DEAR YOU…

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Remember that wedding in July, the one where Seyi got married to Wande? Maybe it’s crazy but that moment’s forever etched in my mind. Maybe it’s because it’s the first one I’ve ever been deeply involved in – I was one of his groomsmen. Maybe it’s because of what I saw that day when the couple took their vows.

I was seated in front with the other guys when this happened. It was really beautiful watching Seyi and Wande take those vows but I wasn’t really looking at them. I saw you instead, in that resplendent white gown, looking into my eyes with nothing else but pure affection in your eyes as I vowed to love, hold, cherish and protect you for the rest of my life.

I saw our wedding that day.

So what happened? Just two more years down the line and we’re in pieces – with the shards set to cause more damage at any attempt to put them back together again – like two people in a Humpty Dumpty relationship. I was a fool and you were just plain silly at times.

You wanted me to talk more. I do talk, but I’d carved a cave where I stuck my innermost feelings, passions, fears and hopes into. That’s the part of me that you wanted to see the most and you did try. I’ll give you that; you badgered, pleaded and coaxed me to let it out. I’d almost get to that point where I finally let you in but then you tune off and disappear and the hurt of finding you at that crucial point and not meeting you waiting where you said you would made me recede even further.

So I would express myself the best way I could, by imagining how things should be – just as I imagined myself making those vows. We’d have a lot of conversations, half of them in my head but they’d seem so real that I would wonder why you still didn’t get me. To me, you should know why I’m the way I am. Why I act the way I do. Why I only keep real conversations at the simplest, most mundane level. I thought I told you so you should know. But you didn’t know; you couldn’t have known because half of what I told you about how I am was all stuck in my head.

I should have been gentler with you, more patient. I shouldn’t have treated you like you should automatically get me – like some sort of robot that I act like. You’re human, I am too but it beats me why I don’t act like one. Why I’m rarely excited or enthusiastic about anything. Like I’d been here before and seen it all so I’m bored with the world and the people in it. But I’m interested…sometimes; I just don’t know why my emotions on the inside don’t translate to my expressions on the outside…sometimes. You almost get me to the point where these two become one but you’d give up right at the most crucial moment and I’d fall back.

You would reach for me before I fall and I would reach for you just as I fell to grasp your nothing. No hands, no straws. So I got used to falling, deeper into my shell.

I could blame you for this but if there’s anything I’m grateful for, it’s a keen sense of perspective. So I could say you were lazy, not so committed or just playing games with my heart but I’m a difficult person to love as well. I’ve got no problems loving, I like imagining being loved but the thought of it happening in reality, seeing pure love radiate through someone to me scares the living shit out of me. If I’d be nice to myself I’ll just say that I’m not meant to be loved. But I’m not so nice to myself either. Put simply, I’m insufferable as fuck.

So when you told me you cheated, I was broken. I fell apart like the contents of a toppled hourglass but as hard as it was for me, I was hopeful. I felt that the fault was meant to be a shared burden. Maybe it was at this nadir that we could have finally gotten everything back on track. So I wanted to know what the problem was. Was it me? Was I not as attentive, caring or passionate as you would have liked? I probably wasn’t. Was it my inability to be really there for you? It was probably because of me. So I felt that the solution was in the knowing. To you, the weight and shame of the initial confession was more than what you could bear. Still I wanted to know, for my sake and sanity. For our sakes.

And this has always been my problem. You’ll give a little taste and I’d always want more of what you’re reluctant to offer. You still expected me to chase even when it was obvious you (and I) were going nowhere. I on the other hand expected you to keep up with me. Whatever it was, I don’t know.  In the end, we’d run off in different directions without realising the chasm we were creating would be too wide to bridge. And now that we’re done running, we’re too spent to find our way back together.

