CHAPTER SEVEN: THE SILENT TREATMENT AND WHEN TO MOVE ON
Let your words exceed your thoughts
Let them slip out to my ears
Let them meet my heart and drown my fears
Let your words stretch out
Let them find me and find you
Let them clean the fog
And light a flame
For in words we form bonds
In words, we plough fields, make feasts
With words we lay our beds
Lie in it and buy a dream
I’m staring at my phone again, the same way I’ve been doing for the past two weeks nonstop –while eating, while painting, even while bathing. Still nothing. Jeremiah hasn’t said anything to me. I haven’t sent him any messages. I will stand here like a wall till he moves first, but his movement is sloooow.
Sometimes I go on WhatsApp and check his ‘last seen.’ I can’t help myself. I hate that I am doing it. It’s girly and needy but I can’t resist. Last time I checked it said he was online eight minutes earlier. Eight minutes. So he has been online and he has time to message other people, just not me.
Laura says he is working through personal issues, but that is not explanation enough. You can’t disappear without giving your more-than-just-a-friend any explanations. And now more than ever, Jeremiah has to answer me. Dotun is back. If this were a Telemundo series that statement would be followed by a DAN DAN DAAANN sound effect.
Who is Dotun?
Hmmm… Imagine Channing Tatum meets Chris Hemsworth begets Kit Harrington. Oh wait, that came out wrong. My point- he is my super-hot ex. We dated back then in law school and we even won cutest couple.
So 3 days ago, Dotun calls me out of the blue. We talked for a while, banalities though, trying our bests to avoid sensitive topics about the past. And then after that, it became easy. We started flowing, like we used to, even bringing up the past yet still managing to keep the worms in their cans. Now, he says he wants us to see. And I know Dotun. Seeing him will definitely mean more than just that.
So here’s how it goes; I give Jeremiah two days to reply my messages or I see Dotun.
I walk into Radisson Blu by 8:30pm for a 7:00pm date. Well I look exceptional good so I think it is allowed. And then I see him seated at the back busy with his phone, his legs crossed like a Paul Smith model which I’m very sure must be the designer logo on his burnished leather brogues. He is divine in a navy blue suit and the collar of his white shirt is open a bit, a gold chain visible. Now the memories are rushing back, the feelings, everything pouring in like a newly opened dam. My butterflies are awake and very tickly. I forgive him for what he did, of course. What did he do again? I don’t remember – see I’ve not just forgiven I’ve also forgotten.
How very Jesus baby of me.
My heels click in the hushed hall as I walk up to him. Rich people and their low voices though. One man and woman are quarrelling in one corner but I can barely hear a whisper. Even their baby is crying and still nothing.
He lifts his head to look at me as I draw closer. Yes lord, our children will be like Adonis and Aphrodite! Calm your ovaries, Sarah. Act like you have no care, like you’re still angry with him for… whatever. I compose myself but then he smiles. Palestine will call a truce with Israel for that smile.
“Hello Sara, longest time,” he says in a sing-song voice.
“It’s Sarah” I say, cocking my eyebrows.
He smiles again and my butterflies go berserk. “I know. I just did that to annoy you.”
I laugh heartily, and I know I sound twelve. “Of course, only you would Dotun.”
The rest of the evening is passed sampling an array of cuisines I cannot pronounce. We eat in silence, with Dotun being a staunch follower of the rules of table manners, and me fighting a war with my mind as it tries to bring up Jeremiah related memories… If Jeremiah and I do break up, I don’t think I’d be able to eat without thinking of him…. SARAH YOU AND JEREMIAH ARE NOT DATING! The lady in my head screams as a reminder.
After the meal, we reminisce. Well, more Dotun than I. He talks and I stare at his pink lips while thinking about Jeremiah. Er, I’m staring at his lips? I should stop that. He notices and starts laughing and I am extremely embarrassed.
“I see you’re still a lip person,” he says reminding me of my previous crazy pink lip fetish. And now we start talking about that, laughing out loud, annoying the fancy people, Dotun caring a bit, me not caring at all. And then as expected, the talk becomes a little bit dirty.
At the end of the evening, I can very well say, Dotun 1 Jeremiah 0.
It’s been two weeks of no Jeremiah and all Sarah and Dotun. My head has been reeling with hashtags… #Sarotun #Dorah…yea I know, our names don’t go too well together. Still, it is Dotun 7 Jeremiah 0.
We are at The Palms cinema sitting at our favourite spot on the second to last row. Yeah, it’s our fifth time together in the cinema already. Dotun has his own law firm so he has time and I like the distraction. The theatre is packed full, with people watching the much vaunted ‘Spiderman: Homecoming.’ I bring up an argument about who is the best Spiderman – Toby Maguire, Andrew Garfield or the new kid Tom Holland. Dotun says it’s the Tom kid and I give him my ‘what the deuce’ face. Come on! Toby Maguire is the Spiderman for all seasons, I’m sure Jeremiah will agree with me…
A Jeremiah related thought. Sigh— Dotun 7 Jeremiah 1.
