Written by Derik Derrick
It baffles me, it really does.
When we are making friends, it’s really not that hard. You just meet someone and it doesn’t take you very long to decide whether you like them or not. Sometimes they’re just not your type, case closed. They end up being the type of acquaintances you meet on the street and discover you have nothing to say to past, “Hi! Unafanya nini huku?”
Then you awkwardly smile as you mutter a hurried, “Okay, I’ll see you around,” and you’re nearly tripping over your air of composure that has just crumbled around you because you can’t get away fast enough. And then you curse under your breath when you do see them around…around that same area a couple of hours later and this time the smile is even more awkward because you had lied to the poor fellow that you were rushing to attend your great-aunt’s friend’s memorial service in Ongata Rongai.
You don’t even bother to stop for pointless small talk because when you talked about the weather and the size of the pavements in Nairobi, you covered all the bases.
Other acquaintances are the ones you can actually have a decent conversation with, and you will at least know their names and estimate ages. Maybe even their general places of residence. For some you will take it up a notch and you will be privy to details such as whether their fathers are related to the governor of Siaya (who is the governor of Siaya, by the way????) or whose brother was a small-time thief and hopeless drunk in Kayole before he reformed and became a man of the cloth; an apostle, no less, who went on to plant a church with a long name somewhere along the lines of Christ The Son of God is Lord of Abundance and is Coming Soon in Glory Full Gospel Centre Church Limited.
But there is always that other category. Of people you meet, think are cool because they like acapella and movies, like and proceed to form a lifetime bond with, based on, well, nothing really. Well at least that’s how I’ve made most of my friends.
These people don’t have to be a certain height or a certain complexion. They don’t have to have an inner Beyoncé just waiting for an opportunity to shine.
People we choose to be our friends don’t have to have dreams of world domination (okay, at least they don’t intend to do all the work of getting up and chasing those dreams…they are perfectly satisfied to just imagine that the world would be a much better place if they were made president because their first task when they got into power would be to ensure every part of the world had Wi-Fi) and some don’t even have a clue what their dreams are.
They just are. And we take them, subconsciously pledge allegiance to them, point out their flaws and make a joke of them; we fight in their corner, lose bets to them and just take it easy.
So why is it so different when we’re dealing with romantic relationships?
If you’re like me, and you would be lucky and wise not to be, you must have quite a time when it comes to this thing, romance. When I like a girl, I keep her around me for a while as I try to convince myself that it’s just a crush, it will go away as soon as I find something wrong with her. And what happens, when I do find out that black spot, you ask? Nothing. Except that I magnify that one flaw until it’s all I can focus on when I see this person.
And that’s how I have managed to avoid a relationship for all the years of my life.
I’ve liked two girls in my long and fulfilling life. I am now on my third, and I’m at that stage where she’s the most awesome thing since Sherlock Holmes and everything she says is the funniest thing I ever heard.
Now, despite how smitten I am, I have all these fears and insecurities characteristic of a young Kenyan man in love. I keep thinking that maybe she will get bored of me, or develop a bad habit that will put me off…sigh.
Or she might think I’m just one of those damnable men who just want to ‘tap that’ and then leave her as high and dry as the branches of the tree right outside my former primary school. Seriously, you can’t even walk by that tree without fearing that the air currents you will generate as you move will bring an avalanche of dead wood crashing down upon you…SMH.
I ask myself a trillion and forty-six times, whether I’ll be making the wrong decision if I choose to commit to her, whether I’ll get my heart trampled on. I wonder whether she’s the right one, whether she’s focused enough, whether I will ever get bored of her…Why? Shouldn’t I just decide I like this one, take her and take it easy? Shouldn’t it be like something very close to how I choose my other friends? *cue the old school jam, “…how can we be lovers if we can’t be friends?” *
Why do I think it so complicated?
And for the record, she does like good music. That’s good enough, right?