By Talib Gibran Anna was right, I actually felt a lot better after pouring my heart out to her. In fact, for the first time in a week, I felt real peace of mind. Even though I would think about her and wish things turned out different, I was happy I told her how I felt. I knew I wasn’t convincing enough but it would have been enough for anyone open to start a new relationship. Anna wasn’t open; at least she wasn’t open to me, since she made it clear that the door was closed to little Talib. I had to crawl back to my previously quiet life before she unfortunately turned up and turned me upside down. That, too, was more difficult than I had initially thought because for a week, it was all Anna. We were always on the phone, either chatting via sms or talking and we couldn’t exhaust the topics of discussion. She was the type that could keep you awake until dawn without even realising it, with her tact remarks and occasionally controversial views about almost everything. I found my match; at least I thought I did. I knew since I started developing feelings for Anna that this wasn’t going to be easy regardless of her strange attachment to me; regardless of the visible chemistry flowing between us. But, a conspiracy theory or not, I believe communication devices are cardinal in making and breaking our relationships. It is not just how effective or easier and faster they help us connect to others, no, it is how they somewhat put pressure on us to say things we wouldn’t ordinarily say—face to face—to someone on the other side of the line. So maybe I wasn’t even in love with her in the first place; maybe I just found it easy to say “I love you” via an sms text, knowing that when facing Anna, I might have a second thought to say those words even at gunpoint. It was already nightfall. It’s usually the time when my heart beats faster than usual, the periodic irregular heartbeats especially in the last few days, sometimes making me feel as though I would go into a cardiogenic shock. Worse, Anna must have been enjoying herself at the wedding while I’m left with a blistered heart to nurse. This is not fair at all. I tried to engage in vouz banter, shouting on top of my voice arguing about football and, very lately, the dynamics of Gambian politics. I had to do something to prevent my fragile heart from breaking any further or even exploding in my chest. It was tough. It was impossible. I couldn’t eat dinner. My tongue was on strike, refusing to feel the taste of anything. I was a total mess. Anna: “Talib, we need to talk” Oh, so she still hasn’t forgotten me. Admittedly, I kind of felt happy receiving her text but I wished I had turned off my phone because she was the last person I wanted to chat with. My life was so much better before meeting her. I had a sensational daily routine and I religiously stick to it. Pray, work, food and sometimes, watching football and movies. Everyone would tell me I am antisocial and I didn’t care because our perverted basic definition of ‘social’ is how frequent we begin and end romantic relationships. The more times you date, the more social you would be considered. So I was happy with what I got until I met Anna on the beach. Me: “There is nothing to talk about, Anna. You were crystal clear, I don’t need any interpretation” Anna: “You should quit being stubborn and hear me out” Me: “I’m not being stubborn. I’m merely protecting what’s left of me. I would really appreciate it if you could stop texting me” Anna: “I’m really sorry I hurt you. That wasn’t intentional” Me: “Apology not accepted. Now please, stop texting” Anna: “Not until you hear me out” Me: “Go ahead, embarrass me more. I deserve it” Anna: “Smh. Look, don’t take this the wrong way. I didn’t deceive you or make you fall in love with me while planning to hurt you. I’ll never do that. Besides, I wanted us to fall in love eventually but it came sooner than I could handle” Me: “You’re not making sense. There is nothing like wanting to fall in love with someone. It doesn’t work that way, you don’t WANT to fall in love, you just FALL in love. The fact that you were conscious of this from the beginning makes it even worse. God, I was such an idiot” Anna: “It breaks my heart to tell you this but I am seeing someone I cannot leave, not now” That was it. I couldn’t believe this was happening again. A few years ago, I had a crush (I still do) on a girl who was seeing someone. She is fair, tall with a deep sexy voice. I was always dreaming about her penetrating eyes and the innocence that splattered on her face even looking at her photo. Frighteningly similar to my encounter with Anna, I tried everything humanly possible to make her love me more than she loved the other guy…and then leave him for me but that didn’t happen. Sadly, what happened was that even though she eventually left the other guy, I wasn’t around or mildly ready to take his place. So when Anna mentioned seeing someone else, oh boy, I am living this all over again. Me: “So someone has taken ownership of what belongs to me. Tell me his name so I can neutralise him” Anna: “Haha. Even when you’re hurt, you never lose your sense of humour” Me: “I’m serious. How did that happen? How could anyone beat me to you?” Anna: “It’s fate. And I just met you, he was here ever since. There was no fair race. You would have won hands-down” Me: “I don’t think that can console me. You hurt me. And I really don’t care if it was intentional or not. What I care about is how I feel right now: broken, weak and vulnerable. Why did you do this to me?” Anna: “Talib, please don’t say that. Look you’re right, this is all my fault. But I’m gonna need your help to fix it” Me: “Fix it? This cannot be fixed. Just let me nurse my heart. You did enough for a lifetime” Anna: “I cannot pretend to know how you feel but I am here. I am real, I’ve always been” Me: “That’s the problem, Anna. The fact that you’re real and at the same time cause so much pain to me is hard to understand” Anna: “I’m gonna make this right. I promise you that” Me: “No you can’t. The damage is done already. The only thing I can do now is heal. And I really want you to let me do that without having to remind me of what I failed to get” Anna: “I just want to make sure you’re okay” Me: “Well apparently you made sure of quite the opposite” Anna: “You will understand someday. But I take full responsibility of what is happening. I should have been honest with you about my current status from the start” Me: “Admission of guilt? That is a big step” Anna: “This guy has been ever present in my life, since we were kids. He never left. Our relationship grew from kids taunting each other in primary school to adults loving each other now. Leaving him for someone I met a week ago could hardly make sense” I used to think that I’m not the jealous type. But I realised that we all are jealous, in different degrees. We only get to know about it when it is triggered in us. Mine finally sprung to life when Anna made me feel inferior to the mysterious ‘someone’. But Arthur Lynch said it best in his masterpiece Moods of Life that jealousy, in spite of the mad frenzy of its most splendid displays, is a vice of weakness; it arises from a mind whose aspirations and desires are inferior to its accomplishments; it is the child of baulked vanity and failure of courage. Me: “So basically you’re only with him because you think you owe him your loyalty for growing up with you. That’s sweet of you. But about meeting me a week ago and how things quickly spiraled, what makes sense is love. It doesn’t matter how long we know each other, what matters how we feel about each other” Anna: “It’s complicated, Talib” Me: “And I don’t want to make it more complicated for you. That is why I want to just chill somewhere far from you. Besides, having thought about it, I realised I’m not actually in love with you. I thought I am but I’m definitely not” Anna: “What the hell? So you were deceiving me?” Me: “It is double pleasure to deceive the deceiver, so said Machiavelli” Anna: “I will kill you Talib” I felt betrayed. I felt deceived. I felt cheated. So I wanted her to feel what I felt: deceived. I guess we’re even now.]]>
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By Lamin Cham A potentially disruptive and even chaotic chapter in our football was averted Sunday when we made it to the Afcon group stages....
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