It hurts. I blink back the tears as I struggle to type the words, conscious of the strangers in my office. I try hard not to sniffle, it takes all my concentration to breathe steadily. My chest tightens and I curse inside as my mascara begins to run. “I am a professional, I can handle this, I just need to get through the day”. I mutter those words over and over, my new mantra. I will the mantra to come alive and give me the energy I need. It’s been a week since the phone call. Everyday a new mantra gets me by, every night I think, toss and turn. The alarm clock tells me it’s morning again and I wonder if I slept at all.
I decided to listen to music today on my way to work, my friend B always said Sade Adu, Cold play and Tracy Chapman was the best breakup combo. They helped me nurse my pain, I’d have been better off listening to some hardcore rock band. I think mascara and liquid liner will be a no no till I’ve nursed myself back to health. I reach out for the half-opened can of coke on the dash board and take a sip. P’s face floats before my eyes, he is warning me like he did the last time this happened. ”Don’t let yourself get fat, a broken heart is not an excuse to lose your hotness, don’t you wanna be looking all fly when you bump into him at a club, making him wish he’d stuck around?” I shake my head and the image disappears. I down the rest of the coke and promise myself no more after this. I reach for my bag to fish out my lip gloss and my hand touches the hard plastic of my gym membership card. I paid 12k for that, I think aloud. Gosh I wish I was like my friend A who abandons food every time a man abandons her, she survives on fanta and the occasional cigarette and sometimes shrinks to a size zero. Who am I kidding? I’d never be anything less than a size 10 but the thought of it brings a smile to my face, softening the hard lines and the world seems to smile with me.
I look up and my boss has been speaking to me, he has a quizzical look on his face. ”Are you alright? You seem to have been lost in space” I have menstrual pain I reply. God forgive me but that’s the oldest lie in my book. I like the way it curries sympathy from even the hardest men and makes them too embarrassed to challenge me. In my first year in med school, I’d woken up late for class after a night out clubbing. I scrambled to class only to be faced with deadly calm. There was a professor in class and he was one of those desperately trying to make a mark as a no-nonsense kinda man. His sharp eyes noticed me sneaking into class and he asked me to come on stage and tell the class why I was late. As I walked the walk of shame, 99 excuses flashed before my eyes, each one lamer than the next. I could hear my class mates giggling and murmuring and saw the looks of pity in the eyes of friends. I got on the stage and he actually gave me the mic, I looked at the class and in my most sober voice whispered….I had menstrual pain. The guy didn’t hear me the first time so he asked me to speak up and in a loud defiant voice with all the chutzpah I had, I announced that I had menstrual pain. The conservative lecturer looked so scandalized. He must have begged the floor to open up and offer him a place to hide. With obvious embarrassment, he shooed me off stage. I walked triumphantly back to my seat, even taking a seat beside my friends and I was a hero that day. I used that excuse a lot, later in life, to escape ward-rounds and tiresome call duties, to explain why I was late or wasn’t paying attention, to get a bit of attention and to chase away forward men hoping for some action. Funny thing is on the days I actually suffered the dreaded pain, I preferred to hide my pain and act normal. I’d always been a softie so attention and sympathy often provoked me to tears so to avoid breaking down, I created a facade. To the world I’m strongest when I’m most in pain. My friend J beefed me die. As a man he knew women had him by the balls every time they used that excuse and he threatened to invent a menses-detector. We are still waiting J! 😉
My boss took his leave and it wasn’t a moment too soon, my heart constricted in pain again and I cried out softly. Why couldn’t I erase that smile from my mind? Why did hell torment me with memories? I’d burned the pictures and deleted the messages, I’d erased him from my life the day he uttered those words; ”You are the woman I want to marry, not the woman I want to date. I am leaving you cos it isn’t fun for me anymore but I’ll be back one day”. Those words played over and over in my head. I never cared much for his choice of music but now I burst into tears every time a cheesy Nigerian song was played over the radio. I considered getting a rebound but I remembered all the ones I’d had in the past. There was A who was 2 yrs younger than me but made me laugh with all the poetry he’d write me and all the songs he dedicated to me. There was L who didn’t have a dime and enjoyed spending my money but gave me the loveliest compliments on earth. There was T who loved to cook and would prop me up in front of the TV and serve me great food. But rebounds were distractions. They made you smile, made you forget the pain, gave you hope, boosted your ego and mended your broken heart. Those were the job requirements and regardless of their CV, as long as they got the job done, they were hired and as would be expected, fired as soon as they outlived their usefulness. I wonder who mends the broken heart of a rebound?
I didn’t want a rebound. I wanted to nurse this pain, feel it burn in my bones and eat at my flesh, I wanted to gasp every time my heart painfully beat beneath my breast like the broken pieces were piercing into the rest of it. I wanted to stay awake each and every night tossing and turning killing myself with thoughts of him with another woman. Blaming myself, blaming him, blaming God, begging God. I wanted a miracle, I wanted reprieve. I wanted some sunshine on my cloudy day. I read the words of Tupac over and over….”You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks or even months over-analyzing a situation: trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could’ve, would’ve happened….or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the fuck on!” I’ve always been a Biggie fan but of late, Tupac seems to speak to me. But was it so easy to leave the pieces on the floor? Obsessing over it had always been my game plan. It had taken me 8 months to get over the last one. Why were breakups like labor pain, no matter how many kids you’d birthed every time you went into labor you felt like a virgin! The big fat tears rolled down my cheeks again. My cheeks were fatter, I seriously needed to lay off the food but it all helped. I missed my friend R, he cured heartbreaks with a complimentary big bottle of Baileys and there was nothing quite like a cycle of crying-drinking-sleeping and crying again. The drinking phase got you happy and forgetful. No wonder men depended on alcohol to mend their hearts. But I’m lightheaded and for some reason this has been a very sober breakup…last time I drank, I went on twitter and sent him more DM’s than a twitter-virus. It beats drunk dialing but still leaves you embarrassed in the morning.
I don’t wanna numb the pain, I wanna feel. I wonder why after all the years of experience it all ends up being the same shit, different days…I pick up my blackberry and scroll through my pics. You are a hottie babe, you’ll make it through. I pick up my bible and my eyes happen to fall on Psalm 34:18 “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”. Suddenly I feel a rush of gratitude. I’m thankful for life, I’m thankful for friends, I’m thankful for family. I’m thankful I’m not one of the women featured in Zone Reality’s ‘Crimes of Passion’. I pause and try to imagine me committing the perfect crime. I snap out of my reverie, drama queen that I am, I’m a healer, not a killer besides the state of Nigerian prisons is enough to keep you on the right side of the law, always. My thoughts return to more reasons why I should be thankful…I’m thankful hearts heal, I’m thankful there are gyms and I’m thankful for a love that awaits me after the storm. I close my eyes and whisper ”Thank you” cos He’s right there, He never left, not even for a minute. It’s gonna be alright in the end….I fall into a contented sleep.
…For every person who has gone through the pain of separation. After the rain, the sun will shine again….it always does! Have a wonderful day peeps. Off to Lasgidi for a week and my my I can’t wait! xoxoxo 😉