Short Stories, Tale Africa

The Spark

By Tashinga Wazara, Zimbabwe:

I hadn't seen her in almost a year and my heart was about to explode within my chest. I was outside her house and she would be out at any moment. So many thoughts were rushing through my mind. What's the first thing that I'm going do when I see her? Has she gained weight? What if I don't find her attractive anymore? What will she think of me? Oh snap, did I put on enough cologne?!

Suddenly, my thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the gate opening. Then she came out. The moment I lay my eyes on her that heart that was about to explode within my chest suddenly stopped and I got dizzy with delirium. She looked absolutely gorgeous and walked up to me and said in a voice sweet as nectar, 'Hi Tash' and I wanted to freak out and pick her up and spin her around a few times, maybe sneak in a quick kiss. But it was too soon, not the right moment, not part of the script. So I played it cool as ice and I gave her a hug. I hugged her close but not too tight and I held on enough for me to smell her perfume and for her to smell my cologne. Perfect.

When we went to dinner that night we were like two teenagers, laughing and talking about anything and everything. Just being with her confirmed something that I already knew, that she was 'the one'. At some point during dinner I looked at her while she was talking and I thought to myself, 'there is no way that I'm going to let this woman get married to anyone that's not me' and I meant it. She had been out of the country for three years and during that time we had been limited to Skype calls, text messaging and the yearly visits she used to make every Christmas. But now she was back for good and we were determined to spend every waking hour together. And we did. We would see each other every day without fail and as the months wore on we became even closer. It was beautiful.

But then after some time, something started to change. That smile that used to captivate me and inspire me to come up with something funny to say just so I could see her smile wasn't as captivating anymore and my once overflowing river of jokes dried up. Those eyes that used to hypnotize me every time I looked into them seemed to have lost their power. I loved her but things just weren't like they used to be. I just didn't want the fire, I wanted the fire AND the sparks and I was not getting the sparks anymore.

 So I woke up one day and decided that I was going to end it. I tried to go round in circles about how I wasn't in the right place and what not; but once she realized what was going on she burst into tears and seeing her cry broke me. I kept reminding myself, 'the spark is gone Tash, it's the right thing to do'. I felt bad, I really did, but my need for the spark was greater than my want to be with her.

After a few weeks, I started dating again and I was excited at the prospect of finding the spark. At first I dated Miss Beautiful and it was great. She was tall, yellow bone and had the sweetest dimples you'll ever see but then she was too insecure. She always wanted to know where I was all the time, who I was with and how long I would be with them. It drove me crazy! My Lorraine was never like this. She was always easy. She'd give me my space and she had no qualms about who I spoke to and what I did because she trusted me. So I ended it with Miss Beautiful. Then I hooked up with the Miss Successful. She was just one big adrenaline rush. The way she was so confident, assertive and used fancy words was so attractive. But then she never had time for me. She was always busy or when we were together she'd be thinking about work. My Lorraine was never like that. She would make us both put our phones on silent when we were together because she said she wanted us to shut out the world and just be me and her. So I ended it with Miss Successful. Then there was the Miss Sporty, Miss Normal and the Church girl but it all ended the same way: they just weren't like my Lorraine! Then it hit me: I had to get my Lorraine back. By this time, we hadn't spoken in almost a year so I called her and told her that I had to see her as soon as possible. She was a bit hesitant but after a bit of groveling on my part she finally agreed. I prepared my 'take me back' speech. It had to be the best speech I've ever done if I was going to get her back. But I was confident. She loved me. Of course she was going to take me back. I would need to make it up to her but I was willing to do whatever it was going to take.

We met at a local coffee shop in town and when I saw her my heart started beating fast. This was it, the defining moment. I had to get her back. She came up to the table where I was sitting and I greeted her and she greeted back but she didn't smile. I noticed she had a silver ring on her finger and I thought, 'She's wearing a promise ring. This is a good sign'. I told her I didn't want to waste her time and went straight into my speech and she listened without saying a single word. There were moments in the speech where I expected her to show some emotion and maybe even shed a tear or two like when I said 'you're the love of my life' and 'I can't live without you' but she gave me nothing, absolutely nothing. Maybe she needed time to take it all in. I finished the speech of my life and she was quiet for a few seconds and then finally I saw some emotion. Her eyes welled up and she looked at me, almost about to cry and she said, with her voice shaking, 'I hear you Tash and I can tell that you're serious about what you're saying but it's too late. I'm engaged.' At this point she was starting to sob and she quickly got up and ran out of the coffee shop and left me there. I was in utter shock. I just sat there for a good thirty minutes, stunned. This wasn't part of the script. The knight in shining armor is supposed to come and give his princess a moving speech about undying love and loyalty and she's supposed to cry and tell him she thought he would never come back and seal his speech with a passionate kiss, not tell him that she's engaged to someone else!

It was difficult to take. I would never get over this one. It was more than just a heartbreak; it was the rest of my life taken away from me in ten minutes at a coffee shop. But then again, I'd done this to myself. I was the one who left her to begin with. I was the one who decided that I wanted more than the fire. I wanted the spark, and now the fire that produced the spark had been put out and I was left with nothing. I realized that with Lorraine, her hypnotizing eyes and captivating smile never changed. I just got used to them. But I wanted more. I wanted the rush, the teenage excitement, the goose bumps, and that became more important to me than the fact that I was with the most amazing woman I'd ever met. I'd learnt the biggest lesson of my life in the most painful way possible: it's not the spark that brings the warmth but it's the fire. In our lives, let us not focus on the spark which is temporary and gives instant gratification which does not last but let us focus on keeping the fire burning. Let us concentrate on the substance of a thing rather than its material value. I neglected the fire in pursuit of the spark and in the end my fire burnt out.

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