I shut my eyes and I felt fierce light percolating through my eyelids. A stream of warm tears went down and Splash! hit the ground. I recalled those vows made under the mammoth shade of the mango tree. I still envisage our names carved deep on the rough bark. Her name is still carved deep in my heart and moments when someone mentions her name make me sick. Her picture sometimes appears in my mind. I hate that I still think of her. She’s the reason for my love scars and for my insecurities.

So the story goes…

I fell in love with this girl in high school; she was stunning in my eyes. I was so taken with her that I couldn’t listen when my friends cautioned me about her. She was going to be the death of me.

I was in grade 12 when I told her how I felt about her. I remember it like it was yesterday.
It was just after school and the day was grey, with the occasional breath of cool air that touched my face. We were just walking out the gate when the words, “I think I love you,” fell out of my mouth. She had a poker face. I couldn’t tell what she was thinking. But I remember her saying:

“Ohh, you think?”

“I’m sorry, I meant I love you…like a lot,” there were doubts in my words.

“I’ll think about it, just give me time,” those were her final words after I struggled to tell her why I loved her that much.

Although she took her time, about a week, she eventually told me that she, too, loved me (not exactly). “I think you and me can date, just don’t tell anyone that we’re dating,” those were her words. In fact, I think that in some deep valley of my mind, her words are still echoing.

We started dating in Term 2; it was a lovely time. We went together after school, studied together, I assisted her with math and science, and everything was fine! Until term three, when she informed me that she needed some space from me because her ex-boyfriend wanted her back. “Look, I don’t want to hurt you or anything, but I think we should take a break. My ex-boyfriend, you know him…he wants us to try again and I have made up my mind Rick.”

I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown! But I didn’t say anything. My grades were excellent before we split up, but after that, everything fell apart. “Hhayibo, Hhhayibo Rick! What’s this? What’s distracting you my boy? Everything alright back home?” that was my Life Orientation teacher, she was so concerned about me.

Term 4 came, when she (the girlfriend) realized that I was moving on, she came back into my life. It was hard, but I let her.

“I regret what I did to you, and I’m sorry but I realized that I love you and that I need you!” Her words almost sounded like this, but she did say, “I love you”.

Everything felt good again, my life was bright and colourful. I wrote my final exams peacefully. After writing, we would hang out with her, every day! Time came for fetching our results. Me and my friends went to sleep in the garage so that we would be the first ones to receive the newspapers to check our results. She wasn’t there, but she told me to search for her exam number to check if she passed her matric. One of the guys there was my class mate and he called me aside, said he wanted to show me something. I wasn’t on social media back then, so I was surprised when he showed me what my girlfriend (now ex) had posted on the socials (WhatsApp and Facebook). She posted, not one, but three different guys that were her other boyfriends! I couldn’t take it, I heard the sound of my heart crashing and I felt my stomach getting cold. I was so embarrassed that everyone had seen these posts except me (yet they kept quiet).

When I got my results, I had done exceptionally in all my subjects, but I wasn’t happy. On the way back, I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I was angry and sad. I got home, took a nap and woke up later that morning. I thought about her and I went outside for some sun and fresh air. But I just thought of her even more. I felt tears running down from my eyes; they were warm, but my heart was cold. She was the end of me, and the beginning of fear.