There was a rush to everything that she just had to put a stop. But, she had to be smart about it.
If you belong to that generation, or to that school, then you know that lesson from Roots. The one that, later, Nelson Mandela was to use:
“Do not,”—no, never ever—“defeat your enemies with carelessness.” Leave them with some face. Some dignity. Because, a wounded enemy is bad. A terribly wounded enemy is worse.
So, she had planned it properly: she would defeat him with dignity. Actually, she would let him feel that he had defeated her. And, what is so sweet than defeating your enemy while they feel that they have defeated you? Like, having them walk into your own trap only for them to feel that they trapped you?
She does not tell me his name so I do not know the story from him. But, I think if I had the chance to meet with him, he would spit and ask: “You said who?”
And, I would repeat her name (after making sure that all the exits are clear) and ask: “Do you know her?”
I think he would say he knows her. Not just because he really knows her. But, also, because he wants to offload that story. So, he would offload: “I know that demon. That Jezebel. That monster. That one…”
He would then rush to throw up. Then, tell me to never again say her name in his presence.
But, she does not think she is such a monster. She thinks she is human. And, humans, are bound to be monsters in another human’s story. But, also, they strive for happiness.
Their relationship had been speeding towards the altar. But, the journey had been rocky. And, chaotic.
“It was increasingly feeling like a trap,” she says, describing the last days of that three-year journey with careless abandon.
“In the years, we had lost each other. Our roles had mutated. Instead of him holding me, he grabbed me,”—well, not literally—“and instead of him being a partner, he was becoming a patron. I wanted laughter, he gave tears in buckets. I just wanted to love, he wanted to laugh—at me. I wanted a dance, he gave a dirge…”
“You communicated?” I interrupt that train of poetic thoughts because, trust me, I think that all the drama people suffer in relationships boils down to one thing: communication.
She laughs in that ‘you are repeating what I already did’ fashion and declares that she communicated.
“But,” she says, “spending your day talking to a rock would have been useful than talking to him.”
For him, it was enough she sat there. For him, it was enough she would come through when he needed her. For him, it was enough that he had committed to her. For him, it was enough that on social media, they would declare that they were in a relationship.
“He did not bother to ask if I was happy. Like, I just needed him one day to ask if I was happy and I was going to raise all the concerns. But, not him…”
She says that someday he just came announcing that he was marrying her. No rings, no nothing. Just a declaration, out of the blues.
And, just like that, he started speeding the relationship towards the altar. Like he was the only passenger there. And, it scared her. Because, this vehicle that was racing towards the altar had an unwilling passenger.
This vehicle was running low on the fuel of love and the lights were blinking except that the driver was either drunk on vehicle-signs ignorance or was overconfident about his callous driving skills.
And when the driver accelerated it towards the altar, she decided to sabotage it. She picked at his worst enemy.
“I started with a Facebook request.”
He was a Facebook addict, that one, because in minutes, he accepted the friendship.
“Then, I asked for a meeting.”
No, it was not in that ‘hey! I fancy you let us meet up’ fashion. She pretended to want some help from him.
In minutes, they fixed a date. He was a gentleman and he gave her the option of either going over to his place or they meet at a neutral venue, say a shopping mall. She declined both. She asked him to meet her at her place.
The first time went almost innocently, save for the tension. It was the other time he came. The second, and last, time.
Whatever happened that day, she decided to text about it with him.
Then, someday, at his place (the boyfriend’s), she acted as if she had forgotten her phone. With no locking mechanism.
He saw it. He saw the messages.
He did not take them to her. He took them to her parents—in all their glorious lewdness.
To them, the parents, he was not going to lay a complaint. He was going to make an announcement: he was no longer marrying their child because, well, she was not marriageable material. She was indecent. A cheat. A loose woman.
“And, what was your parents’ reaction?”
“They were shocked, at first,”—no, there is no relief that comes after that shock. “And distraught. They had so much wanted me to marry; you know parents and marriage? And they certainly had liked him.”
For her, however, it was a victory. Even when he married another woman just months after that episode, the pain was not like that one you feel when your ex gets married before you have forgotten them.
It was just a numb hollow. With the edges tasting like a sadly baked victory.