I was relieved when she said she would not be showing up. I had hoped she would not. My invitation was perfunctory, a flailing clumsy grasp at a reality that I am believing with each passing day will never materialize. We will remain here, in this comfortable thoroughly explored space. We will remain good friends. Nothing more. I am constantly aching for her, yet numb with the knowledge that she might never want me back the same way. I glanced to my right as I listened to her tell me on the phone that she would not make it and saw on my opened notebook, in a blocky all-caps handwriting HAVE ONE TINY WIN EVERYDAY! I thought smugly that was my win for the day, to be alone instead of with someone whose affection I felt I was begging for.
It cannot be my fault that we are here. Or, is it?
I am not above pettiness, and this was clearer in that moment after the phone call when I felt light and gay at the prospect of further justifying my laziness as far as our relationship was concerned. My elation did not last long. I came back down, to admitting that maybe I did not deserve whatever it is I wanted. I have been feeling unreasonably entitled. When I look into myself, past those dark corners that I am scared of, those spaces where I sometimes drown, I can see that I am not as upstanding a man as I often think, and this constant realization prickles at my conscience, scratching on my facade of righteousness loudly and peeling it until I am left naked. The whispers of my past sins whip coldly against my skin and the promise of more hurt to come from me glimmers on the horizon.
I have been here before.
And I still keep coming back, to this place where I lie back and cloak my unwillingness to open myself up as “not being ready”, “I have my career to focus on” and “all these books are waiting for me! to read them”. You see then I do not have to do much. Hey, si I told you I am not down like that? Nothing becomes my fault, except when I do get what I want and then, yes, it was all my hard work. Mi ndio ule msee niko na game! It is all too easy to forget that you can also be vapidly selfish and arrogant, and that you can get away with it too. For a spell. But with things like this, where you are forced to confront your own shortcomings and to be constantly aware of them, you cannot run for long or run far enough. Maybe the kind of win I need is to, as an old flame once put it, get my head out of my arse, and even when doing that, recognize that it is seldom about me.