“You know you could have had my baby?” James blurted

“You want to have a baby with me?” Nyaribo retorted a bit excited. Is this a final confession of his love after 10 years.

Nyaribo met James at work, she happened to overhear James conversing with colleagues. She decided to but in and got into an argument with James. That was the beginning of endless debates over lunches and evening walks to the bus stop. One evening while they were walking to the bus stop together, James didn’t take the usual detour to his bus stop.

“Where are you going? Nyaribo blurted.

“Home, Kwani?!” James sneered cheekily.

“You moved? When?”

“I start school in a week, at the Northern University in your neighbourhood. I moved closer, it would be easier.”

That was the beginning of what would be endless nights and conversations which would eventually turn when one evening as James was leaning in to give Nyaribo the usual hug good night, he leaned in and kissed her.

It surprised Nyaribo, but at that moment a fire that had died within her was ignited into a roaring fire which she would never be able to put off.

10 years later, Nyaribo had attempted and failed to date James and seen him through a bad marriage and being a father. Losing his job and rebuilding his career and rediscovering himself. Nyaribo literally watched him become a man. A real sexy and responsible man she desperately hoped would be hers one day.

“You know I have been thinking of you, like every minute of every day. When will you come to visit me in Kigali? Come and see the amazing city!”

“Sounds like a plan, I will keep you posted.” James enthusiastically responded. “ I do think about you as well, I miss you.” He continued.

Nyaribo wondered where this was coming from, for some reason he was being very forthright about his feelings. He was always the more hesitant one.

“Why don’t we just do it once and for all, let’s just give this a shot.”

“You want to marry me?” James blurted.

“I am not sure, I want to marry you, but I want to date you. I want to explore new things with you and see where it goes.”

James was silent.

“What is it you really want James! You give off signals like you want to be with me then you retort. What’s the deal?” Nyaribo was getting frustrated.

“I will be honest with you. I just came out of a relationship…” James began. Nyaribo cringed, her heart sank. She was never number one, there was always another woman James wanted to be with. The sex they had, the ‘friends with benefits’ phase they went through failed.  Nyaribo just couldn’t have sex for the sake of it. She loved James and he knew that he just took advantage of that. And he was doing it again. For some reason, Nyaribo just found it hard to leave and walk away from this friendship.

“You mean a lot to me…,” James continued.

Nyaribo sighed loudly and rolled her eyes. The pain began to show all over her face.

James reached for her hands, she pulled away.

“…It’s true, I want the best for you and I would do anything in my power to be there for you…”

He continued but Nyaribo tuned out as she processed what James was saying. He saw her as a friend, a support system and a sister.

“Through all the sex, the failed attempt at dating, because you barely even tried, is because you don’t want to lose me? You want to be friends, you want a sister?” Nyaribo fought back tears and shook her head in disbelief.

How was she here again? Why her? Again another man she loves doesn’t see her as more than a friend and a confidante, someone a guy felt comfortable to be himself around. But never the woman to be in a relationship with; Nyaribo was one of the “boys” with a vagina who offered a quick shagg on the regular.

“…I know this might just be the end of the road for us, I know I have been selfish. I don’t want to lose the friendship but if it hurts you as I can see it is…” James paused as Nyaribo broke down. She couldn’t fight back the tears any more.

Was she going to say goodbye to this friendship or hang in there and continue deluding herself that one day, just some day James would fall madly in love with her and be her one or should she just throw in the towel and stop torturing herself?

She didn’t know, what her heart and brain wanted where two different things, only time would tell. Nyaribo stood up sobbing and left James on the couch in the living room. All she kept asking was herself, “what is wrong with me?”