Covid-One-Nine: Unmasking a new era of love.
Cheesy pick-up lines; how would I have fallen for those. Lines that contained my eyes and the stars, how rare it was to see someone like me and something about Canadian visa, and the last but not the least, something about pounded yam.
Mother would have known better I suppose, but I didn’t care. After all, it made me blush, behind my black animal print face mask my face lit up.
Let’s name him K.
This story is going to be like a movie script, and for a while, it was, until it wasn’t. Oh, how things go soar really fast.
It’s was a Sunday morning in January, I had just finished from church a while back, and I had been at the food court of the mall waiting for a date I wasn’t so keen on going on, and then BOOM.
I had been waiting for my date for about an hour(p.s. He was sorting out family issues), thankfully he was finally close by, so I went to use the loo.
On my way back to my seat at the food court, I looked around to see if my date was already around, lo and behold a “Hollywood scene” was born.
Eyes locked in, noses and mouths behind masks, K and I had a long moment of eye contact which I usually try to avoid, then the moment was over.
I had quickly run him from head to toe; clad with an army green round neck shirt, khaki shorts, a blue, white, and black nautical slides, and a knee brace, I was unsure how to classify him.
Maybe a bit of my spec cause he was tall and somewhat huge, but also not so much my type just because.
Apparently, fate had other plans.
He told me his nickname, then proceeded to call out his government name. I tried not to act impressed when I heard his surname( apparently one of the big names in Lagos).
I wrote down my number for him in a yellow fineliner, another ploy to play hard to get, although I wasn’t sure of what exactly I expected. At least he wasn’t going to try and have a conversation with me at that point, and that was that.
The minute he left, I proceeded to google his name, “ hopefully I didn’t give my number to a ritualist”. A senior counsel in a top law firm.
I was intrigued. I kept searching for more information, as his slight British accent voice lingered in my head.
My date was more annoying than usual, asides the consistent family problem sorting calls, he forced me to pose and take pictures – after telling me about the health benefits of eating yam and ketchup as opposed to potato chips.
We met later on.
After my date, I was fagged out and was happy to retrieve to my shell, rest, and prepare for my last week of work. Then the call came in – It was K.
His voice again. I smiled I’m sure of it.
I didn’t want to go out again, but he was very persuasive, besides deep down, I really wanted to see him again, so I bulged.
In my entire dating life, that was the most beautiful night I had ever experienced with anyone.
Prior to meeting him again, I hadn’t seen his complete face before, so I pretty much had to say a little prayer for that too.
“ I’m about to take off the mask”’, he announced, like it was some forbidden thing to do.
I watched him closely, and deep down let out a sigh of relief when he was fully unmasked. Thankfully he didn’t ask what I thought about him.
Night fell too fast, as we gobbled down our seafood platter. He asked me questions upfront and revealed things about himself I hadn’t expected to hear; not like I expected anything in particular.
Then came the tip.
We walked out of the mall, and into the sea of cars parked all around. He had a work call but managed to drive us to the far end of the car park where he proceeded to ask me more questions.
I had never felt so heard before. I didn’t have to cry or ask for him to be interested in what I had to say. I was shy, but the conversation was everything. I didn’t want to leave, I was in a mini Disney World of my own.
He opened the boot and I sat there for a bit, dreamy, smiling sheepishly like a 12-year-old girl who just found out that her crush liked her.
“I want this to be my last”, my final he revealed.
My last relationship, my last kiss’, he continued.
You’ll be my girlfriend in about 2 weeks,’ he said confidently
Let me woo you.
I’ll make efforts to see you every day this week,’ he added, even if you don't agree, I’ll still try.
Come‘, he said guiding me, stand here. Kiss me.
I tiptoed, I kissed him.
His masculine cologne gave me jitters as he put his arm around my neck, I squirmed.
This was it, but life had other plans.
The next few days were honeymoonish, an extra seafood date, an arcade date, a “walk around the mall showing everybody you’re in love date”, a feed me while I’m driving date, and finally the ULTIMATE camp date. Whew!
I was happy, genuinely, truly. He was expressive kind, gentle, sarcastic, and great until the cracks started showing.
He let me play my playlist, to me that was a tad extra. tsk tsk.
You should always give tips,’ he said on the first date we went on together, then he went on to tell me how much was appropriate to give.
I took it in, everything. Generally, I use to tip, but as time went on I had learned how to tip people more appropriately.
He was kind, very. It was like a switch that couldn’t be turned off for him.
However, things started going south on another Sunday, this time it was in the afternoon. It was our first and only Valentine’s day. Our celebration of love started with a tight hug from him, a heated argument in his car, close to the spot we had our first kiss and ended with him going home after about only two hours “to work”.
