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Her mother had warned her about men who would cheat on her, and of how much it would hurt. Then, she had thought: But I am not you, mother. Her mother had warned her of the men she would love but would not love her back and she thought: I am not you. Her mother had said nothing of the men who, for a few hours every week, made her feel like a queen and treated her like a leper the rest of the month. She did not prepare her for her own weakness.
Her eyes water. Her lips tremble and her hands shake (You know, like in those silly Mexican soaps where the girl’s lips are always trembling before she cries). She goes over the text again and again hoping for a sign that he cares but she finds none. She curls up in her comfortable chair and weeps for herself and for millions of women like her-because she knows she will be going back to her pseudo-boyfriend tomorrow when he tells her he has to meet her and asks her out for a drink and takes her back to his house. (Not necessarily in that order).
Her mother had said nothing of the men who, for a few hours every week, made her feel like a queen and treated her like a leper the rest of the month.
He calls her two months later. She desperately holds on to the hope that he might have changed. Maybe gone on a self discovery journey somewhere in a meditation facility in Runda or Westlands and realized that she is the love of his life. He wants her to cook him dinner in his house. She jumps at the chance to go to his house.
She wants to confront him about the text. The words are trembling on her tongue (Again, like in the Mexican soaps) She wants to tell him of how much he hurt her. She wants to tell him that he is not good for her, that she is unhappy. She wants to ask him if he has another woman. She sighs heavily.
What is wrong? He asks, looking mildly annoyed. She searches his eyes for a sign that he might care… She finds none.
‘Nothing’, she replies.
‘You need to leave, I have an early morning’.
A knife twists in her chest. Her eyes burn and her legs feel heavy beneath her. It occurs to her that people should be in a sitting position while being rejected. That way, there is half a chance to gather your strength and walk away with the remaining (if any) part of your dignity intact. That way, you have a few seconds within which you can gather your wits and salvage whatever morsel of pride there is to salvage.
The matter of leaving should not be a big issue. He has kindly explained that he has an early morning. Why does it feel then that if she put her foot across the threshold, she would wish she had folded her hands around his feet and begged to stay? Do not play games with men, her mother said, and always be your true self. She does not know what her true self is.
He walks her to the bus stop. He could have driven me home, but he has an early morning, see. There is no public transport on the road. It is late, and most of them are parked for the evening. He flags down a taxi, negotiates the fare, and tells her to leave because she would not get any means home if she stayed.
I will call you, he says.
She pretends she has not heard.
Editors Note: Read Part 1
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When I was ten years old, I wanted to be an air hostess after reading Cynthia Hunter’s ‘Anna the Air Hostess’. A few months later, I read her book ‘Pamela the Probation Officer’ and experienced a burning desire to become a probation officer. Years later, I realized that what I had fallen in love with was reading and writing, not the professions. Writing, then, is not what I do. It is who I am. Check out my blog literarychronicles.wordpress.com.