[Continued from Blue Ticks]
Twenty four and single is a choice. It’s fun, you’re too young and there’s too much life for you to live before you are tied down. But at twenty eight, four years down the line, it changes. There’s something wrong with you, or your friends, or your choice in women. There’s just something wrong, maybe a witch somewhere brushing her teeth with your bath water. Using your fart like cologne. Jinxing your whole life, messing it up, turning you into an almost social outcast. You’re barely shy off thirty and everyone knows the big three oh is it. Wife, baby on the way and a nice house. But at twenty eight let me tell you something, it is a choice, and I’m loving it. I mean, job is stable, the bank account is healthy; I’m not really laughing all the way to the bank but I can afford a giggle and a smile from time to time.
Then there’s that little sting called a heart break. It hearts like a mother! See, being single means you don’t get such stings, you’re sting proof. And you can go ahead with life without having to feel heavy hearted you just glide through it like a clown on cocaine. Tell me who wouldn’t want that? I know I do. Every single day. But sometimes life happens and things don’t go as planned and you find yourself going down a path that finds unwanted guests in your bachelor pad. At first it’s not so bad because in the morning they take their leave. Other times they don’t; they’re up in the kitchen cooking up a storm. You’re too nice to know any better and you just let them. A few weeks down the line you find yourself in a relationship and single. Toxic ones those.
But the best part is no one judges you for the friends you keep. No one will talk about Freddy’s love for the tipple and his insatiable taste for light, thick thighs. Freddy is married. Three girlfriends. Two kids. And according to him, no wife. Funny guy really but every girlfriend’s nightmare. No girlfriend will entertain a Freddy, they will coax you to abandon him and warn you against copying his ways. The funny thing is two others are also warning you about Freddy. I guess he is a bad influence after all.
Sandra hates Freddy, she hates everything about him. How he talks, breathes, chews even how he blinks. To be honest the only thing Sandra would love about him is his death. She’d probably pop open a bottle of 89 Château, pour me a glass and drink the whole bottle herself. But to be fair she does love wine, chilled not chilled, red not red, she’d be married to wine if she could. Aah Sandra, pretty thing. Smart too, too smart actually. You know men like their women pretty, smart with a side of dumb. So I can see why she was single, like me. And ideally it should’ve stayed that way, but what was that thing we talked about things not happening the way we had planned?
It’s been three months now, me and Sandra; Sandra and me. It was the most unlikely of meetings; at a party on a Tuesday evening. I’m the kind of person that goes to parties on a Tuesday but so is Sandra. And we met there, me bored and babysitting a glass of whisky that was over diluted by the melted ice. Her, bored eyes, lazy demeanour, babysitting a bottle of wine. Playing with a cigarette between her fingers, the smoke wafting up into the ceiling competing with the excited chatter in the room. She didn’t glance at anyone or anything but her phone, glass and bottle. She looked like she loved books, probably spent her days burying her nose in some Paula Hopkins while caressing the pages of Khaled Hosseini. Her eyes also looked naked, like she wore spectacles and she left them at home; or car. But they were missing something, maybe an apple.
I said something smart to get her attention, I talked about convection. You know, air currents, hot air rising and made reference to her cigarette. She wasn’t the bit impressed, didn’t even cracked a smile, the soft features on her face remained as hard as boiled eggs. She also didn’t look like she could crack an egg. Not by the way she held that cigarette, give grey like it would break between her fingers. Or how she drew on it like a gentle kiss. But she made a joke about my joke, said it was as diluted as my drink. It wasn’t so hopeless after all, her voice was raspy, maybe the smoking. But it was a sex kind of raspy, like a cute kitten with long whiskers. So we talked right up to about ten pm, then we left. She went her way I went mine. We planned to meet on Thursday afternoon.
Today I’m here with her, at her place watching a movie. She’s wearing her hair free and it’s flowing all over the throw pillow she’s laying on. She never lays on me, she says pillows are softer and more comfortable. She says she would consider me if I had boobs. I don’t know if it’s a joke or it’s something she’s into. I don’t remember the name to the movie, all I know is that it’s boring and I won’t like it. Lately everything we’ve been doing together seems laborious. I look down at her, her eyes wide with intent staring at the pictures moving on the screen. Maybe I stare too loudly because she hears me looking and turns.
