Loose Ties

We glanced at each other. My eyes met hers and hers met mine. And then it happened again and yet again. She smiled, and I couldn’t help but smile. Her smile mellowed my heart in an instant, and my lips collapsed into a smile.

It was the most sincere and pretty smile I had seen in recent days.

I had been dealing with brokers the whole month, haggling, to be precise. Sincere and pretty were nowhere close to my description of any part of that month. She was a breath of fresh air.

She stood behind a service desk attending to the customers at the diner. My grandma always swore that the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach. (I always glanced at grandpa to see if he took offense. The statement always thinned the line between a fine-diner and a pig, I thought. He never flinched.) Well, she found her way to mine at a diner. It counted for something, right?

She was a few good inches shorter than me. Her melanin skin had all the colors matched to the color wheel. The right shade for the evening sun to kiss at the right spots to glow — A touch of a master painter.

True to fairy tale romance stories, she slipped a note with her phone number under my bill. And that marked the beginning of a beautiful tale.

Happy ever after. Well, happy ever after doesn’t give too much banter, does it? Yeah, this story was bound to have banter. The sea was not as calm. It raged and raged.

Looking back, I can see how many raised flags flew throughout our short stint. Flags that I now see as red, big, and boisterous. My rearview mirror seems to spot the details in clear form. Whereas looking through the windscreen, I never did see them. It’s funny how emotions can blind us at times. Could it be emotional blindness? Or is it always clear in our minds, yet we choose to turn a blind eye?

It might be an act of preservation. To preserve our current perceived happiness. It could be that all we want for ourselves is happiness. Regardless if it is for a short while before the holes in the relationship let in enough water to sink.

In retrospect, I could see the level of insecurity she had when I picked or made phone calls. She needed approval and assurance. She didn’t give much credit to herself and took compliments with a hint of dismissal. And what an emotional ride we would go through filled with guilt trips and appeals to sympathy.

Okay, let’s be fair. I had red flags that I waved high and proud into the relationship. I could’ve been the bad fish that spoilt the whole. But I’d rather not focus on that today for the sake of first impressions. Occasionally, I carry baggage that’s too difficult to let go of. And once in a while, I open my carrier and pull out an item or two.

What can I say? I’m a work in progress.

But wait, what if she was a work in progress too? What if I could’ve been more understanding?

First published on Medium @mbatiawrites

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