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Lessons from a Charmed Love
Let’s call me Yolanda. A few months ago, things I never thought would happen to me did happen to me, and until now, I could never have imagined myself in such a situation. It all started on a boring Friday night.
School was over for the week and I was excited. So maybe I did not have a great social life outside of school but who cared, right? Okay, I did care a little because there I was, bored silly and imagining myself dead with the doctor informing my tearful family that I’d died of a common disease called boredom. Yeah, when I’d said “bored silly”, I meant literally.
I reached for my phone, wondering which social media I should log into. It was like even my virtual life was terrible. Social media surely didn’t seem like a helpful option but since I was not exactly fond of phoning and texting my friends, I thought, “Why not give a dating site a chance?” What?! I was a teen and though not very in tune with my feelings, I needed adventure. Obviously, lying in bed and imagining being killed by boredom wasn’t it.
Minutes later, I was Googling teen dating sites. Scrolling through God-knows-how-many texts, I finally found the one that sounded most fun… maybe partly because it is called Fundate City. It sure sounded fun to me. I signed up for the site and immediately set off to work, and by “work”, I meant to find people to chat with.
Many profiles later, I found this Justin Bieber lookalike and being an ever-so-loyal belieber, I sent my first message: “Hey.” How very inviting! So Bieber 2, as I’d named him without his idea seemed not-so-boring until he asked for us to sext. What?! Every question I asked him after his request just had to have an answer involving sex but I was like, “Dude, we’re only 14!” to which I got the answer, “So?” Using a series of super lame excuses, I think he got the message and left. Bieber 2 was a jerk… with a pretty cute name: Ethan.
Frustrated, I threw my phone away. Poor phone, I wondered when it’d crack and run away. Oh, wait, I knew… never, that is, unless it suddenly got legs. I fell asleep a little afraid that I’d not wake up again.
Three days had passed and I hadn’t even been online on Sext & Date City. Wait, it was Fundate City. Well, it was the Easter holidays and vacation for pretty much every school in my country and I was at my uncle’s with my cousins. TV was no fun so I decided to give Sext & Date City another chance. Oh, I’ve realised my mistake; I just liked my version more. It sounded more… sincere.
It hadn’t been two minutes when I got my first message. It was from someone who would become a big part of my life… but I didn’t know it then. We began chatting and I found out a lot of things about him. He was a country boy from South Washington and I want us to call him Lakota. Lakota Brown. Yeah, that sounds good. If there’s one thing I’ll never forget though, it’s his first words. He said, “Hey. Wanna get to know you.” So sexy, huh? Yeah, not really, but still, there was something I couldn’t put a finger on that made me want to go on… and I did.
Days passed and Lakota and I chatted more and more, getting closer with each passing day. I could almost feel our chemistry through my phone and I loved it. I’d promised not to crush or love yet since in our culture, it was a taboo but as days passed, I realised I’d thrown that out the window the first day I’d chatted with him. We had so much in common, like the fact that we both lived with our single mothers. He sent me e-flowers… if a word like that exists and we even exchanged emails so that we could communicate more easily. I remember that he once sent a flower and captioned it, “Idk why but I just felt like giving you this”.
Now normally, romantic stuff like this would have been a huge turnoff but he seemed to attract instead of to repel. I suddenly didn’t want to let go. Then it happened…. Or more specifically, he happened. His name was Curtis and unlike Lak, as I’d nicknamed my Lakota, he was black just like me. There were a lot of things that made him utterly different from Lak but those same things made us more similar.
Curtis was intelligent and a little blunt but he was also opinionated and we shared similar opinions on political, educational and random stuff. We discussed terrorism, murder and other things connected to the law. In the end, he asked me to be his girlfriend and in that same sentence, asked me to say no. We became friends, chatting day in and day out while I tried to keep up with school work, social pressure, my mom’s unconscious emotional abuse and most importantly, Lak, the guy I really liked but refused to give a hint that I did. I wouldn’t be me if I hadn’t.
My Facebook life decided that it was time to twist my life a little further and it ended up with me hooking up my directioner bestie with James, my “ex”. Our supposed relationship didn’t even last a day but I figured since Yazmiine, my bestie had broken up recently with her boyfriend, James and she could hit it off. They did… but that meant a lot of fights where I had to intervene and counsel. I even had to endure one of James’s exes and her best friend just for Yazmiine and when I’d gotten them together again, all James could tell me was that he could handle the relationship. For goodness’s sake, I was the saviour of their relationship! I took a step back and left it all in his hands. Why should I care, right? Three couldn’t be in a relationship.
On Fundate City, things were getting… confusing. I couldn’t understand some of the jokes Curtis made and Lakota wasn’t online as often as he did before. Was it possible to like two guys at the same time? My relationship life (if I had any) was messed up, school was getting tougher and tougher for me (being one of the best students in my class didn’t mean studying and staying on top was easy as getting pregnant) and my mom’s criticisms were making me cry more. I never cried in public though. That wasn’t me and I preferred to keep my feelings to myself… which in retrospect, was the only thing holding back Lak and my relationship.
