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LifeStyle of Thursday, 23 July 2020


A letter to the guy who thought I was playing hard to get

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Dear Jude,

The very first day I saw you at Ekua’s wedding rehearsal, I noticed how beautiful you are. As the rehearsals progressed, I noticed the calmness of your nature and how you let everything pass as a joke. I noticed you not as a love interest but someone I would have loved to be friends with. When they were pairing the ladies to the men, I wished you could walk up to me and say, “Hey, it’s you I choose,” but it didn’t happen. You were paired with that bubbly girl who lights up the room with her smile.

The two of you looked good together and at some point, I was even jealous. Because of you, I didn’t look at my partner twice. I was always looking at you and that girl and the way you both formed a seamless pair.

I was very surprised when you walked up to me on the second day to ask my name. I was like, “Oh, so he doesn’t even know my name when I know every little detail about him?” That hurt a little but I ignored the hurt and told you, “My name is Gladys but friends call me Lady.” You asked, “Nice meeting you Lady, let’s talk after the rehearsals.” I said in my head, “Only friends call me Lady. You’re not a friend. YET!”

I was looking forward to that talk you promised but after rehearsals, you stepped out with that girl whose smile lights up the room without remembering someone like me was holding on to the promise you made. Or when you said “Let’s talk after rehearsals,” it was just a way to quickly escape from my presence?” You hurt me that day and I decided never to talk to you again or to even think about you.

But you walked up to me again—you remember the last rehearsal before the wedding? You came asking me to give you my contact. After taking my contact you said, “I’ll call you this evening so we talk.” That evening I held my phone to my chest and clung to it as though it was vanishing from my hand. After several hours of waiting, I checked the time and it was only 7pm. The evening was still young and you were going to call. I waited and waited till my own eyes gave up on me and slept away. I woke up in the morning, thinking I was going to see a hundred missed calls from you on my phone. I checked and there was…nothing.

Twice you broke your promise to me. You hurt me without knowing. I planned never to entertain you again because you were not a man who took his own words seriously. True men call when they say they’ll call. The fake ones give their word and walk around paying no respect to what they themselves have said. Some might think it’s trivial when someone promised to call and never does but to me, it’s such a big deal, especially when that person is someone I like—on a low key.

When I saw you at the wedding, wearing that black suit and white shite underneath, and in that cute bow-tie I said to myself, “I planned not to entertain this guy again but it looks like I’m lying. If today he tells me that he loves me, I will say yes and I mean it.” But you held on to the hand of that girl whose smile lights up the room and walked past me as though I didn’t exist. Shit! That hurt. You said you’ll talk to me and you never did. You had my number and never called. You see me and walk past me as though I was some shadow. Who raised you to be this cold? C’mon, real men say hello when they see a lady they’ve spoken to before.

If you watched me very well, all through the wedding I was moody. I wanted it over with so I can vanish and not see you ever again. But the wedding rolled like a lazy stream flowing to nowhere—very slowly. Eventually, it was over. I didn’t spend much time at the reception because you were becoming my source of anger—ignoring me at each turn as if you don’t have eyes that see my presence.

It had been one month after the wedding and I was getting over the whole episode of you and me when you finally called that night; “Hello, who is this?” I asked. And you said, “Hello, this is Jude.” If I knew that was you, I swear I would have missed that call. Why do you call me when I was about to kick you off my mind? Why do you put the flame back into the wood that had already turned to ashes? But you said, “At long last, I’ve gathered the courage to call you.” Knowing it was courage that you lacked made me more upset. A guy like your kind shouldn’t lack courage when he has to call a lady he himself has promised to call. We had a nice chat and my heart was back into the game again.

Then you called the next day. The following day you sent a text saying good morning. When the night fell, it was you who sent me a good night message. I started building castles in my mind, putting the pieces together to see how this thing will go. You kept coming and I saw the shadows of your moves even before you proposed to me. When you said you wanted me to be your girlfriend I said no I won’t. When you said you loved me I said I didn’t love you. Not because I didn’t but I was trying to see how far you’ll go to prove it. Remember, I didn’t trust your word.

