I’ve just been replaced.
Its painfully funny how aware I am of our similarities, the girl I have just been replaced with, or maybe I’ve not yet been replaced, yet being the key word.
She looks like me, dark, petite, almond eyes and flawlessly sculptured cheekbones.
She looks like me.
‘She looks very much like you’, he says. I imagine a smirk on his face as he types that. ‘Small and cute like you. Nuts too. Would like you to meet her.’
I type lol; laugh out loud. An emotion that was far from my mind at that instant. Amazing how people could easily so unselfconsciously type emotions they didn’t or weren’t feeling. It was easy to be emotionally detached while chatting with someone, to lie blatantly to your phone.
Why wouldn’t you, it wasn’t like they could see your face, that broody look on your face as you type that lol, that glee on your face as you type; ‘Oh, sorry oh. Ndo’, though you feel anything but sorry for whatever thing it was that they were going through. I continue, ‘The last time I met a girl you liked it didn’t end well.’
He replied almost immediately. ‘I don’t like like this one. She’s just some hot head.’ That was supposed to console me, I wonder, almost shaking with an inward laughter.
Here in far far away nowhere where I come from, we repeat certain words, as we unconsciously try to overcompensate for feelings that we felt insidiously or try to not seem overwhelmed by a new thing.
‘Is this dress fine?’ A young giggly, over contoured girl would ask her friend, only to get this reply from another similarly overly made up friend who was probably coveting the dress but chose to mask her emotions by playing with repetitions of otiose words, ‘It’s fine but not fine fine’.
It was the way we down here coped with certain issues, the over contoured girl was sure to get the same reply from her friend if she showed her the picture of the young, hot CEO who was asking her out, ‘He’s not fine fine. Just fine. He’s not hot hot, just there.’
We cover his recent revelation with some mundane conversations and more lol’s that we both probably weren’t feeling. And I forgot about it.
I didn’t think about it till few days ago when I decided to delve into some seemingly repressed memories and had what Dearest KAY might have called an emotional melt down.
In my dusky confusion I had reached out to him, like an addict would reach out to those tiny blue pills, like Harry Potter would fumble for those glasses he almost couldn’t see without. I used to be an addict. I used to be addicted to him, to the tiny tidbits of love he flung my way, to the feelings of intense jealousy and pain that he alone could arouse in me.
He had responded, just right after I was biting my fingers in regret for reaching out, for sounding like those easily depressed white kids on Teevee. We talked and out of morbid curiosity I ask if they had had sex. If he had slept with the new girl. ‘Yes’, he replies, with a slight hesitation, or maybe the hesitation was something that I felt as I held my breath while waiting for him to answer my question.
This is what we humans do, we ask questions that we wouldn’t like the answers to. Like Pandora’s box, we know not to open it but we go ahead, willing to damn the consequences which almost often prove hurtful.
But I didn’t feel hurt.
I had expected to feel that crushing sensation, that spectral cold that took over my insides, moving furtively and freezing my very core, like I felt when he used to go on about the girl with the big booty. But instead I felt nothing…just nothing. And I wondered briefly, fleetingly which was worse, the cold or the empty nothingness I felt at his reply.
We didn’t talk about her again, till I asked about her like I did that very first time, tentatively asking if he had met someone, half hoping he wouldn’t have a positive answer to that. Then he sent her pictures and I saw the resemblance and he had the effrontery to add, ‘She’s finer in person.’
Biko I didn’t ask for that invaluably unnecessary tidbit. And I reply with something that doesn’t sound like me, more like an offhand attempt to be insouciant but failing miserably. ‘She’s in Quebec, you are in Quebec. I’m kind of jealous.’
‘Lol. You are my very special one’, he replies.
I snort, a very un-lady like sound that seeps into my reply. Rihanna’s ‘Diamonds’ starts playing on the radio, and I listen, enmeshed in the lyrics as I wonder if they hold a message for me.
I type. ‘Hmm…snorts in ***’.
‘Truly’, he insists. I imagine him, his phone held tightly, his face scrunched up in lazy concentration as he sieved through his mind for the right words to use. ‘No matter. I love you in my own good way Princess.’
And the conversation simmers down to a slow halt just as Rihanna’s Diamonds ends and Shontelle’s ‘Impossible’ comes on and I finally convince myself that both songs are trying to talk to me. It can’t be just a coincidence I decide.
His opinion about my work is always invaluable, besides that, he is or was my muse. The technicalities of that fact seems to escape me of recent. Is…was…which was it?
Anyways, I ask for his opinion, wait for some days to remind him and he says, ‘It’s good. I gave it to the girl and she liked it.’
At first it didn’t matter, but then it stuck a strong, loud chord in my head that resounded discordantly. Writing was one thing I considered our thing, it was he who had gushed on and on about my writings, he had insisted that I needed to put my work out there. He was a spectacular writer, I sometimes felt intimidated by the fluidity of his style, but then he always made me feel like I was something, like I was Flora Nwapa’s long lost grandchild. It stung, kinda, that he had shared my work with someone else. I didn’t really care. I wasn’t supposed to care but then he had shared it with her. The girl that reminded him of me. The girl that replaced me or as I immediately pegged her in my head, the pseudo whatever.
So I ask, my fingers moving with spidery speed over my phone as I fling out the, ‘How’s your lil girlfriend?’ striving to sound like I didn’t care. I drop the phone to indulge my sudden need to preen before the mirror. A beep from my phone causes me to pick it up quickly. ‘Lol @lil girlfriend. She’s well,’ he writes.
I go ahead, refusing to back off. Silly, self torturing me. ‘Well she is, isn’t she?’
‘Nah’, he replies almost immediately. ‘She’s just really cool, cute and a lil nymphomaniac.’
Oh, I thought reflectively, she was so good as to be branded a nympho.
‘Priceless,’ he added, probably knowing that my silence meant I was on my way to Pensive-ville, ‘You just need to remember that it’s always going to be you. Always. Even in my madness, you are the only sanity I have.’
The reply did nothing to sate me but I let it go. What did one reply when the love of her life confesses to cheating while still reaffirming his feelings?
We had always prided ourselves at having a very evolved relationship. But this was different, since we were now miles apart.
What if he fell in love with this new girl?
I waited for the old jealousy to take hold but I still didn’t feel that cold, terrible gut curdling coldness inside. I just felt a mild nothing. This nothing worried me more than the cold. I’d embrace the cold instead of this nothing. I didn’t like the idea of the girl…the new girl that looked like me. I wasn’t averse to him having fun or getting laid or whatever makes his boat float down libertine-avenue.
But why then did I feel nothing inside…this awful nothingness.