I’m not a bad person, you know this. But I’m kinda messed up. I hurt people – I don’t agree but they say I do. I wonder how. They’ll read different meanings to my intentions or motivations for leaving people alone. I think people are confused: they want to be with you and they want to be alone as well. I have this problem but my awareness of the fact is already half the solution. People always leave dear. So I wondered why you didn’t even after all this. But it’s not that hard to figure out. I say to myself that I’m done with you every time. Then I see you and just want the shared moment at that time to linger forever.

People always leave and I let them. Why you’re still in this messed up relationship, I don’t know. I don’t love you any less and I even think I’m undeserving of you. But then, it’s never okay knowing just half the story – that’s torture. Completing it is my way back to you and as much as I want to, I can’t jump that far. I’ve got to retrace this bit by bit and this tip of the iceberg that you’ve given me isn’t enough. In fact, I believe it’s sinking our Titanic. And this is why I’m doing what I’ve never done before.

I’m leaving you.

I don’t wanna hurt forever
I don’t wanna keep on feeling
I just wanna say what we both know
I’m letting you let go…

Letting You Let Go – Paper Route

Image Credits: https://twitter.com/bitters101

I LET HIM DO IT

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Family is overrated. Those who say that blood is thicker than water could not be more wrong than those who said the earth was flat. Blood is thick, but only in relation to what it is meant for. Blood is blood. Water is water. Piss off if you think there’s a relation to using the relationship between these two elements to describe familial bonds.

We’re all alone in this world. We came alone. We only make alliances that benefit us for a stint or stretch of time. Family is one of those alliances. Long running, yes; but overrated as heck.

I realised this when my sister threw me out. My sister. Far from our home back in Abia, we were supposed to be all we had to ourselves in this unforgiving city of Lagos. And what did I do to deserve it? Nothing that would warrant an eviction. But I get it, big sis needed her space and I was cramping it. Besides, how could I, the last child in the family go toe to toe with my elder sister during arguments when I knew she practically held all the aces?

I had nowhere else to go. My sister decided that the best way to punish my feistiness and big mouth was to throw me out and really show who’s boss. My brother beats me at will when he can’t offer a superior argument. I’m a woman and I shouldn’t talk back to men; it is his responsibility to teach me with his fists before my future husband gets the honour –just so he wouldn’t conclude that my family did not train me well.

I couldn’t go to him. There’s no comfort in his presence because he would only mock me and I wouldn’t take it on the chin. The end result would be a black eye the next morning and sore joints so I passed on another lesson about how the good gift of pain could make me a good woman.

It was 10PM. I lived in Ajah with my sister. Getting out was not exactly easy at that time of night and my closest friends lived on the mainland. So I called Osita to see if I could spend the night at his place before figuring out my next move when day broke.

He felt like a safe option. We were close. We should have been closer but I didn’t want what he wanted at the time. A month later, he found a girl he liked and we moved on like nothing happened. He was the only friend I had at the moment.

Osita was happy to help. He knew my struggles and my pain. Once, he was so angry when he saw my bruises that he wanted to go after my brother but I stopped him. It would only have gotten me into more trouble for involving an outsider in our family drama and I’d suffered enough already.

But you never know with men. His mattress was on the floor of his room and he said he would sleep on the rug so I would be more comfortable. But he wasn’t on the floor when I woke up a few hours later to find his hand cupping my right breast, fingers kneading my nipple the way someone would tune a transistor radio.

I jumped like the bed was on fire. Caught in the act, Osita’s face was a brief mask of shame under the dim green night light in the room. He said he couldn’t contain his feelings for me; I was irresistible and had a hold on him that even his girlfriend didn’t have. He would break up with her if I gave him a chance with me. All he wanted to do was be with me and feel my warmth against the harmattan chill.

He tried to kiss me but I held back. Rather than let it go, he grabbed me. I would feel differently about him if we made love, he said. He’d always wanted to make me feel like a woman, he said. All I needed to do was to let him.

You never know with men. That was my mistake; mistaking his kindness towards me and willingness to remain in my life despite the rejection as signs of maturity. I’ve been in this situation before and I didn’t win – the blows made me submit.

