September 2001, meeting & leaving E
I was trying to hold back the tears as I piss in the airport toilet I spent half an hour trying to find.
“What am I doing?” I half-consciously muttered to myself. This merited a raised eyebrow and embarrassed smile from the man occupying the urinal next to mine. I wanted to explain but I didn’t think it was too wise with both of us holding our cocks, piss gushing out of them. Compromising position notwithstanding, I don’t know if I know the answer to my own question.
I’m on my way to Africa leaving a loving partner, my meticulously designed apartment, my mother and a powerful consultant position for a government department. All because one day I woke up, looked in the mirror and decided I don’t like myself anymore. No. There must be a more precise way of describing how I felt. I cannot think of a better way to put in than Tom Cruise’s in Jerry Maguire,
I hated my place in this world.
All this I blame to that darned job that I mistakenly stuck with for 2 years. Lured by the prestige of being a government consultant for a multilateral development bank project, not to mention the money that goes with it, I left a very comfortable position in a non-profit organization 2 years ago. I had such high hopes in introducing reforms in government. At the age of 30 you would think I left all this romantic idealism long ago. But I tell you, it only took 2 years in government to snuff out all the living light of idealism in me. Before I knew it I was the epitome of everything I once hated.
So I thought, I have to get away from here. I have to find a place where I can search my soul or what’s left of it and find out how I can get out of this rut. Ergo, South Africa. Where else can I go where the delineation between the good and the bad can be so clear? Black – good. White – bad. Simple, isn’t it? A lot I know then.
So I sought to volunteer in Africa. Tired of the rat race that a high paying job inevitably brings, volunteering seemed to be a dreamy option.
Everything was going as planned and I resigned from the job with aplomb worthy of an academy award when things went haywire.
In a bored night chatting in the internet, a guy with the handle of “engineer” double clicked my name and invited me for coffee. We agreed to meet in a coffee shop in the mall within an hour. He’ll be wearing an orange shirt. I hastily washed my face, sprayed on cologne, and hailed a cab.
The first thing I noticed as I walked into the café to his table was his height. He was the only guy in an orange shirt so I approached with unusual confidence. My god, he can’t be more than 5’2”. My suspicion was confirmed when he stood up to shake my hand.
“Hi, I’m E.” He smiled. His smile seemed to light up the whole café. I was hooked.
After 30 minutes we were back in my apartment. Shortly after, 1 night of unbelievably good sex ensued. Needless to say, we fell in love.
And now I’m leaving. Sure, my relationship with E is but 33 days old. Considering, however, that he practically moved in the day after we met; it’s a relationship with an intensity to be reckoned with.
“Damn, you should have asked me to stay”, I muttered to myself again as I try to lug my guitar into the passenger waiting area.
I can still see his face so sad a few minutes ago as we hugged in the check-in area to say goodbye. The sight of planes taking-off from where I sat suddenly made the idea of being apart so real. Suddenly, and to the embarrassment of co-passengers waiting for the boarding announcement, I started sobbing.
And for the life of me, I cannot seem to stop.