My phone rang for the third time in class and I wondered what must be so important on a Sunday. I had brought my phone with me to class because I was expecting a confirmation from one of my assisting tutors and having received the confirmation, I wondered who could be calling so incessantly. I put the phone on silence without taking my eye off a delegate who was explaining why he thinks the security and privacy challenges in the digital landscape is grossly exaggerated. He was making an interesting point and even if I don’t agree with his line of thinking, I could see the animated look on the faces of other delegates, raging from exasperation to admiration and then indifference. The class was awake, I am okay with that. I made a mental note to check who called and probably call back, and then focused on taking back control of my class.
Class ended earlier than planned and the prospect of spending the rest of the day alone with my thoughts did not seem alluring. I checked my phone and saw that it was Mr Thorpe who called earlier. I was in high spirits when I returned the call and he could pick it in my voice. He asked we meet up for drinks and I obliged.
Better than spending the evening alone, right?
I got to the bar before he did, and I proceeded to order some food. I was famished so waiting for him to arrive first was out of the question. Besides, this wasn’t a date, so the rules of dating do not apply here. Mr Thorpe arrived, he looked fuller than I remembered, and he had a little bounce in his steps. Confidence always looks good on anyone and dare I say, Mr Thorpe looked good. A couple of sentences into our conversation and I realized that he was on a fishing expedition. For what? I was not sure, but I was curious, and I know getting it out of him will be a worthy challenge for the evening. I smiled.
“What is funny?” He asked, his eyebrow raised in inquiry.
“Nothing” I said, aware of the mischievous look on my face.
He shook his head and continued the line of conversation. He wanted to know what I have been up to. I told him about work and my new lecturing gig. I could tell he was not satisfied, and I was sure he wanted a different kind of information. He kept pushing, dancing around the subject but being obvious all the same.
‘You are doing it again” I said, determined to confront him about this annoying trait he has.
“What am I doing…?” he answered. I remained silent. “…I don’t understand” he continued. He sounded genuinely ignorant of what I was talking about.
“Mr Thorpe…” (not what I call him, but you get the gist), “You know you could just ask a direct questions, it will save us time and make this conversation a lot more interesting than the dance that you are doing?”
He laughed. “Tee, you are not serious” he said, lightly.
I had always communicated my dislike for this habit he has but it appears he does not get it. Hearing him laugh felt good though, so good I wondered what could have been.
I decided to give him the information he was looking for, after all I also needed someone to talk to. Someone to listen. He wanted to listen, so I talked. I told him about failing in love with Foa. I also told him about having to walking away from it. I was happy I could tell him; it was an opportunity to disprove his theory that I was not capable of such reckless and complete emotion. I kept it light, I told the story like it was a beautiful romance that just wasn’t meant to last. I told it like it was okay that it lacked the longevity I always craved. The smile on my face did a perfect job hiding the turmoil I was feeling. My brave-strong-woman mask did not let me down.
I threw the question back to him.
I asked him if he met someone nice, I asked if he found love and how he was doing in that department. Then he told me about two women he likes. I asked him to tell be about them, he described a nice Lady, she runs her own business, she is in her mid-thirties, she is of average height and is intelligent. Then he said the second lady was me.
What was he expecting me to do with that piece of information? Be drawn into some form of love triangle? As if my life is not complicated as it is. There is also the consideration that the issues that led to me not committing to a relationship with Mr Thorpe has not completely gone away. I smiled at his revelation. He pushed, asking what happened to us. Why I refused to try. I wondered why he was bringing this up now. What was the point? He met someone; I also fell in love with someone else. To what end is this conversation? But I see he really wanted to talk, so I obliged.
I met Mr Thorpe on Tinder; it was my first time on the dating app. I had attended a party in my office and heard a colleague talk about how her sister had been meeting guys and going on dates thanks to the dating app. It was my first time learning about a free dating app that single people in my city use. Up until that time, I had been bored with my non-existent love-life and so I was excited about the prospect of spicing things up a little. I downloaded the app, set up my account and started swiping. That was how I met Mr Thorpe. That night alone, I matched with 6 guys and started chatting with them. Of all six, my connection with Mr Thorpe was the strongest. We had some great similarities, we worked in the same industry and it also turned out we attended the same church. Things progressed but I was cautious. I mean, he is practically a stranger whom I met ‘online’. On our second date, he professed his feelings for me and asked that we commit to a relationship with marriage as the goal. Much as marriage was something I wanted so much at that time in my life, I was not going to commit to a stranger I met online no matter how strong our connection was. I needed time. Time to get to know him, time to allow how we met become insignificant and time to build trust.
I explained my position to him and asked that we shelve the idea of a relationship and work on friendship. Friendship is no pressure, friendship is fun, friendship is easy. But Mr Thorpe saw the suggestion as a rejection. He saw it as my attempt to ‘friend-zone’ him or to let him down easy. That was far from my intention, I genuinely wanted to make it work…in the best way I knew how. But I guess my way was not his way and we could not agree on a direction.
Things took a downward turn, he kept chasing in that subtle, non-direct way of his. He was saying things, but he was not communicating. Communication build trust but he was not communicating to me. I am the direct, witty and analytical kinda girl. I may find subtle and diplomacy useful in some matters, but in romance, non-direct only suggests lack of confidence to me.
The autopsy we just conducted is not a signal to bring anything back to life. It was dead hence the autopsy. It was important for me to communicate that to Mr Thorpe. But I did not want to be presumptuous, so I ended the hangout wishing him and Lady well.
I left the bar grateful for an opportunity to talk things over with Mr Thorpe and for the distraction from thoughts of Foa.