Ella’s finally in a relationship, something she’s longed for forever. Then her sister comes to her with a fantastical story about her boyfriend’s alleged infidelity. When Ella confronts him about it, all hell breaks loose and Daniel leaves. Ella goes to him and they make-up, with a new set of ground rules about Ella involving her family in their business. Will this be enough to save their relationship? Start Ella and Daniel’s story here – Lonely Eyes Part 1 – Hello, Chaos!
It was 3 a.m. and an exhausted Ella was at her desk, ostensibly working. In actual fact, she’d spent the last three hours looking at videos of dogs and crying about how cute they were. She wanted a dog so bad it was a tangible ache in her chest. She wanted to come home to someone who was excited to see her, someone who would leave her face with kisses and overwhelm her with hugs.
Daniel had been pretty busy the last two weeks, so they hadn’t spent s much time together. It didn’t help that her house was so messy. Okay, dirty, the word was dirty. Her kitchen had multiple pots, pans and dishes currently hosting vibrant mould colonies. She hadn’t cleaned anything in about two weeks, not her dishes, not her clothes, and some days not even herself. The only thing she cleaned with any consistency was her teeth. She could not afford to see a dentist, so prevention aka brushing religiously was all she had. Her teeth and whatever plate she was using for a specific meal were the maximum commitment she could make to cleaning. She subsisted on instant noodles and toasted bread, so meal prep was easy as was the ease of reusing dishes.
If she was honest, she was relieved Daniel was so busy; she didn’t have the energy to put on a show for him, much less clean the house or herself. They’d had dinner at his place twice and having to prepare for that and keep her spirits up for those two evenings had just about taken it all out of her.
She didn’t get why she was like this. It had been a while since she’d let things get this bad. She had this ridiculous thing where when one area of her life was going up in flames, her mind decided to sit back and let everything else burn as well. So, when she was at her most broke, she somehow found she couldn’t do anything else. She couldn’t work, cook, or clean.
It made no sense this time, though. She’d made some strides towards replacing the emergency money she’d spent on buying Daniel his favourite Ethiopian meal. She’d spoken to both her siblings and made peace. She didn’t tell them about the new boundaries thing and the separation of her relationships. That was for her to know and implement as unobtrusively as possible. They didn’t need to know that. They’d just worry and want to talk, and she couldn’t muster the energy for that. So, no.
Her life was great. More like okay. It was its usual self, so what was up? I mean, yes, she’d missed one game night, but that was not enough to cause whatever this was. She’d known Daniel would plead out because of work and she really didn’t have it in her to survive another night of #CoupleGoals in living 4K ultra HD. Plus, she needed to practice introducing much-needed emotional distance between her and her siblings in the spirit of setting boundaries. The game night she’d been to had been alright. Not as much fun as usual, but the tension with her siblings was officially broken. So what was her problem?
“You’ve just busted your circadian rhythm, that’s it. If you get back to sleeping regular, everything will go back to normal.” She said out loud. “It’s all about sleep, sun, and sex.”
She’d been watching these videos on the importance of sleep. The irony of watching them in the middle of the night when she should have been sleeping was not lost on her. They all insisted that sleep and the sun played a critical role in mood regulation. All she needed to do was go try sleeping, then go get some sun in the morning.
Sex was her own contribution to the current scientific knowledge based purely on anecdotal evidence. Did it count, though, if it was no longer doing it for her? The last two times they’d had sex, she’d lain still next to Daniel, regulating her breathing, unable to fall asleep. Thankfully, he hadn’t noticed. Try as she did, she couldn’t shake the doubt niggling at the back of her mind. He’d never said no when she’d asked if he was cheating. That meant something, right? Right?
All she thought of while she lay there trying to sleep was all that research on sleep and the consequences of not doing it. There was one where the speaker said nocturnal habits should basically be classified as carcinogens. Ever since she’d heard that all Ella did was wonder whether her mom had also just lain awake at night and that’s why she’d developed cancer. And whether she was even now developing it as she sat there weeping over people’s pet dogs.
Usually, she wasn’t afraid of dying. What she was afraid of was the pain before. She’d seen her mom waste away from the illness and knew with jarring certainty that she wouldn’t be able to bear illness with half that grace or courage. Her mom had suffered through multiple rounds of chemo and radiation because she had something to fight for, her family. Ella didn’t. Not in the same way. Sure, her siblings would miss her and they would be crushed if her number was called, but they’d eventually be fine. Their partners would help them through it. She didn’t have anyone who needed-needed her. Not even Daniel.
That’s why she needed a pet, a dog. Cats were notoriously standoffish from what she heard, and what she needed, only a dog could provide. Plus, a dog would legit miss her, she’d seen evidence of it online. Even better, it would be there for her if anything happened to her siblings, and she needed support. Daniel was too busy to be relied on to consistently dispense comforting hugs and kisses.
“I just need a dog. That’s it. Then I’ll be fine.”
Ella immediately looked up things to consider before getting a dog and felt her excitement deflate as she read through the first article. She was petrified of being sick because she couldn’t afford it. There was no way she could get a dog. What if it got sick, and she needed to take it to a vet? She couldn’t afford a vet. Where do you even get a vet? How do you know they’re legit? Also, how does one get a dog to a vet if they don’t have a car? There was no way she was using a matatu with a dog, there must be some colonial city council ordinance about it, then she’d have to deal with police or worse, city council askaris. Maybe she’d even be put in the inhumane cells where she’d slowly but surely begin to lose her mind. Well, maybe not begin, she thought, with a morbid laugh. “You’re already well on your way there.”
And what if the dog got so sick it died? She couldn’t watch one more thing she loved die. One time was more than enough.
She closed the lid on the laptop with more force than warranted it and went to bed where she tossed and turned before eventually getting up and going to the bathroom with her cell phone. She peed, wiped, and then remained seated on the throne for another hour playing Candy Crush.
So maybe she was slowly developing cancer as she proceeded to the next level of Angry Birds. No one gets out alive anyway and, unlike her mom, she wasn’t going to do any of that chemo stuff. When her time came, she’d just go. No objections, no fighting. She was nothing if not cooperative. That’s also how she was going to get out of this slump. She’d just ride it out. Eventually, it would pass. Eventually, everything passes.
What is going on with Ella? Does it get better? Find out what happens next here – Lonely Eyes Part 6 – A Love Safari Resets Things
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