The work ended up being a beach soccer game, which prompted him to call and tell me how he ended up on the beach playing soccer instead of doing the work that cut our Valentine’s day hang out short.
My heart dropped a little on that day. I sent a text explaining how I felt about everything that had happened so far. My mind hoping that things would become better henceforth
The following weeks were more bitter than sweet. A lot had happened in a very short time. I felt myself trying to hold on to him, trying to disregard the fact that it was the vicious cycle again.
Unanswered calls. Unreplied messages. Unreturned calls.
I was bummed.
When he called, it was like Christmas. Then I realized he called mostly because he needed my help with something. To me it was a chance to see him, so why not.
One day, I was fed up, I called my friend Som, I cried for the first few seconds to a minute on the phone. What had I done wrong this time? Did I ignore label, the invisible label that he was tagged with? “stay away” Was there something I was doing wrong? How was I this lonely, yet “with someone”.
Eventually, calling him or seeing his calls came with anxiety. Was he going to ask me to do something I wasn’t equipped to do? Something I couldn’t?
Earlier on, he had told me about what he had been suffering from, it is a popular disorder, and I was glad to always use it as an excuse for his behavior until I couldn’t.
It wasn’t until I found myself constantly turning to Google for help “ something I almost swore never to do” that I knew I was on the losing end.
“Real men are always busy working” he would reassure me. I had almost become a nag, just before I realized that things were never going to change.
One day he was all active, the next three days he was incommunicado. It had become a trend. Something I had to plan my life around, something I had to get used to, something I had to embrace.
This is our reality , your reality ‘, he said to me one day.
What happened to the “seafood joyous eater” I met’, I wondered. Mmmm
I tried to do the normal thing to do; talk about it, be understanding. Asked how I could help, because this was clearly an amazing man that just had some things wrong. Nothing. I was wrong.
Finally after a month, or so of not seeing “my lover” that lived about 20–30 minutes away without traffic because he was busy. We were meant to see; it was planned, I was super excited, I was ready before 12, but until today I was never picked.
Then he called me, it was a video call. Finally, I saw his face after so long. I was a bit relieved until he mentioned how he had planned a meetup with his friend that had come from Abuja.
My mind was screaming, my emotions were bursting out in my mind, as I held it all in.
A friend? but you haven't seen me for a month, even when I tried to see you countless times ?’, I questioned him in my mind.
I talked with him as the call went on until he had to go. I behaved normally like he would have wanted me to. No fuss, just happiness, bitter happiness.
The call went off , and my Christmas was over apparently.
All the while, I, the patient “future partner” held the fort. Patiently waiting for the crumbs of attention he had to give me. My heart sank a little lower than I had anticipated as he rumbled off about his new “house caretaker”.
You sacked the other one?’, I asked
Yes, ‘ he replied, saying something about her being a handful.
Not that I expected to know everything that went on around his house, but I felt numb. It was one of those moments that I realized that nothing was going to change.
That he was going to be around only when he felt like he was up to it, and on days when he didn’t, I was going to have to sort out the rest. “Deal with it”
Surely, it was an Easter to remember. We planned as usual, but he didn’t show, “he had to work” no apologies, no, we just carried on after that.
I was distraught.
I felt a tad bit invisible, every time I tried to reach out, but this time, I knew I had evaporated.
Then I was done. Finally, totally.
I told him.
He didn’t get it, still tried to get a favor from me, I didn’t bulge. Then came the entitlement, then the hero stunt.
I was exhausted. Tired. Stressed.
I was done.
Months later, he tried again; he pulled a threat to go to my parents’ house and horn and look for me.
I squirmed a little because I clearly still liked this guy, he got me.
Not many people get me, but he did, and he was kind when he wanted to be, expressive, with the sense of humor that I loved. I planned around him somewhat, in hopes that we would have the opportunity to do a lot together.
In 3–4 months my fairytale ended up at the bottom of the wishing well, waiting for the next princess to pick it up and make her wish.
While I still feel a bit anxious when I see a car similar to his, all in all, I’m grateful for the time I had with him, the lessons I learned, and the experiences I had.
This journey absolutely taught me a lot about learning to live and let go.
People’s time with us expires , and that’s something a lot of us find hard to understand. Myself included.
While it’s important to understand people, get their plight, and be there for them, it is also important to understand ourselves and know when it’s time to move on.
If you made it this far, well done.
Till next time love always, 💕.
Don’t forget to give tips.
Mask up lol, and stay safe “ you know what I mean” 😉