Guest author, Mariam Jaani
He was still silent. There were so many questions in his eyes and I have all the answers. I want to finally serve him all the lies I have been cooking in case such a situation comes up. He just wore his mysterious smile; the one that reminds me of the smile Yahya Jammeh always wore whenever, whatever he had to say was going to scare the hell out of people.
Harun: “It is very funny how you can play dumb”
Me: “I don’t know what you are trying to get at?”
Harun: “How you suddenly froze after mentioning the name Talib and acting like you do not know what just happened. That’s what I am trying to get at”
Me: “Can you please just go straight to the point?”
Harun: “Alright then! I will make it a lot easier for you. Let’s have a little quiz. Question number one, who’s Talib?”
I just looked away. This whole thing came sooner than I expected. I have a lot of lies lined up. I am not sure which one to choose because I am not sure which one he would buy. I should have prepared for this. I am failing at what I know how to do best; talking! I just had nothing to say.
Harun: “Mute”? Alright, I will ask one more time, who is Talib?”
Me: “I don’t know”
Harun: “See? That wasn’t very hard, was it? That takes me to my second question. Can you please explain how, after mentioning the name of someone you do not know, you suddenly looked like a suicide bomber who at the last minute realised she has a conscience?”
Me: “I might be playing dumb, but you are deaf. I told you I do not know him. He is a nobody. Well maybe he is somebody to someone, but that someone isn’t me”
Harun: “Really? A nobody? Earlier, when you gave me your phone, while I was going through it, I must say, it is very surprising how for almost an entire week, you have been talking to this nobody more than you have been talking to anyone else. You have his number. Should we call him?”
Me: “What are we even fighting about again? What do you want from me?”
Harun: “The truth. No matter how bitter it might be, I just want the truth. You know I don’t like people lying to me”
Me: “Whatever I told you, that’s the truth. But for the record, when people say they want to hear the truth, they actually mean they want you to tell them what they want to hear”
Harun: “I do not want to remind you how long I have known you. You are such a bad liar!”
Me: “If you know me so well, then you can figure all this out on your own without asking me. What if I am lying? What if Talib is whoever you think he is? What if he was the reason I ignored you? So what?”
Harun: “What if? Just what if you removed ‘What If’ from whatever you just said, maybe you might be giving me what I want?”
Me: “You know what? I cannot do this with you. I will just leave.”
Harun: “Yeah, like you always do. Every time you make a mess, you leave, knowing very well I will clean it up for you”
Me: “I never asked you to. Whatever you do for me, you do it because you want to. I never asked you to always choose me over you. I always choose you over me too, but if you are tired of doing that, I do not really care anymore”
“You tell me all this because of a nobody? Most times out of the lot, when people are being too defensive, it is because they are not very innocent”
Yes I am being very defensive because I have skeletons in my closet. You know that feeling you get when you are lying and you know the one you are lying to knows you are lying, but you still lie anyways because lying is your only way out? That is my current situation. I do not want to lie to him. In fact I am tired of still being in the love business. I just realised love is the stupidest and weirdest feeling. People celebrate it, but it hurts you more than it makes you happy. I just want out.
Me: “No, I am saying all this for me. Do you even love me? I don’t know if you ever feel this way, but sometimes I struggle trying to figure out what I really feel for you. We are so used to each other. After my mum and my family, you are the most important person in my life. I love you more than I love myself, but is the love I feel for you the type of love two people in love claim to feel for each other?”
Harun: “You just mentioned a name I have never heard you mention before, I just asked you who he is, and you tell me this? I do not know what type of love I feel for you. What I do not know is, I have never imagined myself with anyone else”
Me: “I told you I do not know him”
Harun: “When you stop suffering from memory lapses, you know where to find me”
He too left. To be honest, I wasn’t hurt. If this story had a villain, it would be Talib. Even though he is out of my life, the guy has still succeeded in ruining my life. Every guy wants you to treat him like your number one. Women are taught to do that to the point they completely forget to love themselves. If anything, Talib is right about one thing. Love is a myth. It is so complicated, especially for someone like me who has been with one guy since I was little. I am tired of everything.
I am tired of not being free. Tired of having to please someone else even if it means being unhappy. Tired of needing someone else’s permission as to how to run your life. I am very tired of trying to love on a planet where things aren’t what they seem. Tired of hurting and being hurt all in the name of a four-letter word that probably does not exist. I know Harun cares about me a lot and he only left because he does not feel appreciated. I am no feminist, but I am really tired of seeing women being forced in to believing they always have to be the perfect. They should have the perfect skin, the perfect shape, they must know how to cook, they must have a beautiful face, they must not be barren. In plain, they must be everything good. I know society places a lot of pressure on men, but almost all of it is surrounded around money. Most men put the blame on women, but I guess working towards having a luxurious life is what most men make a priority and that’s how they buy the respect they get from women. People have made being alone look like a curse. They pressure you in to falling in love or getting married, but sometimes that costs you your happiness. Unless this society prepares its sons for marriage like the way it prepares its daughters for it, I will just teach me how to love me because if there is anything guaranteed, the only one I will truly end up with is me.