story of my breakup
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to cook or to recieve the call?
The cell phone kept ringing…and I kept ignoring it. Nobody interrupts me when I am trying to prove to my mum how good my culinary arts are. So I made a mental note to return the call as soon as I had finished cooking. But the caller was not relenting. My mom was trying to concentrate on the soap and she was not amused.
“Won’t you answer that?”
It was more of a challenge than a question.
It was my girlfriend.
“Can you hear me?”
Loud silence. Maybe it was her idea of revenge for her unanswered calls.
“Look sweetheart, I was cooking so I couldn’t pick your call so will you…”
I heard a sob on the other side. Then I knew something was seriously wrong.
The cooking was forgotten immediately.
“Is anything the matter?”
I asked with genuine concern as I went to another room and locked the door behind me.
No answer. More crying. I didn’t know how to respond. I didn’t know what to say…I didn’t know what to ask…I didn’t know what to think. What had I done? I tried to recollect but I could not remember anything I had done that could have hurt her so much.
Partly because I was confused and partly because I was concerned, I just kept quiet and listened to her cry…And she did a lot of crying. When her tear glands were finally dry, she talked for the first time.
In the history of our relationship, I had learnt that when she said that, it was her way of saying I should in fact mind because there was trouble ahead.
“Did I do something?”
“Did I hurt you?”
She didn't let me finish my self-imposed cross examination.
“You did nothing wrong”
One question answered. But the problem is that it presented many more unanswered ones. My head was jammed with them and I didn’t know which one to ask first. I opened my mouth to ask why she was crying but what came out was,
“Was it someone at work?”
“No….sob…sob…just forget about it”
I had struck oil. But
I knew better than to persist along that line…there will be plenty of time
later. What the heck could be wrong? Or more precisely, who the heck could be
Lets take a break for a month
“Ronnie…I think we should have a break….sob….of... a month or so….there is so much on my mind…” She had two names she used to call me. Honey was used when she was happy either with me or herself. Ronnie was used when she was telling me something serious or when she was mad. This time she used Ronnie and I knew it was serious. But I had no way of knowing it would end the way it did.
“Do you think it’s a good idea to…?”
“Please Ronnie; if you love me don’t ask questions….Let us take a break for a month…no communication. No contact then after the month is over you can ask me what you want and I will give straight answers.”
I could do anything to get straight answers. I could even endure a month without her. And so I agreed.
After all, I was a sweet boyfriend. And I trusted her. And I respected her space and her opinion.
One Month later...
One month later she calls me and asks for a breakup. I was more shocked than Macbeth before the ghost of bangoo.
“Let me come we talk over this. We can’t break up over the phone.”
She refused meeting me but I can be stubborn too so she eventually agreed.
I was a bit broke at that time so I asked my best friend Bob to give me a soft loan. My girlfriend lived in the capital and I lived on the other side of the country. Bob has lost count of the many times he has had to bail me out; but he never grows weary of doing it. Everybody needs his Bob - especially when you are just about to be dumped.
Under normal circumstances, we would meet in town; go to her favorite restaurant…spend most of the day there doing a lot of talking and very little eating. But this visit is anything but normal. She will be waiting for me at her place. When I arrive at her place, she is doing her laundry. She never did her laundry when I visited before. I give her my present and she doesn’t even look at it. Just puts it somewhere on the floor. I let it pass for the moment…the fighting will begin shortly then she will have a piece of my mind.
We seat and for the first time since I met her in college almost three years earlier, we seem not to be having an easy conversation. Finally, I get tired of the pretense and take the bull by the horns.
“Let’s talk about your request”
I demand. She takes the cue and abandons her laundry.
“You know we have our monthly meeting in church every last weekend of the month…”
In other words, you shouldn’t be here. You made me not go to the meeting that I have never missed since…well, I don’t know since when. Both of us were devout Christians but I couldn’t believe she was putting blame on me for missing church. Just a month earlier, she would have readily missed church service to go out with me. I still remember when my company sent me on official assignment to her city. I was so busy with work we didn’t get enough time together. Finally, it was Sunday and I had the day figured out. We would go to church in the morning then go wherever she wants after church. But she had her own plans. No going to church. We would spend the whole day together. I have never missed Sunday morning worship my entire life. And I was not going to break the tradition. This old dog was not willing to learn new tricks. She was not amused but she got over it in a record 12 hours. Or at least, it seemed.
“Am sorry but I think we needed to talk”
I was not sure what she meant by “me too.” Did she mean she was also sorry or did she mean she also believed we needed to talk? I wanted to ask but I knew better than that so I held my peace.
“Like I said, I think we should break up”
“I am tired Ronnie…”
And with that, I discovered our long distance romance had died as far as she was concerned.
“Am looking for a job near you. We can make this work…”
“That’s the problem Ronnie, we are always struggling to make it work…and am tired of struggling…I just want to be happy…I want out”
I was not going to give up easily
“Look, tell me what I did that made you change your mind”
“You didn’t call me for a whole month”
What? I didn’t believe my ears. She actually had told me not to call her if I loved her….and now I was being blamed for giving her her request!
“How could you? “
Then she began crying again….and it was a long time of crying. I didn’t know what to do or say so I just sat. I had my own crying to do too but I would do it in my bedroom a week later.
“You should have called…”
“But you told me…”
“That’s because I was confused and lonely…and there was this guy at work who…”
“Of course there is another guy…that’s what this is all about”
I yelled back.
“It’s not like that…”
“How long have you been seeing him?”
“Am not seeing him…we are just colleagues that do coffee once in a while”
“How much is the once in a while?”
“Let’s not go there…”
Then there was silence. You could have heard an insect next door breathe.
She broke the silence a few minutes later
“Look, he asked me out during that one month and I said yes…only because I was lonely…I tried to call you and you didn’t pickup…I think you should just forget about me and move on…”
Of course I didn’t pickup. She had called during our one month of leave and I was not sure what to do. I so wanted to hit the receive button but I remembered her words “if you love, leave me alone for one month…”
We argued some more about who was wrong between the one who demanded not to be called and the one who never called. Then when all anger had been vented out, I realized there was no need flogging a dead horse.
I would go back to my city and to my house and have a good cry. Then I would forget her in a week and move on. I should have known forgetting ones first love doesn’t happen in a week…or even a year…
Before I left for the bus stop, I went to see Nixon, one of my friends that lived in the same city with my girlfriend. I needed to talk to someone. After talking for almost an hour while Nixon patiently listened, he said only one thing then he walked away to the kitchen to get some soft drinks. When he came back, we talked about soccer and politics and other things but my breakup never came up again that day. But what he told me is what helped me in the many months ahead to survive the breakup. He had said,
"Ronnie, God Never takes something good from your life unless he has something better in store for you."