This was different. I let him do it. Like a peaceful rainforest assaulted by bulldozers, I let him part my legs and invite himself into me. It was different. There were no blows.

The next morning, Osita barely said a word to me beyond a murmured apology and the devil using him. He wouldn’t have touched me if I wasn’t his weakness and being the man that he was, he succumbed. He told me to drop his key under his doormat when I was ready to leave; his girlfriend was coming to spend the weekend.

There were no blows then because I couldn’t fight. I only had a big mouth which got me into trouble with my brother and sister so I kept it shut for the time being. I let him do it. What I wouldn’t do is to let him get away with it like the others did.

Photo credit: Mohammed Alnaser via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND

A LITTLE SOMETHING ON MOTHER-IN-LAWS, CLINGY PARTNERS AND OTHER THINGS IN BETWEEN

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Yeah, smoother and drool over him/her. Why not also pee like a mutt just so we know you're marking territory?

This started out as a comment on a friend’s Facebook wall but I just thought to post it here as well.

And yes, it’s about overbearing mother-in-laws, clingy partners and that type of shit other things in between.

Somehow I realise now, how it’s even us the children and our mom that scold pops that he’s been away from his mom for too long. His maternal family could be a pain and he knew, so he shielded us all with some distance. I remember when mom tells stories of her early years in marriage and how grams would interfere with her other children at every opportunity, including sneaking some girl in under the guise of being a maid.

If anything, I appreciate how she handled it and how I share some of those traits. Ariwo ko ni music – no insults, no long winding arguments or nagging; just this quiet stubbornness that tells the other person to back off. Those early days earned her my grams respect and till date she’s even the one that visits often – more than her husband.

Some women just smother their kids instead of mothering. For me it’s both ways. I’ll run from a girl who seems to be a mommy’s girl too because you won’t seem to do anything right. Nobody likes someone hover over them just because they’re in a relationship with that person’s child. It’s bullshit. If you’ve trained your child well then you’ll have very little to worry about someone who’s dating or married to them.

Sometimes I’m really scared of the kind of parenting we give these days. Always eager to troubleshoot even before there’s trouble. We eliminate every appearance of error and raise kids in a controlled environment – like culturing a specimen in a lab. We forget that we won’t be here forever and this is where I take the Magic School Bus mantra and apply it to raising kids: take chances, make mistakes, get messy. Let them learn but let them know that you’re with them.

If you know you can’t cope with such nonsense, run. You’ll know from the first few encounters. No man or woman is worth that headache and Jesus didn’t die for that kinda ish. Better to have a US drone or spy satellite over you than a hovering MIL.

That said, there are women or men that are like this around their partners (see picture). Makes the whole darn thing even more difficult doesn’t it?

Seriously, check yourself. It might just be that you might be the one that also wants to own him/her by shutting them off from friends and family, people who were there for him before you came into the picture. You can’t possibly make up his entire world. It just doesn’t work that way. They might represent his past and present but if that’s good, who says the past, present and future can’t mesh in this case?

Also, in reverse, who’s to say that the future can’t coexist with the past? It’s all about perspective. You see a husband or wife. They see a son or daughter. Make it work or walk away early. No point tying the knot if you know you won’t be able to live with it.

As for clingy, hovering parents too; sometimes the whole point of teaching your chicks how to fly is that they can leave the nest on their own…eventually.

RUBBER BAND VOWS

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There I was on a lazy weekend when I saw the red blinking LED light on my phone, it was a Facebook notification. A writer friend of mine Tarfa ‘TJ’ Benson just sent me a message: “So here’s the thing, I find people’s trouble, here’s your turn..lol.” So here it is, I do hope you enjoy it. Plus I got my revenge a few days ago. Would publish that one next.

“You can’t break up with me…” he said, reclining in boxer-shorts on the sofa.

