Your ex really did you a favour

Have you seen a brokenhearted man? A genuinely, brokenhearted, Kenyan man? A man, who loved deeply, sacrificed greatly and was completely blindsided by their woman?

It’s a sad sight, to see a man who’s heart-broken. They don’t need to tell you their hearts have been crushed into pieces, because you’ll know. You’ll know because they all appear the same. You’ll know because their eyes are lifeless, their smiles are feigned and their movement strained.

You’ll know because when you’re at Serena Hotel’s pool deck area on a sunny afternoon, sipping some cold drink, pretending to read the day’s newspaper and throwing occasional glances at Raila and friend on your far left, a tall man with a white pocket square will stride past you.

The man will sit on the table on your right and he’ll soon confirm your suspicions.

I sat, with the day’s paper open, waiting for a friend who was running late. Subconsciously, I circled my index finger on the rim of the glass and occasionally put my head up to admire the teenage girl who swam like a Goldfish in the pool. Her diving skills were flawless, inspiring even.

Then, in another five minutes, a conversation began. Baritone voices exchanged. A story was being told.

Pocket-square-guy said: “I can’t believe it.”

“Are you sure? Seriously?” asked his light-skinned friend.

“Yeah, man,” he said.

“But how is that possible? How did that happen? When did it even happen?”

From excellent eavesdropping skills taught during four years of J-School, I managed to silently (and mannerlessly) become part of the tale between the boys.

The story goes that, pocket-square-guy had a lady. They’d dated for three years (I know this because it was repeated severally in anger).  Over the last year, she began the usual female criticisms: he worked too hard, said too little and texted even less.

“I’m an architect and I just made partner, what the hell did she expect?” the words cut through his teeth.

But, according to him, in hindsight, he realizes that all those accusations were made in an effort to ensure unnecessary fights ensued.

After returning from a work trip in Indonesia, he had with him a surprise gift: a 4 carat diamond ring, ready to make the move, despite her constant whining.

The surprise worked alright, in reverse. On meeting her over lunch at the Crowne Casino, he saw a ring on her finger. She was engaged, two months pregnant with twins and never wanted to see him again. Her (other) man had bought her a Subaru Impreza, all paid in cash and she had no time to dance along with architects who were still climbing ladders in the corporate world.

In her five-inch heels (and probably a weave), she got up from the table and left. Never to return any of his subsequent calls or texts. It was over.

I turned around to look at the man telling the story. I had to, wouldn’t you? He was consuming whiskey on the rocks, his face was pale and his chin drooped. His friend ordered more ice cubes, and the drinking continued.

“This is a bit impossible to believe man! You guys looked like the ultimate couple. The both of you set the bar and gave us all something to work for,” the friend said.

“And Tina! Dude, after everything you’ve done for her? After everything you guys have been through?”

Pocket-square-guy shook his head, turned to his left, and when he turned back, the friend and I both stared at him (I am really a part of this story by now). As he turned, a tear dropped, followed by another. His friend demanded more whiskey.

The handkerchief in his possession notwithstanding, I wanted to offer leaves of tissue to this man whose name I didn’t know. Leaves and leaves of tissue. Not to discourage him from tearing, but to actually influence it, to say: “Let it out, Baba. Let it out.”

A man who sheds a tear before his buddy and in public is a man who is gravely scarred.

In his silent, meticulous, elegant weep, he repeated one question severally: “How did I not see it coming? How? How did I really not see it coming?!”

But that’s the thing with love they say, when you’re in it, you don’t see some things. And even if you see them, you won’t really act on them, until tragedy strikes…and you’re left blindsided at the Crowne Plaza, staring at the back of five-inch heels and a weave.

Sometimes it just doesn’t work. You could be Obama’s business strategist, or you could own one of those fancy homes in Karen’s Miotoni Commons (pronounced Ma-yo-to-ni by Google’s tweng’y GPS) and someone somewhere still won’t love you. They won’t find you funny enough. Or adventurous enough. Or anything at all.

And it’s okay. Shed a tear over whiskey with a friend and mourn for a while (as long as it takes). Listen to something soapy like Brian McKnight and Josh Groban’s electric rendition of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ even if you’re a guy…especially if you’re a guy. Then go down on your knees and thank God for unanswered prayers. You would have married, had kids and possibly spent a life with someone who didn’t deserve you.

You dodged a bullet!

Yvonne Aol is a writer and freelance journalist. You can read more of her work here