The Shallow End

Dating apps are the worst inventions ever and I’ve never cared for them. But on this fateful Friday evening, the universe seemed to have other plans in store for me.

I was tired of reading the endless research journals splayed before me. They were slowly beginning to morph into what looked like ancient hieroglyphics and I needed a brief distraction before my brain went kaboom. It felt like a good time to give in to the peer pressure from my flat mate and so, I downloaded the notoriously famous Tinder app. All I was planning to do was go check out the so-called cute guys she wouldn’t stop rambling about and then get back to the project I was working on. I must have been carried away and accidentally swiped right because the next thing I saw was ‘you got a match’.

Yikes!

Who is this person that didn’t let me die before burying me? Probably this was my cue to leave. This was a huge mistake. I was about deactivating the account when I got an ‘hello’ followed by, ‘Here I am. What are your other two wishes?’ I broke into convulsive laughter and didn’t realize how much I had laughed till I felt tears roll down my face. Whaaaat??? Is this guy for real? If there was a competition for cheesy lines, he was definitely going to take home the price. In what century does this still work on women?

Much to my surprise, I found myself responding to his messages. This was how this curious cat ended up chatting with the stranger named Desmond into the dead of night. By the time I was ready to curl up into bed, I had agreed to go on a lunch date with him later that day. I would have dismissed all these as a cute dream if I hadn’t gotten a WhatsApp message from him a couple hours later reminding me of our date. I went berserk as I didn’t even remember giving him my phone number. Was I hypnotized?

I had to plead with Wunmi to get me out of this mess, after blaming her for my predicament, of course. But she had to go into a dance frenzy, talking about nailing a date all by myself after all her attempts at trying to get me to go out with her guy friends had failed. She threatened to lock me out of the house if I bailed and wasted no time in cancelling her plans for the day. Operation Blind Date activated.

I agreed to go on the date not because I was scared of the mosquitoes in Pa Jimoh’s compound that seemed to be on steroids but because Wunmi was so excited about giving me a total make-over. “I can’t wait to finally see you out of these hoodies and joggers for a change,” she squealed. You’d would think she had waited all her life to see this day. It was really nice to see her happy as she had had a terrible week at work. Sigh. Things we do for the people we love.

But of course, I bombed during the date partly because Wunmi had me looking so good it made me uncomfortable and partly because Desmond looked like M’Baku had stepped out of Wakanda…in a suit. Please kill me. Turned out he intentionally used old, nerdy pictures of himself on the app so ‘sieve out ladies with bad intention’. Hmmm. I wonder what he meant by that.

After embarrassing my ancestors and causing them to turn up their noses at me, I swore not to entertain his offer of a make-up first-date. But then he had to go mention he would take me on a spin with his power bike. Trust my senses to fly out the window at the sight of those beasts. And so, we went on a second date, a third and boom, Desmond became a regular feature in our lives.

I say our because Wunmi was hell bent on seeing us become an item. This girl had us making a list of pros and cons on why he would make a good partner…in the midst of a church service! Talk about crazy. However, when you give 7 years of your life to someone only for them to walk out on you on a flimsy ‘my Pastor said’ excuse, it’s not exactly easy to open up yourself to someone else. I had played MMM with my heart and wasn’t about to go down that lane again. Truth was, I had given up on relationships.

But Desmond, he treated me like the petal of a Rose flower. So gentle, so tender and just like that, the channels of my heart started to open up. He had me seeing life with a whole new set of eyes. Never tried to force me out of my shell or break my will. With him, I discovered a whole new world. I unlocked new facets to my person, learned, unlearned and re-learned. He was patient with me, modest and even with our many, many differences, was never condescending. Even Wunmi wouldn’t stop bickering about how my eyes now had a bit of spark to them.

On this very day, we were carrying out community service in a slum when he backed me into a wall and said, “Just be mine already.” Not even the broomstick I held up as a defense between us was enough to help my now frail walls. I could feel the last of the titanium bricks shatter to the ground. Did this freak me out? Hell’s yeah! I hadn’t liked anyone this much in a long time and this was like handing over the reins. I did accept his proposal but it didn’t take long for my fears to start reminding me how he was too good for me and would leave me just like the previous.

It happened sooner than I expected for one fine afternoon while we were out on lunch, Desmond took my hand ever so gently and said, “I’m leaving you…”

(To be continued.)

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