I’m slightly torn between my relationships with A and S. Who out of both of them did I have more closure issues with?
A, it seems. I didn’t close out until a long while after he had moved on.
I met A as a corper. He was also a corper in the same batch. He was a leader at the Christian Fellowship where I also served. We started to spend time together as I helped him with an editorial, and then became friends.
At the fellowship I served, a leader was not allowed to start to date if s/he hadn’t been in a relationship before s/he became a leader and is not allowed to start a relationship while a leader. Weird? But it makes sense, and the individuals knew of this rule before they became leaders, so it was no shock to them. But I digress.
We started to spend a lot of time together.
I was a ‘daughter’ in the house, sort of like ‘assistant welfare officer’. One of my duties in the house was to cook morning and evenings for everyone who contributed towards upkeep.
(Wait, I know the #SW challenge says ‘conversation’. But its hard to narrow down. Can I just write about my time with someone I had closure issues with instead? Pick any of the scenes I paint if you want to read only one conversation 🙂 ).
As we began to spend more time together, he would wake up early mornings (from 5.30am) and come spend that time with me in the kitchen as I cooked. He loved to watch me cook, he told me. And we enjoyed the time away from prying eyes.
We had dinner together, too. After serving meals, I’d go join him and we’d eat together. There were days I ate off his plate too. (P.S.: guys, when a lady eats off your plate, you know, we know, right that she sends you? Right? Just checking. If your babe says she loves you and has not started to eat from your plate, re-assess.)
He loved me to read to him. He’d lay his head on my laps and I’d read to him. I don’t remember what I read. Sometimes the Bible, sometimes a magazine. Or a book. It didn’t matter, not really. He loved to hear my voice. And said ‘in my arms was much rest’. Some days, he’ll just lay his head in my lap and sleep.
We had our corner.
Oh, let me explain quickly. We lived in the same compound. In the state I served, our family house was not quite developed. Members laid mattresses and then spread a mosquito net over it, and laid to sleep. Over time, we had our corners i.e. you’d always know where to find each individual. He was an exco though, and the male leaders shared a room in the main building.
We had our corner, I was saying. After dinner, and after chatting with others, we’d come together in ‘our’ corner and talk into the night before we both headed to our different beds.
I’d wake up in the morning, and find a love note next to my bed. Once, he wrote my very own ‘Songs of Solomon’ for me. LOL. Yeah, if that’s what you are thinking, as ‘explicit’ as SOS. He talked about my nose, my boobs, the roundness of my hips, etc. I couldn’t show anyone – I had been so embarrassed.
He’d send me 3-page text messages, just praising me, and admiring the woman I was becoming. He had many different names for me. See one text message, all of them names he called me:
‘1. Baby Toss ehh! 2. O****** R****** (my name in full) 3. Numero Uno 4. Mona Lisa 5.Dream Come True 6. Sweetheart 7. Diva 8. Hot Stepper 9. Baby Girl 10. Woman of Virtue 11. Cinderella 12. Beauty. I might call you a 1001 names, none adequately expresses my perception of your majesty’.
He really did shape my love language/communication in a relationship viz-a-viz constant texts and written communication. He was a writer. I loved to read. He was always on point. Some texts from him:
‘Sleeping beauty, @ least I should av spent this evening wit u. Anyway, my meeting afforded you d much-needed rest. Kai babe, I’ll miss you. Ow did you sneak into my world?’
‘I behold the gorgeous sway. Captured by the gait. A charming sway. I see you walk and I can’t but watch. I dare 2 say ‘u walk lyk an angel, pls walk with me’
‘Luk ow you turned out. Used to think my big sis was in a world of her own. Should av known beta. Women of substance abound in our generation. May God perfect His work in your life.’
‘Looks could be deceptive and physical appearance is but skin deep. Each time I say “you are beautiful”, I hope you realize I refer to a beauty that transcends the physical. It’s a delicate balance of beauty and brains tainted by a childlike disposition to life. Dear, it’s one thing to be beautiful, it’s another 2 know that u r beautiful. Perhaps when next I mention it, don’t be quick to appreciate the compliment, just ponder/reflect on the weight of my submission.’
‘Good news: I don’t always have to look up to see the stars – I just look in your direction. I don’t have to wait for sunrise to get warmth and light. I’ll just draw near to you. I just hope that you find good in life and that the deposits u’ve made in the lives of others would come back 2 u a 100fold. May August usher u in2 a season of new beginnings’
I remember this time he traveled to Kogi State for his sister’s wedding. After he travelled, I fell sick, and couldn’t eat. ‘I had no appetite’, I said. Oh dear me! One day, one of the excos who wasn’t interested in my death and who had a lil’ wisdom picked up the phone, called A and let him know I was ill. Less than five minutes after that phone call, I was up, cleared a plate of food, and up to living again!
I remember him not having network at some time while he was in Kogi, and he had driven with his cousin to some hilltop at midnight so he could get reception to call me. He had said he needed to talk with me, ‘…the facilitator of rest for my body‘. Remember this was 2007 where we suffered poor network in many places.
I remember my return to Bayelsa after a job interview home. I arrived home late. He had been in a stand-up meeting with other excos. I came in quietly, and the look on his face had been more than ‘welcome home’. I had gotten this text while I travelled:
‘Dia, 4got 2 mention, you are quite territorial. Ur bed space, dats wia u stand during devotion and now, you’ve added sit during Bible Study. Guess wia I stood during devotion?’