You kept coming. You brought gifts when you could and you tried calling me every day but I wanted more. My friend Aggie asked me what more do I want from you and I couldn’t answer. I wanted more but I didn’t know what ‘more’ looked like. I didn’t pick your calls and didn’t return them because I wanted to see how far you can prove your love or convince me that you love me. That night when you came to my house asking why I don’t pick your calls, I was impressed. Yes, if calls don’t work, you have to find a way to meet that person. And you did. Thumbs up.

When you asked me out and I said no, I was just scared. The thought of sitting next to you in a lonely place scared me because I didn’t know what I could do to you. Your presence is hard to ignore and I couldn’t possibly have fought the feeling if you tried to kiss me or even have sex with me. I would have melted in your arms and pleaded with you to use me whichever way you want. I would have appeared weaker in your eyes if that happened so I said no.

I’m surprised you didn’t notice I’d fallen for you the night you stayed in my room till 12am. I asked you to leave and you said no. I threatened to throw you out and you jumped into my bed, spread your legs and arms as though you were flying. I found your resilience very cute and if you tried to kiss me that night, you would have realized that the outward strength I put up was just a facade to mask the weakness in me.

You tried. For a whole six months, I kept saying no to you and avoiding you but you kept coming every day and night, bringing gifts and laughter into my life. Do you remember that day at the corner of my room? That day when you asked, “Gladys, is it true you don’t like me or you’re only playing hard to get? Be true to me. What are our chances?” I was going to say we have a hundred percent chance of being lovers but pride—Instead, I said, “We have zero percent chances of being lovers. Let’s just be friends.”

Tell me I was stupid and I’ll agree. Or say I behaved like a child and I will nod my head in affirmation.

Then you stopped calling me and started ignoring my messages. I started getting scared of losing you but I didn’t want it to show. I went to my friend Aggie and told her you’ve stopped calling and checking up on me. She said, “They say if you love someone, set them free. If they come back, they’re yours; if they don’t they never were.” I asked her, “What do you mean? I should let him go?” She answered, “He’s rather letting you go. If you think you’re his, run to him.” I answered, “Kai! run to him for the where? Then he’ll lose me for good.”

Pride…stupid pride!

It’s been two years since and you never came back to me until I saw your wedding photos on my timeline a week ago. You and that girl whose smile lights up the room. You two look perfect together and I won’t deny it. She still has that beautiful smile and going through your photos, it was her smiles that light up the faces in the photos. She looks larger than life and I hope she makes you a beautiful wife but I can’t stop thinking about the fact that it could have been me next to you in those photos.

I called Aggie…

Me: “Aggie, Jude got married to that girl he partnered at Ekua’s wedding.”

Aggie: “Really? He went for her instead?”

Me: “Yes he did. And I can’t stop thinking about the fact that it could have been me if only I gave him a chance.”

Aggie: “Stop beating yourself. It couldn’t have been you. If it could have been you, it would have been you. It’s not you so it couldn’t have been you.”

Me: “That’s very true. That bird proverb, how does it go, remind me.”

Aggie: “A bird in the hand is worth two in the forest. This one got away so go catch your self a new bird.”

Me: Thank you, Aggie but I’ll wait until a bird catches me because I’m a worm.

So, Jude, this is the story of us. In my mind, I was only testing you to see how far you could go to prove your love. I wanted to know if you were capable of keeping your promise but you took it as me playing hard to get. So you walked away and picked someone who might have said “Yes” even before you proposed. I pray she makes you a good wife. If she does, then you’ll have nothing to miss. If she turns out to be the worse kind of girl, then you’ve missed everything because I am that girl who loved you with all her heart and would have gone all out to be a good wife for you.

Yours Never

—Gladys, Ghana