You could not possibly love her. She was not your type. You did not tell her this because telling people things like that hurt their feelings and you would much rather have her believe, falsely, that you were into her than hurt her feelings. The day she asked you about marriage and at what age you intended to get married, you had had a conversation with your friend who had found a pretty girl and was waiting for her parent’s green light to go ahead with the introduction, you had told him you hardly knew what the big deal was about marriage and why everybody took it like the most important thing life had to offer. You said you would marry only when you had become successful enough to be living in your personal house and have at least two cars. You told her, because you knew that was what she wanted to hear, that you would get married whenever the right girl came along. You knew you were lying but it felt like the right thing to do in the situation.
You asked her to be your girlfriend because you had already formulated a masterpiece breakup plan and once she said yes you would start working towards the plan. She did not say yes though, which surprised you, it almost bothered you even, but you were glad that the whole shenanigan was over. You thought it was finished. It was not finished, at least not to her. She kept up appearances and said things like ‘we are still best friends.’ And ‘the fact that I did not say yes now does not mean I would not say yes later.’ Your heart broke, but, of course you acted like the happiest man in the world.
‘So I still have a chance,’ you inquired.
‘Maybe,’ she replied with a smiley face.
Your heart broke some more. Your masterpiece plan was still required. You mostly disliked fakeness and fake people but it did not seem like you were being artificial with her, it seemed like you were doing the right thing. You really did not want to break her heart or hurt her feelings. You kept up with the long telephone conversations that ended, each time, with ‘I love you.’ You kept up with the texts before she woke up telling her sweeter things than the previous night. It was exhausting and frustrating. You wanted to stop, you were desperately looking for ways to get out of the windowless, airless suffocation chamber that you had locked yourself in. Perhaps she noticed that you were exhausted and that was why she told you that she loved you, too and that she never thought she would find someone like you. That you were the best thing that had ever happened to her and she could not even withstand the mere thought of life without you. She told you to promise that you would treat her right and that you would never change and that you would be different from the rest of them. You were going to, but your words got entangled inside your throat when you realized that when they came, they would be lies. Your face assumed an expression of sadness, fear and hate for yourself all at the same time, all she saw, however, was love. To her, you loved her so much, you were so shocked at her ‘yes,’ response and so you wanted to cry. She hugged you. She kissed you. She smiled. She said, ‘I love you more than life. I am crazy in love with you. I would die without you.’
A month passed and she had started to get on your nerves. Her voice had become infuriating, her calls started lasting too long, and she had become the ugliest creature you had ever laid eyes upon: her nose was way too large and it covered her face like a stamp would cover a signature. Her kisses had become too wet and sex with her had become just about as romantic as standing on a long queue in a banking hall and listening to shitty jazz music. Most annoyingly, she talked of nothing else but marriage: how her wedding gown and stiletto shoes would look, the twenty five carat diamond rings that would each be encrusted with your initials, the colour of the tuxedo you would wear and the length of her the bridal train, how many storey the pink and purple wedding cake would have. She talked of the people she would not invite because they annoyed her way back in primary school. You listened, you listened. Then on one harmattan drenched Friday morning as you were about to go for a job interview, you sat her down and told her you had been pretending all the while, that you had never felt anything close to love for her. You told her that you said the things you said because you imagined that those were the exact things she wanted to hear. You said that you were not going to be ready for marriage until you owned a house and two cars, ‘cars,’ you said, ‘not vehicles.’ You said, frankly, you had problems with people that married too early, you thought they were the stupidest creatures that ever existed.
She laughed. Most of her wanted to assume that you were joking, playing with her; making her laugh as usual, a little part of her, however, saw seriousness and truthfulness in your eyes. It was that little part of her that began to cry before all of her joined in. You told her you were sorry, you begged her to forgive you and then before you left, you asked her to drop the keys with your neighbor whenever she was ready to leave.