To learn to love or to fall in love, I did not know which was natural or easy. Am a late  bloomer with my brain maturing at a faster age than my heart, if ever that can be said of one. By the time I was joining university I did not have a boyfriend,

yea, I was that naive. But I had a crush, a serious crush on some boy, Kedi, that’s what we’ll call him. Kedi was really cute. I liked his swag and please don’t ask me what I mean by that because the truth is I still haven’t figured it out. I wonder what nonsense we used to talk about, but seeing him smile at me was enough to make my heart beat faster. Am telling you reading Mills and Boons can make you imagine all sorts of things about love.

Then I joined university, the struggle of the heart and reason. My life was disrupted, I had to change towns and stay away from my neighborhood for long. Now what you need to know is that where I grew up going to the university was not ordinary, it was uncommon to say the least. This means people place you at a certain pedestal, and  I remember Kedi calling me a bookworm because of this. I detested this tag, the tag that I was intelligent and a bookworm, how boring. I wished I could be more normal, average performance like everyone else, attending the local college.  While I previously thrived on academic excellence and loved the thrill that came with education, I now looked at excellence differently. It set me apart from the Kedi, the one boy I liked and who dared to speak to me. Kedi, was a good student but with the Coast mentality, riding on the fact that his dad worked at one of the parastatals. He probably thought he’s dad’s good fortune will befall him as well. Well this is a story for another time and place. On my first holiday that had been occasioned by a strike, I realised that Kedi had sort of started moving on. I later understood that he was insecure around me, how could he date a University going girl? I made all sorts of excuses to myself and held on to the one sided relationship. 

Back in campus I met this other boy, Andy, who was an actor with the Uni’s travelling theatre. Si this boy katiad me in all ways. Yaani he did poems, he serenaded me in his-not-so-musical voice, this guy, I don’t know. My roommate and my friends were totally sold, I needed to give Andy a chance. They wouldn’t hear a word from me. My pleas that I didn’t feel a thing for him fell on deaf ears, why was I willing to let such a fine looking and great man go?

I gave in and we started dating, Andy and I. In my few years as an adult am yet to meet such an emotional man in my life. I don’t know if it was for real or he was faking it, I can not tell. Farewells were a nightmare, Andy wouldn’t let me go and would literally cry as I boarded the bus home. He’d call me every single day worried that I would go back to my Mombasa boyfriend. One thing I’ll forever be grateful to Andy for, must be self discovery. With his encouragement I tried modelling at the university, something totally out of my comfort zone. I enjoyed the limelight that came with it for a short while, then I drew back as usual. Dating someone as loud as Andy had it’s challenges since he drew attention everywhere.

We dated for three years and the whole time I had been hoping to fall in love with Andy. We had shared so much laughter and sorrows together. I think I watched all plays that they,(Kenyatta University Travelling Theatre, KUTT) staged at Harambee Hall and a few other shows staged in other campuses.  Andy lavished me with gifts whenever he could but never missed a poem, especially after learning I loved to write myself. I waited to fall in love with Andy but it never happened. Along the way I tried to break up with him but he’d always come pleading for time to show me how to love, a chance to mend his ways. I could not bring myself to echoing his I-love-you’s because I did not feel love for him. This saddened him and he encouraged me to try and say the words,”I love you”. Even when I uttered them it never sounded real. He believed I didn’t love him because of his weaknesses, he drunk too much and got so loud during those moments. He even insinuated at some point that I didn’t love him because he was poor.  So I stayed, thinking every time of how I was going to come out of this mess. 

When I finished my exams in my final semester I convinced him that I was going home for a fortnight to negotiate with my parents to let me stay on my own in Nairobi as I tarmacked. Fortunately for me I got a job and stay put. That’s how I broke it off. To shake him off I had to lie and accept accusations that I was dating a rich married at the office. All I knew I could not go in a relationship in which I felt nothing.

Interestingly it’s not like I fell in love at the first sight with this my person. No. Person had to woo me. Only that it was smoother and anytime I said I loved him I would mean it and it felt so natural. That’s how love is supposed to be, voluntary not forced, not an action but a feeling, not rehearsed. Even without words, you can actually feel love. In the way you gaze at each other, the touch , the chemistry is there. In the first two relationships there was a mismatch. Kedi didn’t love me, he probably was trying to prove a point to himself or the boys while for Andy I was the problem. I kept hoping Kedi will develop feelings for me but he never did and eventually he faded into thin air.

I remember when a friend came to me with a dilemma: to go ahead and marry her fiance, father to her unborn baby or to try it out with the man who made her heart skip. I told her one thing : it is not always true that the heart will learn to love and we only live once. At the end of the day the person getting married is you not your family, not your social status, just you. 

Like I always say, am a sucker for love. If you enjoyed this story do click like for encouragement. 

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