll sit.
PS 2: I threw my story in there too. Good luck finding it (I fear those who know me well enough will 🙂 ).