Do we even have official beginnings and endings to relationships anymore, or do people just drift away and end up in new ones altogether?
Once upon a time, and when I still had a functioning, loving heart, I asked a girl I’d been seeing to be my girlfriend. It was a proposal of sorts and being a typical African (Luo alert!), I was armed with a gift. A beautiful silver chain which the Indian attendant at the store had insisted, was “pure silver, 925g grade, my friend.” The description made as much sense to me as Quantum physics, but it sounded complex, confusing and expensive. Like I’d gone to the ends of the world to procure it. Perfect, I thought.
Prakesh, as his name tag read, also suggested that, since it was a gift, I should also include a pendant. Being a salesman myself, I, of course, saw the attempt to up-sell me from a kilometer away. I politely declined. The purchase set me back around 2,400 bob, which was quite a fortune at the time, considering I was skint and in between jobs.
I looked into her cat-eyes later in the day and popped the question. She stirred.
“What do you mean,” she managed, sitting up to look me in the eyes.
“I am asking you to officially be my girlfriend,” I said, searching her eyes for effect.
“Oh, really?” she said, her eyes brightening up as if I had just announced that I was the lucky winner of two tickets to the moon and that I would be taking her with me.
There was a dramatic pause and she began side-eying me as if she was waiting for the punchline, or some kind of joke and she’d effectively resigned to the prank. But then she suddenly realized I was not joking. She sprung from her seat, grabbed me and nearly squeezed the air out of me with an injury-inducing embrace.
And then she cried. She’d been in 4 previous relationships, she said to me, and no one had ever officially asked her to be his girlfriend.
I quickly presented the 925g silver necklace as the official symbol of our bond and she gave me another tight embrace, only this time, I was more worried about her breasts exploding as they pressed against my bony chest.
“No one ever asked me. I would just find myself smack in the middle of a relationship,” she would later explain. “You might as well have asked me to marry you,” she said.
“Oh really?” Well, then, will you marry me?” I teased.
“You will have to get on your knee Romeo. And you will also have to run back to the store and exchange this lovely necklace for a ring.”
To cut the long story short, this same bond would crumble and never even celebrate its first anniversary. During the break up, which was by mutual consent, I asked to meet her so we can amicably part ways instead of the nasty text messages we had been exchanging. She was a little less than excited at the suggestion.
“What do you want to meet up for? So you can give an official closing statement?” she barked on the phone.
“Well, yes,” I said hesitantly.
“I’ll send a f*****g representative with a note, okay?” she spat. I had a sudden and enormous urge to crack into laughter but I did not. Incidentally, this had been one of my many great faults during the relationship. I was grossly incapable of determining when she was serious and when she was not.
“Okay,” I said, another one of my great faults; brevity and inability to voice my true feelings on an issue. The line went dead. And then a text message notification beeped on my phone almost immediately. This is what it said:
“And, I am keeping the 9025g silver necklace!”
Another text message quickly followed:
“ *925g….or whatever the hell the number! Bye! Forever”
Seriously, do people still officially begin and end romantic relationships?