Should I write about how when I wanted to go to work, he’ll walk me to the school I taught at? Or how he’d come walk me back home, and I’d tell my (Nursery 3) kids, ‘My Daddy’s coming to pick me too’?
Or should I write about how the night before he traveled, we talked into the night until we both fell asleep, side by side, me under the covers, he over them. I woke him early morning to go in, he did, got ready and then I went with him to the bus park and we talked for hours, while waiting for the bus to fill up?
Maybe I’ll write about the time he had been teaching me to play table tennis? Oh, let me just mention this time he had been playing table tennis. I do not remember who he was playing with. I had been standing by his side of the table (his one-woman cheer leading squad), and teasing him. I do not remember details of the conversation. I remember him giving me that warning look. I didn’t stop to tease. I got a verbal ‘I’m going to whack u on your butt’ warning, and I thought ‘in this open space?’ and laughed. And continued. Another warning look. Next thing I knew, it was a ‘whack’ on my butt! He had served the ball, whacked my butt, and did NOT miss his next serve. AND no one noticed. Very smooth. I got that warning look again, with a laugh.
He’s cried before. He was not ashamed to cry in front of me, as he shared about his mum, and then some other time about his parents’ marriage. It had made me respect him more. That such a strong man would feel so much that he would cry. I didn’t think crying made him weak. If anything, I felt it made him very strong. I always thought of him as a ‘David’, a man so strong and yet so very able to capture and express emotion. He talked about his fears of commitment: David had loved Michal so much, yet she had still despised him at the end.
He was my ‘priest’, a man I respected for his spiritual strength and love for God. Oh dear, I just remembered him dancing! He truly was a David.
Somewhere along the line, as we had shared and had gotten more intimate emotionally, he had shared that he had asked a lady out about eight months before. He said she told him she’d pray about it. He had particularly wanted to marry a lady from his tribe – that way, the issues he felt his parents had struggled with would not apply to him. Eight months later, she was ‘still praying’, he said. ‘How can anyone still be praying after eight months?’, he had queried, as he shared. He told me that he wanted a woman in his life, and would I pray about it?
He gave me a key when he moved into his apartment, so I could come whenever I wanted, especially if I needed some privacy. We attended NIM classes together. He would kiss me on my forehead, irrespective of where we were. I felt loved and very much wanted.
We parted in December to go home for the Christmas break. 4am, Jan 1 2008, he called me, wished me a beautiful year and prayed for me. Life was perfect.
I returned to Bayelsa a few days later. He had withdrawn completely, was distant, treated me like every one else and didn’t spend anytime with me anymore. The few times I went to his apartment were so awkward.
I was told by a mutual friend that he had become official with the ‘babe-still-thinking-after-eight-months’. And a couple of others said the same.
I wasn’t a fighter – I didn’t understand that it was alright to ask why he pulled back, without any explanations. I didn’t understand that it was alright to demand an explanation, to have a conversation to understand why he walked away from us. I lived as a dazed person for weeks.
We passed out February 14, 2008. He came a few days later to the compound to say his ‘goodbyes’. He said ‘goodbye’ to everyone. I remained indoors until he called out for me. I came out. He said his goodbye within a minute – no special goodbye, nothing. Goodbye, in even less time than he had spent with other people he barely knew. And then he walked out the compound. I stared at him as he walked on, waiting for him to turn back, waiting for a final goodbye, a smile, a wave. Anything. He did not turn back. Just walked out of my life.
And the sobs came. Heavy, hopeless sobs. I’ve never cried the way I did that night. A lady came out, saw me sobbing and alarmed, took me into Papa’s office to allow some privacy. Papa came in, but no one could get me to explain why I had broken down. I sobbed until I had nothing left on my inside.
The broken pieces continued to exist. They returned home, then got a job.
Months later, at a training, I was told ‘call someone you are not on talking terms with and make up.’ I called him, and apologised for every way I may have hurt him. I wished him well.
A few months later, he called me to apologise for hurting me. By that time, I did not want his apology. Or need it. I deleted his phone numbers. He requested to be my friend on Facebook. I have declined his several requests. In later years, whenever he called, I deleted the call log, so I won’t be tempted to save his number. I wish him well, I do. He’d always hold a place in my heart – the first man I cared for; the first man I went to the market to shop for, the first man who made me cry. But he is a chapter in my life titled ‘closed’.
I write, not wishing to turn back time, but remembering my time with him with nostalgia. I remember the out-of-this-world texts, his boisterous laugh, and warrior personality. I hope he is happy. I have not actively followed up on his life, and I won’t. I may not be happy, but I am content. And that is fine. Only very few times have I consciously thought of him. And I may have actually finally thrown away the ‘love notes’ from him, despite Baz Luhrmann’s warning (see here) not to do so. May our lives continue to run parallel.
I understand that I am not to compare existing relationships with the relationship I had with him. One thing I struggle with though (still, yes!) is texts. I still love how I’d wake up in the morning to an SMS text or note beside my bed. I haven’t quite gotten that from other relationships.
It is the funniest coincidence that I am writing this post on the same day that I put up a post on Adele’s ‘Hello‘. What a coincidence!