Writers are advised to go out there and the story will find them. Voices travel through time to get to us when we need them and eventually leave us with tales to tell and tricky questions such as how do humans navigate the end of friendships?
Travel expedites the process of separation and exposes the quality of your friendships. Being away frays the weak bonds you attempt to maintain while strengthening the ones that will withstand the distance of time and space. — Travel and the art of losing friends (Nomadic Matt)
The day is Sunday, less sparkly yet super hot. The sweating marathon continues. My cabin fever has hit the threshold and forced me outside the confines of my comfort zone – home. This was long overdue but I kept making excuses as to why I’d much rather think about the complexities of my life from my living room. I mean have you experienced the current temperatures in Malindi?
This particular Sunday was meant to be fun-packed at least in my imagination. I would wake up by 7am, finish up the chores fast enough, head out to the salon for my loc fix, do the monthly frugal shopping, have brunch as I watch Eliud Kipchoge at his London backyard, go to a hang out spot to clear my overworking brain, come back home for Azerbaijan Grand Prix, have post-race banter with the bae as we build up to the much anticipated Manchester United vs Chelsea clash, put Mandla down for his sleep then have dinner as we catch up with NBA playoffs and/or favourite shows.
The funny thing about plans is that you can only plan so much. You are not in charge of what happens in between. I woke up at 8 am, called the loctician in the hope that she’d say she was not around but she was.
“Come at 9.30 a.m.”
In between the morning errands, I lost track of time. The silver lining is that I managed to watch Mo Farah fade into the distance, with much relish. There was only room for one King.
In my world, plans change within a span of 5 minutes. The hangout plan was cancelled following my lengthy rant about just how hot it was to outside. However, after a mini pep-talk about embracing spontaneity, self-love and spending quality time with myself, I was ready for the semi-white sandy beaches and Insta-blue waters a few minutes away from home.
I left with some notebooks. After all, this self-care package had a lot to do with splurging on my self in exchange for several blocks of text and calling it blog content strategy. The capitalism gods would be proud.
I settled in at the beach (name withheld for potential Huduma reasons) with the Italians of course and a few touristy Nairobians. It’s not a place a Malindian goes to kill time. There’s plenty of other cute chill spots that are free. Again Capitalism, killing it!
Nairobi has become too small a hiding spot that its residents would fancy fleeing from the busy life (and weddings) to chill by the beach. Social media users rehash the societal pressures placed upon adulting lot by the excessive demands in wedding and baby shower committees. But to witness my new-friends-in-theory lash out in person was a sight to behold.
Dear touristy friends who were at a Malindi joint over the weekend, my apologies for the unexpected intrusion of an eavesdropper. It needs no mentioning that I binned my blog content planner for premium gossip. It’s what I deserved. I hung on to every word.
“I’m flying out without telling them.”
Wrong move ma’am. They will come at you for skipping the wedding and then flying yourself out without permission. Abort mission.
My attempt at camaraderie was obviously all in my head, regurgitated warnings for no one to hear. They’d had enough I presume. And I would never break ranks with righteous indignation at the heat of the moment. Or even contribute to the damaging idea that standing for a cause inherently means standing against someone else. Less about my stray opinions and more about the fun stuff.
I ordered a cold one instead and adjusted myself accordingly as they tilted their glasses for a toast.
At some point in the story, one would wish they were actually the bride and groom who had eloped right? The wedding jitters on display would make for a solid case on IGTV. Except it wasn’t. My new beach friends were in deep anxiousness and occasional regret amidst the satisfying looks they gave off whilst clearing the palate cleansers they had ordered – with reckless abandon.
Think about the city I left to come here, the plans I’ve cancelled and the friends I haven’t made.
They were reassuringly blunt and would convince themselves that they did the right thing to ‘elope’. That it was probably for the best that they never graced the wedding with their presence as bridesmaid and a plus one. That it was justified to cut off relationships held by nostalgia (thanks Friendverse podcast) without an explanation than to deal with the wrath of a bridezilla running out of patience in wedding committees.
Interestingly, that’s how life is. It’s much rather safer to offer excuses as to why you could not honour your end of the bargain than outrightly hurt the other person’s feelings with the truth. That it is easier to ghost on your friend than to confront the situation head-on. I’m just here to say the “nobody owes you anything” trope is bullshit.
Ghosting is the immature way out and it says a lot about you when you can’t communicate how you feel effectively and have to result to disappearing.— terra firma 🏁 (@heyaloelee) April 30, 2019
And this is coming from someone who did it without hesitation.
I just know better now. https://t.co/fdbBlOitU6
You have the right to prioritise your well being. So rather than say yes out of obligation or flaking last minute, it would hurt less if you front-load the disappointment. Let them know and walk away. Avoid the blanketing quiet as a means to an end and uphold that you cannot meet their expectations. Then leave.
I say this because I have been on both ends of the spectrum. The feeling is not nice on either side. It can tear you apart especially if you had a close connection with said person.
Let’s also not send our loved ones into anxiety answered in silence as deep as that every time they log on to their WhatsApp and find our unending financial demands that are laced with subtle threats lest they fail match the demands. We can coexist imagine.
As fate would have it, I stumbled upon one of my beach friends online. Unexpectedly I might add. But with how invasive algorithms and humans are, who knows?