Right from university days, I loved you. When you had no hips and little breasts; when you looked so innocent and acted naïve; I loved you.

I couldn’t tell you then; not for the fear of a ‘No’ nor anything worse. All I needed for us was a ‘forever us’ and I needed to be certain about that; but even my future then was still unclear, so with what lens could I sternly capture ‘us’, when even futuristic images of my single self were skewed with blurring views?

When I wanted to show you my heart, I lacked the guts.

When I wanted to take you out for a date, I lacked the cash.

We would sit on cemented pavements made of iron and blocks under an Almond tree in front of your hostel; a friendly discussion we would have there. Time did not matter: your words were the tic-toc of my day; listening to you was like herbs to my sickening moments, even though your speech were also laced with historic threads of threats concerning suitors scrambling for crumbs of love from you…and the ones you’d thought of accepting.

With no choice, laden with the responsibility of a friend, I had to be a listening ear, swallowing gulps of spit to wet the dryness in my throat especially that day you told me you had said “Yes” to one of them – My lights temporarily tripped off!

I was still happy for you though, as long as you were happy with him; after all, I wasn’t ready for an ‘altar call’ yet; didn’t think I had what it took to start a family…not even the brains. “if it wasn’t me, it shouldn’t be me” – that had been my philosophy. So, I regarded my feelings as selfish and shove them into Pandora’s box.

Like the blank sheet between the books of Malachi and Matthew, the years after our graduation were silent, until we met again; so many events to catch up on, especially that part of relationship which interested me the most – you had just broken up, and that to me was great news! But again, as a friend, I had to submit my ears of comfort even though you didn’t seem to need them, cos you were the referee that called it off.

Thoughts of You and Me becoming ‘Us’ were becoming real; of you bearing my name and having kids after our kind; telling stories of ourselves to each other like gossip mates on our family bed; gist, play, cuddle, pursue passions, break records; build together a home, a business, a life till our days turn grey. All this rampaged my mind continuously like a civil war.

I now had the guts cos I could see the future clearer, so I raised my manly self and leaked out the heated notes in my heart. Then I said it: “I would love you to be my wife, to grow old together, raise kids of ours, chase dreams side by side and build a lovely home”. I didn’t know it would touch her like life copper cables as the words kept her imbalance for a while as though she had just been slapped by a ghost. Then she laughed and called me a clown.

When she realized I was serious about us and that my every conversation with her drove us into that lane, she said “No” through my phone receiver, and like that was just a dessert, she looked into my eyes and said it again. A resounding ‘No’ was not what I envisaged. And the earth was without form and void again.

I still wish to edit this story…with my ring seated on her finger.



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