When you’re young and in love, it’s hard to see the red flags in your relationship. For me, I refused to believe the love of my life (at that time) had another girlfriend even when all my friends warned me about him. George and I became friends through mutual friends in our estate and we quickly fell for each other. We would spend every day together doing absolutely nothing and I still had fun and I would be longing for the next day.
He wasn’t rich so I didn’t expect him to take me on lavish dates. We mostly stayed indoors at his place, watching movies. However, on my birthday, he decided to take me out for the first time.
“What do you want to do?” he asked me the day before.
“Just watch movies. I’m happy doing that.” I replied.
“Okay. But I have a little surprise for you.”
I thought he’d buy me a cake or jewellery but when I got to his place the next day, he was all dressed up ready to go. He looked shocked to see me there as if he forgot that it was my birthday and that we had made plans. Nonetheless, he welcomed me in then sat down without saying anything for a few minutes. He scrolled through his phone and occasionally threw me a look as if I was inconveniencing him. Eventually, I decided to break the silence.
“What’s going on? I thought we had plans today.” I asked.
“Yea, we do. That’s what I’m trying to organize.”
After waiting for a whole hour, he got up ready to leave. He still hadn’t wished me a happy birthday or told me where we were going but I followed him. After all, what was the worst that could happen? I was blindly in love with him that he could do no wrong in my eyes. We walked towards the stage and boarded a matatu which dropped up off at the mall. Then, I felt a wave of excitement. I couldn’t believe we were finally going on a date together.
We strolled through the mall hand in hand as we admired the displays. Before I realized it, we were at the IMAX booth looking at the movie list. I wasn’t sure whether he was paying for tickets or we were simply looking so I didn’t say a word.
“What do you want to watch, babe? ” he asked.
I was speechless. One of the reasons my friends didn’t like him was because he was constantly broke. He never contributed to any plans and I had to pay for him sometimes. So, I was happily surprised when he suggested that he would pay for a movie. I still held myself back because I could end up paying for it myself.
We looked through the movie list but there were no interesting movies showing at the time. We decided to pay for a later movie then kill time around the mall. You can imagine my surprise when he took out his phone to pay for the movie then handed me the tickets.
“Happy Birthday, love.” He said as he leaned in for a kiss.
As we walked around the mall, I noticed that he was distracted by his phone. He kept receiving texts which made his mood change more and more. I didn’t think much about it as I was in a trance. It felt like the best date anyone had ever taken me to. He even bought me some popcorns from the vendors outside since he said they overpriced the ones at the movies.
It was almost time for the movie and we made our way to the theatre. Just before we entered, someone tapped George from behind. We both turned and saw this angry-looking girl standing behind us. I was somehow used to girls running up to him since he was a ladies’ man. However, none of them was angry like this lady.
“I knew it. I knew it, George. When will you ever change?” she asked.
Her anger had now turned to despair. We both stood silently as the situation puzzled me. After noticing that George wouldn’t respond, I decided to get up to speed with what was going on.
“Umm… Who are..?” She interrupted me.
“Don’t talk to me. You think I don’t know what you’re doing with my boyfriend.”
Boyfriend? My heart sunk.
Despite the red flags, I wasn’t ready for the day I’d meet the “girlfriend” and it had to happen on my birthday. George was still standing silently as his alleged girlfriend and I exchanged harsh words.
“So, this is why you’re not replying to my texts?” she said then I pieced everything together.
They must have had plans to watch a movie together. However, I wasn’t ready for what I heard next.
“This man borrowed my money to buy movie tickets for us then he ghosted me only for him to bring this cheap girl to our date.” She said to the small crowd that had gathered.
They all looked disgusted and some laughed at the situation. While the girlfriend seemed to be over the embarrassment, all I wanted was for the floor to swallow me up. George hung his head low as he led his girlfriend away from the theatre. Eventually, the crowd dispersed and I stood alone in the middle of the gigantic hallway. I felt confused, embarrassed, betrayed, and disappointed all at once. He didn’t even have the decency to explain himself. He just left me standing there like a fool. One of the people who had watched the whole drama approached me.
“That’s crazy.” He said.
“I know. It’s like every man in Nairobi has a secret girlfriend. At least I still have the tickets.”
“Nice. Go and watch the movie.”
I listened to him and went in to watch the movie. It was a romantic comedy so I ended up crying so hard that I didn’t enjoy the movie. George tried to contact me later and I immediately blocked his number. I’ve never spoken to him since that day.
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.