“Every girl dreams about that one big day. Even if you say you don’t, girl, you know you lyin’.” I could hear a chuckle in the background but I continued reading. “Why do you think we played chamama as kids? We invented games like mummy and daddy, and songs like
“Mary and Johnny sitting on a tree
We teased each other relentlessly about having a girlfriend or boyfriend in primary. Then we became teenagers, hormones kicked in, and life became real. The opposite sex was no longer cute but sexy and our own insecurities caused us to crave and seek the attention they offered.
As girls, the romantic perfection shown in chick flick comedies was, as any star wars fan would say, the force that was always with us. #relationshipgoals became the ideal. So I came up with a list…”
A slight cough escaped the lips of one of the members of the audience and I noticed as some of the ladies were looking at me intensely waiting for me to continue reading, others were getting a little restless. So I closed the book and looked at the ten to twelve ladies in front of me. I was still amazed that God had blessed me this much. To have been brought this far. I was at my own book reading and signing!
“Okay what if we did this a little differently today?” I’m sure you ladies can read the book on your own time, if you’ve not already read it, seeing as you all have your own copies.” I raised an eyebrow and smiled. “So if you have any questions why don’t you just ask me?”
One of the ladies in jeans and a black shirt lifted up her hand. She looked to be 20 or 21. Quite young. She was also the only one in the room who didn’t have her own copy of the book. I nodded for her to continue and she asked. “I just want to hear the back story behind your book. How did you end up her? And why did you think it was worth writing a book about?”
“Hhmm, I think I have to take you back for that one, to the beginning. Do you mind?” I looked at all the ladies to make sure no one resented the idea.
Just as I was about to start speaking, my book agent walked in with a tall dark gentleman in a suit. He looked to be in his late thirties, was well-built and he had an intensity about him. He looked a lot like Elsie, my agent, so I wondered if this was the older brother she had mentioned so often before. Elsie looked embarrassed, “I’m sorry I’m late.” She mouthed to try to avoid being a further distraction. She wasn’t the distraction. I wasn’t used to having male eyes at my book reviews. I nodded and went on with my story.
“My waiting period lasted a little longer than most. In fact, I was the girl who was always the bridesmaid and never the bride all through my twenties. When I was younger, I made a list. Describing everything I wanted in my future man. The list was all-inclusive from tall, masculine and handsome to financial security, career drive, and everything. As the years went by I dropped a few things here and there but never the important ones. Only details like he must have green or ebony eyes, and speak fluent Spanish or have a British accent.” The room broke into comical laughter.
“Yes, I know. It reached a point I was just like, ‘aii God fine since I’m not getting my Alejandro it is okay if he is Kenyan but I’m not compromising on his looks. The niggah must be fine.”
I heard a ‘hallelujah’ somewhere in the background and snickers around the room. I continued, “But the years just kept on flying by without asking my permission. Life wasn’t about to slow down for nobody! And suddenly there I was 32years old with no ring on it, no one who even seemed interested in liking it. Talk about depression!
It wasn’t like no man found me attractive. It was that the wrong ones did. I had dated two guys in all. The first one lasted for like three years before I found out he never wanted to get married and he wasn’t about the commitment lifestyle. The second one had no drive. He was very willing to let me pay the bill when we went out for dinner, which I wouldn’t have minded if we were splitting it but he always said I had a higher paying job so I could afford to take care of things. He would look for ways to get stuff out of me, like ask me for gas money. Then he would go out with his boys and somehow had enough money to cover their tabs. We lasted about six months before I kicked him to the curb.
I was fine though, I never showed that it bothered me and during valentines, I would switch off my social media and have a ‘me’ day… which you all should try by the way…. This was before my friends took me out for my dreaded thirty-second birthday. They all had to leave early because one had left her baby at home, the other’s husband kept calling her and other responsibilities of the sort, and it hit me.
I was alone.
On the eve of my thirty-second birthday, after a fabulous night with my girls, I cried myself to sleep.
I was tired, I was done.
The next morning I called in sick to work and stayed home. I went through my list of what kind of man I wanted and I tore it. I then got my journal and started writing a list on, ‘why I need a man’ I realized as the reasons kept flowing from my pen onto the paper most of them were more want than need.
I realized that this innate desire that had been planted by everything around me had been causing me to pause my life. It’s like I had taken in a deep breath at the age of thirteen when I read my first romance novel and I hadn’t exhaled up to this point. I was holding my life on the line, waiting for prince charming to waltz in and make it perfect.
I mentally went through a list of all the things I had put on hold, like “ohh we’ll go to this and this country for our honeymoon. We’ll buy a house together. We’ll have a gazillion babies and live a fulfilled life up until the day we die together, in each other’s arms. “
This is all a lie, society’s way of getting to us. It was like a light bulb moment hit me. I could live a single, fulfilled life. I didn’t have to have any standards because my biological clock was ticking. I decided that I was going to live the hell out of this life that I am living. If Prince Charming came along the way he could hop in for the ride but the train was not going to be parked waiting for him. So I wrote a bucket list, quit my white-collar job two days later, took on a job as a freelance travel writer, travelled the world, and began writing my book ‘Forever alone’.
This is the long story short. I am now thirty-five, still single, but in the process of adopting a little girl who I met along my travels. Her biological mother died recently from a fever and her father was never in the picture. She is the cutest two-month-old ever and she’ll be mine in a bit.”
There was cheering from the ladies and smiles all around. I could see I had everyone’s focus now, and the same girl who looked like she was barely getting out of her teenage years lifted up her hand again, I nodded. “Yes?”
“Are you happy?”
I smiled, “I won’t say there are no days where I think ‘what if?’ But those days don’t stop me from living my life. I’m happier than I was for more than fifteen years of my life; Even if I’m doing life #foreveralone.”
Everyone in the room laughed and for some reason, I couldn’t help noticing the dimples that popped up on the tall, dark man who was seated in the corner…
Shingai is an upcoming writer with a passion for words and expression through writing. She lived in Zimbabwe as a child and has traveled to over ten countries. She craves adventure and hopes to be an inspirational writer. She is currently pursuing a degree in English Literature with a minor in Psychology at Daystar University.