Tobe, we need to talk…
One year after Dami left me, everyone became nosy, prying into my social life. They worried that I wasn’t getting into relationships anymore. Chike my friend even took it upon himself to match me to three successfully crashed-on-first-sight dates. My Mum visited me every month reminding me that I was not getting any younger and that she needed grandchildren. Such is the pressure in the Igbo culture.
“Tobechukwu, ichoro ka ezi nna gi mechie? (do you want our linage to wipe off)” She would always ask. During one of her visits, she came along with this primitive-looking girl. I could perceive the oozing smell from her unkempt armpit. Her black skin was awfully less unified and the wig she was carrying on her hair is one that my grandmother in the village cannot even put on. She said her name was Nkiruka… I made her leave the next morning from wherever she was coming from and then I wasted my sanitizer on the guest room. Don’t get me wrong, she had no leprosy, not that I know of anyways, I just couldn’t take the bad air around me.
Come on, I’m Tobe and the fact that Dami left me doesn’t mean that she left with my taste for women.
I want them ageless. I like them slim, not too fair, not too dark; Melanin. A girl that can comfortably wear six inches pencil heels for eight to ten hours straight without having to carry slippers in her bag; a girl that doesn’t have to wear a hairnet while in bed, but a fashionably tied scarf; a girl that can make me good food – fresh good food. Am I asking for too much? Am I being irrational?
I finally decided to give Love a chance, again. I met Olivia. Olivia was a specification made in heaven. She was everything in one package. Her nails were perfect; her style was classic. She was carrying a fortune on her hair. Olivia buru motor, Obu Benz (If Olivia was a car, she is Benz) Oburu ala, ono na site (If she is a land, she is in a good site).
I shot my shot and gbam, odabara ofuma (it entered very well.) Olivia and I started dating. My friends were happy, everyone was happy. They said I caught a golden fish this time. Chike said I was very lucky when it came to women, but I didn’t feel that way. Common on, how many women in three years? None has lasted more than 3months. Dami alone lasted a while, and we were heading for marriage until I took her to see my Mother, and “mother superior” said I won’t marry her because she was an Osu (outcast) and was of a Yoruba maternal blood.
Annabel; She couldn’t even make common pap. She ordered food three times a day while my kitchen was stocked. Was it Debby or Amanda, Cleopatra? Nnah Mehn, I was far from lucky when it came to women. Anyways, here is Olivia, and I made sure she was happy.
Olivia met my mum, ‘mother superior’ liked her. “Ugbua ka ibiara” (Now you come), she said.
“Tobechukwu, please wake up. We need to talk”
I checked the time, it was 1:am in the morning. I was amidst sleep. “Olivia, please can this wait till tomorrow? I said. I have an early morning task tomorrow.”
“No Tobechukwu, this, can’t wait”, she said.
At this point, I knew that whatever it was must be serious. Whenever your girlfriend, wife or Mum calls your name in full, it’s serious. “Okay,” I said.
“I can’t continue with this. I need a breakup.”
My eyes became totally void of sleep. “Sorry, what?” I muttered… “I want a breakup” she repeated. “I don’t understand,” I said, “We are perfect.”
“Yes, we are perfect and that is the problem, Tobe. We don’t quarrel, we don’t fight, we don’t argue over television Channels, you don’t ever complain about my food. Even the day that I knew it was a bit salty, you ate it all without a word and still thanked me after the meal. You are just too nice, too nice and it scares me. You don’t smoke, you don’t lie, you don’t stay out late, you don’t drink, you don’t womanize, what exactly do you do Tobe? Everything is and has to be perfect with you. You gently place your hair comb in the drawer after use, you carefully place your shoes to be on the same line when you come back from work, you don’t…”
“But things have to be done the right way Olivia,” I said.
“What happened to spontaneity? What happened to ‘doing things out of schedule’? Like you just come back from work, throw your clothes on the couch, and fall unto me and we make love on the couch without it being so organized on a perfectly made bed. You’re never at fault, you are always doing the right things. There is no drama in our relationship. Fights and making up spices up a relationship Tobe; Please, I can’t do this anymore”.
At this point in time, I was oblivious. Olivia was breaking up with me because she felt I am too sweet? Because I strive at perfection? What exactly is it with women? What is it with relationships and this charade called “being in love” I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I’m too coordinated, is that a yardstick for a breakup? In fact, she should be happy.
Perhaps, love is not real. Maybe, my friend, Emmanuel Okonkwo is right – ‘interest is the reality’. There is always something to be gained, something one party wants and the other is not ready to compromise on. Love is more of a business transaction; what can you offer and what would you accept? I have my interests too, If I didn’t, Nkiruka would have still been in my house. Sometimes we tend to derail, grow weary, tired, fed up, but a true and real partner will stick with you, bear your mess-ups and have the patience for you to come around, and that is why we have a few successful relationships and marriages.
I let her go. Olivia left me. I’m not sure I will be trying again, or maybe I will be sticking to a defined interest.
That, is the reality of love.
©Tobe Nosike can be reached at – firstname.lastname@example.org