A leopard can never change its spots. Likewise, no matter how often you bathe a pig, it will constantly go back to the mud because it’s in their nature.
I once dated this guy, he was actually my first love and you know what they say “A girl never forgets her first love.”
Anyway, we were the perfect match. People loved our love and we were the envy of everyone. Girlfriends told their boyfriends to be like my man and boyfriends wished their ladies would take a leaf from my book.
To the outside world and the strangers that passed us while we took long walks through the streets, side by side, our fingers intertwined or his hands wrapped lovingly around my waist — Our relationship was perfect.
So perfect in their minds that they actually started coming to us for advice.
“How do you make your relationship work so well?” “How do you keep things so fresh and passionate?” They would ask.
We would then look into each other’s eyes, smile and say, “Our love for each other keeps us going” but deep down we knew we were living a lie, at least I did.
I knew the madness that went on behind closed doors, the fights and endless arguments brought about by inconsequential issues. I knew how many of our fights lingered on for days, days which sometimes turned into weeks spent without talking to each other, nights spent sleeping side by side yet worlds apart.
I knew about the hurtful words he said to me during petty heated disagreements which he never apologized for and my spicy comebacks thrown at him with reckless abandon.
I remember the days I spent crying and how much makeup I wasted trying to cover up my swollen eyes and hide the pain behind my eyes. I remember the screams I tried so hard to muffle whenever people said we were meant to be together forever”.
I remember wishing I’d never met him and I remember the day he told me I was his second choice. I remember the times I drank or smoked myself to the daze just to forget him even for a few minutes and the times I spent on my knees praying to God or whoever could hear me to bring back the boy I’d fallen in love with.
I remember all the conversations I had with the mirror on my bathroom wall while practising how I would break up with him but then the moment he came home, looked into my eyes and kissed me, I would literally feel my resolve breaking into a million pieces. And after a while, I could feel my mirror judging me, raising its imaginary eyebrows at my lies.
I remember going through the most difficult times of my life alone, even though he was around. He just had a way of making everything about himself even when it was clearly about me. He was selfish and I kept making excuses for him, I kept holding on to the fantasy of “The man he used to be” but he hadn’t been that man in a very long time.
Our relationship tottered along for a year because I was afraid. Afraid he was going to be the only man I would ever love, the only boy that would ever love me and accept me. I was afraid of being lonely and afraid of feeling alone.
Looking back, I wonder why I thought I didn’t deserve better. I wonder why I let him make me feel like I couldn’t be anyone’s first and only choice. I wonder why I let my resolve crumble whenever he came begging and spewing lies about how he was a changed man and was going to do better but never did. Not because he didn’t want to but because he couldn’t! He didn’t have it in him.
I used to regret all the time I wasted with him, punish myself for being so naïve, giving him one too many second chances and letting him toy with my precious and unconditional love for him. I regretted letting myself fall back into my deadly fictional obsession over how I could make him a better man by improving myself.
But now that I am older and dare I say wiser, I have realised that he taught me the most important lesson of my life: He taught me how to LET GO and for that I will forever be grateful.