You’re at one of your boys’ place itching to watch the Spanish Grand Prix. The idea that Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel are on the same grid gives you an adrenaline rush; you feel like you are the one racing. You are nervous about Hamilton and Rosberg being on the first row. You feel the urge to calm your nerves so you draw your six pack nearer and open one, ready to start the race. You have your Sunday afternoon figured out; watch Formula 1 and go home 66 laps later.
While in the moment, your phone’s message tone distracts you. You reach for the phone. Message from bae. You tap the phone to view message, grinning.
“We need to talk.” The one sentence that has the power to make you remember all the bad you have done since you knew her. The grin disappears. Your face cringes. You type “Ok.” then you delete… You type “about what?” you delete… You type “when?” you delete.
It’s not the first time but you have never quite figured out a comeback for this. (Don’t sweat it, no man has.) You are in utter confusion, like a baby in a titty bar and you start having flashbacks of your misdeeds in the recent past. You are watching but not really following. You are taken, doing out-and-out soul searching, a wild-goose chase for anything that you might have done that set off the red flags.
The F1 race ends as soon as it starts.
Did you forget a date? Her birthday? Anniversary? Nope. Her birthday is long gone and as for the others you were on your A-game this year. Especially after a glass was thrown at a wall that night (last year) when you forgot to buy flowers or at least send a text on your anniversary. Was it because you came home late all of the previous week with petty explanations? No, you made up for that (you think you did) on Saturday when you made her breakfast while she still lay in bed.
Then it crosses your mind. “Damn Android!” You curse them for coming up with a notification bar… Where messages show even before you open to read. You start deleting messages selectively, heart pounding like you just ran a marathon. You think hard of answers to questions you don’t know. You think you are thinking while you are actually arranging your prejudices.
The race is over but you stick around to finish your beer. You are not ready for a row yet. Later in the evening you start your walk home. You don’t have a clue who won and you are oblivious of the sea of flames that await you.
When women come together with a collective intention, it is a mystical thing. Whether it is in the kitchen trying out a new recipe, in a club reading the same book, at a mall window shopping for an outfit they will wear at an occasion that is months away, or planning a birthday party, or at a sleepover discussing the message she saw on your phone. When women come together with a collective intention magic happens and boy, if you do not believe in magic you are about to.
You hold the door knob and think twice. You open the door to a sullen silence. Only the creaking of hinges can be heard. She is the first sight you catch. Seated, legs crossed, reading the book from her book club.
Anxiety is killing you as you wait for her to pull the trigger. But that will be too obvious. She will ask a question, you will answer with a lie, she will explode and it will turn out into an argument. You will walk away from the argument, slamming the door on her face. You will apologize the following day and life will go on. Today it’s different. She has a new trick, perhaps from the sleepover.
She is absorbed in her book. Minutes later she walks past you to the kitchen and comes back with her food. Your eyes meet. Her silent treatment is a passive-aggressive action, it is not a silent act. It draws your attention and creates displeasure. You prefer enduring the yelling and the blinding rage you were expecting from your lover slash enemy-for-the-moment. You don’t know what she is up to. She can see the turmoil she has caused you and feels a sense of power from creating uncertainty.
You think she wants you to initiate a conversation but you don’t want to say anything. You are afraid your mind will let you down and instinctively choose all the wrong words and they will be used against you. You decide to wait because among the iniquities you came up with, you can’t exactly figure out what upset her and you might end up attesting to what she didn’t know.
You play by her rules; you let her decide the longevity of the silence.
Cartoon by Bwana Mdogo