“Our first meeting was a chance encounter. I had gone to pay a visit to one of my close friends,” Sheila recounts amid sobs.
You know, those moments when the solitude of your own house isn’t comforting. I needed a change of environment. Val’s had some friends over, and she didn’t mind an additional company.
Upon arrival at Val’s house, he was there, along with other people. At first, I didn’t take notice of him. Val introduced me to everyone, we exchanged our pleasantries, and everybody got back to his or her business.
Though we were on the same side of the room, I could feel his eyes on me, but whenever I turned to look back, he would look away.
After a while of the game of exchanging glances, and me wishing Val would come to keep me company (I’m not too fond of attention); he finally got the courage to come over.
We talked for some time, about anything and everything. Time flew past, we parted ways and said our goodbyes. I didn’t think more of the guy or the encounter. We met a second time, at an event that Val had lured me to tag along with her friends.
She assured me that I would be comfortable, even without bringing someone else along. At the event, there, he was again. We said our hellos, and before you know it, everybody was partnering up. We were the only two without partners.
In such an awkward situation, the best move was to stick together. Before I realised it, I was getting comfortable with his presence. We met several times after that; I took him for a friend even though, I knew he wanted more.
He wasn’t my type, that’s for sure, but he made good company. In time, we would spend much time together. I enjoyed the pursuing and would encourage it, just a little bit, to have time to spend in his company.
Everybody else already thought of us as a couple; he liked it when that happened. I didn’t mind, because he was an “I can take it,” kind of guy. Somehow, I started yearning for more of his company. He was pulling me in, and I didn’t realise it; I would find every excuse to spend time with him.
He loved to listen to love songs (not many guys do so) and didn’t mind what others would think about it. I thought, his girlfriend will be a lucky girl, for sure. My feelings towards him were changing though, and once in a while, I would entertain the thought of us as a couple.
In time, I gave in to the growing feelings about him, and we made it official. Everybody thought us as the couple that was meant to be. I came to believe that our future, was set in stone.
After all, we were the happiest and almost the best-looking couple in the neighbourhood. The honeymoon blues came to an end. It was then that I started to notice the little things about him that would irritate me.
He would champ at his food when he ate, and it would become even louder when I was mad at him. It would irk me so much (it may be a disorder).
The rush and thrill of a relationship made me blind to our incompatibility. We didn’t go out on dates often, but I always wanted more. I was willing to pay my share of the cost.
Our jobs made it difficult to synchronise our schedules. He loved to stay indoors, and I yearned for outdoor activities, during the weekends. We would visit each other’s place, once in a while, to keep the romance burning.
What used to be a welcoming presence, became dreaded moments. Regular conversations would turn into fights, with him belittling any of my opinions. Sometimes we would be mad at each other and stay without talking for days.
It was the game of cat and mouse; each person waiting for the other, to break the silence. We broke up several times and patched things up on the same day. Maybe it was the fear of the emotional drain if we went ahead with it.
He would woo me back, with the promise of change. He gave his word that he would respect my opinions. That he would be willing to discuss any issues that we would face as a couple. However, it would be the same shit, just a different day.
He was never open to discussing the fights in depth. He would shrug off any attempt to deal with the issues we faced in the relationship. It reached a point where I got used to sweeping things under the rug. We would talk about our individual plans for the future, but never where the relationship was headed, for the two of us.
It came to a point where we only said hi and went on with our business when we were together. He was keen on making plans for his future and career but didn’t pay much attention to apparent issues, such as keeping his house in order or making time for us.
This little acts of negligence would push me over the edge. One day, he had some of his friends over and was going to go out of town in a few days. This time, and as he often did, he had his fun and never bothered about the state of his house.
We had agreed that I would check in his house when he would be gone. Like a dutiful partner, the first day I stepped into his house; the stench from the kitchen greeted me. He had a mountain-high, pile of dirty dishes that appeared to be several days past their due date for washing.
I couldn’t push myself to take one more step, inside. Quickly, I took my leave. He came back and was received by the unruly stack and the putrid smell that emanated from it. I guess that’s when he decided to call me (for the first time since he left) to ask about the pile of dishes; he didn’t even ask about my well-being.
By this time, I had had enough of bending and breaking myself, to please him. I had to put my foot down. I wasn’t going to clean up his mess if he wasn’t willing to do so, himself.
It wasn’t just the stench from the kitchen that led us here, but the layer of dirt from our unresolved issues that had formed under his rug was one of the core contributors to this. The foundation of our relationship had become shaky, and the walls were threatening to crumble down.
They had been, for a while. However, now, he was aggravated that I hadn’t cleared his dirty dishes. Damn! That was the final stroke I was willing to endure. And so, we broke up over those dirty, greasy, smelly pile, and it was worth it.” Sheila narrates with a strained smile.