By Talib Gibran It took long for me to tell Anna how I felt because I was scared of professing love to anyone. At the same time, I was scared she didn’t feel the same but the scariest thing was losing her without even trying to win her. Me: “Would you be surprised if I told you I’m in love with you?” Anna: “Yes I would” Me: “Why would you?” Anna: “For a start, you don’t believe true love exists. Tell me you wouldn’t be surprised if someone with such belief tells you they are in love with you” Me: “That’s a valid point but it is called character defect. Maybe you should read psychology” Anna: “Lol. Maybe you should read it too. You know, at least you would get to know about Emotional Quotient. People, ordinary people like me, are very interested and observant of other people’s emotional intelligence” Me: “So I’m basically Walter O’Brien, fantastic” Anna: “Haha no way. You are better….and you have shown more emotional intelligence than I could all my life” Me: “And you still want me to read about EQ. So much for praise. Smh” Anna: “Okay I take that back. Lol” Me: “Haha. You don’t have to. I get it. You formed your views about me based on my views about life. In this case, my views about love and marriage. Classic, you never cease to amaze me” Anna: “Well I have no other way of forming any opinion about you; about us, except based on what transpires between us. Imagine, we only saw each other once, and very briefly, but I’m so attached to you that I sometimes don’t remember my limits. No one has ever won my trust this fast” Me: “I’m I supposed to be happy?” Anna: “You’re supposed to dance, dummy” Me: “Lol. I don’t have limits with you. I’m a free spirit” Anna: “It looks like the spirit is caged. Lol” Me: “It’s not that simple. Besides, I want to see if you will form a different opinion about me when we meet—if we meet—tomorrow.” Anna: “Tomorrow might never come. Besides, always say what needs to be said today, so you will have more to say when tomorrow comes” Me: “I’ll take my chance” Anna: “Don’t say I didn’t warn you” Me: “The thing is, you already know what I am going to say. I love you. And what other men may mean when they use that expression, I cannot tell; what I mean is that, I am under the influence of some tremendous attraction which I have resisted in vain, and which overmasters me.” Anna: “Those are the coined words of Charles Dickens” Me: “They used to be his words but today they are mine. I couldn’t find a better expression that truly reflects how I feel than those words of a Victorian era novelist” Anna: “Well, one thing for sure, you gonna feel a lot better after this” I didn’t know what to say. I was just wordless, literally. I felt like a baby that hasn’t learned to speak yet. The only effective mode of communication was gesture and Anna was miles away to see the brooding face, the downcast eyes, the hollowness inside me, the sweaty nose……and the numbness of both my mind and my bones. It seemed as though a wrecking ball has swooped in and destroyed my world. After dominating my social calendar for, well five days, and telling her something I dread saying to a girl, Anna just turned cold. I thought it was love at first sight, love at last sight, at ever and ever sight, like Vladimir would say. Me: “Seriously? That’s all you have to say? I’m gonna feel a lot better after this? For the record, I was feeling a lot better before this?” I had enough of her calculated taciturnity. I wanted us to fight. I wanted the fight to go on since my heart is already in pieces right in front of me. I knew if she and I didn’t work, if what I thought we shared was actually one-sided, then I was all along right about the extinction of love. So what’s the point in self preservation? I would rather indulge in a pattern of destructive behavior, as long as it would take the ache off my heart. Anna: “I cannot tell you what you want to hear Talib. I wish I could. This is difficult for me too. Believe me, this is not what I thought would happen” Me: “You realise that this has changed everything” Anna: “Nothing has to change. This cannot be the end of us. I refuse to believe that” Me: “We are still not clear about the path we are taking; we were never clear about anything. We have to set that path now, Anna” Anna: “Let’s not jump to the future, let’s talk about now” Me: “Now is clear to me. There is nothing more to talk about, except if you’re enjoying my misfortune” Anna: “Come on, don’t make this harder for me than it already is. You have no idea how bad I feel” I was hurt. I was betrayed. I was belittled. There are millions of risky things I would choose over professing love. I would choose the Mediterranean over it. I mustered all the courage to tell Anna how I felt and, after nicely rejecting me, she talked about how bad she felt. Did she have any idea how I felt? I’ve learned in past experiences that the hardest thing about rejection is not necessarily the rejection itself regardless of the manner, it is actually communicating with the person after they have successfully rejected you. So that their every text message, every call, every visit pierces your heart, leaving you in half agony and half hope, for eternity. There is nothing more painful than that. Me: “How bad you feel? Do you want to know how bad I feel?” Anna: “No, I can’t process it. I can only imagine how you feel” Me: “You deceived me into believing about things that aren’t real. Wow. Very smart” Anna: “No I didn’t. I’ve been real with you from the start. And the fact that I can’t do it doesn’t mean I don’t feel it” Me: “You gonna have to do better than speaking in riddles. You’ve gone way past indirect speeches” Anna: “From the first day I saw you, sitting alone on the beach lost in your thought, I knew I’ve found a genuine soul. For the remaining of that evening, all I did was think about you….and imagining my life with you in it, in any capacity. I do feel what you feel, maybe even stronger than yours, but I’m in a difficult situation. I can’t let you in” That was the hardest pill to swallow. I didn’t reply to that text. I just sat, motionless like a corpse and started thinking about a recovery mechanism. So after all, it wasn’t the glossy, Disney-proof happy ending, it was tragic. If she had said she can’t let ANYONE in, I could have deductively concluded that no one was in or would be in not just Talib. But she said she cannot let ME in, well, that means only me and that broke my heart; or what was left of it. I knew chatting with her was going make things more difficult for me. And believe me, if someone says no and you know they mean it, stop communicating with them. Don’t beg for anyone to love you; that is not how it works. Don’t allow anyone or anything to keep reminding you of your failures. So I stood, took a long deep breath and started strolling towards the highway. And no, I wasn’t going to stand in front of a speeding truck or drop myself in a gutter. Nothing or no one is more valuable than my own life…. But during that few minutes’ walk around, I suffered a sudden phantom vibration syndrome. Every second I would check my phone, genuinely thinking that I had a message from Anna. That walk was longer than Mandela’s walk to freedom. Since she didn’t have anything else to add on to the bomb she just dropped on me, I thought of leveling the playing field. You know, give her something to seriously ponder over. Me: “When you start to miss me and I know you will, just remember that I didn’t walk away, you let me go” Anna: “You’re not going anywhere Talib” Me: “Watch me” Anna: “You’re mad. Don’t do this” Me: “Like my favorite writer once said, I have found both freedom and safety in my madness; the freedom of loneliness and the safety from being understood, for those who understand us enslave something in us” Anna: “You’re a valuable part of me. I don’t want to lose you” People will tell you if your heart is broken, you take it to God but that would be difficult for me because the person who broke my heart is the only one who can fix it. What should I do?]]>
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By Aisha Tamba A former CID officer at Barra police station during the detention of the West African migrants in 2005 has told the TRRC...
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