The argument goes on and we divert to the infamous Marvel vs DC argument. Again we have different opinions.
Jeremiah would have… Sigh. Dotun 7 Jeremiah 2.
Behind us, two girls are giggling and snap-chatting really loudly. Dotun is not interested in talking about them, but I can only imagine the insults Jeremiah and I would have come up with…
Sigh. Dotun 7 Jeremiah 3.
As if Dotun knows, he laces his fingers in mine and right then I feel the sparks, so old yet so new. And just like that my mind goes ‘Jeremiah who?’
Yay. Dotun 8 Jeremiah 3.
My phone vibrates in my pocket. I pull it out and wait a minute…
Fate is playing dice with me.
It is a message from Jeremiah. ‘Hello.’ Simple, yet confusing. Why would he do this? What is he trying to do? I’m just going to ignore it.
I try, but it’s not easy. My eyes are watching the epic battle between Spiderman and his arch nemesis Vulture. Everyone is shouting and clapping, and I should be on the edge of my seat like Dotun is, completely absorbed in the movie. Instead I’m trying to decipher the meaning of ‘hello.’ I hate complicated messages that present themselves in simple form. Hello could mean anything – it could mean, I’m sorry let’s get back together, I’m sorry in Adele’s version. It could even mean goodbye. Thanks Jeremiah for ruining my night.
Another message comes in. Turn around.
Arrggh! Just as complicated. What does it mean? Let’s turn around and start over; let’s turn around and never see each other again. It could even mean don’t turn around at all. It’s so weird how these messages from anyone else wouldn’t be confusing at all.
I read and reread the message again, and then I think, ‘wait,’ and physically turn around. Guess who I meet eye to eye? Jeremiah is sitting directly behind me. Unless of course, I am imagining this and it is actually a random guy whose face I transformed to satisfy my desperate need to see Jeremiah.
“Hi,” he says. And yes, that’s definitely Jeremiah.
I blink once, twice, thrice, five times in quick succession, then ten more times and then I turn my head sharply. Now I definitely can’t watch the movie. Jeremiah is right behind me. I can smell his Givenchy perfume with a subtle hint of curry. If I turn right or left, I can see his silhouette from the corner of my eye. I can even hear him breathing.
Dotun looks at my placid face and asks if I’m alright. I’d forgotten about Dotun. Now I produce a smirk. It’s about to get interesting.
In an instant my arm hooks through Dotun’s lovingly… fake though. Dotun, being the romantic that he is moves his hand behind my head and starts stroking my hair. This is good. To spice things up, I use our only inside joke. I whisper “lip fetish” in his ear and he chuckles. He whispers into my ear, I don’t even know what but I chuckle anyways like a lovesick teenager. Then I rest my head on his shoulder. It’s annoying, I know, but it must be done and believably too or Jeremiah will know. Sometimes I think he knows me even more than I know me.
I suddenly feel pressed. Which is unlike me, I’m not one to just leave a movie halfway. But Jeremiah is happening and my bladder is nervous. So I excuse myself and dodge through the overly focused people on my row till I’m walking down the carpeted stairs. The toilet is full of girls taking bathroom background pictures. I do my thing and then wash my hands, not even bothering to look in the mirror.
Out the door, and there leaning on the wall, looking like a boss of some sort, is Jeremiah.
“Hi,” he says. Again with the complicated message.
I really don’t want to talk to him. And I find myself telling him, straight and plain. He is hurt as his face shows but I’m even more hurt. I start to walk away and I hear, “I’m sorry.”
I stop and turn to face him and he continues. “I was an ass, still am and I’m sorry. I want to tell you what happened, why I acted the way I did.”
“Sarah,” someone calls, cutting the speech short. It’s Dotun. Crap, should I turn around? Or should I tell Jeremiah to go on? I want to turn around. But wait, what about Jeremiah? I really want to hear what he has to say. But he hurt you and this thing with Dotun is already looking good. But he is Jeremiah. DECIDE SARAH!
I turn around. I walk away.
Taking Dotun’s hand, we leave the cinema.
Yes I did that, but the tiny voice goes, ‘Dotun 8 Jeremiah Infinity.’
Dotun and I stop at mega chicken for dinner. I force Yamarita and egg sauce down my reluctant throat into my nervous stomach. Then he drops me at home and is polite enough to settle for a hug. My mind is reeling as I walk into the house. I hear voices coming from the sitting room and I’m tempted to turn around and take the back door.
I hear a voice and pause. It can’t be, right?
I push open the door and I’m more angry than shocked to see a cheerful Jeremiah engaged in a discussion with the rest of my family.