Karat Romance #2: The Pretenders

Continuation of Karat Romance #1.

After that unexpected-was-I-dreaming-or-did-he-just-say-that moment, we didn’t speak to each other at all. We’d walk past one another and smile, but that was as far as our relationship went. It bothered me as much as it did when Macklemore won Best Rap Album of the Year over Kendrick Lamar. It just didn’t make sense! How do two people who basically told each other [through their friends] that they were fond of one another go from potentially dating to pretending that it never happened?

Because he got into a relationship.

Remember, at this point in my life I was the stereotypical fat girl. I was happy with myself when I was alone, but the second someone I liked didn’t favour me, I’d nitpick at my looks and eventually, my worth. You could say that maybe I didn’t love myself enough to realise that I didn’t need anyone else to validate me, but growing up with people telling me that “it’s what on the inside that counts” really took a toll on me when I saw that it wasn’t the case at all. ‘I Don’t Care About Looks But I Really Do But Won’t Tell You ‘Cos I’m Nice And Don’t Want To Sound Superficial’ was a very popular song sung by almost all the guys I liked.

Whenever I saw him or read his posts on social media where he’d declare his love to the girl he was dating at the time, it hurt. I was happy that he found someone he loved and was proud to be with, but it really tripped me out because I thought it’d be me.

After a few weeks of sulking and rereading his PDA-type posts to feel better about not being the one he wanted to be with, I  realised I had to stop. This wasn’t healthy so I did what I do best: immersed myself in work.

Watching movies, focusing on assignments — getting them in an hour before the deadline was how focused I was — and spending time with my family became my routine. I was feeling better and eventually started thinking of him less. And before I knew it, the year was coming to an end. Time flies when you spend most of it moping in your room and avoiding life-responsibilities like living.

A couple of months into the New Year, our mutual friend was about to leave for Australia to continue his degree so a farewell party was in order. At the time, I was seeing someone else while he was single — the only “forever” love will see are posts uploaded onto social media, unless you delete it of course — so I wasn’t too concerned about seeing him.

Coincidentally, the new guy I was going out with decided to argue with me through text message while I was at the party. He said some pretty hurtful things, so I excused myself for some fresh air. I was contemplating why I was trying to create a relationship with someone who would say things just to upset me only to apologise for it a second after I react.

I went back to the party and saw Winston McCall’s soundalike chatting up other girls. He looked at me but turned away immediately. That was the last nail in my coffin. I wanted to call it a night. I was emotionally exhausted and my bed seemed like the only thing that would comfort me. I went out to the patio to get my bag, and I heard him call my name.

“What do you want?” I asked.

He looked shocked at my super polite response and asked what was wrong. I told him I was fine and I wanted to go home. He told me that he’d never seen me look this upset before.

“Yeah, how could you when you’ve been so busy socialising with other people and ignoring me?”

He was stunned and apologised. He asked me to call him once I got home and went back to the party. This was my breaking point. I cried. On my way home I argued with myself about telling people how I felt, and that I shouldn’t bother anymore because all they do is walk away. Or in this case, going back to the party to drink and flirt with other girls.

I washed my face and repeated “it’ll be better tomorrow, it’s just a trying day today,” and my phone rang. It was a text message. “Hey, I hope you’re home safely. I thought I asked you to call me? I have my reasons for ignoring you, but it’s not because I don’t care about you. I do. I care a lot, and I just want to make sure you’re okay. Please reach out to me if you need someone to talk, I’m always here.”

I was tired and upset so I deleted the text and pretended it didn’t happen.

Karat Romance #3 will be published in January. Read more ramblings from this writer here

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