“What’s wrong? You’re missing out on the movie.” She says as she turns back to face the screen. Her statement is curt and brisk like a business hotel. No time for luxuries or unnecessary amenities. It is just there for functionality to let me know it was time to stop staring,. To watch the movie. To shelve whatever thought I had in my mind. I look around her house, apartment, well furnished. It has a bookshelf mounted on one corner of the wall into the design of a clock. An array of books populate it most of which look new, untouched, like her dinner sometimes. She cannot cook for shit. Actually if she did cook for shit, shit would slide the food back to her and say it is not a cannibal. So most of the times I do the cooking.
“Nothing is wrong you’re just beautiful.”
I hear her smile.
“Today I will cook your favourite”
I act like I did not hear her, and she doesn’t notice, she goes back to the movie. I stroke her hair and touch her forehead my mind wanders. The feelings I have for her are not love , I cannot say I love her, but she’s safe. Comfortable. She’s got her shit together. I don’t get a message at ten am with bad grammar requesting for money for a weave. She knows what she wants and she’s gotten some of it and that’s sexy. But sometimes I feel like I am being unfair, no, selfish. I want to have my cake and eat it then have it again. Maybe time will change things, maybe those feelings will sprout. Maybe when she looks into my eyes with her now longing eyes and unblinking lashes and says she loves me I will be able to say it back. Without hesitation. And then we will kiss and she will be lost in my kiss and me in hers. Sigh. I don’t see it though, not with Sandra. She’s everything a man would want but she’s not who I want. I do not hear the soundtrack start to play until she’s staring up at me with a look that says she’s expecting an answer.
“Umh yes.” I say completely oblivious to what is going on.
“Do you ever listen even?” She asks. The tone in her voice betrays her it’s peppered with frustration, mixed feelings and hope. That last one is dangerous.
“Of course I do. I always listen…”
“And that’s how you will end that sentence? No baby? Boo? Darling?”
I can see she is spoiling for an argument. It’s been coming ever since she wanted to know what we were doing. Whether she was single or dating. And I told her that with all her brains if she did not know, how would I. But it was a joke, in bad taste guaranteed, but still a joke. So I had to avoid it, her, the conversation, the argument, and calling her sweet things. I could’ve also thrown how she left me hanging at the bar like a beer whisperer all night long. But it would not be fair, I have left her hanging many times, especially when Freddy calls and convinces me that one for the road isn’t such a bad idea. Nothing good ever comes out of our meetings, just hangovers and strange knickers. Freddy’s road is one of destruction and leading straight to hell. I don’t know how his wife copes, even Sandra once asked me. But we do not meddle in other people’s affairs, it is not tasteful. I just told her to mind her own, after all is it not better that way? But when I look back, I see it, my reluctance in being her gossip partner. That would mean we were getting exclusive and we were far from being exclusive. Maybe I should tell her and stop wasting her time. But I am hungry.
“Can we talk after dinner? I’m famished.” I say with a smile.
It’s funny how you can get out of almost anything by complimenting a woman’s cooking.
She smiles and walks into the kitchen.
“Babe…” She calls from the kitchen
I’ve tried many times to tell her not to call me babe. I like Charles, you cannot go wrong with Charles. When we are out and she calls me babe people will think we are together but when she calls me Charles there’s the benefit of doubt. The kind of doubt I am having about her and the kind of doubt she is having about me. Now I am in an awkward position because I will not reciprocate the sweet names and she will pout. But I will tell her it’s her fault, because it is. All she has to do is call me Charles. C.H.A.R.L.E.S Easy.
“The chicken hasn’t thawed.”
We’re now shouting responses like an old married couple. Married, sigh.
Maybe, a really big maybe. It’s not that I cannot like her or love her those are things you can learn to live without. I have never really thought about it, and just to be fair, not only with her but with every other person I’ve dated. It does not cross my mind. But in case that big maybe came into play I would marry her. I can see myself waking up next to her pretty face. I can see our children having her eyes. What am I even saying. Focus. She can’t cook that’s what matters; you can’t marry a woman who can’t cook. Even Freddy’s wife makes a mean curry.
“You can make something else” I shout.
“Okay babe.” She replies.
There she goes again with that babe nonsense.
“There’s fish…” She shouts.
Damn, I’ll need to tell Stacey to save me some pizza. She always orders some on Saturdays.