When you watch those apocalyptic movies where the earth is destroyed and mankind has left the earth, the characters think back to the days passed with fondness. The things they miss or hate about the old world are the little things. Things that were significant then, before doomsday happened; like wine, toilet paper, books and girlfriends from that time. I get that feeling sometimes when I sit marooned in my house waiting for COVID-19 to pass; reminiscing about how things were when things were normal. One particular instance comes to mind.
Ken called me one morning and said he needed to talk; something had happened with his girlfriend, and it was not the kind of thing we could speak about over the phone. Now, you see, I am a worrier. I freak out easily. You tell me something like that and the first thing that comes to my mind is that you have murdered your girlfriend and you need my help getting rid of the body. And because I have watched every murder and legal show there is to watch; from The Practice to How to Get Away With Murder; I knew I was going to need bleach, a body bag, some acid and a car.
He came over to my place and because my housemate was inside, we decided to have this conversation in my car, down in the parking lot. Turns out, he had not taken a life, but as he spoke it was pretty clear there was one that he needed to get out of his.
“Christy slept with someone else….” He began. Christy is his girlfriend, by the way.
“She cheated on you?”
“Oh, you guys opened up your relationship?”
“What? No…. she….”
“So she cheated on you?”
“Si you listen!” he protested. “Let me just tell you everything.”
Long story short, Christy and Ken do not live together, but she has a closet in his house and her side of his bed. She is there four days a week, does his laundry and dishes sometimes, and if he has to change his curtains, her opinion comes highly recommended. That Saturday afternoon, Christy left to go for a party and said she’d be back. She did not come back till Monday morning and her phone wasn’t going through the entire time. When she showed up, she confessed to having slept with someone else.
“So she cheated on you, bro?”
“Explain to me how” I was now confused.
“She slept with another woman.”
The thing is, Ken had a difficult time deciding whether or not he’d been slept on by his girlfriend, because the other person was a woman. It did not make sense to me. Unless someone changed the definition of cheating and I was not told, it means getting honey from somewhere else other than your beehive.
I am not the kind of person who sits on a high horse and says that if someone cheats on you, then you should leave. In any case, that was not my decision to make – it was Ken’s. Whether or not Ken was going to leave her wasn’t my problem; my problem was the fact that Ken did not seem to understand what had just happened to him.
It gets trickier.
See, Christy is a member of the alphabet community (as Dave Chappelle calls them), and she occupies the letter B part of it. A fact that Ken had known all this time, but when they got together, nobody said that she was allowed to interlock junctions with other people. Just the same way nobody said that she wasn’t allowed to. And so she was not exactly apologetic about it – couldn’t understand why Ken felt some type of way about it. She’d taken advantage of the grey area of their relationship, forgetting that it is not one of the colours of their, errrm, Rainbow Coalition.
A week did not pass after that carpark conversation before Christy and Ken broke up. It was not neat at all. He took back the Sandstorm bag she had been using unofficially – felt like how cabinet secretaries return government cars when they get fired. She, on the other hand, went on rampage on Instagram, professing love for the woman she was becoming.
It has been months since the split. It should still be a fresh wound, but then international events have overtaken it. She flew out of the country to go study in America long before this bat flu came around. And we would have forgotten about her, had the United States not become a hot zone in the past month. Death tolls from COVID-19 have risen by quadruple digits, and so I asked Ken if he knew how she was doing.
He did not respond, but his eyes did. There was a fleeting moment of confusion there. Nobody wants to care for their exes, but that does not mean they want them dead. And that is how we ended up thinking about what life was like before the earth contracted a chest congestion.
We forget that before all this mess, there was a life. An existence. One we shouldn’t forget and make quarantine, hands that constantly smell like hospital wards, misery and fear the new normal. However good or awful the memory of the old world, keep them.