“There is a time for departure, even when there’s no certain place to go.”
– Tennessee Williams
What is love, if you’re not here with me? What is love? If it’s not guaranteed … played softly on the stereo in Radeke’s family house. Usually, such romantic shenanigan would have permitted an intentionally rash reaction from her but today, today was different. She had just gotten back from her studio and her energy was spent. Asides from the various personal pieces, being a celebrated artist comes with some perks, some requests cannot be turned down. Having to paint the picture of what she dreaded the most, what she has protected herself from all these years was not only suffocating but quite frankly, it sent her to the depths within herself she’d otherwise not have visited. It relived the various memories whose embers haven’t completely gone out.
The music faded into nothingness as she entered the zone. Today, Radeke cried. In the absence of scrutiny from her family members, her sister especially, her hard girl demeanour melted. The upper class, fairly middle aged couple that visited her studio earlier that day had given her too much mushiness to internalize.
“We want a painting that’d capture the essence of love“, they requested.
“I don’t know how you do it but make it come alive just like your other paintings, ok?”, the lady pleaded expectant of a favourable reply.
“Yes ma’am“, she had said with faux enthusiasm.
Now she’s stuck with a job that would probably be one of the best, considering all of the things they had requested to be in it coupled with her own twists, but it just didn’t make her overly enthusiastic. She is stuck with the very phenomenon she has been fighting for the past year.
Tayo had been one hell of a guy in the beginning, just like the lady’s guy, soft, sweet and spontaneous. Then he changed, or to put it lightly, his true nature came to light when she refused certain advances she had solemnly sworn to avoid. He would lash out and verbally assault her, then come back like an eager young puppy, wide eyed seeking pardon. He would lie, cheat and squander her money. He’d bring friends over to her own apartment without considering her convenience and she would wait on them without question.
“You’ve got this one domesticated, bruv“, his pervy comrades would say.
On some days, their perverted thoughts came in waves and he wouldn’t mind. They would come with their filth and she would clean up. They would try to get down with her but she was too naive, too in love with a pretentious man who sees nothing wrong with sharing girls and smoking weed.
“Get the hell out of there Radeke”, Tania, her friend would say, “can’t you see you can’t make a home here?”
“What is wrong with you?”
“This guy isn’t right for you“, she’d continue ranting on and on about how she’s too good for him and all the other things friends tell you to wake up your senses but she was too hooked. He had done a good job of damaging her self esteem that leaving no longer seemed a viable option for her. She had gotten to that point where she felt she deserved it and in bits, she started buying into his lifestyle. She would become high at will to still the pain she felt and to get the rush, the courage to talk back but she was wasting away. She knew next to nothing about all these drugs but that high that made her forget her pain had become her go to. Her work suffered badly as a result and she not bringing in more money even made her situation with him worse.
Her breakthrough came when Tania came with hefty friends to evacuate her from her own apartment. It was rented anyway and the rent would expire soon. She had overdosed on something she found in the house and had almost lost her life as a result.
After having to go through rounds of detox, counselling and hospitalization, she recovered just enough to start her life over but she was too damaged to continue on her own. A weekly visit to a psychologist was included in her schedule. She needed to bounce back again, to believe in herself.
The thing about first loves is that they’re difficult to get over especially if the circumstances surrounding the abrupt end was damaging. This was evident in her case. Four years after, thoughts of those times would still bring tears to her eyes and for those four years, she had shut people out.
Honk! Honk! Honk!
The sound of her father’s ride jolted her out of her reverie. Another episode of hard girl had to surface.
“The gateman must be sleeping on duty again for his horning to be this persistent”, she thought.
She wiped her tears, ran to her room to wash her face and changed into so7mething breezy. It was a cool evening and she intends to enjoy it with the only people she could call her own through and through.
This is a short story detailing what some individual go through in the name of love. Now while this story is locked on a woman, it could be the other way around. There’s no gender disparity here. Men and woman alike go through these things.. Here’s what I think about love in bullets;
• Love is kind. It is overwhelming but not painful.
• Love is empathetic not sympathetic.
• It’s more than just the words people have made out of it.
• It is patient through adversity and prosperity.
• Love would not suffocate you, it frees your mind. Love unburdens your soul.
• Love doesn’t always have to come with romantic feelings attached.
• Love of self is one of the most important things. I am still learning, I hope you are too.
• Love rejoices in your success and pushes you not towards doom.
• Love is as free as the air we breathe but do we know what exactly this is?
• Love is selfless, not selfish.
• Love is in the joyful laughter you share with people and the way you’re completely unaware of what makes you self conscious.
• Love is in the beautiful way you look at people, talk to people and help them.
• Love is in the smile you share with friends and strangers alike.
• Love is like a child, honest, sweet, unassuming and beautiful.
• Love keeps no grudges.
• Love inflicts no pain.
• Love is genuine.
• Love is pure.
• Love is love.
Thanks for reading.