Every now and then I get a mail saying ‘Hey Ben, so I wrote something and I’m wondering if it’s ok to share with everyone?’ I filter a lot of those because I know you and your very tiny tolerance. Immediately you cant see the head or tail of something pe you cant hide it. Why? Why kraa are you like that?
Lol, but it’s good, because it puts Tele, Ewuraesi and I on our toes, but it also sets a standard on what we share from guest bloggers like Sally here today. Sally is a doctor in training and a writer at heart and she brings a very beautiful story.
I am so excited about this piece because it’s such a true reflection of reality captured by putting two extremeties together in a relationship. She starts a conversation that I cant wait to hear your thoughts on. Enough of me, have Sally.
The first time I encountered the word ‘boyfriend’ in human form, it was Ato, Esi’s boyfriend. He would bring her roses when he came to see her every week. A single pink or white one for a normal day, and a huge red bunch for her birthday or, on any other occasion he deemed special. I thought, it must be nice to have a boyfriend. Or maybe, in retrospect, Ato was just sweet.
Thirty-two months later, I’m staring at the three letters- b.o.o- on Caller ID as the operator informs me for the sixteenth time that i have reached your voicemail. I’m desperately wondering why you’re not here already when you said you were on your way three and a half hours ago, and on about a hundred other occasions. As usual, I’m thinking of coming to look for you, genuinely out of concern, but I remember the first time this happened and i walked forty six minutes and three seconds in the rain, only to find you sprawled across your carpet playing scrabble with that girl from your office-what’s her face?
I remember fighting back tears as i watched you finish that round before you proceeded to give me a pathetic, “oh, you’re here..hello”, and then proceeded to play another entire game before Miss what’s her face left, but not without throwing me the who-the-hell-are-you look as she defiantly strutted out, like she owned the house, and its owner as well. I remember how you looked into my eyes, and ignoring all the tears, ‘explained’ to me how you didn’t want me ‘intruding’ in your other friendships and ’embarrassing’ you ‘like i had just done.’ And you gave the reason, ‘we’re a different couple’ , so I could not be ‘behaving like all those other jealous girlfriends your friends had.’ Exactly what I had done wrong was lost on me, but i was browbeaten into apologizing. And that was the genesis of what was to become your mantra – ‘we’re different ‘.
We’ve been dating for two years, and the closest I’ve met to your family or friends is that stray cat who comes around to devour the leftover fish heads you throw out after eating kenkey. I don’t bother asking about it because i know I’ll get the same response – “we’re different from the others ”
Everytime i badly want to go see a movie and suggest it, you’ll tell me , “it’s cliché, let’s watch something at my place instead”. Which I should add, involves me staring blindly into space while you play endless rounds of FIFA till i fall asleep. I know, we’re different.
Sometimes, i just want to call someone in the middle of the night after a nightmare, but I won’t dare, because we’re different from the other couples. Sometimes I want someone to go to the singles’ group at church with, but I can’t suggest it, because we’re different.
Sometimes, i want someone to call me randomly and ask how my day is going, but we’re different.
Sometimes I want someone to make me soup when I’m sick and hold my hand and pray with me, but i guess we’re different.
Sometimes I want someone to take me everywhere and anywhere, encircle his hand around my waist and show me off to the world, but well, we’re different.
Sometimes, when i ‘do something wrong’ , I just want to hear you say, ‘it’s okay, i love you’, instead of yelling over the phone incessantly , but I keep forgetting- we’re a different couple.
Sometimes I want to be the one all my friends envy; I want to be the one whose bed is strewn all over with thoughtful nothings on my birthday, the one who’ll definitely have the biggest cake to share on St. Valentines Day. But, I suppose it’s all part of us being different.
For once, just once, I want to be the one of the voices at eleven pm excitedly giggling about our dates on Saturday nights , and not fall asleep three whole hours earlier than my friends, partly because I’m tired of going green with envy at their stories, and also out of exhaustion from spending my day cleaning your house and making your meals for the coming week. By now it should have sunk in- we’re different from them.
Sometimes I think you’re making an idol out of this whole idea of being different, and i constantly have to shed my dignity and bow in ‘reverence’. It’s become a debasing enshrinement where it’s more than my knees on the ground. I’m on all fours, crawling my way deferentially to the deity of Your Royal Difference. But maybe, I’m just not grasping the full picture yet. Maybe, I’m not on the ground after all. Maybe, in bowing my knees, I’m actually standing taller than the Burj Khalifa for all I know- after all, we are different.
But B, do you ever think of it this way? Do we really have to be that different? What if I really just want to be like the others? What if i want you to make it clear to Miss what’s her face and all the others that you have a girlfriend?
What if I want to know if your mother would like or hate me? What if I want to feel like I’m worth every cedi you spend on me? What if I want to feel I’m worth your every minute, or at least the few you spend with me? What if I just want to know that, at the very least, you have my back anyday, anytime?
What if I don’t want to be different? What if i just want roses like Esi’s? And maybe, a bunch of red ones on my birthday too.
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