Over too strong glasses of Long Island and sea food in barter he said to me; "This could have been us". He looked at me, lovingly, tenderly, gently, like I was the frailest petal of the most exotic flower... This could have been us.
I choked a nervous laugh and looked away, never been one to make eye contact easily, my shyness a constant bane. I forced my gaze back to him.
"This could have been us?" I asked suggestively, sentence laden and dripping with intent. I forced my shifty eyes to hold his gaze, desperately needed to get my message across. He held it steady.
"Yes, it could have been. If only you hadn't been so damn stubborn when I was asking you out, fifteen months, that's how long you kept me waiting. I fucking loved you Nwando! Why couldn't you just give us a chance. I would have been good to you. All I ever wanted was to make you happy, why wouldn't you just let me love you?" He asked me, baffled.
"Why bring all of this up? Does it make any difference now?" I asked, defiantly. Yet I willed him to say yes. Please say yes. Please tell me it would make a difference. Say yes. Please...
"No. No it doesn't make a difference. I love *Mofe. I just want to know, that's all. I never quite figured it out"
I try, try, try to think of a million and one things to say, to change the topic, so he wouldn't see the hurt I felt, the pain and regret. I tried. Think Nwando. Think woman! Think ok? Isn't that what you say you do? Damn you, traitor! Think.
No I couldn't think. My face was drawn and my eyes were sad. I trained my eyes on the glass and played with the ice desperately trying to hold the tears in.
"Gorgeous, you ok?"
Stop calling me gorgeous, ok? That might help.
"Yeah, sure... Just wondering what to blog about when I get home" I lied.
"You sure you're ok?"
"Mofe is moving back to the country early next year. Think I might pop the question."
I'm no good at faking it but somehow I did. I listened to him go on and on about Mofe. She's sweet. She's sensitive. She's kind. She's a go getter. She's amazing. I'm not so sure, it's scary but we're not getting any younger and she's an amazing person...
"Then you're doing the right thing *David, no one is ever really sure, everything's a risk... But she sounds like a risk worth taking. Don't worry Hun, it'll all be fine". I grinned widely, trying to reassure him.
You let out a sigh of relief and smiled back.
Damn! I deserve an Oscar! Here I was encouraging you to marry someone else when I was at the verge of tears because for the first time I felt I might have truly finally lost you. There I was cajoling you to pop the question to her when I was about to break down, go on my knees and grovel and tell you that I love you too, words I never said before, words several months too late. But words pure and honest nonetheless.
Sandra says a guy that really loves you cannot just love someone else. She says it's either he never really loved me or he doesn't really love her.
I beg to differ, I actually think there's enough room in our hearts to love more than one person, if the need arises... (Ok, I'm not sure I articulated that properly).
Can you simultaneously love two people romantically?