I wanted to talk about me, but then I thought, ‘mmh, those ones who know me personally will from now on start looking at me weirdly, saying, she once loved, and it was not returned. Look at her! Poor thing!’
I’ll talk about me.
Love unreturned kills. Okay, seeing that I’m still alive, it probably takes then gives you back life. You die, and then you live, this time round, careful not to confess feelings to someone who (let’s just be honest with ourselves) has never shown the slightest interest. If you survive death caused by love unreciprocated, you will vow to never do it again.
I did it again.
Because I’m just careless. Because I think there’s nothing really worse than real death itself. Because then, I will for sure never be able to be careless again.
Now here comes the irony; I have crazy paranoia. I sleep with lights on (mostly the bathroom lights on, then slightly open the door so it illuminates the entire room), I avoid attending funerals, I can’t go home late if I’m alone because there must be something waiting for me in the dark, and, if I attend a public function, and someone looks at me weirdly, I will spend the entire time the function lasts looking at them just to make sure they don’t intend to kill me. Look, I’m not even a celebrity! I But I’m the most paranoid person I know! So where do I get the courage to tell someone I love them so confidently? Shouldn’t I be shy as well? Always running away from anything that poses danger, especially danger to the organ that keeps me alive, my heart?
Yet I am so careless with affairs of the heart.
One time I loved a boy, I was a young girl in primary school. The feeling grew, and got to a point I couldn’t take it anymore, especially after he was moved to sit right behind me in class. So I confessed. I didn’t outrightly say ‘I love you’ to him, but the conversation went something like;
Me: Paul, who would you choose to be your girlfriend in class?
Paul: Tabitha or you.
Me: (smile) oh, really. Do you know who I would choose to be mine?
And Paul officially knew I liked him-loved him. I’d told him. I felt much better. And even better was that now that he knew, he started looking at me kinda differently, and treating me really nice.
Then one day, the teacher was not in and people were talking about couples in class and mentioning names and it was funny and embarrassing to some people but I was sitting there waiting for someone to mention me and my bae so we can officially announce our relationship then someone blurted out, ‘Paul and Lovine!’and Paul denied me.
‘Hey! Lovine is like my sister! That’s why we are close!’
WTF! Biologically, emotionally, physically, eeverything I am not your sister! But I didn’t say anything. At that moment, I knew it had all been a façade. I wasn’t even angry, just disappointed. It’s not that I even loved him anyway, I just wanted to have a boyfriend (who are we kidding again?)
I have read that people who find it so easy to say the words ‘I love you’ probably don’t mean it. Whoever wrote that is just being stingy with love. It is as if when you tell so many people you love them you will soon run out of love to give. May of us have checklists which one has to fit in before we decide whether we will give them our love or not. We are not even talking about romantic love anymore. Love generally, like the love of God for all of us. Like how most mothers love their babies (the examples end here really, only these two are true examples of unconditional love). Is it ever possible to love simply because you have love in you that you were given for free and that if you use on other people you really have nothing to lose? Heartbreak? But the heart heals! Look at me, years after Paul said I am his sister I still live! What makes you think you won’t survive it?
I, of course, will tell you what’s in my checklist, the things that make me love one without even thinking about it. Effortlessly. I walk into a room, spend two minutes with you, and I love you.
I will love you for being true, for being open and firm about where you stand, where we stand. Whoever you are, if you confidently own that, I will not just appreciate it, but love you for it. When you are this person, I will love you with your flaws, because you own them and carry them so well we all forget you ever had them. Or start believing they are the beautiful parts of you. I will love you with your horrible past, the present that you don’t even understand, with your prejudices, and your outrageous political views. With your black skin, white skin, yellow skin. I will love you with your heavy Luo accent, silky Kikuyu hair and long Kalenjin legs.
I will love you with your terrible mood swings, outspokenness, daddy issues. I will love you with your fears and hopes and dreams and long conversations we have at night and life plans we make in the wee hours of the morning and promises we keep to each other, promising never to walk away.
I will love you because I trust in no other feeling. Till I can’t love you anymore, I will love you some more.
Hey, I love you.
For being here.