There comes a time in life when you have to pass through a hell of a storm for you to see the rainbow at the end of it all. When you have to lose everything to get a fresh start; and have those moments where you go through pain and misdirection and then have to get back on track. We’ve all had those moments. Here’s a snippet of mine.
We were both 21, and when I say we, I mean me and Andre. Andre was my boyfriend. The kind that turned heads when he walked into a room. He had a sly crooked smile and the perfect pair of dimples. His voice was one that would seep through your soul and he was tall and confident, such that every step or stride he made was almost majestic. That was Andre. He made me understood the meaning of cloud nine. And the best part is, he was all mine.
We had now been dating for a couple of months after bumping into each other a year after high school but I first knew him when I was about 13. We were in the same school and I had the biggest crush on the guy since class 7 and years down the line here we were, in love. We were both from decent homes, his is wealthier, similar Christian upbringing. I was in university, he was not, he got kicked out because of bad grades because he spent all his time drinking.
But now, I’m perched on a very uncomfortable stool in a substandard bar, that I’m sure my friends would never approve of, you know those ones where the bar maid is also a waitress and is also somehow responsible for serving nyama choma from a nearby butchery to a group of guys with bellies almost touching the floor. The kind where you think, ‘hey, maybe it’s a busy night for Njeri. That’s why she has all this work.’ So you sit there with your glass of questionable whisky and wonder how he, Andre got you here.
Leading up to this moment we had become serious in our relationship. He’d grown a beard which made him look sexy and rugged, but secretly I wished he would go back to his normal look where he would keep it simple and clean and girls wouldn’t ogle over him like they are now. But he had changed. He was no longer the Class 7 boy I was used to. He was now a man. A man who drank a lot, seemingly he never really took me out to dinner, we’d just go to a noisy club where we’d take shots of vodka and eat those groundnuts they sell by the side of the road (he carried a packet everywhere he went).
He really wasn’t the person I thought he was, plus he was no Henry.
Henry was my boyfriend before I reunited with Andre and boy was he the perfect gentleman. He was the type who kept it all together and seemed to know where his life was going. He would constantly check up on me and actually genuinely listen to me as I talked about how my day was. Henry was my Ryan Gosling from the Notebook, my soul mate. I let him go because my heart just yearned for the bad boy Andre.
That’s where my storm started.
As I had mentioned, Andre had changed. At first, he made me feel like I was the only girl in the world but after a month or so, I noticed that Andre didn’t give me attention the way Henry used to. His phone would sometimes be off when I needed him the most, our dates were always in a bar and his life seemed to be going nowhere. He couldn’t even sustain a job.
Other times he would go missing for a week or two and his family would be calling me looking for him, he would also have outbursts when having simple arguments and play emotionally abusive mind games that would end with me apologizing even if I wasn’t on the wrong. When it came to sex, he never bothered to ever use protection, this would especially nag me because I wanted to be safe. I knew he would sleep around in his drunken stature though he never listened to me. But because there is a sort of devilish charm that he had whenever he would swirl a glass of whisky, gulp it all down and grab me by the waist and kiss me, I stayed. I stayed because such moments made me feel alive. I stayed because even in the times when I saw the devil in him, I still wanted the ride.
Slowly, his behaviours start to influence mine. I became a regular at the bar, I even had a seat at the corner where Njeri would bring my bottle of whiskey, a glass and packet of cigarettes and only come back after an hour to take my phone away from me because I had this dreadful habit of drunk dialling all the wrong people. I also wanted to spend ‘quality’ time with him and since we could never just chill at the house or go for regular dates like regular people, I followed him to bars like a love-sick puppy.
My finances got drained because I spent most of my money on buying drinks to impress him and his friends, plus he never had any money as his family cut him off. I couldn’t stand the thought of older women at the club buying him drinks all in a bid to ‘chipo’ him so I emptied my pockets and kept Andre by my side at all times. I started to hide our relationship more, he introduced me to weed. I never would have never smoked weed before, maybe because I was a student leader but mostly because of personal standards but all that seems to fly out the window now. My life became a wreck.
But because there is a sort of charm alcoholics do have when they are not entirely intoxicated, I stayed. I stayed because he’s told me we belonged together and he told me he could see a future with me, a family and a home. I believed him, never mind if the present was really shitty.
I only ever noticed how dysfunctional my relationship with Andre was on the rare occasion when we tried going out with some of my friends. I realized I barely knew him. We never spent any time getting to know each other; all we knew was the amount of shots each of us could take before either of us would pass out but I ignored it all. He gave me a very different perspective on life, a life where I wasn’t boring and responsible. I loved every minute of it, all up until the time he told me he was leaving for Dubai in a couple of weeks.
All of a sudden, it became all too real for me. He couldn’t go. He was my life! My life literally revolved around him! For the past year that we’d been together, I sent 98% of my time with him. I dropped out of school where I was pursuing a degree, I was fired from my job a couple of months back and all my friends left me. Here I was contemplating how life would be without this handsome devil and all he could talk about was how he couldn’t wait to smoke weed on top of the Burj-Al Khalifa with his rich uncle who had paid for all his expenses to go there.
Did he not know how much he meant to me? How much I had given up to be with him? Did he even care about how my life would be when he left?
My heart crumbled to pieces when he boarded that plane. The midnight breeze at the airport couldn’t even cool down my rage. Yes. I was angry. Angry at him leaving, but more so angry at myself for throwing my life away for a man who didn’t even give a rat’s ass about how I would start picking up the pieces of my life.
Then I got to the eye of the storm.
I didn’t have a place to go. I had moved in with Andre after we started
dating so as to save up on expenses. All the money I had had been plundered away by alcohol, road trips and sheesha bongs. I had to restart my university classes because I had missed on so much and I had to do sober up fast or else I would have to consider doing it in another institution after being given more than three warning letters from the Dean.
All this while, I ached for a drink.
Every waking moment with Andre had to be spent in the company of a couple of drinks. But now I had no money, no friends, my family wouldn’t speak to me and I had nowhere to go. I cursed the day I met Andre. I cursed his smile, his wit and his spectacular devilish charm that now had me at my end. As much as I loved how his almost piercing eyes and curious laughter brought a new lease of life to me, it wasn’t worth it.
There were no quick fixes to what I got myself into. I had to start my life anew as I pushed away my feelings of regret, guilt and ugly withdrawal but in the long run, it was a blessing in disguise. I had learnt to dance with the devil and not completely lose myself. Did I get hurt along the way? Yes. But it showed me what I didn’t just want, but need in my life.
I started to reflect on my life and I started to see that I might have been wrong all along. I started letting go of Andre and joined a Bible group for the support, but I didn’t give my life to Christ just yet. I went back to what made me feel alive and started weaning myself off alcohol. I started dating my best friend… too soon? Maybe so but I did it anyway. Turns out my best friend becomes my rebound…yikes!
In the long run, though I realized that Andre leaving was a blessing in disguise. Well, he later got deported back because of his drunken ways but by then I was over him. I now know better than to date a drunk, or maybe I just think that I do and for now that’s a step in the right direction. I still smoke weed though!
***Single lady in Nairobi is a collection of real-life stories and opinions from different women. It looks at the current world of dating in Kenya and experiences that ladies have gone through. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Potentash.com.
The singlehood series is a collection of real-life stories and opinions from different people. It looks at the current world of dating around the world and the experiences that people have gone through. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Potentash.com.