A MEMOIR OF ALL THE MEN THAT HAVE BEEN (Chapter 6)

A MEMOIR OF ALL THE MEN THAT HAVE BEEN (Chapter 6)

CHARLES

The ability to hold a conversation for me is more than ordinary talent. It’s also one of the things I seek in any man, especially a potential partner. For Charles, this was not just a skill, it was a gift.

But we were not always chatty. As a matter of fact, besides the random talks on the WhatsApp group we belonged to, there was nothing else. I noticed early enough that there was something going on between him and a friend of mine, who at the time was also a member of the group, and so, I refused to see that there was any chemistry between me and Charles. I did not know if he and this friend – who I will call Siri for the purpose of this entry – were in anything serious or if what they displayed was just for show in the group.

And so, despite being drawn to Charles’ dark good looks and singsong voice, that was it. I was not going to feed my attraction to him. I was not going to see what was not there, for my peace of mind.

Then there was a hangout we organised as a group, and amongst those in attendance were Charles and Siri. They were sitting across from me such that I could see all that they were doing and how very into each other they appeared to be. While I could not deny any longer that I was attracted to this boy, I saw the way Siri leaned into him, possessed him and even though I thought this was cute, I could not help how put-off I also felt by it. This, however, made it easier for me to focus on other aspects of the hangout and I went on to have a great time.

You can then imagine the dread I felt when on our way home (Charles and I happen to live in the same area), he and Siri held hands as we all walked to the bus-stop where we were to board a vehicle. I felt so invisible, like a third-wheel, and the cold of the evening could not soothe the heat I felt working its way through my system. I could not wait to get home. I wished I could ditch these insensitive lovers and board a taxi. But alas, what sort of friend would that make me?

So, I bottled my feelings and focused on getting through the evening. Soon enough, Siri alighted, leaving Charles and I to continue on our way home. There was a lot I wished for as we boarded bus after bus, but I could not do that to Siri. That and the fact that there was the off-chance Charles did not see me that way.

Anyway, when it was time for us to go our separate ways, despite how I felt, we separated in a flurry of good tidings and a promise to call once home. He kept to his end of the promise by chatting me up (I was still feeling like I would be encroaching if I reached out, so I did not), and it was like someone lit a fuse.

The chats became endless. Charles is master at the random questioning and it appealed to me how he could resuscitate a dying chat flow. There was a spark there and it was mutual, I knew it now. He would later tell me of the true nature of what he had with Siri and it seemed as though it was a case if unrequited love. According to him, Siri liked him in a way he didn’t like Siri. That made me feel good, but it also made me question what we were doing. I did not want to be another Siri.

Nevertheless, we kept at it until phone calls started being part of the ritual. I do not think there is anyone who has made me reveal as much of myself as Charles did. He excited me. He was refreshing, charming and beyond sweet. Here I was again falling for another guy. I knew I needed to hold my own, but it was impossible not to be wrapped up by Charles’ aura. I started to look forward to the close of work so I could soak in the pool of his never-ending charm.

The only issue I had with him was his unwavering love for Beyoncé. I mean, my bestie, Mitch, is very much involved with that woman, but Charles’ loyalty to Queen Bey – as she is fondly called – was almost disturbing. He was not as brutal as Mitch in his worship of her, but there was a tough resilience, an adoration that was insistent and true that I could never understand. I guess a part of me wished it were me he loved with such fierceness. Thank God it was not a deal breaker.

Of course, it was not a deal breaker because after weeks of getting acquainted online, we went out on a date.

The date was such a beautiful time together. It was Charles who told me of the girl behind me but a couple of seats away, who would not stop smiling at us, and when I turned to look, I saw her. I did not know how I felt about her open admiration of what she thought was going on between Charles and me, but I remember it made me think of how it would be if we became official, and that thought brought heat to my cheeks.

On the way home, I felt content. Maybe I could do this, I remembered thinking to myself. There was even a time I put my head on his shoulder in the keke we boarded – and one thing, amongst the many, that is beyond adorable about Charles is that he shares my nonchalant attitude towards what people think.

It was a good outing, filled with unspoken promises. And by the time I got home, I was eager for more.

And more came sooner than expected, because one week later, he asked that I follow him to Computer Village. I was happy to. Here was a guy I liked asking me out again, and the thought of another opportunity to be in his company was surreal.

So, why then were there no butterflies fluttering in my belly when I saw him standing at that mall, looking simple yet regal in his vintage shirt and pants with those sunglasses that made him look like a studio model? Where was the spark that was fired up just a week before? I couldn’t understand what was happening to me, to us.

