By Wendy Fidelis and Ayamba Tangban
A compilation of matters of the heart.
STORY 1 – The One That Got Away.
The year was 2012. It was the second semester of freshman year, in a city known for its Creole cuisine and the magic of the french quarter, they lived a boy whose feathery touch on my heart left a long lasting dent that till this day still hurts.
It was a rainy Thursday morning, the first day of American history class in Southern University at New Orleans. I walked into class clad in orange tights and a black blouse. Don’t blame me, my taste in fashion has been more refined since then. I sat down in the front of the class waiting for the professor. I could feel someone staring at me, when I turned to the left, there he was, his face is still so vividly etched in my memory. He was looking at me with fire in his eyes and a faint smile on his lips. God, he was beautiful, he was very beautiful. I was taken aback. I had never had someone look at me with a face like that: full lips, caramel skin, and black eyes filled with intensity. He was my first crush in college, and as you may have guessed, I wanted to be crushed under him.
I looked at him, really looked at him and before I knew it, I was smiling sheepishly. I was in love and it showed in the way I was eating him up with my eyes. He smiled back and actually walked up to the front of the class to where I sat — he introduced himself as Dominic. He was wearing baggy jeans and a grey hoodie. Obviously I composed myself and casually introduced myself back. I remember going home after class thinking he probably had a girlfriend and he was just being polite. But in the back of my head, I wanted to hang her out to dry (whoever she was) and just keep him to myself. Every Thursday, the same thing would happen, he would smile at me and I would die a little inside. After midterms, the professor praised me in front of the class because of my outstanding performance. Dominic who was sitting next to me took a peek at my score sheet and decided that he wanted to start a study group with me. A dream come true you’re thinking, now I had him all to myself. But I got really nervous, I didn’t want him to see me as just a nerd so I asked one of my other classmates, a female, to join us in our study sessions. It went well for a while until she couldn’t keep up with us because she had a newborn on the way. So it became just me and Dominic.
Dominic’s major at the time was Business. One night, I used an excuse of doing a business assignment for my friend to go to his dorm room. Gosh, I should have probably kissed him then, I should have done a number of things. The light in his room was turned down, the bed was warm and he kept looking at me with those eyes while simultaneously me helping out with this “assignment” I had. But I was fresh out of high school, with my first mature crush. I did not know how to act and I did not want to assume that he wanted me the same way. So, I left his room that night without even hugging him. Should I have assumed? I guess we’ll never know.
Anyway, things became pretty “stalkery” from there. I was also taking a computer class in the business building where Dominic took most of his classes and did his work study. I would walk all the way to the business building and sit outside of his work study area even when I had no class so that when Dominic passed, he’d notice me. And oh boy, did it work! One day, he sat down next to me, our knees touching, and he talked about his life while I just listened in awe. He talked about being an athlete, how he hated social media, and how he liked the quiet life. I kept thinking to myself, if our knees kept touching like that, if he kept talking to me like that, being my friend that way, i’ld explode all over him and tell him how I felt. But my confidence was overshadowed by my shyness and a deep fear of rejection.
Finally, history class came to an end and so did my history with Dominic. The last time I saw him was at the bus stop at school. I was waiting for the bus to take me home and when I looked up from my phone, there he was, standing, looking at me with the same fire I came to know and love. That was the last goodbye I said to him. For some reason, it was like he never existed after that class. My phone had an issue and I lost my contacts including his number. Desperate, I ran back to the business center as often as I could till the semester ended but Dominic had apparently vanished into thin air, taking my heart with him. I searched for him on social media but it yielded no results. I searched for him throughout my four years in college. When I returned to New Orleans after two years I searched for him again. I kept searching for him in my thoughts, in my dreams, and on social media. One time, I thought I came across a post about him but I think my heart was holding on to someone who didn’t want to be found. I know you’re wondering if we didn’t date, how did he break my heart? The pain is written in the words I should have said, the kiss I should have placed on his lips, the hugs I should have given him. For me, this was my greatest heartbreak — a heart that ached for the one that got away.
While I was writing this piece as a way of closure, I had an epiphany. It occurred to me that I may have been spelling his name wrong all these years. I tried a different spelling of his name on Facebook and There. He. Was — a living breathing version of my dream. After 8 years, he was just there. I felt like I had been doused with cold water. The chills, the damn bloody chills took over my body… My first thought was to reach out to him but he probably has no inclination of who I am. However, seeing him on Facebook and stalking him I might add, finally brought me closure. 8 years of nursing a broken heart and Facebook had the answer all along.
– By Ayamba Tangban. @theayamba on Instagram.
STORY TWO – Mr. Fiend Will See You Now.
Once upon a time, many moons ago as I’d like to remember it, I was totally and inexplicably in love with your typical tall and handsome man. He had beautiful brown eyes with curly hair that I wanted to spend days running my fingers through. But Just as the honeymoon stage began, it ended with an abrupt thud! With my heart on the floor and this boy I loved so much responsible for so many of my sleepless nights.
When the relationship started, I had stars in my eyes. I couldn’t see the fact that Mr. handsome was broke, trying to coast through life on his good looks. Soon enough, like the terrible leach that he was, he started asking me for money here and there, with no intention of paying back. He felt so comfortable living off me. When I confronted his “brokenness” and his inability to get a job (in a nice way of course) he started talking about suicidal ideations. He made it seem like he was depressed and I was not doing my job as the “supportive girlfriend” to be there for him. Instead, I was being disrespectful and rude to him. Because I loved him and I didn’t want to see him in any kind of pain, I unconsciously let myself be manipulated by him — over and over.
You’d think because these boys spend so much time chasing after their “true loves”, they’ll keep their zippers up in a relationship. But Mr. handsome cheated throughout our relationship. Finding out was like holding fire in my hands the whole time and it just burned me up till all that was left of me was a black burnt heart. The culprit was his ex-girlfriend who he had supposedly stopped seeing. The cliffhanger was that she was never his ex, she lived in Dubai and held the position of “main chick” while I sat my ass in Nigeria as the “side piece” who thought she was his one and only.
The first time I caught him cheating he said he was trying to “scope” the girl out in order to get a job from her when he travelled to Dubai. Apparently he wanted to pursue a career as a dancer and she was the key to his success. He cheated for the second time with the same cock and bull story. I know you’re wondering why I didn’t kick him to the curb right then and there. Y’all, love held me by the lapels and it wasn’t gonna let me go easily. In fact, I think it was punishing me for falling for half a man. The time it became clear was when his mom asked me to stay away from him. She knew the ex-girlfriend in Dubai and they were both going to get married. When I confronted Mr. Fiend with this story, he tried to manipulate the truth, again. I was played like a violin and it sounded very ratchet and cheatery.
It messed me up because I let myself follow him into his Lala land, field with lies and manipulations. Next time, when I read the sign and it smells of lies and a possible cheater ahead, I’ll turn my car, drive the opposite direction and never look back.
–Wendy Fidelis. @babenexttdoor on Instagram.
STORY 3 – The Sweet Sound Of Baby Mamas.
I met a guy I really liked at first sight. Tall, dark, handsome, great sense of humour, we got along instantly. I’m gonna keep this short. We started dating but things were off to a slow start as I was still healing from a pretty intense 4 year relationship from my ex. Notwithstanding, we got along swell and we were gonna do it big. We spent all the time together, rode for each other and were the best of friends. On the day we were gonna put a title/label to our thing…. he said, I’m sorry but I got my ex pregnant & we are gonna get married. Needless to say…. shattered. Sounds like a typical Nollywood movie, but it happened to me.