In Farida’s mind she knew what a perfect man should be. From the time she was five, she had dreamt of prince charming, a tall dark handsome stranger with a deep baritone voice and shoulders broad like her grandfather’s bull. In her teens she lived for the day she would meet him, the day he would propose and the day they would marry.
When she met Tombaso a few months after college she felt like her dream had come true. Tombaso was everything she had seen in her dreams and on TV. He had the smile of a Dinka prince, a tall and agile online marketer who played rugby on Saturdays. His permanent tantalizing smile and eyes sparkled so beautifully, when he spoke she could see words floating in the air.
She couldn’t say no when Tombaso asked her out. All she could imagine was how cute their two children would be. It would be a boy and a girl, she the proud mother and he, the protective father.
She imagined the house they would live in, a grand mansion off Mombasa Road, with a raised porch that would not flood in the Nairobi rains. It would also have a back-up power generator.
As they sat down for their first coffee date at the newest mall in town, Farida knew there and then that they would live to be 92 and die peacefully in bed together, holding each other like in The Notebook. By the customary third date, Tombaso had no problems at all turning Farida’s legs into enemies that could not be seen together. Her legs easily parted ways like Africa’s opposition coalitions after elections.
Tombaso had no hurried thoughts of getting married, he was young and had just started working. True he was looking for a mate but he wanted to sample a bit and find the best that could be for him, not a perfect girl, just the one he could truly love. Farida was a potential, a ‘let’s-see-what-she-has-to-offer’.
After a month of dating, he knew she wasn’t the one. He had to tell her. Farida was devastated.
‘But we were so perfect together, how could you do this to me?’ She cried.
Tombaso never lied to Farida, all he had done was nod and agree as Farida painted their rosy future together. After all, isn’t it a man’s job to nod to 90% of the nonsense his woman says? It cuts needless arguments by an equal percentage and makes life much easier.
The girl had imagined her perfect family long ago and was just looking for a man to plug-in. He did not feel like he had tricked her in anyway to fall in love. She had made that choice herself when she assumed they would be perfect for each other even before she knew him at all.
Her imagination was to blame for not allowing any love to grow naturally. Whatever she wanted him to be, he knew he was not.
Their break-up date was at the newest mall in town, not the same one where they had the first date a month earlier. This one had opened two weeks after the first. Do the math.
He thought taking her to the new mall would make it easy to comfort her. He could break up with her and thereafter she could forget it quickly by taking her selfies and splashing them on her page like she did every time they went out.
He didn’t have the words to comfort her. It was her fault she was in that self-inflicted pain but he couldn’t tell her that. He couldn’t stand to be barked at one last time. He chose the safe path, ‘It’s me, not you’.
In the blink of an eye, there was soda all over his clothes.
Farida stood up, breathing fire like the dragons of the Game of Thrones. She looked at her ex-soul mate and vowed she would never fall in love with a man again. She stormed out of the coffee shop, her head high. She would not give him the pleasure of her tears. She ran and cried in her car.
After crying for many days, she resolved never to fall in love again. She was going to be stubborn, yes, very stubborn like her grandfather’s bull.
Yet it was all her fault for breaking her own heart when she fell in love with what she imagined someone to be, and not who he really was.
Tombaso just went on with his life, he is now happily married.