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Sinking sands

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By Mankhokwe Namusanya:

A whole movement is out there to convince you that if you are snatched your husband, or wife, then you are not really snatched. That they have made up their own mind about things. About you – and the other person. And life in general.

People, at least grownups, make their own choices. And love, or maybe just belonging, is one of those choices. Accept it when they no longer choose you.

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If we could accept it as is then we would spare ourselves from trouble. Crimes of passion would be non-existent. You hurt me; I leave. Not stay and hurt you back, and hate you. I feel you distant, I pack. Not to beg and plead and make a fool of myself. Simple?

Except the heart chooses what it chooses. Or, what it wants. Even if, sometimes, it is influenced by other factors. Say, money.

This was hinged on that: Money.

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“I did not like him, not from a far. When he asked for my number, I availed it of him because of his shoes,” she says.

There goes a clue for men: Up your shoe game. You will hardly succeed if you get shoes that make you look like some forlorn farmer. But, that is something you must know already.

She left him with her number. Aside that he looked 10 years older than her father, and that was all because he took good care of himself as she was later to learn.

It was the message alerting her of airtime that told her she had gotten a heavy hefty catch.

“A whole 50k man. Just in airtime.”

For a student, this was a blessing. Not even her parents had ever spoilt her like that, and it was not that they were not better off. They were better off, even well to do. To say she lacked would not really be dishonest but that is because of the human nature: It is one where to get completely fulfilled is to be dishonest – we are never really fulfilled or we would attain that state of divinity.

That airtime sent her on the edge. She called him, he rejected the call. Texted that he would call in his own time. To cut to the chase: They started going out.

He gave her the life she desired, she gave him her body – and company.

A little detail, might be inaccurate, about the blesser-blessee relationship: there is little pressure. Each party appears to know its limits, expectations and benefits. Nobody really expects you to read the mind of the other.

If in photos, it is in the best interests of both parties not to appear in the photos of each other. One for the fear of the wrath of society or the wife; the other for the optics of their life.

They had that relationship. With terms unnegotiable, situations well embraced.

Then, her birthday came. She invited a few friends. Those who knew about him and would not judge. Those friends we all have—whom if they could get tipsy today and do a tell-it- all, we would wish for the earth to crack and swallow us all.

It was that one friend, let us call her Jessica, that has us here.

In this story, we did not say who reached out to who because it is not Jessica or the blesser, who tells the story. What we know is that, after that birthday party, the two got talking behind her back. None told her that they had found a friend in each other.

Someday, while playing on Jessica’s phone, a message came through wondering when they were meeting again. The number was familiar even if it had been saved under a name she had not heard of before.

When she confronted Jessica, there was no pretence about it. They were going out. But I thought I am your friend? Yes, and that was not really a problem. Jessica told her not to pick a fight; that she was not there to steal him.

“You do your part, I do mine. None of us owns him.”

But doing her part was not what she did; it was not what she wanted. She wanted him, all, to herself. Not really to herself for she was already sharing him…

“But maybe that I should have been the only one…”

“As a side?”

“Yes, if you want to call it that. Another one was just extra, and to be my friend.”

“So, it was jealousy?”

She says it was that. Not for the life that her friend would have to be enjoying too. For all practical purposes, she is not one to suffer from envy – at least it was never with Jessica. She wished her well. It was that jealousy you get to have over a lover. The idea of sharing their warmth, kindness, laughter, sorrows and love with others.

“I know, it sounds weird, but I had grown to love that man…”

It was not even about the money. For, if it were, she could have been satisfied with the fact that even if he was seeing Jessica, he had not relented on his ‘responsibilities’. She had not suspected anything even simply because there hardly was any change in their routines.

“It was love, man. I had fallen in. I was getting jealous.”

“That sounds like shifting goal posts, moving from an agreement to creating a new one?”

She agrees. In love, that is an addition she makes, nothing is certain.

“One goes in thinking they will last, they never do. You go in thinking it is just a phase of life; it ends up being your life.”

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