After our day and we’d gotten home that evening, we were chatting when he remarked on the way I’d hugged him when we saw. He called it basic and said I needed hug lessons. Maybe he added that part to make light of the situation, but Charles is far from dumb. I knew he’d felt my withdrawal. I, on the other hand, was battling with what I was shocked to realize was my waning feelings for him.

I cannot categorically say why that happened, how I could go from being very interested romantically in him to wanting to be platonic with him. And I guess that is part of the reason I decided to write this memoir. To assist in searching and checking all corners of my heart and possibly give me the answers I seek.

And I think I got it.

I thought I was ready to be with Charles. I thought what I felt was enough for what he felt, but while I might have liked him and the idea of being in a relationship with him, it took a second date for me to realise that he was even more serious about what I (thought I) wanted and I panicked. Knowing he was more than prepared to settle down showed me my own level of unpreparedness and I recoiled emotionally.

Right now, he is one of the most amazing persons I have had the pleasure of being friends with.

I honestly cannot say the same for the next person.

Written by Delle

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  1. Lopez
    January 19, 07:38 Reply

    You guys keep talking about being ready and ready as if you’re going to put a ring on it the next day, relationship/love is a process and same sex one in Nigeria is not an exception. Pure and plain sabotage garnished with a little bewilderment. Tueeh!

    • Delle
      January 19, 23:12 Reply

      Lol. Someone hurt you real bad

  2. Mandy
    January 19, 07:58 Reply

    I don’t know how long ago or recent these love affairs are, but you honestly need some major growing up to do emotionally, Delle. Getting something started with someone is not all magic and sparks all day long. Sometimes, it requires dedication. Sometimes, you need to refuel. Sometimes, you need to keep reacquainting yourself with all the ways you fell for that person. It gets even more so when you start dating. That is where the actual work begins. On some days, you will find that the man you love is someone you least like on earth. Sometimes, he will exasperate you so much, you will find yourself quite disliking him. I don’t know who said this, but I heard some celebrity say that the way they have been able to last as long as they did with their partner was because every day, they chose afresh to be with them. And that taught me many things: a relationship is about choosing every day to be with that person, to remind yourself afresh why you are with that person.
    It’s not always sparks, my dear. The magic is not always in the fireworks. Sometimes, the magic is quiet and needs you to work to find it.

    • Black Dynasty
      January 19, 08:34 Reply

      This… I too have understood the magic is in the everyday, seemingly mundane things. That’s the stuff you miss when they’re no longer around.

    • Delle
      January 19, 23:19 Reply

      So, I’m clutching this like a Pearl. I have learnt (still learning) and I hope to get to the point where I can allow myself love in they my head wants to.

      I’m just so scared. And sometimes, I feel jinxed 😒

  3. Mitch
    January 19, 08:45 Reply

    You want to know why this happened?
    I’d tell you.

    Your blasphemy of The Most High One, Queen Bey, is what has earned you this punishment. Ya looking for love and a relationship? Mai dia, you wee remain single to stupor for as long as you keep blaspheming Our Lord and Saviour, Beyoncé.

    I just said lemme give you this free advice. Fall on your knees and worship Bey. Proclaim her Lord over your life and affairs. And you will see how she’d bless and promote you. Amen.

    Don’t thank me, dear. After all, what are friends for? 😏

    • Pink Panther
      January 19, 09:02 Reply

      🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 I was going to say this. Like, how dare you blaspheme against Queen Bey and expect to reap the goodness of her vineyard? Ko possible.

    • Lopez
      January 19, 16:00 Reply

      So childish. Another reason the writer do the things he does is the friends around him.

      • Mitch
        January 19, 18:22 Reply

        E pélè oh, grandpa.
        Ancient of days, I’m sorry I’m such a child.

        • Lopez
          January 19, 22:16 Reply

          Ose, At least you’re growing. I was actually waiting for your tantrum and insults.

    • Delle
      January 19, 23:23 Reply

      You’re a fool, my love
      😂😂😂😂😂

      Fall to my knees kor

  4. David
    January 19, 08:53 Reply

    Smiling , dear what you have is completely normal it’s termed “cold feet” , I bet you have fantasized alot about him , how you guys would date , be in love , be so intimate and beautiful together , that’s just your fears catching up with you and your mind trying to prevent what you feel is inevitable, it’s the same thing when you hear about a bride abscond on her wedding day from the man she loves , it’s the same here , my advise is; don’t overthink it, allow it go smoothly and naturally, don’t dwell too much on the dating part, savour each beautiful moments and make wonderful memories and in no time your feelings will point you to the right direction

  5. Ken
    January 20, 03:32 Reply

    Shit was over before it even started. Siri’s baba must have been very powerful. *Insert evil laugh*

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