#5DaysToVals Contest Entry – Submitted by Jerry Chiemeke
5th February, 2016.
A Warm Heart,
Somewhere In Nigeria.
NOTICE OF INTENTION TO ASSUME FULL RESPONSIBILITY
The above subject matter refers.
It’s another Friday in this city, and contrary to the usual evening script, I am seated at home, all alone, seeking solace in one or more glasses of cheap wine. There have been a couple of invites, but I’d rather find company in my own thoughts, and get acquainted with my loneliness, while I look back on my various stints of unrequited love, a story plot I know so well. I reflect on all the times I have given and received little or nothing in return…..but something deep inside tells me that I am not laying out a fair narrative. I grin, and somewhere in my mind I admit that I have been at the other end of the stick. I really should not be complaining too much, no, not after what I did to you those many months ago.
See, Ruth, you met me at a really interesting time; I was just coming out from a torture rack of a relationship, I seemed to be on freefall after being flung from a witch’s window, and I needed somewhere safe to crash into. You, sweetheart, proved to be an emotional safehouse, tending to my wounds with long phone calls and sugary text messages, while I slowly healed (?) again.
We had been friends prior to that time, and I was aware that you were a lady of principle, from a fairly conservative background. I tried to convince you that I had strong feelings for you, and true to “church girl” type you expressed your skepticism, but there is only so much resistance a girl can put up against a man of letters. You eventually suggested that we work out something like a three-month trial period, to which I readily obliged……
And so we went on, making long calls into the night, revealing our favourite colours and the name of our siblings, basically learning each other (I like to think learning someone goes deeper than learning about someone). It was meant to be a probation period, but you soon got caught up in all of it; I felt it in the frequency of your calls, in the way you always showed reluctance to hang up when we talked, in the tone of your chat messages when you didn’t hear from me in a while. Your head was in the clouds, and I warned you that I was not all cakes and chocolate, particularly considering my past, but you were too in love to notice any thorns in the garden.
I began to see glimpses of a not-so-bright road ahead when you began to take too much interest in my social media updates, dropping interrogative comments thereon. I had always loved my space, and I saw your frequent questions as to the meaning of each update and who they were directed to, as an invasion of that space. My curt replies were intended to register my displeasure, but time and time again your refused to take the hint. You also failed to understand that I craved for “me-time” now and then, and consequently would not always be in the frame of mind to discuss with you. I began to feel less than comfortable…..
But none of that could excuse my actions on that fateful Thursday, when you chose to spend the night with me. Part of our “trial period” stipulations was that there would be no intimacy, but I had other ideas that night. I should have respected your wishes to not go physical, I should have got the message from the long skirt you wore , but then again I was scared that you would forget about me…..so I had you succumb after extensive groping from my hands, and I showed further insensitivity when I said “let’s just lay low”, in response to your questions about where our relationship was headed.
You expressed your dismay at how things went down, and I tendered a not-so-insincere apology, but things went pretty downhill from there. I ignored your comments on my social media posts, I was often reluctant to receive or return your calls, and whenever we chatted there was always a sense of indifference from my end. Still you cared, still you loved, but I continued to torture you with my unavailability, until you ultimately threw in the towel, refusing to pour wine into sand anymore. You didn’t even enjoy the dignity of a formal goodbye or a closure meeting, I was cowardly and sinister like that.
Truth be told, Ruth, my mind was a battlefield at the time, and I didn’t feel the need to get you caught in the crossfire….but that still does not justify what I did to you. I never gave you the chance to ask, but you did nothing wrong, and I assume full responsibility for the crash and burn. I sometimes wish you had held on longer, but I understand that there is only so much a good heart can take, the kind of heart I don’t think that I deserve.
You may wonder why it took over two years for me to say all this, and the timing may be suspicious too (after all, it’s that time of the year again), but be sure that I am truly sorry, and while opening your doors to me again would be too much to ask, I have every intention of making amends, if that is within the realm of possibilities. Sometimes the recipe is in order, but it’s just not the right time of day to go for it. Yea, you were the right girl for me, perfect in every way….just unfortunate to show up at the wrong time. It hurts that I can only now watch your life play out in pictures from the internet, and I probably have no right to ask about your love life, but I hope you find happiness, and I pray your heart accommodates someone who is truly deserving of the warmth therein.