THE SHIP THAT DIDN’T RELATE

Years back, I came in contact with a lady. We went to the same secondary school but she was many classes behind me. We went on a no-string-attached, non-romantic date and we continued to see often. Being a self-claimed activist who usually campaigned for women standing above the status quo, I loved her strong spirit and ambitions. The first time we met, I had gone into a nearby city to meet with a friend when I learnt she lived around as a student.

After some time, we started getting close. There was still no string attached but we were becoming very good friends and she was always open to sharing her struggles with me. She had just come out of a relationship where the young man was more of a “mama’s boy” than he who would stand his ground and stick to what he wants. It was a long term relationship and the break up didn’t sat emotionally well with her especially when the man’s mother was instrumental to it.

At those moments, I’d admit I offered her so much emotional support. On my free days, we’d always hang out together. I was getting fund of her and I was sure she was beginning to get emotionally attached to me too. I loved and enjoyed every single moment we had. She wasn’t a very spiritual person in the sense that many would think I am but she respected my level of spirituality and was even willing to step up a bit.

Each time we spent, discussions on spirituality and career took the large chunk of our time. She was sincere, open-minded and outspoken.

She got very sick and was also faced with a serious financial challenge. At that moment, she couldn’t pay her accommodation fee and her stuff were threatened to be thrown out. I remember getting the news and rushing to see her. I was facing very serious difficulties at that time too but her problem seemed very much bigger than mine.

I didn’t know the extent of her ailment; I thought it was just as a result of her recent troubles. We had gone to an eatery where I got her food; I also gave her some cash which was all that I had. I remember holding her as we walk all through because she wasn’t strong. One of the times she had to vomit into a nearby gutter and I was a bit shy feeling that people would assume “are you sure she isn’t pregnant and this must be her boyfriend…” I ensured she got safely home before leaving.

I was beginning to “fall in love” with her but I knew it wasn’t the best thing to do at that time. I was single and searching, I was intentional about it but she wasn’t the one as I was so sure about it. She was good, lovely and very endearing but one thing was a major problem and that was what set us apart.

She is AS genotype just like me; I had indirectly asked her about it the first day we met. It is something usual with me. I always find a way of knowing my friend’s genotype; those who are of the opposite sex. The reason is simple; marriage usually comes to my mind when something sparks off between I and someone of the opposite sex. So, knowing their genotype helps keep me in check.

We were beginning to exchange text messages, there was no day we wouldn’t talk on the phone and gradually we were nearly getting to that “I love you, I miss you” zone. Whenever we meet, there was chemistry going on as she would always want us to hold hands. I remember those times; we would sit at the cinema and she crosses her hand over my shoulders to play with my left ear. What a feeling…

It was easy to let emotions get in the way, being my kind of person; it was always difficult getting involved with a lady because I don’t come out of my shelf easily. Most times, it would take a lady giving me a serious lead before I can act accordingly. For example, I would hardly hold a lady by the hand if she doesn’t reach out for my hand by herself; I would hardly reach out for a hug if the other person isn’t the one who initiates it. I am that kind of person who wouldn’t chase after what I want if the “chasee” isn’t telling me loudly “chase after me please…”

Being who I am, I needed her kind of person, someone who was ready to bring out those words from my mouth. But that faithful evening, I was thinking through this and I knew if I had given it even more time, I would prefer to take the risk and take things further with her. I wouldn’t want to give birth to sickle cell victims, I wouldn’t want to bring children to this world to suffer but sometimes, emotions make use our brain the less. While my brain was still working, I needed to use it fast.

It was hard for me but I decided to put a distance. This was the best decision I ever took, I don’t know if I did it the right way, I still feel bad sometimes even as at the time of writing this but it was worth every one of the feelings.

One night, she called me but I was too anxious to pick her calls. I called back later anyway and she started complaining that I haven’t been giving her attention. I didn’t know how to communicate it to her; I apologized as the call ended. I sent her WhatsApp message, explaining why things have to be this way. I explained why we shouldn’t get emotionally attached and why we shouldn’t fan the flames to the fire. She went red!

She told me how all men are the same, how she wouldn’t open her heart to anyone. Truth is, we have never talked about us being in a relationship, but it was obvious in our body language. She said I was wicked and very insensitive, she indicated that what I did was a clear case of stigmatization and discrimination against people of certain genotype.

“You intentionally came into my life, sparked up the fire and now you want to leave! Why come in the first place if you aren’t willing to stay?” She had asked
“I truly cherish our friendship and want it to continue, that’s why I am doing this so that we put a limit to…” I tried explaining but she cut me short

I don’t know if she had forgotten I am also of the same genotype with her but she talked as though I was AA and simply didn’t want her in my life because of her genotype. She blocked me. I placed a call but she asked me never to call her line again

“At least, you need to listen to me so I explain what I mean.” I pleaded
“George, get out with your explanation! I don’t want to ever talk to you again.” She said. My number was later blacklisted.

I felt bad, not because we had gone apart but because it didn’t happen the way I wanted. That relationship was not supposed to happen and I thank God it didn’t but about the way it ended, I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to end that way. I tried all I could to get her attention and explain to her further but that was a chase after the rainbow.

Years have gone, we’ve met on a few occasions and we’ve even exchanged “hi”. But there has remained an unchanging feeling that she needed to hear me out to know that I didn’t mean to hurt her, that I meant the very best for both of us. Penning this down, the heavy burden that was there for years has been lifted because I know that somehow, as much as she has moved on, she will find this story and know that indeed I meant well and that all men aren’t the same as it depends on what you want to see.

My name is George.

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