>5 years ago<
“Eli can you please, just stop!” she’d finally cornered him one day down her local town centre. He looked frustrated and a litle embarrassed. She was too and angry, she had faced lots of rejection but this was the first time that she’d basically chased after somebody, after they had ignored her in every available way. She had been naive back then, she knew.
“Why won’t you talk to me?”
“Cleo you don’t understand. You can’t behave this way. You're a young woman!”
“What way?!” she immediately asked, puzzled
“Flirting with random guys, holding hands and kissing them on the cheek”
“Mark is my friend you idiot! That kiss was a friendly goodbye and hello, you did most of the flirting when we were together, let’s be honest!” cleo snapped
“I know, but my dad and brother didn’t approve. I don’t want my friends and family to see you behaving like a-a” began Eli
“A WHAT! COME OUT WITH IT YOU HYPOCRITICAL GIT, A WHAT?!”
“A slut, a hoe, a common sex worker!” yelled Eli
“I cannot be a slut, i have a condition, I could have twins or triplets! Next time, be man enough to keep your family out of your dating life! I’m against unnatural family boundaries thank you very much
" Also, if you’re on at me about the opposite sex being around, get rid of that friend who hasn’t dated anybody in 2yrs, whose weirdly always around you!”
She turned on her heel and just left him. He was one of the embodiment of men she hated. This was no skin off her nose anyway. She deserved better then him and anybody else like him.
If he had just been strong enough to ask me, but he hadn’t. I hadn’t expected to see him again after all these years. He looked completely different. I was delighted to see that he had put on a litle bit of weight. He had grown a beard that was the only thing that had not changed and the only thing that was tidy. But he looked stressed out.
“Hi” I said hardly smiling, he didn’t deserve a smile
“Hey. How are you cleo? I was just passing, i didn’t want to just ignore you again”
“Like you did last time? What’s wrong? she left you, your friend?” i asked stressing on the “friend” statement.
“You knew that we were friends though. Before we got together”
“Friends with benefits i had no idea. Luckily we only kissed and cuddled. So you never answered the question, did she dump you?”
“Then goodbye. I don’t want you” and i just left him there'
I was on the phone to Mara immeditely. She was just as furious thatat i had even spoken to him.
“I wouldn’t have even responded to my name” at this present moment, Mara was living with her boyfriend. He had promised to marry her but up to now, hadn’t. Mara thought she had been played but she wasn’t complaining, he had his own place.
“What does he look like? I'll scream if his the same tall, dark, and handsome prick from before. My faith will be shaken for sure cleo”
“No his chubby and looks sad”
“Eli doesn’t know the meaning of the word!. I’m sure his royal fatherness drilled that into him”
“Well he does”
“Well forget about him. We need to go shopping for a wedding dress”
“What, so your getting-?!”
“NO THIS-THIS BASTARD HASN’T TALKED ABOUT IT! THIS IS DATING/SHOPPING THERAPY!” hissed Mara down the phone.
“Mum says you can’t push a guy into marriage, it will only backfire, plus its a sacrament so she’s right. But i still want to plan ahead. Just don’t mention it to him alright. Were women, its important to have each other’s backs here, even in the days of potential madness”
I tried not to giggle down the phone and i agreed.
“Have you heard from lacey yet?”
“Lacey. Last i heard she was having a blast in America. We both get in touch now and again to talk about career things but when i touch on feelings, she’s gone”
“Wait, is she still helping Ruth?”
“Definitely. She’s a good person, she just gets snappy over feelings” I replied
“Do you still have feelings for her?”
“No, definitely not. I’m just moving on with my life. I’ve gone into self employment now so I'm working on that. I still work at the office part time too”
“Are you sure that you want her advising you on business? I still walk around with a panic alarm 24/7 in case lucas and his goons come back”
“If i’m not sure, i research stuff by myself. Speaking of which, i’ve got to get back to business. Bye bye” and i hung up on her, giggling to myself slightly.
I had warned mara that her boyfriend was moving too fast towards engagement and marriage, but i didn’t want to be a constant nag after a while. I looked around at the amounts of boxes with mercandise in it and sighed. This was going to be a long day.
I thought about Eli and the nerve of him turning up out of the blue. This guy had been the romeo of the town and he had acted like it but worse, taking supposed gossip from one of his mates over his woman, to accuse me of being a nypmhomaniac. All women’s coming-of-age on sexism appears before 25, however, I simply got over it litle by little.
But this karmic relationship was far from over. He appeared again the next day (I was making my way to work), beeping the horn of his car at me. I tried to ignore but he called out.
“What do you want Eli?!” I cried.
“Please hear me out cleo, please, i’ve suffered these past years too trust me!”
I huffed but i decided i’ll hear him out. I decided to meet him in a nearby coffee shop after work at 6:30.
He looked even more unsettled when i sat down opposite him at the table “So. How’s work? You were heading there right?”
“Maybe” There was a long awkward pause.
“I won’t beat around the bush alright. I’m truly sorry anyway how i treated you. When you dumped me, i-i started a relationship with Shamiria and-and she got pregnant”
I rolled my eyes. The same old story.
“I used protection, the condom broke. I’m pretty big you know, too big”
“I wouldn’t know, but carry on”
“She never told me. Now remember life was going great, i was into the golf. Who had to give, all that up, when, 10 months after seeing this woman, i open the door and saw my newborn son on the front doorstep?!”
I nearly choked on my hot chocolate. Seriously i’d made the error of drinking the hot liquid. I spluttered a bit and Eli had to bang my back firmly.
“How do-do you know its even yours?!”
“There was a birth certificate listing my name on the document, as well as a hospital letter telling me exactly when the conception date or month occurred. I have no alibi, we were banging. Oh yeah she has copies and her own up-to-date lawyer on the case. I was screwed from all angles. Also i can’t locate her, the hospital was misled about where she’s living, she’s vanished”
“So, gosh, well to be honest with you Eli i’m in the same boat. But you’ll laugh when i tell you”
“No stop. i talked you down about your bisexuality, i ridiculed you, i didn’t stand up for you. Can we remain friends? I’m truly truly sorry. Any children that you have, i have one kid already, he could do with a sibling. I’ll provide, i’ll man up”
“I have a child but its not mine Eli! Gosh!” i didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I was starting to believe that all guys thought that i was carrying a child. i was determined to go on a diet as soon as possible. This was the second time somebody had assumed so.
I began to tell Eli almost everything (I didn’t tell him that i was still speaking with lacey) i told him about ruth, jon, lacey and lucas. I watched his expression carefully that went from shock horror to a look of awe and then empathy.
He nodded when i stopped talking “Okay...alright, alright. I think i’ll do a Mara and invest in a panic alarm and a crotch guard” then he went on a spiel, talking to himself and to me slightly about seeking spiritual counsel, his confusion about homosexuality, bisexuality and about the power of prayer (“I mean i only left you for 9 years”).
I could only try not to roll my eyes because he was entittled to his own opinion, after hearing my confession, after all.
“So. I’m happy that IvF in this case brought about procreation. Is this jon guy alive?”
I nodded yes. I nodded again when he asked if he could meet him (“I mean i need to see facts just in case, is there a record of confirmation that this lucas dude is in jail too? When is he going to be released?“).
We left that coffee shop with Eli looking a bit unsure. But he just nodded, hugged me and took my number. We reckoned for the time being just communicating now and again would be wise.
I definitely had something to tell Mara later that week.