Short Stories, Tale Africa

Lorraine’s Letter

I remember that day so clearly and the thought of it still puts my stomach in knots. You got to the restaurant first which was unusual because in the three years we had been together you were never early. You were always late and I used to hate it. We used to fight about it all the time. But in the end I got tired or maybe I got used to it, one of the two. So I would carry a book to read while I waited for you.  This time though, I didn't even get a chance to take out my book. You were sitting there at the table, straight-faced and pensive. I had never seen you like that before. When you got up to greet me that warmth that was usually there in your eyes was gone and you smiled but it was not your smile. It was forced, fake. When you hugged me, you didn't hold me tight and say 'What's up baby' in my ear like you usually did. Immediately I could tell that something was not right. My heart started beating fast. What could it be?

As I sat down, my mind went into overdrive as I tried to think about what could have happened to get you like that. Had you had another fight with your Mom? Had someone in your family died? At this point, internally I was freaking out and my body language might have given it away but I tried to keep it cool. Then you looked at me from across the table and you took a deep breath and said, 'Uhm listen Lorraine, I don't think this is working….' As soon as you said that I completely froze and so many emotions were going through my mind. I thought: 'oh my gosh, he's breaking up with me!' You carried on talking and I don't quite remember what you said after your first line but I think it was something about you not being in a good space and how I deserved better and stuff. I could hear you but I'd stopped listening. I felt like someone who had been stabbed while they least expected it, the initial shock that your body goes through as the blade rips into your flesh and then the pain of looking back and realizing that it's the person whom you loved so completely, so unquestionably, who had inflicted the fatal blow. I loved you and I had done everything that was in my power to make our relationship work and it wasn't enough. I wasn't enough. All of a sudden I felt this wave of emotion rise up from my stomach, as if from my soul and I began crying uncontrollably. 'Stop crying Lorraine, you're in a public place, stop crying! You can't let him see you cry!' I kept telling myself but I couldn't stop. I was just too hurt, too broken. My world was shattered.

I remember waking up the next day wishing I would die. I didn't want to wake up. I didn't want to hear birds singing, see bright colours or happy people. I wanted sad music, lots of blacks and greys around me and all I wanted to eat was ice-cream, chocolate and cake. It served as temporary opium to my pain. No wonder why they call it 'comfort food'. At first I would lie in bed all day and try and figure out what I had done wrong but I could never come up with a solid reason and I would cry and cry until I had no more tears left. Sometimes I would put my phone on private and call you but then when it started ringing I'd hang up and cry some more, upset at myself for being weak, for wanting you so much when you clearly didn't want me.

You left me with nothing, but I had a strong support system and eventually the constant encouragement from my friends who would tell me, 'He's an idiot!'  'It's his loss!', 'You'll find someone better!' made me stronger or so I thought. Whenever I would walk in town and I'd see a car that looked like yours, my heart would start beating fast and I would half hope it was you so I could see your face and I would half hope it wasn't you because I knew the pain would be too much for me to handle. What if I had seen you with another girl who was prettier than me? I wouldn't have been able to survive! There were days when I would say to myself, 'I don't deserve this. I was the perfect girlfriend. I did everything for this boy and then he just ditched me. Who the hell does he think he is!?' and I would get so angry. Gosh I hated you! If I could I would have made you eat food with pieces of glass in it and watched you writhe in pain as the glass cut your insides because that's exactly how you made me feel! Then some days I would sit in my room and out the corner of my eye see the teddy bear with the heart on its chest that you got me for my 24th birthday and remember how amazing that day was and how we had so much fun. Then I would start to miss you start wondering again what went wrong. How could the guy who bought me the teddy be the same guy who broke up with me?? I just couldn't understand.

WHY TASHINGA WHY??! Why was I not good enough for you? What did I do wrong? How could you find it so easy to just walk away like you and I had nothing? Did I ever really mean anything to you? Did you ever mean all those things that you said about how you loved me and how I was the one that God had given you? Did God change his mind? I hate the fact that you made me believe in love and then you just took that away from me! Who do you think you are? I know that you will never see this letter nor understand what I went through but I wish you could read it and know what you put me through and how much you hurt me because if you did you would never be able to live with yourself. You ruined me but I choose not to stay ruined. Through this pain I will come out stronger. I will love as if I have never been hurt, I will smile and laugh as if I've never cried before. I will be happy. For now though, I still wish I could tie you to a tree and hit you as hard as I can….for as long as I can.

Lorraine

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