They had been sitting in that restaurant for more than 40 minutes. When they arrived they ordered drinks and sipped them slowly as they got to know each other. After some time it was time to order a meal because anyway, it was lunchtime. When the meal came they dug in slowly as they continued with the conversation that they had already started.
“So you had said this other relationship ended because of..?” Vivian had asked.
“Infidelity. That’s what happened.” Idris had said.
They spoke about their relationships because that is something that might be mentioned when two people are getting to know each other with the intention of dating. When Idris mentioned that infidelity had broken their relationship, Vivian concluded that the lady had been the one that cheated. This was from the many observations she had made when a person was speaking about their ex. The ex spoken about has always been the villain.
“Sorry, I can imagine how it feels to remember the whole thing,” she had responded to Idris’s statement with her conclusion of him being the victim.
“Exactly how I thought you’d think. I am the villain here, Vivian.” Idris said, leaving Vivian confused.
Why would anyone spill such secrets about himself on the first date? Wasn’t it supposed to be a time when one created a desirable image? Vivian wondered.
“Okay. What happened?” She had asked.
She thought the most appropriate thing to do was ask what could have happened. If she acted surprised or uninterested, it might not be a good thing from Idris’s end.
“We got a new colleague at our workplace and her name was Anita. Anita was a very chatty and interesting individual, someone you would easily talk to when you share a space. We started talking and before long, communication had become consistent and interesting. We became too close that our bond became stronger than the one I had with my girl. She complained about our closeness making her uncomfortable, and since from my end I knew nothing romantic was happening, I became reluctant to cut it short and that’s how she decided to leave.” He had said.
“So hard to come across someone presenting themselves as a villain in their past relationship,” Vivian thought out loud, she could not help it.
“Yeah, I know. Just wanted to be honest with you. I believe honesty is the best policy no matter what.” He said.
However much this statement held some novelty, it failed to fit into the script of a first date. It even failed to register well with Vivian. If it were her, she would not have mentioned this part, because much as one is to be honest, withholding information would not be that bad. But she decided to remain cool and see how things would go, after all, it was a first date on a Saturday afternoon.
“How about you?” Idris had asked.
This question had to come up somewhere. She expected it and she knew that she had to remain as vague as possible. Only giving a hint as to what happened and if the details were necessary, then those details would be for later when they meet for other dates if at all they’d get past this first date.
“Well, things did not work out. We both loved each other but needed different things at that time, so we had to cut it off,” she had said. Vague but true.
“Oh, I get it. It happens most of the time. Even my girl then, needed someone who could be exclusive to her at an emotional level. Something that I might not have been able to give to her.” He had said.
Vivian wondered where all this was headed. His ex-girl this, his ex-girl that. That had been the trend since their date started. But because that door had been opened, she decided to head that way by asking him more about this past relationship.
“Do you think you should have cut that other friendship off, the one which made your girl insecure?” She said this as she ate her meal.
“Yeah. I think that could have been a good thing to do. It could have saved our relationship, considering that we were very compatible.” He had said, looking very contemplative.
His response seemed to come with some nostalgia. He seemed immersed in the thought of what could have been of them had he prioritized his bond to his woman rather than to his workmate. Perhaps he missed this ex, Vivian thought.
Was it wrong though, to go on a date with another potential partner while still feeling like things should have worked with the previous significant other? Vivian tried to think this through as she was taking a sip of water.
“Sometimes, a relationship comes to an end without one being psychologically ready for this end. Which isn’t an easy one unless one accepts.” She commented.
After saying these words, she realized that maybe she had gone too far. That wasn’t a plain statement, but an insinuation that Idris might not have accepted what had happened and that he was still hooked on the thought of what could have become of them. Well, that was what she thought, but putting it out loud would not end well.
“Sure, but that was not my case though. I accepted what befell me and learnt my lessons.” Idris said defensively.
“Nice. These relationships have no manual. It either works or one walks with lessons.” She said, trying to remove the tension that had already built up between them.
“I know. I think one of the lessons that I got was that one’s bond ought to be stronger with his or her significant other than it would be with other people,” he responded.
“I also tend to think the same. Because what would be the point of being together when there would be another person who shares life better with a partner?” She added to his point.
Come to think of it, what would be the point? Vivian wondered why after the breakup, Idris did not end up with the woman who was the reason for their breakup.
“How about Anita? Did she learn about your relationship failing and her being the reason behind that breakup?” She asked.
“She is still working in the company, and still with her boyfriend. Turns out I was the loser.” He confessed and he looked a bit sad.
“You still talk?” She went ahead to inquire because she felt like there was more she needed to know.
“Nope. She said her boyfriend was not comfortable with our closeness and constant communication.” He said, his voice becoming so low as he said these words.
As Vivian was still wondering what she could say next, Idris spoke.
“I don’t know how I allowed all these to happen, but I regret every bit of what happened. I thought my ex was being too demanding and a control freak, but turned out the same situation would not sit well with any other person. Tell me, could you have been comfortable if your man had a very close female friend, even closer than how he was with you?” He asked.
Vivian hesitated to answer but after a few seconds, she opened her mouth to speak.
“Well, I would not be comfortable. I need to feel special, and if there’s someone else that gets to experience my man closer than I am, then what would be the point? Would you have been comfortable if your girl had a male friend who was closer to her than you were?” She turned the question back to him.
She wondered what was so complex for him to understand the whole thing.
“Come to think of it, it would not sit well with me either,” Idris replied, his face brightening like he had gotten some closure.
As Vivian was finishing up on her food, she wondered what had been the agenda of this date because the whole time, they had analyzed Idris’s past relationship, which might not have been the major problem had Idris shown that he had been over his past. However, that was not the case. Idris spoke like someone who so much regretted his actions and was willing to do whatever he could to get back her ex. When he spoke of his ex-girl, it was evident that he still loved her.
“Did you try to make things right with her ama you just let things slide?” She had to ask this.
“I did not try as hard. What if I try yet again and she declines?” He sold himself out.
“I think you should give it a chance because you seemed to love this girl so much. You’ll never know if she is willing to give you one more chance if you don’t give it a try?” Vivian said with empathy.
She did not believe that she said those words. She was advocating for her date to go after his ex. Maybe it wasn’t a date after all, but an opportune moment for Idris to clear his head on what he wanted in life. Vivian had been the listening ear all along.
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