Eve had been in numerous talking stages without a successful date at the end of the day. She was beautiful and a go-getter at that. Not just beauty, but beauty with brains. Getting potential boyfriends was never an issue. The issue had been going to the next level of being an item. This time, though, she managed to date, but her boyfriend found her pills, and things changed.
This time around, she was determined to date. She was determined to eliminate anything that stood in the way of being a girlfriend and becoming one. Those hot conversations her friends had about their boyfriends?? She wanted something to say too, and sure, to her wish, it all came true.
She met with Ray at a team-building event. They worked in different departments, but this one time brought them all together for the event. A universe’s way of making things work her way.
Ray was tall and not dark, but a combination that made him very attractive. That was not all. He had more behind the allure of his looks. He was soft-spoken, with a relaxed and enticing gaze that pierced the soul of a woman like Eve. A soul yearning for a connection and love.
He was precisely how Eve liked his men. The personality and aura Ray oozed iced the cake of what was her ideal man. When asked by her friends how she wished for her man to be, she would say things that summed up how Ray was.
“Hi,” said Ray, stretching out his hand toward Eve.
“Hi, too,” replied Eve.
This was during the evening after the long eventual, and exciting day. That year, team building had been one of a kind, unlike many others. When Ray said hi with that broad smile, perhaps it was a sign for Eve that fun would be entering her life at work and in her personal life too.
“I have seen you since the day started. I am Ray.”
This was the beginning of a blooming friendship.
After pleasantries, there was a flow toward knowing more about each other.
“Never seen you before, were you in last year’s team building?” Asked Ray.
“Maybe we are not in the same department because last year’s team building was done according to departments that’s why. Which department are you in?”
“Then that is why. Because I am in the communications department. Ours was done a bit later.”
“Sure. But I think this is the way to go. It is more fun when we all do it at once”
“Yeah, the more the people the merrier it becomes,” Eve replied.
There were more pleasantries, and they even exchanged contacts. First shallow and mundane conversations about jobs, life, weather, and traffic started morphing.
“You want to grab coffee sometime?’
“Yeah, why not!” Said Eve.
“Is tomorrow okay?”
It was more than a coffee date because conversations were not confined within the limits of what was spoken about during the first date. The coffee date was good.
There was more of knowing each other and taking the conversation from where they had left while chatting.
More such dates followed. Every time, the urge to speak about her state of mental health kept pinching her. She so much wanted to let Ray know that she was constantly in her head fighting for her life. Sometimes the simple act of waking up and going to work was so much of a struggle that she never knew how to go about it. She wanted this human being slowly entering her life to understand what it meant to Eve. To let him know that life for her was heavy.
However, whenever she thought about how such an attempt to be honest ended, she could not help but push that thought aside. She moved that thought to the furthest parts of her mind. It was like burying it since she had no intention of ever talking about it again.
“Be yourself and live your truth, they said. Then you follow it to the letter by being as honest as possible but what good did it bring except for rejection??” Eve thought to herself.
This was the determination. To date, without letting every part of who she was known. Though she knew the only way to feel loved was to be vulnerable, she also knew that sometimes the truth was too harsh to be accepted by some people. So, it was working with what seemed promising.
They made their dating official seven months after the meeting. Not like having a party and announcing. No. But they had that one conversation that made everything clear—sealing their interactions as not only friendship but romantically intimate ones.
Their love started blossoming. Several road trips. Fun times together. Weekends became a moment to spend time together. Dinner dates here and there and sometimes going to church together. Love was in the air. The intimacy that they both had yearned for was finally here. There was no thinking about the past or future. Why go to the history or the end when the present was heavenly?? There was no point.
They both acquired a glow that came with that new love. Smiles and chuckles when chatting. Holding hands when walking around. More public displays of affection, which was not all. They read books together and cook together from time to time. This experience proved to them both that they were made for each other and that love was a beautiful thing.
Eve had been on her medication as had been prescribed by her therapist. The therapist had assured her that being on her medication full time would minimize the extreme melancholic feeling that sometimes weighed her down, and sure to her word, everything was ideal for everyday life.
Once again, the thought to tell Ray this part of her life came up. She started thinking so much about it, and at some point, she considered taking this step, but her friend, Angie, discouraged her.
“You know how it has always ended up after you opened up about this. Are you willing to lose this, or rather, are you ready to lose Ray right now after all that you have created together?”
No. Of course, she was not ready. She did like she had done before, pushing the thought as far away as possible. Yet again, she decided that keeping quiet about it was probably the best for the both of them. It wasn’t being dishonest, but rather, it was withholding. She thought to herself.
On this particular weekend, Ray came over to her place. This was not unusual. They could spend one weekend in Ray’s place, and the next could be in Eve’s place and sometimes a single location in a row. The previous weekend had been in Ray’s home, and this weekend Eve wanted to cook something delicious for the two. She did some intentional grocery shopping and cooked with the determination to make that evening as tasty as ever before.
Ray knocked, with his signature entrance of holding something on the left hand on his back and the left hand open for a hug. It was an evening of eating something made by his one and only, so a glass of wine would make the evening even more perfect. The hand on the back had that said wine.
They hugged for long. Eve took the wine, and Ray made himself comfortable on the couch. After a little conversation, he felt like lying down on the couch. As Ray positioned himself to lie down, he felt something like a small tin pressing on his back. He lifted his torso and touched the place that had the little container. He held it and wondered what it could be. He held it so he could read the label.
“Anti-depressants,” read the label.
First, Ray was confused and did not know what to do or say. He lifted his head, and his confused eyes met those from the other side of the kitchen counter. It was a very fast occurrence that made the situation apparent. His question was answered by the fear that Eve’s eyes had.
An uncomfortable aura set in. A long silence which Eve broke with, “They are mine.”
“Okay,” then silence.
“Why haven’t you told me about it before?” asked Ray.
Eve took languid steps to the couch. She was firmly pressing her teeth against each other and moving her lips from side to side. She sat on the couch and said, “I feared what you’d think, and how you’ll react.”
Ray did not press any further, and Eve thought everything was okay. She felt that she had an understanding man. Monday came, and Ray went back to his place as usual. That became the last day Eve saw him as her boyfriend, as Ray avoided her in the workplace as they had never met before, and even communication became like that of strangers.
“Hi, babe.” Eve texted on Wednesday afternoon. She had been the one initiating conversations with Ray as he remained mute since that weekend.
“Hi too,” Ray replied. These were his replies for the three days after the weekend. No mention of the sweet names like he used to, and nonchalance was all over his replies. His replies lacked the excitement and energy that he used to show.
“Why are you this way?”
“What way?,” asked Ray.
“You’ve really changed over these three says. Is it because of the weekend’s ordeal?”
“Not really, been busy with work. That’s all.”
This was not true, Eve thought. The earlier she accepted the bitter truth that stared her right into the eyes, the better things would be for her. She was left nursing a broken heart because Ray became more of a stranger by the day.
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