After a short moment of silence as he dedicated his attention to the skin journals that had made him cancel our movie night, Ronin looked straight at me and started by mentioning the breakup. He mentioned the ultimatum, which he remembers vividly.
“Me or your work!” I had said over the phone escalating that conversation to the inevitable. I mean, we had only dated for three months when the big move from Eldoret to Nairobi had happened. I was not prepared to have the source of my happiness snatched away just when I had come to learn that love was not just a four-letter word. The fear of losing him ran deep and the voices around me only fueled the uncertainty highlighting everything that could go wrong. The uncertainty morphed into an ultimatum and before I knew it, I had uttered those selfish words through the phone breaking his heart in the attempt to preserve mine.
Embarrassingly, seated here with him after these two years, it took me a minute before I could recollect everything that prompted this awkwardness between us. On the other hand, he remembers it all. He raised the fact that I always had options and Yes, at the time, I thought I did. For it started with the delusion of Sam, then Ben who took over just when Ronin had wanted us to get back together. None of the above stood out nonetheless.
I stare at him as he reverts his concentration back to his work, I see the same Ronin but more. He is smart, disciplined, sensitive and sincere. He hides a pain that makes me wonder if anyone else could sense it through his calculated way of speaking. Carefully chosen words, linguistically structured, in consideration of what the other person might feel. Nonetheless, he is still deep and talented in his art.
I wonder if he still sings. He has an amazing voice, which back then he did use after my constant nagging and teasing. I should have believed in him, I should have put more trust in him. Now his presence feels like torn pages towards the final chapter: a question still lingers, what happens next?
Its 9.30 p.m. when he receives a call and the caller invites him for a meal. What did I think: that only my food was digestible? Looking at how he has lost weight, he must not have time for himself due to his career.
Courteously, I stand up and pretend an art piece in the studio has captured my attention, (even though I cannot not see beyond him). It takes me close to ten minutes before the aha! moment of realizing I was staring at a face art dawns. My alter ego takes pride in how I might have appeared art savvy, when all I was doing was eavesdropping.
The result of my curiosity; a green emotion that leaves me yearning to be the one on the other side of that call yet I stood less than a meter from where Ronin sat. I dart a glance at him just in time to notice the smile he wears as he talks to ‘her’, and with that blow, I walk over to him asking if cabs did reach his studio at that time of the night.
The taxi arrives and before I leave, he hugs me. My fingers brush along his back unintentionally, and because I cannot bear to look at his face, I turn and get in the taxi his last words still ringing at the back of my head.
“Tell me when you get home,” he says. He doesn’t know I cannot wait to; another excuse to talk to him. I make sure to tell the driver to use the shortest route possible and thirty minutes later, I’m home and ready to report as instructed.
Two rings in and Ronin ends the call. I assume he will call back as he did before and as I get to bed, I cannot shake the anticipation. The wait also carries with it an anxiety I dread. That this might have been our final encounter. That he might never call again.
As I lie on my bed sleep far from my eyes, I see his silhouette, which brings a lot to my attention. I regret how two days ago I had arrived late to our meeting. I regret having showed up wearing a skirt, which had limited me from going with him to run his errands. “Downtown is not a place for you; not dressed like that.” He had said. I regret not taking his hand when he needed me, as much as I regret ever making that phone call two years back. I wish I could turn back time but that would mean I wouldn’t have the wisdom and experience it gave me. Ronin would be by my side though, I cannot shake the thought.
The lump stuck on my throat does not dissolve either. Letting go has never been this painful. Hurtful is the word he used claiming that I might have been the reason he never gave up on his dreams. After a hiatus of two years from writing, I wake up to jot down my last thoughts of him and with the end approaching I realize this serves as the tale of a love lost but one not forgotten.
I hope that if you ever comes across this, it won’t be too late. I hope you know that I was happy to see you. That I know I was wrong and to make you proud, I vow to be better next time.
His image still vivid, I put down my pen to reach out for my phone. No notification, no missed call. I slip into the comfort of my bed and simultaneously shut out the world in my plea to invite sleep. The last thought I have is a happy one.
The season finale of Game of thrones premiers on April, who’s as excited?
Edit: this is the last episode of THE FINAL ENCOUNTER series so feel free to share your thoughts on the story? What was your highlight? Would you like another series? Let me know in the comment section. Happy reading!!!