Her yellow sun dress swished lightly as she sat at her desk. Thoughtfully, she selected her weapons of choice; a black pen and a plain white note pad. There would be nothing flowery about what she was about to do. Pen poised, she stared at the blank sheet and waited for the beginning to come to her.
When I was about 18/19/20, I made a list of what I wanted my husband to be like. Obviously to make this list, I had to sit and think and be rational about the entire process. It was a fine list too; had everything from loving God to his level of ambition to his body type.
Amani remembered the day they’d met. She had thought he was arrogant, he’d thought she was a bimbo. Over time, they’d both realized there was more to the other person.
You are him, that man. The man of my list; the man of my dreams. You look like him, think like him, act like him.
The first time they’ kissed had been awkward. His lips were too narrow and pointy for her generous mouth. Plus his mouth had tasted like…saliva. Not in an ‘everyone has saliva in their mouth’ kinda way but in an ‘OMG did someone just spit in my mouth’ way.
These are the reasons I love you: Your quiet strength. Your confidence. Your deep passion for God. Your love for family (yours and mine). Your love for me. Your dedication. Your ambitions. Your focus. Your body. Your sense of responsibility. I love you because of all these things.
The faint hum of the generator outside was the only sound she heard as she sat in her cosy one bedroom serviced apartment in Ikoyi. The faint aroma of the beans she’d cooked earlier while marshalling her thoughts was the predominant smell. The skin on the portion of her arms and legs peeking out from her yellow dress was peppered with goosepimples from the chill that emanated not from external sources. Her eyes? Her eyes were struggling to see beyond the storm that was gathering in them. Her mouth tasted like saliva.
But you see, that’s the problem; I love you because.
I hate that I can logically say why I love you. I hate that I love you because of the things you do. I want to love you and not know why. I want my love for you to be irrational and indescribable and not based on what you bring to the table. I love that you are these things and/or that you bring these things. But would I still love you sans these things? Aren’t I just with you because you hold up against my checklist? I don’t want to think about you and hear my head convincing me that I should love you. I want to just love you.
She paused, put her pen down and thought about her life. She had a good life. By all standards, even hers, she had a good life. She could go wherever she wanted and do whatever she wanted. Her life was for all intents and puroses perfect. It had to be. It didn’t make sense that it wasn’t. But there was something deliberate, almost forced about her happiness. Why wasn’t she happy? Why did she have to sit down and think about it before she realised that she was happy? Why did she have to count her blessings before ‘bursting forth in song’? Why didn’t the song just flow out of her? The goodness of their life together was forced. Too forced. With a heavy sigh, she took her head in her hands. What really was this letter that she was writing? Would it make sense to anyone? To him? Did it even make sense to her? She picked up her pen again.
My choice of work is a rational one. As is the choice of where I live, and pretty much everything else. Everything. Somewhere inside, I know the choice of whom I spend forever with should have a huge dose of rationality involved too. But shouldn’t it be a tad irrational? Indescribable? Shouldn’t there be that element, that ‘thing’ that I can’t really explain? Isn’t that the only thing that lasts at the end of the day, when everything else is gone? That makes one love relationship different from the next person? If I take Mr B and fit him with all your qualities, would I not be in love with him too? If you stop doing the things you do, and stop saying the things you say, wouldn’t I stop loving you?
He was here, she heard the unmistakable sound of his horn at her gate. Rising, she selected a bottle of Veuve Clicquot from her version of a mini bar and put it in the fridge. Walking back to the table, she coined the last sentence in her head:
I’m sorry but I cannot be with you. I cannot be with you because you are the man of my dreams.
She began reading the letter from the top just as her doorbell rang the first time. At the second ring she straightened, smoothened out her dress, picked up the letter and tore it to pieces. Walking towards the door, she crumpled the pieces in a ball and tossed it in the trash.
Turning, she walked to her refrigerator, took out the bottle of Champagne and put it back with the other bottles. There would be no celebrating today.