A dream trip to Cabo could be what ends Elsie and Tommy’s relationship. Trouble rears its ugly head at the airport when it turns out that Tommy’s mother, Linette, got first-class tickets for everyone but Elsie, who’s booked in coach. Tommy fails to convince Elsie to go on the trip. He goes to Elsie’s place to try to iron things out. Instead, she makes him see how futile it is to pursue a relationship when his mother hates her and he, for whatever reason, cannot stand up to his parents. They are effectively, officially broken up. Start Elsie and Tommy’s story here – Not Even Cabo – Will This Vacation Be What Ends It? – Part 1
Tommy walked into his apartment, dejected and so exhausted, he collapsed on the couch and stayed in that position. He kept his eyes closed, refusing to see the emptiness that was his house and life. The black curtains which ensured the house was in pitch darkness were finally coming in handy. He could hardly believe it was the same day. Just this morning, he’d barely been able to contain his excitement about their first vacation together and now they were broken up.
Was that scratching sound coming from his house or one of the others in the apartment building? He heard it again and decided that he just didn’t have the energy to open his eyes, get up and go investigating. He had no energy to care about anything presently. Numbness was his new friend.
“Tommy?” a shocked voice asked in a whisper, startling him. He fell off the couch, hitting his knee on the edge of one of the stools. He cussed and remained on the floor, cradling the knee he was sure was broken and on fire, eyes wet with tears he was fighting.
The lights went on and his friend, Matthew, tall heavyset with a baby face appeared over him.
“Iza bana. Pole jo,” he said, his voice apologetic, and Tommy found that he didn’t care. All he wanted was to punch his apologetic face in as soon as his knee stopped burning up.
“Wacha nikusaidie,” Matthew said, offering to help Tommy sit up. He bore much of Tommy’s weight as he helped him back on the couch.
“Fuck, Matt. Unado nini hapa?” he asked, his tone more hostile than he intended or felt.
“You said you’d be gone and I could hang, so I decided to stay over. Kwani what happened? Why are you around? What happened to Cabo”
Tommy said nothing, his focus on trying to stretch out his leg and massage his knee that was now mercifully just throbbing.
“Tommy, kwani what happened?” His voice was low, his concern reflected on his face as he intently looked at Tommy.
“Nothing big. Just normal stuff.”
Matthew didn’t appear convinced, and Tommy couldn’t bring himself to care enough to try and clarify things further. His phone rang, and he stayed put, making no effort to fish it out of his pocket. It went silent then started again, and he just knew it was his mother. Summoning up the last of his energy, he pulled the phone out of his pocket and with a grimace flashed the screen at Matt, who got up and left. He made no effort to infuse any energy in his voice when he said, “Hello.”
“Why do you sound like that?” his mother admonished and suddenly he was ten years old again and disappointing his mother, again, which made him angry.
Undeterred, his mother went on heedless of his non-existent response. “That girl is too sensitive. You need a tough woman who can handle life, not someone who has a public meltdown over a plane ticket. Kwanza at her size, so embarrassing.”
“It wasn’t about the ticket, Mom.” He felt like he was forcing the words out of his mouth. He never contradicted his mother like this, ever. He’d done it once, and the consequences had been so swift and severe, he’d never done it again.
“She was getting a free vacation. All she needed to do was be grateful, not have a dramatic breakdown for everyone to see.”
His heart skipped at the similarity between his mom’s words and his. He shook his head, shame washing over him. “Any normal person would have been hurt if they were excluded like that.”
His mother laughed. “Even so, they wouldn’t have thrown a full-blown tantrum just short of rolling on the floor over it.”
His mother went on talking and he couldn’t have said what about. He told himself to speak up and say something, anything. Simple sentences like, “You can’t treat her like that” or “Why are you so cruel to her?” Try as he did, he couldn’t make his lips form the words.
With every minute that he sat listening to her go on and on about Cabo, he saw how right Elsie was. How he didn’t deserve her or any other girl for that matter. What kind of man could not tell his mother to stop bullying his girlfriend? What kind? No kind, that’s what, he thought.
He thought back to their university days. They’d been through so much together. He’d had these grand dreams of what their lives would look like once they graduated and got big-money jobs. That hadn’t happened. They both had low-paying jobs that had them perpetually worried about meeting their needs. They’d gone the distance though, especially with everyone saying campo relationships ended at graduation. They’d learnt how to disagree and fight without it signalling the end of their relationship. They’d learnt how to love each other.
They’d been mostly happy even though their career and financial dreams hadn’t panned out. They’d comforted each other as they dealt with disillusionment and gave up on some of their dreams that they now saw were improbable.
They’d seen each other change. His lean days were behind him and where once there had been a flat stomach was a soft tummy that Elsie said she loved. He’d grown out his beard too which she said she loved even more. She’d surprised both of them when she’d cut her hair and started experimenting with different colours on her tiny afro. She’d traded her baggy clothes for fitting ones as her confidence soared and she embraced her curves. It had had a most wondrous effect on their sex life.
They’d bared their souls to each other, fears, desires, hopes. Things they hadn’t shared with another living soul.
How could he just walk away from that?
Can he walk away from that? Find out here – Not Even Cabo: The Proposal – Part 7
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