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If someone ever tells you that in chasing dreams then you need not rest, nor chase anything else, then you will have met a liar. Or a prophet. Or a fake motivational speaker. Most likely, two of these.

For, there will be moments when those dreams become elusive and frustrating. In that, you will need something else — a distraction. Or, a detour — a longer route to the dreams.

You do not give up on dreams. Not that easily. But you detour from them and return with a new energy.

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She never had to sit under a fake motivational speaker, so she knows all there is to chasing dreams. From an actual practice.

“The thing is: I had my life planned.”

She gave herself deadlines: marriage? Yes, I want that thing but not before getting my Master qualification. Children? Yes, those tiny little angels; I want them too, but only after I am properly married. Love? Yes, that too. Overflowing. I want it. Anytime. Anyhow.

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And, of those, love was the first one to come. It found her while she was busy chasing her dreams.

She was driving faster in that maximum-60- kphlane in the Masauko Chipembere Highway. Minding about the destination. Then, she got stuck in traffic.

The thing about traffic jams: at first, they do not look so bad. They are just like a bad flu. Yet, with time passing, they grow worse. You realise it was not just a bad flu. It was a coronavirus attack. You are most likely on your way to become a number – a bait in a news headline.

This one, the queue, grew worse. Nothing was moving but in that other lane. She wanted to switch lanes. When she looked outside, her eyes met his stony face. In no smile.

She wanted to get his attention, but he was in no mood. He was, most likely, a student of a liar and a Prophet – just focusing on his dreams. She let him go. Until they bumped in a shop.

“It was his eyes, the way they looked,” she says of what she saw in him for her to strike up a joke on the road incident.

“I told him that he should be looking sideways…”

And, he was taken aback when she spoke to him. Most likely woken from his dreams — the ones a Prophet and a liar advised should not be broken off from.

But he was quick, he picked up on her quip and they struck a conversation. If this was fiction, they would fall in love there —or exchange numbers. They did not. They parted, like the strangers they were.

And, this is where the story gets long and complex. But, by some design they met in that shop around that same time. Talked casually as they witnessed — yet ignored – the familiarity they were developing. Eventually, they exchanged numbers. And, because I have a small space to tell this story properly, they ended up in each other’s life.

“It was his ambition that struck a chord when I eventually dug in into his space.”

He was not easily distracted – like you, and me, on Facebook.

“That, and the pragmatism.”

As a rule, or just for control, they shared expectations, aspirations and dreams. He was encouraging, even when he said some would need to be adjusted to fit into their plans.

Then, school came — for her — after over a year of dating.

“I was applying for scholarships, and he was always encouraging. Would even recommend some to me when he could.”

When he shared the news of school with him, he was not so eager. He did not even feign joy and shower congratulatory messages. He just asked a simple question:

“What about our plans?”

They had discussed marriage, of course; had discussed kids, in the prospective future; but it had not been that intense for someone to forgo an opportunity. Yet, here he was acting as if it had been a constant talk — like the prayer before a meal.

She assured him, told him everything was intact. That they just needed to work out a plan, a workable one.He was not enthusiastic.

“It was a drawn conversation. Sometimes it became an argument. I nearly gave up.”

And, it was at his suggestion. Exhausted from the back and forth conversation which made him say nothing although he said everything, he simply told her to forget the school.

“Let us build our life here,” his words.

It was a friend who told her to ignore him. And leave – if he wanted to bring the conversation to that.

“But, dreams,” the friend said, “pursue them girl.”

She conveyed the message to him. Not as blunt. But he got the message. She was not giving that opportunity away, at least not for him, she would take it then fly away and eventually return to him.

He accepted, begrudgingly. Said they would manage it.

“As long as you won’t sing PhD after this.”

She told him she would not. Master, and that was it. She wanted a family. Not just papers.

When we met, she had returned. With the paper. And a story. But, the story did not come back with her. She came back to a story.

She did not come back to him.

“Why, you realised your realities did not match or?”

“No. It was not anything like that. He was actually the one who left.”

He did not do it like they usually do it. He welcomed her and told her that the year she had been away had given him a period to reflect. She was not the type of woman he needed in his life.

“You asked why?”

She did, and he only gave flimsy excuses. No! Not anything to do with the dreams. Just reasons really that cannot be sold anywhere.

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