Knowing When to Walk Away by Eddie Steeze
I’m not a bad person. I’ve done bad things, but I’m not a bad person. My life has been pretty straightforward: I see what I like, I position and strategize myself, I go in for the kill and I win. I always win. In academics, business, money, relationships, romance…
I had a good rapport with females. I had lots of them coming at me in droves. And why not? I was young, funny, charming and generous (excuse me for sounding immodest). However, I never dated any of them. I did the occasional friends with benefits thing and nothing more. My friends thought I was weird. Just pick one, they would say. I tried explaining my reason for holding back, but none of them seemed to understand. So I bowed to pressure and dated a girl called Morenike. Worst mistake I ever made in the dating department.
The relationship ended barely after a month and I’d wasted her time and hurt her more than she deserved. Needless to say I was branded a player (if you are rolling your eyes at this point I completely understand). You are probably wondering why I’m commitment phobic. I’m not. I just believe that if I go into a relationship it has to mean something. I had to love her deeply and she had to be… special. My friends laughed at me whenever I said things like that. You’re dreaming, they said. You watch too much movies, they said. Why don’t you go out with Cynthia or go back to Morenike, they said. Nobody understood me and I began to wonder if what I wanted was a fairytale. Maybe it was time I grew up.
And then it happened.
I met her in church. It was one of those rare moments when I wore native attire and I was to give a testimony in church. After the testimony of how God had been good to me and my family and friends, which was met with appreciative applause, I went back to my seat. That was when I saw her. She was seated directly in front of me and my friends. I felt an immediate attraction to her. Her unassuming poise, her graceful long neck, the wistfulness in her eyes – perfection. I noticed two of the friends talking to her and I wondered how it was that they knew her and I didn’t. The rest of the service passed by in a blur. The pastor might have been talking to himself for all I cared. After the service I swung into action. I got her info from one of my friends as well as her phone number. I met her two days later and turned on my charm. Her laughter was music to my ears.
It was fascinating…
The more I got to know her, the more I became attracted to her. In my heart I knew she was The One. I had never felt so in sync with anyone before, so inexplicably drawn to another human being. Not seeing her was like keeping marijuana from a junkie. I’d never felt so vulnerable before. I don’t even know if I’m making any sense. But that is not to say that we were perfect together. We argued a lot, sometimes seriously, sometimes jokingly, but we never let things fester too long. We had a lot of great laughs together and were comfortable enough to act stupid in the presence of each other. It was everything I’d hoped it would be.
One night I worked up the courage to talk to her. I took her hand and I told her how I felt - everything.
I am in love with you.
She sat quiet for a very long time, not saying anything. When she opened her mouth, it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. She said I was a great guy, and (this part reluctantly) that she was starting to feel something like love for me. However, she was seeing someone else. More elaborately put, she was engaged. I laughed instinctively. Engaged. She can’t be engaged. I remembered she had hinted this before, but I had waved it aside as one of those things women said to test or gauge the seriousness of potential suitors. I mean, we had shared so much precious moments together. We had shared a kiss once and it felt real. Engaged. Somehow, I knew she wasn’t joking but at this point I was in too deep.
We spent the next few months together as we’d always done; being silly and being there for one another as well as the occasional kisses and make out sessions. I never pushed for sex. It wasn’t what I wanted. She was special. Every once in a while I’d remind her of how much I loved her and wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. I promised not to make her cry, and heaven on earth. To my surprise, I meant every word. I understood her situation. She had a tough decision to make. She didn’t want to lose any of us. She loved me, and she loved the other guy. Hell, she was engaged to him! She said her situation was complicated and that I wouldn’t understand. What was there to understand? I’d found the love of my life and yet I couldn’t completely have her. The pain I felt is inexplicable.
Once, high after a few bottles of beer with my guys, I called her up. After our usual banter, I broke into my usual tirade of how I loved her and how she should give ‘us’ a chance. As I was talking I didn’t know when I started crying. She hugged me close and we both started crying. I was shuddering violently and hating myself for being so vulnerable and pathetic. Me cry? The mighty has truly fallen.
She still didn’t say yes.
As months blurred into months, it became obvious that I had a decision to make. She loved us both, but she had an allegiance to the other guy. She’d met him first. They’d shared things that I and she would probably never share. She would never choose me. It hurt to face these truths but I had to. My love for her was bordering on obsession and I hated myself for caring so much. I stopped calling her and withdrew all my attention. Cold turkey. She made an effort to have me back but my decision was firm. Better to hurt now than later. I wanted what we had to be real but it wasn’t. I couldn’t pretend any longer.
Now I wonder if my friends were all right; that I was living a fairytale and watched too much movies. Maybe. I don’t know what to think anymore. In my heart I still love her and don’t think I could ever love anyone so deeply again. It hurts too much. Every day I struggle not to dial her number. I know I made the right choice. Thankfully, I’m reverting back to my old ways; charming, intellectual, generous, and careful. If there is one thing I know so well, it’s knowing when to walk away. I’m fine now.
P.S – My heart bleeds
Eddie Steeze blogs at http://9ja-dejavu.blogspot.com/