Bradley stood me up for a date that he’d practically begged me to show up at. Originally, were supposed to meet at 12 pm. He’d asked if I’d like some seafood and I agreed. He was to pick me up in town, then we would head to Kilimani together. He returned my calls barely an hour later with a lame but honest excuse; he fell asleep.
We meet through a mutual friend. She had shared my picture on her status on my birthday and Bradley was smitten. It was during Covid, so with all the travel bans, lockdowns and curfews, seeing each other in person was saved for later, because our conversations had quickly become my favourite thing to do.
He’s a paediatric doctor, therefore he’s often on a 24-hour shift. We talked late into the night when he was less busy. He had this deep, erotic voice that wowed me the first time he called. We talked about his work and on some days, he would share some stories about his patients with me. One I remember correctly is the night he called me at around 1 am. He was so emotional, talking about the loss of a mother immediately after delivery.
“He hasn’t stopped crying since,” He said.
“You did your best darling, leave the rest to God.” I had become very religious at that time. Living in uncertain times rekindled the beautiful relationship I enjoyed with God as a child. Praying was my first solution, response and the one thing I did consistently.
“Knowing how much I love my mother, I don’t know how that little man is going to survive without his mother. I called my mother almost immediately just to remind her how much I love her,” he continued.
I was quiet. I let him speak because if I tried to respond, he would most probably speak over me. It’s one of the things I didn’t like about him, then the fact that he liked video calls and his unkempt beard was a major turn-off, but I thought it would be too soon to share that with him, so I only told my best friend who thought I should see the bigger picture; I had bagged a doctor.
Quiet frankly, his career path had excited me a little. The idea of dating a doctor was fun to a fifteen years old teenager. The kinds of people we wanted to date really influenced our schooling options for university. We applied to JKUAT and UON because those were opportunities to bump into an engineer, a doctor or a lawyer. Just to feed your curiosity, we have, but none of it was worth it, we should have believed that love is a compass and let our hearts lead our thoughts because they sure have led us to musicians, con artists, and lawyers too but we’ll need another whole day for these tales.
I travelled to Nakuru immediately after the bans were lifted. He insisted that we dine at his house. Bradley also stressed about safety, that his sister was there, so I shouldn’t worry. I finally agreed and we stopped at a supermarket to get a few things. He asked me to shop for anything I needed and whatever a girl needs, she gets it. I must have thought I’m Ariana Grande because the whole time ‘I like it, I get it. I want it I get it was playing on repeat in my mind. But decency grabbed my senses and reminded me, that’s not your money, honey!
His sister had prepared probably the best chicken I’ve had in my lifetime. She barely smiled and kept on insisting that I serve more food.
“Don’t be shy, eat your fill.” Ugh! She was so irritating. The way she kept on turning her gaze to me, examining my plate, before telling some of the most irrelevant things. One would have easily thought we were at a parent-teacher conference. Because her brother had to chime in every time to make right whatever she had just said. Whoever marries her brother, good luck, because they’ll have to deal with her irritating self for the most part of their married life.
Now, you remember I did say something about bagging a doctor? Yup! I didn’t know it was a flex, until during one of our late-night conversations and he brought it up.
“You know ladies chase after me, I don’t do the chasing anymore?” He said it casually.
“How do you mean? Is it the pretty face or the dark skin?” I joked.
“Please don’t describe it as pretty. I’m a man, handsome cuts it.” I laughed quietly because it would pointless to massage his ego with lies. So I proceeded with my enquiries.
“Who are these ladies?”
“Currently, it’s Sandra. She’s on her residency here. She’s calm, soft-spoken and kind. She has long hair. It’s honestly the only thing I like about her.”
“So much for someone you only like their hair…” I said.
“Well, she’s friends with Shalley.”
Shalley is his sister’s name. The one that almost gave me a crash course on how to be her brother’s girlfriend. I remember a few; he only eats chapatis made of sugar and not salt, he takes porridge for breakfast, he likes his clothes ironed on Sundays and he doesn’t like it when utensils remain dirty on the sink till the next morning. Did that sound like a domestic job description for you too? Good Lord! We were at his house in the first place because he insisted! I regretted it instantly.
“How did they become friends?” I quipped.
“I offered to host her for a few weeks at my place when she reported for work, and she was trying to find her own place. Their friendship grew from there. She spends nights with Shalley on weeks I’m on the 24-hour clock. I think they are even best friends.”
“Wow! That’s interesting. Shalley likes her?” I asked with a concerned tone.
“Yeah, your tone just makes it weird. Why did you put it that way?”
“I don’t think she likes me, but she likes your co-workers. What’s the charm? The hair? Because I’ll have to grow mine too.”We burst into laughter and then resorted to our initial conversation.
“I meant like when I hit the club nowadays, Ladies stay interested and persuasive when I tell them a doctor. It’s been my bargain chip since I realized ladies like it,” he said.
“That’s good for you baby” really, it’s the much I could say. We continued with our conversations till we stopped at HIV/AIDS.
“I could marry HIV/AIDS-infected persons, provided they are on medication and I’m on PrEP so that the kids and I are safe,” I said.
“What? You can’t be serious! Why would you do that?”
“We all deserve second chances, I don’t people should miss out on being with the love of their lives because of that. If they are honest and intentional, they can sure as hell put a ring on it.”
“Tell me something, no offence, are you positive?”
“All offences took, and No, I’m not positive.”
“Then what are you saying?”
“All offences intended, are you a doctor?”
“You heard me. Are you a doctor Bradley? Because you of all people should know that HIV/AIDS can be transmitted in other forms away from infidelity situations. Isn’t that right?”
“I have my reasons for my opinion and no I can never get involved with an HIV/AIDS-infected person. Not in a million years. Not even you, if that’s what you want to ascertain.” He concluded.
If his reasons are anything to go by, this is it. Apparently, his uncle married an HIV/AIDS-infected person who didn’t disclose her status to him. He fell terribly ill and when the family found out, they threw the woman and their kids out. He married another woman, an HIV/AIDS-negative person. It beats me, how he couldn’t see that his uncle’s second wife, did exactly what I said I could do. But hey, he had his reasons right? Unfortunately, the universe had something transformational in store for him.
We went for our second date, at his place again. This time, he kissed me and I knew that was not a kiss I want to experience for the rest of my life. So I quietly decided to exit the relationship without making a fuss. I mean he’s a nice guy, monied, respectful and a doctor, what more can a girl ask for? Kissy lips maybe? So I planned to ghost him, but he ghosted me instead. He was too busy or only available for short chats, and check-ins for the next four weeks, and I rescinded my decision because what the hell could be wrong with me? Why was he ghosting me? Is he a mind reader of sorts?
But it’s not you, it’s me. We know that line right? But let’s correct it; It was not me, it was him. As the universe would have it, he operated on HIV/AIDS-infected mother and he accidentally cut himself in the process. He was in contact with her blood, which exposed him to the risk of contracting the virus. He got on PrEP immediately, but he was so scared for his life and embarrassed. He didn’t know how to tell me about that situation, especially after the way he had voiced his opinions when we had a conversation on the same.
The relationship died a natural death because he tested negative for the virus soon after. When he stood me up that day, he wanted to officially end our already relationship by telling me about his pregnant girlfriend, Sandra. If you ask me, I’d say I dodged a bullet because what if I was involved in an accident and contracted the virus while were married? A divorce? Because my doctor hubby thinks that contracting HIV/AIDS can only be through several sex partners? Hell No!
Moving forward, I’ve made a point to have these uncomfortable conversations with my partners, just in case they are a different version of Bradley!
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