by Derrick Ouko
A story of how my relationship has been.
|"Tell me about them." She asked as her head rested on her palm.
Her eyes scanning mine softly.
"Tell me why you are, Seneta, who are you now?" she asked.
I sighed, a slight smirk coming across my face as I did my best to remember. I really liked the boldness of her question, it showed me that she cared about who used to be, even if it would hurt her a little.
"Well, to begin this truth, my first relationship lasted two years. It was the beginning of high school and I thought love was holding hands and asking if she thought we would be together forever. We spoke secrets and told dreams but I was never quite gentle enough to truly understand her heart. I didn't speak for 3 days when she moved to Rwanda with only a week to prepare.(I still think of her, sometimes)
It took sometime, but next relationship was nine months, it wasn't that we were bad but we were too young to understand how to be together. I didn't know how to love her well and she didn't know what she needed from me, or to even ask. We broke up and she was with someone else within a couple of weeks.
The relationship after that only lasted officially for a few months but underneath the surface we were together without a title much longer. You see, I had loved her but she didn't love me. But somehow we weaved in and out of each others lives for years. But with her, I didn't need a title just needed... understanding.
Anyway I have yet to receive a Christmas gift that has topped hers: We were too similar to each other which was great for understanding each other well but bad for problem solving when we both had the tendency to avoid elephants that sat in rooms too small. I'm still not sure what I've learned from that.
And after that, around a year or two later, I fell for a girl that was with someone else. They were toxic, but I didn't want to interfere with something that she had chosen. Eventually, they broke up and I told her how I felt. Things were decent, until she kissed her ex. It hurt. We were still together but it wasn't the same. She eventually moved away and her commitment seemed to move with her. She could have chosen to stay, but maybe it was better for her that she left? And then she came back to Mombasa, good news we are yet to meet, we keep planning but it never materializes.
And I could go on, I could tell you that it gets better as I move forward but I think that it's not better or worse... just different. I think that within all of these are things we can learn about ourselves and what we need in others. Stories about how we used to be and things that we have let go of that have made us better.
I think that nostalgia is a ghost that haunts us all around 2am when we are thinking about what could have been but sometimes it isn't all bad. Sometimes we have to look at the love that we've lost in order to love better in the future. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves of what we've learned in the past to that the future can be different.
I don't think I'm jaded, I just think that "love" is a concept that people have different meanings for. When I said 'I love you' to each of them they all heard different things than what I was trying to say. And what's really crazy is, I'm not sure I ever knew what I was trying to tell them in the first place."
And maybe communication is the most important thing in a relationship because sometimes I
don't even think we understand ourselves until we talk about it.