The holidays were upon us again. I took off for home as soon as my last examination paper had been attempted. Yes, I was also fleeing, mostly because my conduct of late meant there were many Miss Takes on my case due to past enjoyable yet meaningless entanglements in the sack. I was growing a conscience, but Alter Ego hated it. The most entertaining debates therefore occasionally fired off in my head, because the Alter Ego swore that by leaving so fast I was certainly standing Somebody up – but once I got on the bus to Kenya's “West Coast” there was no way I could reverse my decision and not be mentally unsound.
Road trips and reggae combine very nicely, by the way.
They say East or west, home is best. I can't refuse. Home is that place where I can just feel blissful about nothing at all, just because I'm home. Of course, one who loves living by himself needs to adjust to the politics of sharing a house with other people, but being home kind of trumps all that. Yes, I can be a severe loner at times, and yes, I really like going home.
The Ex was present nearby, on holiday from Uganda. We could have pretended to try to talk to each other, but that deal was not even made – so bad was our situation. It was a bit tricky for me, considering I still had a hand-drawn series of pictures of her in my room at home and in my room at school. But the silence between us was not to last.
My former study group assembled from time to time, but our meetings were always fragmented into “factions” - reasons in an earlier post. But the real highlight of the holiday was the birth of a kid to my buddy David and his flame Carol. It was something to celebrate – I mean, a new life. It wasn't as if any of the young couple's parents were the happiest about any of it, but everyone had accepted that the young man had already done his worst but was also responsible enough to swallow the heat for it.
The story goes that during her pregnancy, Carol had refused to divulge the father's identity to concerned watchers of her bulge. When the kid was born, however, Carol's mother, without a surprised look on her face, looked at the kid and said, “She has David's eyes.” Carol's father nodded quietly beside her. Nobody tried to argue, not even David, who had been hovering around the premises, pacing impatiently. Am I losing it if I find this very funny? That someone can struggle so hard to keep a secret, only to discover at the end of the day that the secret is no big deal to anyone at all?
Anyway. The little girl's birth helped break the ice between The Ex and I. We met amidst the sea of humanity that congregated at Carol's place to admire the newborn. We did small talk, which did not even scratch the surface of our monumental mutual grudge, which we were busy ignoring. At least we were smiling and being friendly with each other. The issues could wait, or maybe they could be made to disappear, using the “wait-and-don't-see” approach.
Hey, how come the first concern when you meet an Ex is always to find out whether they moved on? The information demoralizes a boy, especially if he finds out that his Ex is now seeing, say, a musician. If the guy cannot also claim to be in a relationship, or can only say his attempt at a relationship backfired and was more like a fling anyway, the implication is that he is faring very badly after the break-up. Misery multiplies tenfold when The Ex then transfigures her face into a Mona Lisa smile.
Small talk with The Ex yielded few benefits, so I turned my attention to the new parents, both my friends. There was a tinge of embarrassment on David's face, maybe some overwhelmed confusion, but pride shone brightest. I've seen happy people, but none so happy as David that day.