2019 is my third year single; it’s been longer if you factor in the years I spent as the poster child for spousal neglect. Last month, I decided to dip my toe cautiously back into the dating pool and check out how things are. I last dated in my very early 20’s; by age 22 I was married with a baby. Needless to say, I found the current dating scene a terrifying place. Nonetheless, I am not one to chicken out so easily, and I pressed on in my quest to find the one, or two. I signed up to a dating app and after registering waited eagerly for matches.
The first page of ‘people near you’ showed a former in-law posing like a rock star trying to bring his A-game. I threw away the phone so violently, it’s a wonder it survived (cheap phones are loyal like that), then quickly retrieved it when I remembered I hadn’t logged off. Words simply cannot describe the sensation one gets from meeting a ‘shemeji’ on a dating app. That killed my steam for that evening, and I was sure I was done. Curiosity is a power unto itself though, because the following day found me tiptoeing back into the app for another look. After a string of hi’s from potential matches, I got one from a not so bad looking one (girls love ‘hot’ as well). He had me at “trying to make noodles from scratch” in response to the customary “what are you up to?” that appears at the start of all conversations. The conversation was flowing so well, we chatted all afternoon. He was funny, charming, attentive, amazing conversationalist. When I had to log off to attend to other matters, he asked for my number (which I was only too eager to give) and told me “see you on the other side”. There were long conversations going way past midnight, good morning texts. The conversation flowed seamlessly from one topic to another. He sounded so perfect. When I mentioned how unusually well matched we were he responded with “our ancestors must have met and broke bread”.
We planned for picnics, bungee jumping, concerts; I was even planning to go visit him. I agonized for days over what I’d wear (it does sound very misguided now).
Then one evening we are chatting and he says “I’m out with some friends, talk to you when I get home”. That was the last I heard from him. I let a day pass and sent a message in which I hoped he was ok. No reply. A few days went by and I went from worrying about his safety to realizing I might just have gotten myself ghosted. Just to be sure, I called. The phone went unanswered. I hyperventilated for about five minutes, and my brain ran all the possible reasons why a seemingly normal person would drop out of a great conversation midway and disappear. Eventually I did convince myself to calm down like the big girl I am.
Dear ghoster, if you ever read this, know that I did get the “bang ugly ripped jeans” we talked about, and sometimes when I’m missing you I put them on and listen to your favorite song; Akanamali by Sun- El.
*Written by Zelipa Njoki Murage.