In 2016 I met Solo at my workplace. He got my attention with the way he dressed. The way he spoke was a reflection of his gentle soul. I liked him from that very moment. We talked from time to time but we were not people you may call friends. It was when I started studying a degree course that he became a very good friend. He was an SHS teacher and a part-time lecturer in one of the universities around. The course he was lecturing was the course I was also studying in school so that brought a special bond between us.
He offered me his time. He told me, “When you need help with any of the subjects, don’t hesitate to let me know. I will help you get through with it.” I hadn’t been in school since I got my diploma six years ago. I was dusty. I needed all the help I could get so his offer caught my heart right from the moment he said it.
Every day after class I would text him what I learned and he would call me and discuss the topic with me. Sometimes I felt lazy to text him but he would call me regardless. He didn’t let me slack. We had our lessons in classrooms, in his car, in my workplace, or in any place that was convenient to us. During exams week, he went to the extent of forfeiting his lectures just so he could prepare me for my exams. I never took his efforts for granted. I did my best to prove that I was worthy of all the investment he was making in me.
Two years down the line I started developing feelings for him.
I was single but I wasn’t sure if he was. Our relationship was only the tutoring kind. We barely discussed our personal lives. But when I found myself falling in love with him, I started sharing my personal life with him. I let him know that I was single. I also started telling him about guys who were proposing to me. I wanted to see if he would do anything to show that he was interested in me. I didn’t get what I was looking for but I got something more. He started opening up to me about his own life. From there, the texture of the relationship changed. We got closer and closer by the day than we used to be. He sought my opinion when he moved into a bungalow and wanted to decorate the place. I went with him to town to buy furniture, curtains, electronics, and other home appliances. This made me feel like I was part of his plans and that my feelings for him were something he also felt. Why else would he let me decorate his house? .
Every weekend when I cooked, I packaged some and sent it to him. I was hopeful that soon enough he would ask me to be his girlfriend. He spent a lot of time with me and I enjoyed the attention he gave me. What became a problem was when people started spreading rumours that we were dating. Some of my male friends started withdrawing from me because of his constant presence in my life. My colleagues at work started talking. It didn’t take long for my pastor to hear about it. A friend had gotten married when my pastor asked me, “Do you know the person who got married wanted to marry you? Why did you let him marry someone else?” I was surprised. I said, “I didn’t know he was interested in me.” My pastor said, “He believes that you are engaged to that gentleman who seems to follow you everywhere you go.” I told my pastor we were just friends. He said, “Then be careful because no one will approach you if he is always around you.”
I didn’t tell him how I felt about him and he didn’t all say anything. I made up my mind that I would cut him off as soon as my course was over. In my final year, he helped me with my project work. When everything was done, I dedicated the work to him. I graduated in 2019 and Solo was at my graduation. I told him that day, “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for your sacrifice and commitment to see me succeed. I want you to know that I owe you big time. If you ever need anything, let me know. If it’s in my power I’ll do it for you.”
He smiled and said, “I am proud of you. Thank you for letting me be a part of this journey.” It was an emotional moment, filled with hugs and thanks and gratitude.
After the graduation ceremony, I cut him off. I didn’t call and didn’t text him. He also never reached out to me. When I heard of him, I heard it through other people. They would tell me, “Solo asked of you the other day.” “Solo has been asking of you from me. Doesn’t he have your number anymore?” I listened to all this but I never called him.
Sometimes I get mad at him. If he is asking people about me then it means he cares about me. So why won’t he call me? Why didn’t he propose to me? And sometimes my anger is because of what my pastor said. How his closeness to me gave the wrong impression and discouraged other men from expressing interest in me. Sometimes too I convinced myself that he didn’t like me romantically. He just wanted to help me study and it was my fault for wanting more from him.
A year after my graduation I got close to one of his friends. The guy asked, “What happened between you and Solo? I know he liked you so how come you didn’t date him?” I replied, “I didn’t know that he liked me. He never told me how he felt.” His friend asked again, “Did you tell him anything about your past relationship?” “Yes, I did,” I answered. “I told him I had been in one relationship. We broke up because the guy tried to force himself on me but I fought him off.” He said, “Oh, that’s why he didn’t propose.”
I was confused. Solo’s friend went on, “You see, Solo is a virgin so he wants to marry a virgin. He probably thinks you slept with your ex. Did you?” It sounded really silly, “No I’m still a virgin.” His friend believes Solo would have proposed if he knew that information. That was my opportunity to contact him and ask if what his friend said was true but I didn’t.
I have convinced myself that maybe we were not meant to be. I’m currently in my mid-thirties and I still haven’t done it. I want to abstain until marriage but it’s difficult. No man wants a relationship with me after I tell them I’m a thirty-something-year-old virgin. It’s either they think I’m lying or they think that would make me difficult to be with. Right now I don’t know if I should just give in to the next man who comes along or if I should continue this path of abstinence. I feel like I might end up single forever.