People around me say I’m picky. Especially the friends I move with. They bring this up anytime I reject something they all go for. It could be food. It could be a location. It could be a man. It could be anything. Once it doesn’t sit well in my spirit, I will say no. I say ‘no’ often so they call me picky. They had boyfriends. They called them serious boyfriends because they had dated for a certain number of years and they were sure they were going to get married. I didn’t have a boyfriend. I didn’t have a boyfriend because I kept saying no to the ones that came my way. It was intentional. None of the guys that came my way appealed to me.
Then Sofia, one of my good friends introduced a guy to me. He’s someone she had known for a very long time. She told me, “My friend saw you at the event and has asked for your number. I want to ask permission before I give it to him.” I said, “Oh give it to him. Why not?” She said, “Please, soften up for him. I know he likes you that’s why he’s collecting your number so don’t treat him like you treated the others.”
The guy called a day later. He introduced himself as Francis. A journalist and also an entrepreneur. I said, “Cool. Nice to meet you.” We talked on the phone for days until we agreed to take it up a notch. He called for a date and I said yes. We met in a place that had everything to make a girl fall in love. I said, “I love this place.” He smiled; “I’m glad I got this right. I hope I get a lot of things right as we move on.” He smelled good and talked like a guy who was well exposed and was ready to make his exposure work for him. We had a very beautiful night and had a good time talking about things that interest us.
Right after the date, I called Sofia; “Young lady, what did you tell Francis? Are you coaching him on how to impress me? Speak the truth.” She screamed, “Naaa I haven’t spoken to him since I gave him your number.” I said, “Then he’s doing magic. He’s hitting the right note. He’s saying the right things and backing them with the right actions. I think I will fall for this one.” She laughed out loud on the phone. She said, “You can only trust that I will bring good things to you. He’s the real deal. Please don’t make things hard for him.”
He proposed a week later and I said yes. He was even shocked by the way I said yes to his proposal. For a moment he was very quiet and looking at me as if I’d said something strange. He asked, “Just like that? Is this yes the kind of yes I’m expecting or you’re just saying it so we stop talking about it.” I repeated, “I don’t play hard to get. If I like you I like you. If I don’t, I tell you right in the face and we move on. I like you and would love to know you better than this.”
So we started building an affair right from the ground. He knows how to make a lady feel like a lady. He has the words to put you at ease and make you feel on top of the world. Well, these things were great but I was looking for something deeper than that. I judged him by his actions than his words. He’ll tell me, “I’m quite busy now. I will call you immediately when I’m done.” He will call just as he said he would. We dated for a month and then another month until one day we were celebrating our sixth month together. Nothing had changed, though we’ve had sex and done whatever lovers ought to do. Men. If they are not into you, they change immediately after sex but Francis wasn’t like that. He got better after that stage and began to age like a fine wine.
One day I did something silly and I apologized immediately. For days he was still angry. He chastised me on the issue for far too long. I told him, “Dear, I saw my mistake and I apologized. Why don’t we move on?”
What did I even do?
I was walking with him when I met a friend. He walked away while I was talking to the friend. I stood with the friend for far too long, I must admit. If he did that to me I would have been angry too so I apologized and told him it won’t happen again. But he dragged it until the oil in the issue went dry.
One day, he was coming to pick me up for us to attend a program. He got to my place and called. I wasn’t ready. You know women. I was still putting makeup on and looking for my shoes. I asked him to come inside but he didn’t. He stayed in the car honking every minute to tell me I was delaying. Finally, I came out to meet him. This guy went super angry. He talked throughout the journey; “I don’t like women who don’t respect time. The way you look isn’t more important than where we are going so why would you take forever to dress up? Is the occasion for you? Who are you dressing to impress?”
I kept saying sorry until we got there. We sat down and this guy didn’t say a word to me. He would interact with his friends, leave me at the table and go for so long. When it was time for dancing, he chose to dance with his friend’s partner while I was left alone in my seat. After the program, he took me to the main road and asked me to pick an Uber home. When I got home, I called him, “Francis, I love you a lot because you’re a good man but you have to work on your anger. You go too far when you’re angry and you drag issues for far too long when you get angry. Maybe you don’t know. Please work on it for me.” He said, “If you know I have anger issues then why would you do things to get me angry?”
The next issue was about a call. He came to visit me in the evening and a friend called. I used to work with him and he resigned. I needed an opportunity at his new workplace so I told him to call me whenever there was an opening. That night when he called, he was talking about a new opportunity he thought I could take advantage of. When I realized the conversation was going on for too long, I turned to Francis and said, “Forgive me, this is very important.” He got up, snatched the phone from my ears, and cut the call. He said, “You want to tell me that person is more important than my presence here? How dare you?”
I lost it. “Who the hell do you think you are that the world has to revolve around you? Do you know who I was talking to and what we were talking about? Why are you behaving like a kid?” It turned into give-and-take. At a point, he charged toward me and he stopped abruptly. He hit the chair next to me with his leg and it fell down. He stormed out of my house and banged the door. I opened the door and screamed, “Thank God you’re walking out. It’s the end! Don’t you dare show your face here again.”
We had done a year and I was so into him but the signs that day got me shaken. Then I remembered what a lecturer of mine told us in school. “If he hits you once, he would hit you again.” But this guy didn’t hit me. He hit my chair. I said in my head, “Today, it’s a chair. Tomorrow it would be me. Look at how he charged toward me.”
I called Sofia and told her what had happened. She said, “Be patient. Don’t make a decision at this moment when you’re angry. He’s just being a man. They have ego. He’ll come back to his senses and apologize.” I told her, “He shouldn’t come close to me again. He’s your friend so tell him.”
A day later he called. He said, ‘I don’t know what came over me. You stood on the phone for too long and that’s what started the whole thing. I’m your boyfriend. I’d come to visit you so how would you talk to another guy for that long in my presence? You…I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.” I answered, “Yes it won’t happen again because there would be no reason for it to happen again. This relationship is over. I don’t know what you’ll do next. Stop calling my phone.” He didn’t stop. He kept coming around. He sought the help of Sofia to bring us back together. I stood my ground. I continued saying no. With time we faded into grey until there was nothing left of us.
My friends chastised me. They called me picky. They said I wouldn’t be able to marry if I continue being picky or letting good men go just because they showed one sign of weakness. I told them, “What I saw in Francis isn’t something I can just overlook. It’s more than just weakness. It’s a baby lion that shouldn’t be allowed to grow. When it grows claws and teeth, it would be the end of me.” They blamed me for being the reason that relationship came to an end.
It’s been almost two years since that relationship ended. Not too long ago, Sofia called me. She screamed, “Have you heard the news? I asked, “What news?” She said, “Francis. He was arrested days ago. He wrote on Facebook talking about how his girlfriend cheated on him and he caught her and later called it quit. The girl commented under the post and posted her beat-up face. People got on the case and he was arrested.” I said, “He’s no longer a factor in my life so I wonder why you’ll tell me about him.” She insulted me and dropped the line.
I was right but I couldn’t be happy about it because a sister somewhere couldn’t see the signs and she suffered for it.
I’m sharing this story to tell ladies out there. Don’t wait for him to hit you once. When you see the telltale of abuse in his demeanor, walk away. Or you can walk with the mantra my lecturer gave me, “When he hits you once, he’ll hit you again. Don’t die in love. Love should keep us alive, not kill us.