Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Very Short Story: Opening Pandora's Box Part Two

Kian and I would arrange to meet every time he was in town, and when he was transferred to my town, we met every afternoon and evening for lunch and dinner. Then a month after our regular lunches and dinners, he asked me out.

Visibly shaken and almost choking on my drink, I said no. Indeed, my reaction must have confounded him because he didn’t ask until six months later. And once again, I said no, but this time he was ready with a retort. He told me he knew I enjoyed his company as much as he did mine and was finding it hard to understand why I was vehemently opposed to dating him. He also demanded that I state the objections I had, if any, to taking our friendship to a higher plane.

Obviously, I had none except the vow I had made to myself, and since I wasn’t ready to harken back to my past, I told him I’d give it a think. Later that evening, I sent a text with the word ‘yes’.

We dated for three years. And as beautiful as those three years were for us, they were also the most trying times, in terms of trust and intimacy.  When I moved into his flat, I still kept my apartment as insurance. He didn’t think it made any sense, but after countless arguments and counter-arguments, he threw in the towel.

The walls I had built over the years were so high that every time Kian climbed them, he came crashing down. The first time he tried to make love to me, I recoiled and quickly left the bedroom. Evidently, he was flummoxed by my reaction and asked if he’d offended me. I simply shook my head and muttered something about my period. The second time he tried, I started sobbing uncontrollably which stopped him cold in his tracks.  At first he looked puzzled before asking if I had had a bad sexual experience. Nodding, he hugged me tightly asking if I wanted to talk about it. I didn’t and told him so.

I never spoke to him about my past, even when he prodded relentlessly. And when he suggested I visit a therapist to talk through it, I laughed derisively like he was out of his mind. I had no desire to disinter my past, for in my mind I was in control. Or so I thought. For three years, Kian tried valiantly to pull the thorns encasing my heart, but each time he tugged, they grew thornier and tore at him until he was left weak and bleeding. In the end, he couldn’t live with the stranger I was and we ended our relationship amicably.

After we split, I still held onto the hope he’ll return to me but that wasn’t to be because, on one rainy November morning, I received a wedding invitation from him. I was in shock and by myself for an entire month.

On the morning of his wedding, I visited him in his hotel room where he was getting dressed. A look of surprise greeted me as he opened his door, and I could tell he was nervous because he didn’t want the bridal party seeing us together. Sensing his discomfort, I told him I wouldn’t be long and proceeded to tell him about my turbulent past. I told him about my mother and how she’d abandoned me. I told him about the rape and how my friends ostracized me after the horrible incident. I told him about the vow I made to myself thereafter and why I could never trust him implicitly.

The room was silent when I finished narrating my story. Then Kian walked towards me, embraced me tightly before planting a kiss on my lips. He whispered I’d always have a special place in his heart, and I told him I’d always love him before walking out of his room.

I didn’t stay for the wedding. I couldn’t. I drove straight home where I nursed my heartache with alcohol. The one person who actually cared about me I had lost and life now seemed bleaker than ever. Any desire to live became nonexistent. Desperately seeking to dull my pain, I medicated with alcohol which worked perfectly well for a while until that fateful night I ran a red light.

Sitting up from the couch, I look up at the therapist who’s been quietly taking notes. “It’s been 10 sessions and you’ve succeeded in opening Pandora’s Box. Now, how do you intend helping me, Dr. Ngozi?”