I have this friend called Grey (not his real name.)
Grey has a nice small balcony at his crib. It overlooks a forest. The view is spectacular back there especially when the moonlight or sunlight pierces through the branches to meet you. It’s surreal. When I’m visiting, I like taking a couple of minutes standing there. I never quite get enough of it.
Recently, I was around and as usual I left the sitting room and joined him in the kitchen, then walked past him to the balcony. He was preparing a fruit salad as he narrated to me about a friend of his who’s going nuts over this lady he’s been chasing but luck seems to evade him. The lady wants to be just friends whereas his pal feels they should date. He’s asked her out but she’s taking him for rounds. Not clearly saying yes or no. It’s a terrible place to be. I think whoever created ‘friend-zone’ should burn in hell (or maybe get a jail term. Haha.)
As Grey was talking, I was somewhat absent-minded staring at the scenic view and wasn’t quite tracking with the details of the story. I walked back into the kitchen and we carried on the conversation.
Grey: ‘I’m telling you this guy is hurting man. The chic has really messed him up.’
Me: ‘Is that so?’
A short pause.
Grey: ‘Yo! What do you mean is that so? Kwani umesahau how that feels like?’
Me: (Feeling rather embarrassed at my dumb question.) ‘Oooh, yeah…..I remember how that felt. I’m sorry for him man.’
You see, I once chased a girl who took me for granted. I did everything I could to win her heart and affection but nothing substantial yielded out of it. The experience was heart-breaking and emasculating at the same time. Much later, I fell in love with Reina. A goddess from heaven. Loving her has been for me a beautiful journey that continues to unravel each day. And somehow – with good reason – I have forgotten how it feels when love refuses to yield.
Grey was recently in such a situation. He’s healing from the heartache that love tags along when the one you so much admire withholds their heart from you. Here’s how it played out for him.
Picture this, growing up, you had a serious self-esteem struggle within yourself. It was so bad such that most times, you didn’t view yourself as handsome and thought no girl would agree to date you. It crashed you. You felt terrible about it, plus your excess weight issues made it worse. Then you grew up and detoxed from all those insecurities. You start believing the opposite.
On your 24th surprise birthday party, you meet this girl. The most beautiful, gorgeous looking girl you’d ever laid your eyes on. You know she’s out of your league, yet she captivates you insanely. In the grand scheme of things, you guys start talking and your friendship blossoms slowly.
One day you take her out on a first date at Snocream along Koinange Street (have you ever been?) Both of you switch off your phones and go on to have a wonderful time together. You laugh, talk about yourselves, eat ice cream and get lost in the moment. Before you know it, it’s getting dark outside and you offer to walk her to the bus stop. On your way, you exchange playful gestures and banter more to your delight.
The first thing you do when you get home is sit on your best part of the couch, in a statue-like mode with a pleasant smile on your face and replay the entire experience in your mind. You are falling in love pretty hard. You can feel your heart throbbing passionately.
What follows is a series of text messages, long calls, dates and you invest your emotions with reckless abandon. You do so because you’re a ‘hopeless romantic’ – when you love, you give it your all. You find yourself lost in love. Caged in a prison of desire, and the only way to free yourself is to ask this girl to be your girlfriend. But there’s one big problem!
She’s broken. Hopelessly, fighting demons from her past relationship. And because of this, she withholds her heart from you.
This reality, breaks you. You choose to give her time to heal and get ready. The gentleman in you.
It’s almost two years now. You realize that you’ve grown to love her more each day. You’ve also held yourself from telling her what you really feel deep inside. You’ve gotten to know this girl for yourself; how she thinks, her golden heart, her radiant beauty, how she relates with others, her favourite colour, her secrets, her family, heck even her age. You know it all and it fascinates you the more. You want her to be your girl. You’re tired of playing the friendship card when in actual sense you’re giving her the boyfriend benefits.
So, you step up your game.
On her birthday, you put together a finesse experience for both of you. The best you’ve ever planned so far; an expensive candle-lit dinner date by the bonfire, some paid dancers to jig with on the surprise dance for her, a maestro guitarist to strum romantic songs throughout the evening and you dress the part. This rocket is all set to launch. You offer to pick her up. That day, one thing after the other falls apart, the most crashing one been the fact that she says no.
You’re at loss.
I saw Grey crumble in defeat during this season of his life. How he loved this girl was unbelievable. He had to eventually start retreating and keep minimal interaction with her even after agreeing to remain as good friends. He did this because carrying on the chase only brought more pain.
The worst part has to be, living with the aftermath. It can emotionally tear you apart. Grey decided to start working out to try and refocus his energies and get his mind off this girl. And boy! Is he ripped or what? The pain is paying off, somehow.
The truth is, love sometimes hurts. It can sting the hell out of you. It can make you vow to never walk the same path ever again. Thankfully Grey hasn’t given up on love and I have the confidence that he’ll meet the right girl for him.
But if we ever gave up on love, we’d be lost. Love is what competes us. Without it, we are totally void. And so, though sometimes we fail, we should never, ever give up on love.
We ought to, love on.
PS: Thank you for those who’ve written to me on firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep your love stories coming.