Some folks say love conquers/covers everything, while others see love in everything and it is tough to decide which group to follow. I doubt if anyone knows the story of how the rose came to be the flower of choice to show love – as beautiful as it appears, as alluring as the fragrance may smell, intricately woven between the flowers and petals are thorns. As I sit here with my legs stretched out in the foamy bath, I am constipated from the horrors of the last 48 hours. My intestines are almost turning inside out, the veins in my head are shooting up above their roots and my eyes look very turgid! I had set out to give myself a dose of hydrotherapy by alternatively draining my parched body with equal amount of hot and cold water. During a camp out, I learnt the benefit of this home-made remedy especially for relaxation and rehabilitation. This was not the first I was employing this technique to release stress. Today however, it didn’t seem to be working. I know they say people who sleep over problems tend to look agitated and worried all the time, but I have barely slept these 48 hours- 4 hours does not count- so I haven’t really had time to lay over this. In recent times, it would be the closest I have come to losing my sanity. It might seem a lot to many, but when you squeeze four journeys into that time, it becomes a nightmare. You are left with less than 4 hours- spent between mealtime, shower and 2 hours of near-torture trying to get past the bruises of the day and sleep. Here I am, caught in the web of another’s affairs. The dividends of staying a single man for the past couple of months are starting to pay off somehow despite the constant yearning for some sort of companionship. This would have made more sense if what I am about to do had nothing to do with flashes of my past relationships. I am aware that things may go sourer between Uche* and Tope*, they have been in my life and I have been in theirs for 3 years. As a matter of fact, I would like to think myself as an integral part of their now-fading romance. Matches are not made in heaven and theirs’ was no different, I played the middle man. I knew how much they loved each other, what each one wanted for a birthday present and how much they hurt from their love. Now I feel the guilt of their hurt growing inside me like cancer because I pitched them together.
Today, on my way home they had both rang me at different times -I was the one confidant they had that never took sides. I have been fortunate to see and say things the way they were with this duo. Just last month Uche had tried to put me up with Tope’s best friend with the hope of a double date. I was still in a bad place and not ready to start dating again. They obviously had hopes of something positive coming off it considering how much work Tope put into this act. It was her way of paying me back for sticking her up with Uche for the past 3 years. Tope and Uche believed the past 3 years had allowed to them know my taste in women. When I didn’t call Nosa* back after the date, Tope had blamed Uche for not playing his part in the mission. This created a crack in their relationship which couldn’t stand against the storm they faced in the coming weeks. They couldn’t believe that after 3 years, they were seeing each other for who they really were. I blamed myself a thousand times for believing that this was the perfect match. As I ready myself to meet with Tope and Uche, I am uncertain what to say to them. I didn’t want to push them harder than they have been pushed and couldn’t bear to see them apart.
I did not want my emotions to come between this talk- straight to the point and without mincing words was the only approach. I had listened to both versions of the story and did not want to be caught pointing accusing fingers. All I wanted to do was make two friends realise that what they had was way worth more than what they thought they needed. Between Tope and Uche lay 3 years of trust, commitment, hurt and being their own back support! With this vivid image of their romance, I didn’t want to be the one trying to mend a broken mirror. I couldn’t stand seeing trying to make it work! So here is what I had to say to them! “This is not about who is right and who is wrong. It is about what is right and what is wrong! In a relationship people are happy as long as the moment feels right that they very rarely think of uncertain moments like this. They spend times buying roses and appreciating the petals without pausing for once to consider the thorns! The beauty of the rose does not necessarily lie in its blooming petals, but in the very delicate and intricate relationship that exists between the flower and the thorns. No matter how spooky the thorns on the rose are, it is not big enough to scare the florist away. So what if this is one the thorns pricking you and trying to stop you from budding into some concentric bloom of petals? Even though Tope and Uche decided to go on some leave that night, they left me feeling better and lighter within. Most of all, they left feeling better and were all cheers. Their mistake? Wanting a perfect relationship! If there are no arguments the fire of love dies. If there are no misunderstanding, both lovers would live with little knowledge of the other person. May be if Uche and Tope had thought of moments like this, they would have had a different perspective to this thorn.
Sleeping beauty, Snow white, Cinderella all had their “happily ever-afters”- their prince charming came to their rescue. What if your prince charming never comes? What if you never get to meet that flawless fairy tale princess of your dreams? Would you abandon your ship and stay a single man? I would rather hold onto love even for that one bit of goodness in a person than magnify their wrongs! People are afraid of heartbreaks so they don’t give thoughts to the “what ifs”! Only a broken heart can be mended and a heart that has yet to be broken may not know the real depth and texture of love. Nobody wakes up one morning and sets out to fall in love! Love comes when it will because it has a mind of its own! And unlike humans, it does not second guess its intention. Unfortunately, many people do not realise that that which keeps the heart pumping may in effect also thump it down. It’s been some weeks since Uche and Tope took some time to each be on their own and I was starting to be hopeful again- the optimist in me had started building castles in the air and making plans for some night out. I was also hoping to bring Nosa with us. May be that could scatter more smiles on their faces. But as I conclude this piece, Uche and Tope have both decided to experience life with other people-my perfect match has been shattered. Now I know there are no perfect matches! There are only normal couple working through their differences, looking out through their storms and seeing the best in each other.
May be Disney did not entirely lie after all, maybe there are happy endings, maybe there are perfect matches! But what if “happily ever-afters” and “perfect matches” exist but they do not exist for every one of us? What if the place called “happily ever-after” only exists in the mind – only to be experienced but not seen? How about you live life knowing that affection triumphs over perfection and that it is far more profitable to love an imperfect human “perfectly” than to live a solitary life in search of a flawless love.
*not their real names