You meet a guy who takes you out to dinner, buys you flowers occasionally and spends most of his days with you. He whispers sweet nothings, tells you he loves you.You get attached and next thing you know, you have a toothbrush and a few clothes at his apartment.
One Saturday afternoon while you stroll through Oasis mall, you meet a good friend of yours and when the introductions ensue, you happily say that he is your boyfriend. He gives you a look and quickly makes sure you get on the move. When you ask what the hurry is, he casually informs you that what you have is not a relationship but rather you are just ‘messing around.’
This script can come in different forms, some worse or easier to take in than this but bottom line is, you get led on and finally get shocked to realise you are in it for the long haul, except…you are on your own.
A good friend of my mum’s has tried to teach us a lesson that we haven’t quite learnt. Her theory is simple. “Do not start what you may not finish.” This is a little ambiguous but I will give you an example.
If you have a wife and the routine is that you say “honey I’m home” before she runs into your arms and hugs you upon arrival every evening, you need to keep this up. After a bad day at work or terrible fight with her, you cannot change it to “Alphonsinaaaaa, bring my bath water!!”
Such are the conditions of this theory.
My mother says she is too old to change so I should represent ‘us’ and run before it is too late. Whereas I see the sense in not leading people into certain expectations, I also believe in living in the moment and making the best of it while one still has the opportunity.
I think that turning another year old is a big deal, especially in this world of uncertainty. To that effect, I try to make a big deal of birthdays for people close to me. It would be much easier if I stopped at a text, phone call or card perhaps but no! I have a problem.
I want to commemorate the day in style, take them out to lunch or dinner, order cake and party hats if I can. Sometimes funds shall not allow it, distance, timing etc but if I can, I definitely will. Five years from now, I may not be able to maintain the trend I began, I may get too busy with my family, send a simple message that reads ‘HBD’ (Yuck! I would never!) Perhaps a very close companion shall have betrayed me and taken with them all my faith in mankind (God forbid) or I may even forget. According to the theory, I should not have started in the first place. That way, there would be no expectations and as a result, I would not have to worry about delivery.. but alas! I am already caught in the web:-O
Back when I was in Uni, I made a mistake of organising a birthday celebration for a friend. In my head, it was simple; call up her friends, ask them to carry cash for their meal,I pay for the birthday girl, she arrives, gets surprised and excited, we cut cake, dance and live happily ever after. Haha! Psyche! Some people cancelled last minute, others didn’t bother to cancel and some of the ones that honoured the invite showed up but conveniently received long phone calls when the bill arrived while others took out their wallets, looked through and put them back while a few actually ‘delivered’ as promised. I did not wash dishes at the restaurant but I wasn’t very far from it.
This would have been endurable except some of these ‘suspects’ began to do it over and over again and would be the first to purchase shoes, bags or clothes the next day after being ‘too broke’ to contribute to a meal they actually had. On top of that, it meant that since I had made a big deal out of one friend’s birthday, the entire circle had to be accorded the same privilege. Yes, even the stingy ones!
P.S: All these years later, they still live among us..yes! look around you. If you don’t know anyone like that, you are lucky, oh wait, it could be
Somehow I have survived. Have I learnt my lesson? Well, this post isn’t exactly about me so perhaps I shall answer that another time.
The preamble was simply to give a basis for this ‘rant.’ *Confession*
Sometime last year a man whom I shall call George came to an orphanage. He had been brought by a friend of his. That day, I too was at God’s Grace. He asked a few questions but I get that a lot so I answered without hesitation. I left early and thought nothing of it.
He continued to visit the children and actually developed a relationship with them, some more than others. Before long, they were asking where ‘Uncle George’ was whenever he took a while without showing up. I must add that the kids love seeing new faces but just like all children, or human beings in general for that matter, they will get attached to those they can most relate to or who give them attention and thus prefer to be around them.
One of the babies became ‘his baby’ and he showered her with goodies. He pampered her more than the rest but it was alright. She had been abandoned and could use all the extra attention.
Two weeks ago, I went to the home and one of the little girls (about 4) started to narrate a tale about how Uncle George took her and a few others out and bought them lots of goodies, drove them around. She was grinning and emphasising some details, like the soda. *so sweet* unfortunately, the kids she was telling had not gone on that trip, some older than her. I tried to read their expressions and they were a mix of ‘Stop bragging and If your uncle was so cool, where is he now?’ I continued to watch in close proximity and soon after , she seemed to notice her audience wasn’t sympathetic. She held my hand and asked if we could play. My heart crushed but I wasn’t going to allow her to see that. She chased me around and tested my running skills. Note: Always let the kids win, save the competitiveness for people your own size.
On the same day, an older boy asked me where ‘Uncle George’ was. Up till that moment, I had always responded the same way, “aja kuja” (He will come) but four months without him seemed like ages so I decided to say the truth. “I do not know.”
I had to let it pass. For reasons best known to him, he is away from their lives and no matter how much I try to cushion the blows of certain situations, they still have to feel these emotions as they grow up.
So, what triggered the memory of this scenario and irked me even more? Well, while at the hospital yesterday, I was looking at the baby’s medical report as she lay there helplessly on her bed. (Yes the same one he pampered) The first thing that caught my eye was her third name. See, when George was still in love with her, he even asked that she be named after him, signalling some form of a prolonged relationship..if not forever, at least a really long time..No? Am I the crazy one here?
Well, clearly the caretakers still have hope that he will return or they just don’t know better but the name remains.
I know we can’t always be there, life happens. Yes, that is supposed to explain everything- except it doesn’t but let us pretend it does. Uh huh? So what? What becomes of those you leave behind while you are so busy with so called life?
Seeing as this situation is so close to home, I pray that I do not go down the same road. I hope that if/when I choose to exit the lives of these children, I shall let them hear it from me or at least their ‘mommy’.. that they shall not have to speculate or ask my friends why I left them. If the truth is too harsh and I have to tell a few white lies then so be it.
Surely after the rejection they have received from their families and all of life’s blows, I will be damned if I knowingly wiggle my way into that part of the script.
Goodbyes might be complicated but they are necessary. To get closure. To move on. To choose whether to forget, hold on or forge new memories.
Whether you choose to only begin what you know you will complete, or take the safer option of not beginning at all is entirely up to you..but there will be BLOOD. *Too dramatic, I just wanted to use that phrase* Seriously though, do not mess with people’s hearts. Oh also, keep buying the girl flowers, they are pretty 🙂