You’ve always thought it would be easy to run a relationship. I mean how hard is it to text in the morning and wish a good one, or call in the middle of the day to say you’ve missed their voice and to hear them giggle uncontrollably because they did not expect your call, or maybe you will just send a message – a sweet one – include an emoji with heart eyes and reference something she likes and add that personal touch. Maybe you’d just go over to her place of work or school or home and surprise her with lunch, or a hug or both. Your main goal in life would be to make her happy.
You’re naturally funny, girls, they like that. Your conversations are deep, and fun, and go on for days. The way you use your words are like long romantic walks on the beach while the sun sets in the horizon and the waves soothingly crash on the rocks – unless she doesn’t love the beach, or sunsets, or long walks. You have this reassuring smile and a lingering look in your eye. You’re addictive and can be wanted. You’re like an endorphin, no, like a cigarette. A long slim white cigarette that they draw from letting the minty tobacco smoke fill up their lungs before the blow out and feel that quick relief. You are fun, they like fun, you are dangerous too – this they don’t know. You have a flaw like everyone, a monster that hides behind the mask of sweetness and smiles. A monster whose true face is indifference, impartiality and generally a good dose of not giving any fucks.
It’s a sunny day and the beer can is sweating in your hands. You wish you could ask for a serviette but there is something un-beer-like in that. A beer is rugged, a beer is like an unshaved man, and beer in your hand says you could find the nearest mountain by putting your finger in your mouth and holding it up to the wind. A beer says you can go out into the wilderness find a wild boar kill it with your bare hands and drag it home before starting a fire with two stones and skewering the damn thing straight through the middle and putting it over a fire. So no serviettes.
The banter oscillates between football, music, politics and relationships. At this point everyone turns and looks at you. They have that look in their eye that says “What gives bruh?” You’re the only one known no to have been in one for eons. They envy your freedom and you happy-go-lucky ways but envy is dangerous. They want you to get a dose of whatever they are having. Pretentious conversations, arguing, mouthing three words haphazardly and generally being happy or not. You sip your beer and eye each of them back with defiance. A defiance that would be diluted should you, let’s say, were holding a glass of wine.
“Si I thought you were a writer” one shoots
It’s as if being a writer automatically makes girls want to hover around you. I wish it was true. Like writing was the new age secret agent. You’d meet a girl and after charming her amidst her laughter she will ask
“So, what do you do?”
“If I told you I’d have to kill you.”
Your voice would be steely and would trail off in a chuckle. You wouldn’t really kill her in essence of the word. You’d probably write a story about her and kill her character. But that’s one and the same thing. I could give her a slow painful death or a quick bullet to the head or an embarrassing slipped on a banana pill after teaching Sunday school and hit her head on a leather bound bible.
“What’s to say you haven’t?” she’ll flirt
“What’s to say I have?”
Then you will look into each other’s eyes holding the stare for a few seconds. She will look away, or you will look away. Then she will ask you again
“What do you do?”
This time her stare will be fixed and unmoving.
“I write. Okay. I write.”
You’ll see some admiration in her eyes. She will turn back to the counter and sip her drink.
“How would you kill me?” she’ll asks in a distant voice. Then you know she’s hooked. Just like that you begin that little dance. That little dance that will see your night end with a bang.
You ignore the writer comment and take another sip of your beer. You bring up something about Wenger and the lackluster way he has handled the team. This stirs everyone’s emotions and the focus shifts from you. But the thought lingers in your mind long after they are gone. Maybe you should get a girl, maybe you should use your charm. Remember how easy it is to have one? What’s the worst that could happen?
Weeks fly by and in between work and churning out copy for the blog you don’t really notice that the month is coming to an end. You realize that somewhere in between you’ve been chatting up some lass. It was nothing serious and you didn’t think much about it until one evening you get a call.
“Hey, how are you?”
“I’m good you?”
She pauses. It’s never a good sign when a lady pauses when saying how fine or okay she is. It’s the first sign of trouble, or just a sign that there is trouble. You can be ignorant and walk straight into it or you can be witty and avoid it. It’s like when the doctor pauses when giving you your blood work results.
“Here are your results… but… take a seat please.”
It’s never good.
“You don’t sound fine.”
“I am. I really am.”
“Want to talk about it? I’ll be in town in the next ten”
“Talk about what? I said I’m fine” her voice betrays her. She is flattered by the concern. She likes the fact that someone would go that extra mile and make sure she really is fine.
“Talk about the fact that you’re fine.” You wittingly reply half hoping she really is fine.
“Okay, fine” she says then she chuckles.
You meet up and go for drinks. You know this nice spot that’s cozy and warm. The music is almost always good, the staff are kind and the drinks are pocket friendly. There’s that awkwardness between the two of you. That awkwardness that screams ‘okay we’re here now what’. You talk about nothing and everything. You tell her she looks really nice – for the umpteenth time. She says thank you – for the umpteenth time. You get yourself another drink and ask for the food menu. Her drink is still half full so you don’t get her any. The waiter comes and hands you the menu together with your drink. You peruse it humming gently and point to an item. You keep perusing and find another item and point at it too – you’re making the order on her behalf.
Pasta works miracles on a date – see what I did – she enjoyed her meal. You walk her out of the restaurant walking in the cold Nairobi night breeze hand in hand talking about nothing again. You get to a junction and just as you’re about to cross stops you.
“What are we? What is this? What are we doing?” she asks
You can see an uneasiness in her eyes.
“What do you mean? We’re friends right?”
“Friends?” her voice trails off. You feel her hand slip away from yours as she walks ahead of you crossing the road.
You catch up to her on the other side and stop her. You want to tell her that her being your friend means more to you than anything else. But you know how the story goes – no one wants a friend.
“You don’t want to be my friend?” You ask.
She shrugs and lets out a sigh. She looks at you and forces a smile.
“Not like that. I mean… never mind let’s just go.”
You walk her to her stage and watch her get into the bus. You gave her a brief stiff hug. She didn’t throw herself into it like she usually did. You know what she wanted – you know what you want. They are not the same thing. You have to be selfish. Ah, selfish – so it is really not easy having a girlfriend after all.