I’ve dated a few men in this life. Some, good and some, bad. But Beto was one of the good ones. A man well-furbished on the interior as well as the exterior. A man so tall he could see as far as tomorrow when standing on his tippy toes.
Now, I do not remember how we met or even the first few days we spent getting to know each other. I just remember Beto and me talking endlessly, meeting at every chance life availed and the weakening of my knees whenever he was around! (Ha!) Who can forget the times when the reliability of their knees was called to question?
Now there were many things to love about Beto, but today, I specifically choose to talk about his beard. That is a bit funny now that I do not consider myself a hair woman. If anything, my motto has always been, where bushes and thickets thrive, turn the other way. But we are talking about Beto and, Beto’s beard was different. A hypnotizing kind of different. He had just the right amount of beard, with just the right kind of alignment. A beard which when cut down, it sprouted again. Sometimes I kidded him that his beard would be the last thing standing the day tragedy chose to strike the earth.
And you guys, the way he’d smile playfully at me every time I reached for his chin? Let’s just say, either I was drunk in love or Beto just had a beard worth an entire pamphlet of adjectives.
Can we talk about his smile now? Listen, both men and women can have great smiles alright. But unlike the way we brand the smiles of women as being beautiful, sunny and all things flowery, I cannot say the same about men’s smiles. And most definitely, not Beto’s. His was a weakening smile. And with women, dear men, it is either you have a weakening smile, or you just don’t. And my Beto, he had exactly that.
I admit to dwelling a bit too long on his physique up there, but would you allow me to add just one last detail? His eyes. Those eyes I liked to stare into. They carried no softness or mystery. They were just eyes you could trust. So even with my vast trust issues, you would understand when I tell you that Beto found his way through to my punctured soul, wouldn’t you?
Beto and I started dating at a time when even me would not have wanted to date myself. I was from one of my botched relationships and bitter as any woman scorned out there can be. And so despite being drunk in my love for him, I knew I wanted to hop into that relationship on my terms. I kept chanting to myself, ‘Melo, we are getting into this and even doing it on our own terms.’ I was familiar with the story of my love life: I start out well, brain cells all functional and then along the way, I lose my identity and begin to hobble like a cross-legged praying mantis.
Backtracking, one thing I never had going for me in my previous relationships was communication. The only form of communication I was well familiar with was silent treatment. And I was really good at it, trust me. You must be thinking, ‘what an odd thing to be good at!’ But hey, by the time I was dropping that horrid habit, I think I was well on my way up an imaginary podium to receive an Oscar award for my stunning performance in silent treatment. Chei!
By the time Beto came into my life, I had had enough people mistreating me in my previous relationships once they learned that I was not heavy on confrontations. And since habits die hard, anytime Beto upset me, I’d go silent. Probably quieter than God Himself did during that period between the book of Malachi and that of Mathew in the Bible. Consequently, Beto was always the one having to reach out to me every other time since the first principle of silent treatment states that whoever budges first loses the power. And you know the village warrior in me never agree to lose power. Does she?
However, do not be so quick to judge me. The truth is, I had dated a few emotionally abusive jerks before Beto and I was only trying to protect myself from making the same mistake all over again. At least, in the best way I knew of at that moment.
I cannot begin to count the number of times I did things intentionally just to set him off. For some reason, I badly wanted him to raise his voice at me just for once, so that I’d get the chance to lecture him about how all men are the same. On some evenings, I’d sit at home hoping to Christ that Beto forgets to wish me ‘goodnight’ or maybe just falls asleep while we are still chatting on text messages so that he wakes up to find himself dumped the following morning. Lol! Beto, wherever you are, I also do not understand how my mother raised a vindictive monster like myself in her house and not realize it!
It is like I was always setting the poor guy up for failure, every step of the way.
Let me be sincere. Up until I met Beto, I never realized I’d been settling for less in my previous relationships. Especially in terms of communication. Beto made me realize that talking issues out is actually much easier than silent treatment. He made me realize that your partner could possess a personality different from yours and you still could find a middle ground when good communication prevails. Most importantly, he made me discover that that in communicating, you should attack the issue and not your partner. Because a good number of times, your partner might not be the problem. It is the things they did.
Now, I may not tell us why Beto and I parted ways after a long while, but I can tell us that silent treatment is not a registered form of communication. Trust me, I was once a high ranked official in the association of silent treatment givers. (Oh, the imaginary accolades I won!)
The thing with silent treatment is, you stay in your house pacing to and from, imagining the many ways you are going to punish your partner if they do not reach out to you like yesterday. You sit by your phone, silently choking on the bitter brine of your anger, waiting for your screen to light up with her apology when she is not even aware that she might have wronged you in the first place!
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Lastly, don’t forget to Let go and Let Laughter in!