We were both high when we met. Literally so. I curse Guarana. I must have been on my sixth one when this handsome stranger approached me at the bar. His speech was slightly slurred but the message in his eyes was clear. He wanted me.
“He looks broke,” I thought, eyeing his worn-out t-shirt. His hands were rough. There’s a song about a man with rough hands. I couldn’t remember the lyrics but I remember imagining how they would feel when they caressed my body.
We met when I was recovering from a brutal rejection. The kind where the man ghosts you for two months as you desperately send him emails, texts and call him, hoping all along that something tragic had happened to him—like maybe his iPhone drowned in a bucket of water—and that he would soon get back to you. Until you see his photo on Facebook with his arms coiled tightly around another woman’s waist. Ah, well.
Back to Mr. Guarana. He was handsome in that clichéd, Mills&Boon romantic novel way. He was tall, dark, and he had dimples. Deep voice. Rolling laughter. He switched on the charm when he needed to. He was like a plumber (forgive the porn movie cliché) who unlocked my clogged pipes.
In classic foolishness, we moved in together weeks after knowing each other. And I mean knowing in the Biblical sense. Remember the song about fools rush in, well that was us. Or should I be more honest and say I was the fool?
What was supposed to be one night of adventure turned out to be a three-year mangled affair that saw me walk away with mangled self-esteem and the wisdom of a thousand years.
He loved me too hard, too fast, too possessively. There were signs. Like when he gave me his house keys the morning after.
“What for?” I asked for I had a grand plan of sneaking out and ignoring his calls later on.
He wanted me to have access to his house. I thought something was wrong with him. I was right. What if I was a thief? But he said that he had been watching me “carefully” for months and he wanted me to be his wife.
If you are shaking your head at the amount of ridiculous in that statement, then we are together. But somehow my good senses were out the window. Someone called it dickmatization. The foolish ones call it love at first sight.
I needed to be needed. I thought it was only a matter of time before I would grow to love him.
Anyway, I took his keys. Then I took his shit, abuse and possessiveness for months. Sometimes I wonder why I did not see it coming.
I was so busy revelling in what I thought was the glow of love that I failed to notice the danger signs in the relationship from the word go. I was basking in the glory of intimacy and I did not realise soon enough that he had no friends. He tried to alienate me from my friends. He wanted me to spend all my free time with him and go straight home from work. He grew possessive, and often came to my workplace and demanded to know why so and so was looking at me “as if he wanted me”.
“I can’t live like this,” I told him one day.
I was talking about his debt crisis because a debt collector had just knocked at our gate over some Ksh. 100,000 he had borrowed from some businessman. But the truth was that he had a drinking problem as well. Women flocked his Facebook inbox and mobile phone. I knew that because I suspected as much and snooped around. The late nights he stayed out started becoming days.
He said he would change.
“I was stupid! Those girls do not mean anything to me.”
Cliché, I thought. But wasn’t our whole relationship clichéd? Probably based on romance notions from the beaten-up Mills and Boon romance novels I read as a teenager?
I left with one of the biggest hangovers of my life but also with the greatest gift from him: my daughter.
Single Mama is a thirty-something-year-old single mum who likes to laugh, learn, read and write. She's a hopeless romantic who hopes to write a story with a happy ending one day but for the time being, before Alejandro sweeps her off her feet and rides with her on a horse to his ranch and millions, she will share her dating misadventures and skewed opinions on life.