“I can.” she said, strutting half naked to where he sat, bending down to kiss him. Her lips moved over his, easy and familiar. When his hands reached for her waist, she sprung up and rubbed her forehead like she was suffering a migraine. “It’s been a blast.” She declared to the ceiling like it held a screen that replayed summer. “But the training and workshop is over so…”

“Well like I said, you can’t just break up with me.”

“Why?” She turned to the mirror and fixed her earrings. “Because you think you are a god in bed?”

He ran a hand into his scalp. “No, because we are married.” He held up his index finger which had a rubber band wound round it. She stopped packing, covered her mouth to stifle a laugh. “My God you’re still with that thing!”

“I did say till death do us part you know.”

She shook her head and smiled a sad smile at her reflection in the mirror as she drew an identical arc on the lips of each eyelid. “And what will you tell your pastor papa when you get back to Nigeria? That you have been living in sin?”

“No.” he stood up to his full height and her breath seized for some seconds as he loped to her with the calm grace of a tiger, his cross eyes dancing at her in her negligee. His eyes always gave her a delicious sense of suffocation, free from binocular vision they probed different parts of her at the same time. “I’ll tell him that he has a daughter in-law, the child of his best friend.” He pecked her cheek. “He’d be the happiest father in-law on earth.”

She zipped her traveling bag. “So we were-” he bit her earlobe “-okay ARE attracted to ourselves and we didn’t want to break our promises to God to keep ourselves till marriage, and so we did a phony exchange of vows as our clothes fell to the ground, I wonder if we even finished reciting them sef.”

“I remember reciting the most important part, till death do us part.”

“Jesus Christ Deoye! What if we are different people at the end of the day? What if we can’t stand each other, you know attraction is not enough to build a lasting relationship.”

“We’re just ordinary people…” he sang in a mock John Legend voice. “…Maybe we should take it slow…”

She shook her head and sighed. “I just knew coming for this summer training with you will land me into trouble, I knew it!”

“You knew it was long coming.”

“And i encouraged it.” she was pacing the room now, no more in amusement. “I told myself sharing a room with you will make us look good to the company, saving lodging costs and all that.” she stopped at the center of the room and regarded him on the bed, with a scowl. “You know the only reason MD let us share a room was because we grew up together, because we are family friends.”

“It was God at work.”

She ignored his opinion. “Now that we’ve made the mistake let’s correct ourselves before we offend God again, by divorcing.”

“We didn’t make any mistake.” Deoye corrected. “We are in love, we exchanged marital vows.”

“Yes, and rubber bands.” She pulled on a dress. Then she turned sideways at him on the bed, her hands pulling her braids into a bun on top of her head. “And who will you say officiated the matrimony? Who was the priest?”

He shrugged lazily on the bed. “Jesus Christ.”

“WHAT!”

“Hebrew  says Jesus is the everlasting High Priest, Hebrews 8 verse 1 says so…” she was stunned, there was something wrong about the guy who’d worked fireworks in her body lying half-naked and seriously quoting the Holy scriptures. “More so, Mathew 18 verses 18 and 19 tell us that whatever we agree on earth will be done in heaven.”

She just watched in awe as he said these things, she couldn’t move if it would save her life.

The door flew open.

“Oops, I’m sorry…” the African-American maid was embarrassed, her glances shuttling from her to Deoye on the bed. “Just that…your boss waits for you in the lobby.” The woman disappeared back into the hallway.

She picked up her travelling kit and pulled it out of the room, as quickly as she could, before Deoye could say something again.

“So you…” he said casually, not worried that the boss waited for them in the lobby.  “What will you do when you get back to Nigeria? Will you be able to just leave everything here and continue your life?”

She shrugged slightly at the door before shutting it behind her, “Well I’m catholic; I’ll just go for a Friday confession.”

THE LAST SOMETHING THAT MEANT ANYTHING

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I think it’s pretty hard enough writing a flash story. So imagine two people combining to write a single piece of flash fiction. Well that’s what we did, my sister and I. So I’m putting it out there – ‘irresponsible’ writers that we now are, just for the heck of it. Enjoy.