Nevertheless, it was like Curtis and my relationship blossoming was straining Lakonda (Oh, that’s the ‘ship name I made for us but it was like Brolie, a combination of his last name: Brown and my nickname: Yolie sounded better. Still sounds better to me). Another thing was, Lak had sent me a photo of him and he was ruggedly handsome and hot, and he had intoxicating eyes but I was scared to send him a photo of me. What? I’m African; he’s American, he’s a cutie; I’m not exactly Beyoncé and it seemed like my looks would really disappoint him. I can almost swear he’d built a fantasy of me who was absolutely not the real me. I couldn’t bear to disappoint him. Usually, breaking hearts wasn’t a big issue for me since all I had to do was be harsh and mean and all the guys would go away, but it’s Lak we’re talking about here. I couldn’t possibly do it.
Facebook life decided to butt in again when Yazmiine and James had another fight. I tried to intervene but it ended up with them breaking up anyways. Turned out James was a more sex-crazed version of Ethan and Yaz had seen it coming. That was when Yaz decided to drop the “I like you” bomb on me. Oh, and by “like”, I meant “like-like”, in case you still haven’t gotten it. One more thing, my culture is homophobic which meant I was torn between breaking my bestie’s heart by rejecting her and standing firmly by my culture. Culture won because I only liked Yaz like a sister, not a girlfriend.
Unfortunately, Lak had decided that ignoring me was the best decision in the world at that moment. Yeah, one minute I was asking for help about the Curtis-Yolanda thing since I’d been friend-zoned, then he was admitting his likeness for me and in the next, he was ignoring me. Now how was I supposed to deal with that? I was new to all of this, for God’s sake; couldn’t life take it easy on me? Apparently, the answer was simple: NO!
I couldn’t take it all anymore. It was like the entire universe was closing down on me and I was cracking under the pressure of everything. I tried to run like I always did in tough situations but I was simply just stuck in this one. I had a fight with Yaz and I gave Curtis my number. He began acting like an Ethan… maybe with much more subtlety but he was the only one I had then, I couldn’t afford to lose him too. He decided to surprise me one day by calling me and when I heard his voice, I felt it. I felt the butterflies, the blood rush, the queasy feeling and every other thing related to love that I’d scorned months before. It was that night that he called that I cracked and ended up releasing a lot of my pent-up feelings to him. It wasn’t cliché though, it was just weird that it had been inspired by him trying to get me to – what’s the word? Ah, shizz! I can’t recall the word but it had everything to do with saying lewd stuff to help him get off.
But no matter how hard I tried or Curtis kept me company, Lakota wouldn’t get out of my mind. It’d been months and he was still on my mind but he still hadn’t replied to any of my texts so it was either he’d suddenly turned gay, had gotten another girl or was straight-up being a jerk face. Personally, I’d go for the latter but that didn’t help me stop having feelings for him.
Months passed and it was no longer “just friends” for Curtis and me. He’d try to get me out of my comfort zone and then retreated saying he loved me and couldn’t bear to do it. Unfortunately enough, he’d chosen to profess his love for me when I’d met Akele a few weeks before and we were an amazing duo. I liked him, but I didn’t know if he did too. We just knew how to get the other into fits of laughter and it was never once awkward between us. However, there was the same old problem of him seeing my photo.
Curtis, on other hand, had seen my photo, never ceased to call me beautiful, kept telling me he loved me and would not stop till I caved in. He’d said he was leaving the site but he’d returned the next day right after deleting his account and told me that he couldn’t leave me. Akele had stopped texting and I’d refused to try to get him to start texting again as I’d done with Lakota. I wasn’t going to let history repeat itself and Akele and I couldn’t compare to the Lakonda/Brolie magic.
I took some time off to reflect on my life and to choose which path to flow, especially after Yazmiine and I had reconciled and she’d reminded me that she still liked me. Back on Fundate City, Curtis, the one I’d finally decided to stick with was gone. I guess I was too late and due to certain circumstances, we couldn’t phone each other anymore.
Now that I look at it, all that has happened has made me stronger, more mature and insightful. Life is not always how you expect it to be. Love is like the wind, you cannot control it (unless you’re some sort of air bender); you just… feel it. It follows you wherever you go and you get more wherever you go. I have explored and experienced love, crush, infatuation or whatever you call it. I’m not going to spend my life searching for it. As cheesy as it sounds, I’m going to let it find me… someday. Until then, I am going to concentrate on my schoolwork, my friends and me. An ounce of the self-confidence I hide behind and a drop of luck, and I’m sure I’ll be fine. Besides, isn’t this what being a teen is about?