“The story I’m about to share may not be the typical Morocco 101 story. It doesn’t contain the hilarious elements that get your ribs cracking, nor the foolish mistakes one does when in love, neither does it have that ridiculously embarrassing feature that hovers around most past persona of this series. One might even call my story a sad one and such person wouldn’t entirely be wrong. My story is one characterized by man’s greatest flaw, that which has brought Kings and Queens down, and that which comes before a fall. It goes thus:
Amongst the things that made the love between I and Bernard unique, was his christening of my name from the usual Esther everyone calls me, to Estylove, next to it was the melodious accent he called it in.
I met Bernard on the day of my matriculation. He was a 200l student and a campus journalist who had made quite some name on campus with his very opinionated yet objective articles, and his flawless writing style. A voracious reader like myself was a constant visitor to the school’s board and knew by name any good writer whose writings were regularly on the board. So even before our meeting, the name ‘Bernard’ had already registered itself in the part of my head labelled, ‘Good writers’.
Bernard walked up to me in the midst of congratulatory felicitations from friends and family, outstretched smartphones for selfies and loud cheers from fellow matriculating students. He tapped me on my right shoulder, and when I turned to see who it was, gestured if I had a minute. I don’t know why I gave him audience without the fear of him being a stalker, maybe it was the positive aura his smart looks commanded, or the fact that he had a voice recorder worn around his neck, but I did. We both stepped down from the pew we were standing on, and sat on the next one.
‘My name is Bernard Charles’ he began. ‘I am a 200l student of Microbiology and a student journalist. I’m working on a story about matriculation and…’
I didn’t even let him finish before my fangirl showed herself, ‘Like the campus writer Bernard Charles?’ I almost screamed. He tried to hide his smile at this, but I still saw streaks of it when his lips slightly extended, and the dimples I never knew he had, showcased.
‘I don’t know what you mean, but yes, I am Bernard Charles.’ He continued, half-smiling.
‘Sorry! I tend to lose my cool when I meet my idols for the first time.’ I replied and regretted it almost immediately, because that was obviously flattery. And why would I be flattering with someone I just met?
He smiled again.
‘So, are you up for a quick interview?’ He went on. ‘Start by introducing yourself, and stating your department please.’ He tapped a red button on his recorder.
‘My name is Esther John. I’m a 100l student of Applied Chemistry…’
He asked of my thoughts on the idea of the school hosting a matriculation ceremony separate from an orientation, then concluded by requesting that I suggest methods I think the school can employ in making the matriculation more informing and attractive to matriculants.
I found myself more relaxed than I ever had being with a stranger, as though I knew him all my life and could tell him anything. He in turn didn’t hesitate in commending my eloquence every now and then, all through the interview.
‘Thank you very much, Esther. You’re amazing.’ He said after the interview. ‘I really appreciate this. Welcome to the jungle. We will see again.’ He took my palm in his, held it for few seconds, dropped it afterward, smiled and left. ‘We should definitely see again.’ I said in my head, but what came out was, ‘You’re welcome, Bernard.’ even though he was miles away already.
A week later when he published the writing online and on board, I had two paragraphs to my name and was tagged, ‘The gorgeous matriculant – Esther…’ I frowned at the adjective, felt objectified by it, as though my beauty was all there was to me. I copied his e-mail address from his by-line and made a mental note to mail him.
‘The gorgeous matriculant, huhh? I’m no writer but I can give you ten better adjectives to qualify ne with.’ I mailed him that night.
He replied with a laughing emoji almost immediately. After some minutes added, ‘I’m sorry I did that. I just had to make sure you contacted me somehow, and see? It worked. I was not wrong about you after all.’
‘So it was deliberate you’re saying, and you didn’t simply lack adjectives? And what do you mean by not being wrong about me after all?’ I mailed back.
‘Okay, let’s say I did run out of adjectives, happy? But then, it was deliberate too. And for your last question, you will get to know eventually.’ and added a ‘wink’ emoji.
We exchanged more mails, that the delay in messages became discomforting. He asked for my WhatsApp number, and I gave it to him without giving it a thought. We moved our conversation to WhatsApp and spent the remaining hours of that night in each other’s chatboxes.
It didn’t take long for our ship to be canon. After a streak of non-stop chatting and calls that lasted weeks, Bernard asked me out using the most horrible pick up line – ‘Estylove, Will you be my muse?’ I guffawed at his face.
‘Who uses such line?’ I replied in between my laughs.
‘A writer. Laugh all you want. Will you or will you not?’
Maybe what they said about writers not knowing the right words to use when it’s a loved one, were true. It after all reflected in Bernard’s person.
‘I feel like if I say ‘No’, you would end up writing several bestsellers on heartbreak and rejection and I don’t want to give you that luxury. So, yes, I will be your muse.’ We both laughed this time.
‘I love you, Estylove’ he said in an accent that made my heart ‘turnoninown’.
‘I love you too, Bernard’ I said it back, and we ended up in each other’s arms. This was 10PM at I Block, and my journalist-friend didn’t mind making the headlines the next day. He loved me, that’s all he cared. I felt special.
The first few months of our relationship were simply lovely. He called me almost all the time to find out my real voice. According to him, ‘Girls trick boys at first meetings into thinking they’ve such lovely voice, until five months later when the real voice comes out on it’s own.’ So he claimed, but I knew why he called frequently and I enjoyed his delusion.
Bernard would always walk me to FBI from classes, insisting we hold hands, not because he was insecured, not at all. ‘I’m proud to have you by my side.’ He’d always say. Everyone literally around me knew we were dating. ‘If this boy break your heart, will you survive so?’ Sharon my bunkie always teased.
I think every reader of the press boards in school knew too. He after all flaunted my name in his numerous published aesthetic poetries, and nonfictions alike. I was indeed his muse, and he, my Shakespeare.
Our beautiful relationship extended till my second year, and I never wanted it to end. But fate had other plans. No, not fate, fate is divine, these plans were spearheaded by earthly forces.
Bernard was working on an investigative story on campus, and he pleaded for solitude. I understood the kind of writer he was, who did beautifully when not posed with distractions, so I gave him space. For weeks, I and Bernard remained out of touch, that even after he published the story he was working on, I waited for him to call me. He finally did, but whatever we returned to wasn’t that couple that earned longing stares and countless ‘Awws’ anymore.
Somehow, it started to matter who reached out to who first. When he isn’t calling or chatting me up, I don’t either. His excuses were always his career, and I felt too important to be belittled by it.
Days when I missed him, I stared at my phone longingly, but lacked the courage to place a call. Some nights I would stay up waiting for his call or text, but would find it almost impossible to initiate the conversation. I would then force myself to bed and wake up on a wet pillow because tears. I attributed the reaching out part in a relationship to be the work of the guy, and not the lady. It was a principle I dangerously upheld, until our time apart turned our shoulders cold.
I don’t know why Bernard himself never reached out. Maybe he was shackled by pride as I was, and waited for me to break out first. Maybe he was disappointed in me and felt I wasn’t worth it. Maybe he got so obsssesed with his writing, that he lost his touch with human emotions. Maybe I should have broken the ice, and discovered the answers to the one million questions. But I didn’t. I let it escalate. The beautiful thing I and Bernard shared got thin and thinner, until it was completely lost in the distance we kept.😭😭😭”
PS: The names in this story are made up – Fictional. It is to hide the identity of the real characters in the story.
Questions Of The Day (QsOTD):
1. Who takes most of the blame between Bernard and Esther in their lost relationship?
2. Which do you place first? Your career or your boy(girl)friend?
You’ve a #Morocco101 worthy story you want to share?
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