Writhing in pain and agony, Helen tossed and turned, jerking upright only to find herself awake and alone in her bedroom. The covers are rumpled and damp with sweat but the pillow beside hers bore no imprint: he didn’t come home, again. Her husband had taken to sleeping out lately, a habit that fed her dreams, turning them into nightmares; her greatest fears growing stronger having been continually fuelled by deep seated worries.

She got up and headed for the kitchen, pausing at the dining table to stare at the plates with the covering still on them, sighing at the sight of the untouched meal. It all sounded so easy when she was being told by every female model in her life: as a girl child you serve your parents, get married and serve your husband, conceive and serve your kids. If you meet the required expectations you are expected to be happy and fulfilled.

Unfortunately (or so it seemed),Helen felt she had bungled things from the start. She had tried serving her parents but being the sixth consecutive female born to an already disgruntled father and a frustrated mother, she found herself ignored and unable to get anything right,let alone please anyone.

Her sense of inadequacy wasn’t lessened by the fact that she’s on the ‘just there’ ranking on the beauty pecking order; not in the knockout beauty category that people were quick to acknowledge and admire, unable to make lots of friends in school because she “just didn’t meet up with standards”: not ‘hip’, not pretty and not rich.

So she sat at the table, toying with the salt and pepper shakers, thinking about how she had tried hard to please her parents. The only time she appeared to succeed was when she got married. However, she suspected that their joy didn’t so much stem from the fact that she was getting married as from the fact that they were finally free from the last of their responsibilities.

She smiled ruefully as she remembered that she had come into her marriage with guns cocked and ready, fires blazing and all such other clichés for being ready. The elders do say that your husband’s house is a place of learning and oh boy has she learnt!

Her fire started to fizzle out when after one year, she had failed to conceive. ‘Failed’, not ‘unable to’ or ‘hasn’t yet conceived’ but failed; especially when a one-year trailer became a ten-year episode. That’s how she viewed the disappointments and letdowns in her life; not as obstacles or temporary setbacks, but failures.

So there she sat at the dining table, trying not to imagine her face in the future as she fears that what she will see will not be her appearance but her mother’s frustrated look and tired smile, her shoulders drooping with the weight of defeat; her ‘failure’ as a woman.

The sound of the latch unlocking brought her out of her reverie to find her husband standing in the doorway. She didn’t even bother to glance up at the clock. Instead, she got up, all smiles and said “welcome home dear”.

That short greeting and the way she said it surprised her; it was as if the words did not form from her lips. A heartbeat ago, she was doing a playback of her travails, almost prepared to write everything off as one big catalogue of disappointment. But from within her, something finally woke up. A silent voice which told her that she was wired to get up no matter how many times the trials of life knock her down.This deep stirring in her heart was the reason for the sudden transformation in her actions. She would try again, determined to win this round of the battle.

To the late entree however, those three words were like a knockout punch that would make Mike Tyson proud. He had been psyching himself up at the bar on how to dissolve the marriage. “It just isn’t working”, he said to himself and the empty bottles of beer that were present to bear him witness. It wasn’t her fault, but neither was it any of his. Still he felt the best thing was to get home, sit her down and tell her what was on his mind – the divorce.

But something about her greeting,the smile on her lips despite the hurt he knew she was going through, struck a chord in him. In that moment, with him at the door and Helen at the dining table facing him, he felt a strong connection to her. He suddenly realised what she must be going through; with him, his family and others. But here she was,smiling at him; refusing to be beaten down by the threats to their marriage. In Helen’s singular act, he saw her determination to make things work no matter how hard it seemed.

Resolve dissolved, he suddenly felt weak but still had the strength to walk up to her and hug her – something he hasn’t done fin a very long time. She didn’t sob but he felt tears dampening his shirt, it was as if a weight had been lifted off him. If she was going to try, so would he; they were in this together. It is only through unity that they would be able to overcome all adversity and if there’s any chance of winning, they would do it – together.

