She found him standing at the balcony.
“Hey, didn’t know you were here.”
“I was. How are you?”
She joined him at gazing the odd buildings and structures that spoilt what might have been a good view into dark nothingness.
They stand in silence for a while. Finally, she breaks the ice, things need talking over and the sooner, the better.
“So, eh, I know we haven’t talked much this semester. What was that drama about the novel I gave you?”
“I deliberately refused to give it back to you because I knew there were issues.”
She can feel her anger rising, but this is supposed to be a quiet one on one talk. So she asks, he voice thinly covering her anger:
“And you decided playing games with me is the way to go about it?”
“Well…it worked, right?”
“Yeah, I lost my temper. Am sorry, ok?”
“So how have you really been? I heard you got a scholarship to do some literature thing at Cambridge.”
“Am fine, really. I got the scholarship but I decided to postpone going till later. My dad thinks am running away from home….”
“So you will finish your degree first or what?” She asks.
“I might, might not. Right now, I have a book I have to summarize, you know, and I have hardly started. It’s due next week.”
“Don’t worry, you will hack it. Let me ask, what prompted you to sign up for this Literature thing in Tanzania? It’s not like they are the best in English…”
“Well, I was there travelling, saw it and thought, why not? Besides, I travel a lot.”
“Yeah, and skive a lot of classes.”
Time to dispense what she feels is long overdue advice.
“One day, you are in Kisumu, the next, Coast, mara Tanzania, when do you ever get to read? And when you are in school, you hardly go to class….”
“Do you think I enjoy skiving classes? “ He asks, in anger. She almost yells yes, but lets him finish.
“I go to coast, because I have lived there most of my life, and am in the sports club. I go to Tanzania because I have games there. I go to Kisumu to see my dad and grandmother. And when am in school, and am not attending classes, you think am lazing around? No, I go to the library to study.”
What can she say? He is defending himself alright. Besides, there is this main topic she is just circling around. Still not saying anything about it, she talks about his friends. How some of them are just a**holes. He defends them, says some of them are young. An excuse to behave badly, so what if they are 19? A 10 year old is more courteous. She asks him about the time he lied to her and the rest of their friends. He says he is sorry. She says:
“I can’t believe anything you say now. You lost our trust, you know that? How do you just lie like that?”
“I did it for you.” Yeah right.
“You are not the center of our lives, you know.”
“I didn’t say I was.”
Nasty silence. She thinks they had come to resolve issues, now what?
“And about last sem..” she begins.
“What about it?”
“You don’t call, don’t sms…”
“Jesus, what was I supposed to do? You wanted us to hold hands and start going out.”
“Yes, that’s about it.”
“ I couldn’t do that. How long did it take you to tell me how you felt, a year, six months?”
“A few weeks, maybe.”
“You see, and I was just supposed to say what I thought the next day? It takes time, you know.”
“How much time, a year? Am supposed to wait like forever…” She is almost in tears.
“What do you want me to do now?”
“Now, nothing can work. I felt bad, but now, I don’t think it can work. I am over you…”
“You don’t have to apologize. I just need to get over and done with. Tell you what I think….we should just continue being friends. Maybe not as good as we used to be before..”
After months of silence, she finally breaks down. Tears streaming down…
He holds her, a gesture of restored friendship.
“Am not worth those tears you know.”
“I know..I know..” she sniffs.
The tears dry, the cloud lifted over their relationship, the easy comradeship almost restored between them, she goes to sleep.
In the morning, she is all smiles, leaving to do her assignment. She leaves him taking coffee with a mutual friend, whom she is not exactly close to.
By noon that day, everyone who knew her knew she had broken down. She had rumbled incoherently, trying to make him seem like the bad guy. She was pinning all manner of vices on him. She sounded lost and confused. In his words, she had “ an outburst.” She was even claiming she knew his friends better than he did! He says he thinks she is still into her.
The mutual friend he was having coffee with even said:
“I think she is hurting.”
She is ignorant of all this. She though it was a private conversation. She thought they were solving their issues, not their issues. She was smiling all round to all friends and acquaintances, and all the while they are wearing smirking knowing smiles. They knew all about her outburst.
Much later, she is told by her very good friend how he has been telling his side of the story. The friend asks her what happened, she is reluctant to start divulging what she considers personal conversation until she is told how it is all going round.
She is as mad as hell. She wants nothing to do with him. His number is long gone from her phone book. She can do without some a**holes in her life.
She is yours truly. She is trying to be indifferent, though she still bristles every time she meets him at the paths, it’s inevitable; the campus is not that small.
So much for