I was hanging out with Lisa* and talking about old flames when she mentioned Kamau*, her old sweetheart. They were first years in university when she and Kamau met, fell fervently in love, and decided to become exclusive lovers. Indeed, few college students actively decide to have a monogamous relationship. She remembers when she used to stay out with him long in the night – now she is all by herself in her cosy apartment.
I asked Lisa what happened and she told me with a chuckle that it was nothing more than a college love affair. She opened up to me over a mug of hot coffee. This was her story.
I started university, made new friends, dated a couple of people. It was never nothing serious. I met Kamau, I couldn’t put my finger on it but I knew it was different. I knew he was different, and this wasn’t a typical college puppy love. I recognised a kindred spirit, but now I’m just another single and independent lady.
Kamau and I wanted the same thing. We just wanted to be successful. I just don’t understand where we went wrong because I can no longer stand him whenever we meet. We have some friends in common.
I was never extended after my internship, so I’ve ‘tarmacked’ for long and worked on short contracts before I landed my current job. Kamau used to urge me to work harder at finding a job, and he said it was only a matter of time because I’m smart and hardworking.
My relatives and friends kept giving me advice on how to find a job and they offered different titbits of advice. I may only be 23 but I think I have heard every piece of advice from “Try A, B, C”, “I hear they’re looking for people”, “maybe it’s your CV”, “I don’t understand why you haven’t landed a job by now”, “and what are your friends doing? Do they have jobs?”
Whenever, we would ride in matatus in university, it didn’t matter who paid or how much it was. But when I started asking him for bus fare once in a while, he started growing distant. Kamau used to joke that I would eat books for breakfast and that’s why I was always stronger than him academically, and he was proud to have a smart girlfriend.
Initially, he was supportive during my job hunt and he knew that it might take time to land a job but he started changing slowly, and I just never expected that from him. Soon his insistence turned into condescending words or statements such as: “You were the smartest what’s happening to you? What are you doing wrong?”, “Weren’t you the smartest or was it just a phase?”
I started missing my dedicated and carefree boyfriend and loathing ‘his talks’ as he started acting like ‘my father’. He could never understand that I didn’t want to have to ask him for money. I’m not that type of a lady. I wanted independence but I just didn’t have the money to back it up, so I figured that Kamau would understand. He never took a mile in my shoes.
Unfortunately, I started believing his truths, maybe he knew a thing or two – after all he was working. I was proud that he was moving up the ladder, and I just kept wondering to myself when I would catch up with him. I started becoming desperate, for any job – and I mean any job. Later, I started realising that it wasn’t my fault. And that every time he said something to erode my confidence, I needed less time with him. I was craving for time to put my life into perspective – relive past experiences that made my life better and know what I wanted from life.
Finally, I was called in for an interview and offered a secretarial job, which I accepted. I was ecstatic at the news and the fact that I would have something productive to do with my time, focus on sharpening my skills, network, and earn a bit of cash. I wasn’t counting on his support. He’d demean my occupation, give a half-hearted apology, and slowly return to his patronizing manner. I knew that the dream was over.
Time passed, I got something better and he tried getting in touch with me but I shut him out of my life completely. I recall with nostalgia the good times we had during college, but I’m just not interested in him anymore.
This article was originally published by The Star Newspaper at http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2015/05/31/my-great-college-love-who-almost-ruined-my-future_c1142690