By Omale Poe

It is funny how we see things and just feel a flutter of emotions, different every time they come. Here is a true story.

I was sitting in the Nescafé garden, watching this couple laugh at each other’s jokes. They caught me staring once or twice but who cares? Not me. A part of me was laughing; having experienced two devastating heartbreaks, it is hard for me to believe love relationships are real, or what we confess to each other when the air is conditioned by the soft-soft tunes of Passenger’s ‘Coin in a Fountain’, or Enya’s ‘Amaranthine’, or after a round or two of mind-blowing sex, is real. I feel now that the breakfast is fading into dinner, that I was just fascinated by the concept behind the truth, which we may not understand.

Well, I filmed these people chuckling, and again watched as they laughed, almost touching each other. Then, I stood up in anger, pain, hate, and hysteria with all the smirk I could paint my face with, and approached the guy.

“This babe go soon serve you breakfast,” I said and walked away. They were dumbstruck, but I said what I said.

Love is a beautiful thing. This may have nose-dived into a cliché, but it is the truth. Having someone to care for you, to make you smile when the chips are down, to lean on, and to hold in cold nights, if this is not the essence of life, then what is? Amidst all the hustle and bustle to fulfil purpose, we all are looking for our perfect other. That one that aligns with the very panacea of our soul and makes living easier. That person that has a hold on your mumu button. It is now very sad that the essence of love has been truncated to fit a certain wrong thought pattern. What we see love as now is just a thin veneer of human perfection. Love, as a cloak in the cold night, that gives and gives, but receives nothing. I do not want to go down this road, so let us focus. Why do we have so much heartbreak in recent times? That is what I want to discuss. And you will read because, well, I have been broken twice, and I have learned lessons the hard way.

Here is the first lesson, which doubles as the most important: Do not choke love.
When she or he comes, do not get overly excited. When I was dating my ex, I was already preparing for marriage. The sex was good, she is beautiful, and she cooked sumptuous meals, so I was already fantasizing how I would go on one knee. It is essential to know that most of us university students are either in our twenties or late teens, so we most likely cannot get married now. We choke love when we bring up the aisle or rings or any of those nuptial terms. I was always telling Nkem that I would take her to my mom and marry her. I thought I had seen the one, until she served me hot breakfast, accompanied with a cup of steaming Milo and Peak condensed milk. I was broken and hurt beyond words. But I thought it through and realised that I never allowed our love to breathe. I suffocated what we had with the wedding and the proposal talks. Look here; when you want to propose, you do not fantasize, you just do it. Only those with their heads in the clouds fantasize until the babe or the guy leaves. And they say, ‘love na scam’. Actually, the reverse is the case, na you be scam.

Second lesson, no go dey do pass yourself. I know we are all out to impress, but what happens when your veil of lies becomes tired and it fades itself out? Then, you realise you are in love with her and she is in love with package that has gone with the wind. What happens when he wakes up the next day and your backside is flat and your breasts are flip flops? Then, the euphoria that packaging brings dwindles. Sadly, in most cases, either of the party has fallen in love. It is even sadder because the lady might just leave with no words and the guy might be cooking up excuses with the popular quip, “it is not you, it is me”. I am not endorsing being shabby, but I would advise you be yourself. If they do like you, love blossoms, if otherwise, use the exit because the bitter truth is, when you build your relationship on lies, you lie till you can lie no more, and the Xanadu you created begins to fade into limbo, with it, your heart, your soul, and your orientation. Go the way you are. That’s all.

Third lesson, do not be too hasty or succumb to the pressure of falling in love. While yearning to know what it feels like, I would advise you should not let your curiosity get the best of you, because you may end up creating a faceless feeling and giving it the love tag. Now when you do this, two things are bound to happen. You either become ridiculously obsessed with that person or you become disillusioned to the point of extreme flaccidity. These are both unappealing scenarios that you would not want to sacrifice your mental health for. Love becomes toxic when you create your own paradise and make it up to be Eden. It will crumble like the tower of babel because, well, even the real thing is engineered with insane violence.

The fourth lesson, which I learned very late, is to not fall until you are sure you will be caught. Look, everyone wants to fall, even my Features editor with her angry face and her staunch resolve, at some point in her life, wants to fall. But woe, I mean, big woe unto you if you are not sure your partner will catch you. Some people just like you, they may not want anything intense. Hence, when you confess your feelings, they reply with a flimsy ‘lmao’, ‘lol’, ‘lwkmd’, or worse, ‘thank you’. Know where you stand, respect yourself and maintain the smile.

To conclude my story, the guy met me two weeks later. His face grimaced, eyes red, lips pursed. I knew it had happened, and I gave him a tap on the back. It will get better, maybe not with the next, or the one after, but it will most certainly get better.

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