***END***

EXIT WOUNDS

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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 🙂 ).

WHEN IT REALLY ISN’T BUT YOU THINK IT IS (OR IT’S GONNA BE)

Never assume anything.

Monday’s going to be another fulfilling beginning to the week… So I thought, again.

The weekend was a breeze, mails flying back and forth like NASA crafts. I was expected to arrange a photo shoot and everything was already in place; the cover personality had agreed to show up on Monday by 9am, the photographer had been informed, and my bosses had been given the heads-up as any new developments over the weekend had been sent by e-mail. Good thing they were always online… or so I thought.

I even sang as I got out of bed that Monday morning, and updated my BBM status with the lyrics – something I’d term cheesy on any other day but this was going to be a great Monday so I didn’t care. When the rain started, I should have worried a bit, I didn’t. I didn’t realise that Chaos was planning on paying me a visit and maybe that was angels weeping on my behalf already. All I saw was rain that didn’t want to let up – still, I didn’t care.

Immediately I hit the road, I knew Babel was at work. There was mad traffic. “This is not good,” I thought out loud. I had two choices: jump on a bike and avoid traffic, which wasn’t really a choice because the downpour simply negated that, or get into a vehicle. Option two; I got into my sister’s car and prepared for the most annoying crawl of the week. The long line of cars with one’s bumper kissing another’s fender would create an artist’s impression of a multicoloured metal millipede on tarmac when viewed aerially.

While we were inching along – 20 yards per every 20 minutes, my boss’ personal assistant called to tell me ‘madam’ wasn’t aware of any photo shoot for the day. I was surprised and indignant. “But we still spoke about this on Friday evening. I’ve sent lots of mails…” I kept mouthing off various reasons as to why I wasn’t wrong…

Everything went down hill from then on. I arrived late at the office, had to scramble to get the photographer set up at the location, and I had to begin apologising even though I didn’t really mean it at the time – there was no time to think, no time to care either. The photo shoot began four hours after it was scheduled to begin and after an hour, luck finally ran out. Two perfectly good cameras stopped connecting with the lenses available and the entire shoot had to be postponed.

When I calmed down, I realised I was truly wrong. I committed just one error and a schoolboy error at that; I assumed. I assumed my bosses would get the mails since they always got them. I assumed my bosses were okay with the plan since they didn’t reply (Silence means consent, right?). I assumed my boss was going to be online that weekend since she always was. Turned out she didn’t use the internet that weekend. To cap it all, I was given my first query ever; for poor communication, lack of organisation, etc.

And something I’ve always known was brought back to mind: communication can be said to be effective/complete when the message = intended meaning = expected response. That’s where I goofed. I didn’t get a response but chose to believe all was well based on the assumption that the recipients of the information would have got the message since they were always online. They got the message, right; but they didn’t see it. Thus, my assumption was wrong.

There

I made just one mistake which would have been solved with just one/two courses of action: make a phone call or see the person face to face.

And here’s the obvious lesson, don’t assume. What you think should be isn’t necessarily what is. We’re human, wired to sometimes (unsciously) add up random pieces of information and reach a conclusion. We theorise based on these conclusion and tend to base further actions on them. On some freak occasions, our assumptions could be wrong and prove fatal.

In this era of instant messaging, we sometimes forget the need for face-to-face communication. One shouldn’t totally replace the other; they should be complementary. Some would say that since they now use BlackBerry phones, there’s no need for calls and regular physical interactions. Then, they base their actions on this assumption, only for it to blow up in their faces.Until that reply has been received; until that contract has been signed; until that yes – or no has been said, never presume it will be. Nothing is until it is, at least when humans are involved. Explore all options/channels first and rest in the realisation that you’ve done all that is humanly (and technologically) possible, most especially when communicating. Peace.

Images from http://www.dameswoodish.com, http://www.strategydriven.com