I met Kaitlyn some few years ago at a park where I used to be a frequent visitor. Like the social introvert I am, I used to go to that park to talk to the idlers there and refresh my mind after spending my ‘alone time’ writing so that I would get fresh ideas to take back to my ‘alone time’ which was consumed mostly by writing. During that time when I was a frequent visitor of that park, I never saw Kaitlyn accompanied by anyone or talking to anyone. She was always by herself. Kaitlyn never forgot to bring a transparent bottle that had a water like liquid in it (I imagined it was liquor or something worse for she always gradually became drowsy as she sipped it) and a packet of cigarettes ( oops! Smoking was allowed in that particular park). The smoking and the sipping of the drink in her plastic bottle happened simultaneously. She was beautiful and attractive so that always left me with questions to ponder in my mind. Why would a beautiful damsel be in distress? Or maybe she wasn’t as lonely as she seemed to be? Was she okay with being alone? I wondered why she had chosen drugs to keep her company. This had me imagining that she was running from something or someone. After days of trying to understand her I at last gathered enough courage to go over to where she was and ask her why she was always alone. I knew it was none of my business but I was both curious and concerned about the way this girl seemed to be in dire need of someone to talk to and understand her. Like you would expect, her reaction to my approach was hostile and full of resentment. She was like,
“Who are you to invade my space? Who told you that’s a problem for me? Why do you care? Is it any of your business? And Bla Bla bla..”
“Oh I thought you needed someone to talk to. Since you don’t, excuse me.” I said and walked away feeling embarrassed.
The energy of that girl affected my energy that day and the bitterness in her vibe had me sleepless that night. I really realized that she was a girl who dearly and clearly needed help but it was none of my business for she was a stranger whose name I didn’t even know so it was foolish to entangle myself in a crazy situation I didn’t have to be in. On the next day during my ‘alone time’ I payed the park a visit like usual. The park was empty that day. No one apart from that girl and I was in the park. I later came to learn that on that day the President was addressing the nation at a nearby stadium and everyone except me and that girl had gone there. The atmosphere of the park became tense for a second before I decided to mind my business like I should have done. The silence started getting uncomfortable. Just as I was about to get up and leave the park, I looked up to see that the girl had come over to where I was and now she was standing in front of me fidgeting her fingers and looking nervous. This made me nervous too.
“Hey! what can I do for you?” I asked nervously.
“Eeh nothing, I just came to apologise for the way I talked to you yesterday. You know what? You were right actually. I thought I could be strong on my own but I actually need someone to talk to.” She responded.
Ooh so the bad looking girl could be nice after all?
“No, don’t be sorry, you were right actually. You don’t know me, I don’t know you so I really shouldn’t have cared,” I told her dismissively.
“I realized that you are different, you didn’t hurl insults at me like the rest do when I react exactly how I reacted to what you said to me yesterday,” she went on sounding emotional.
“Okay, so what now?” I softened.
“Do you really want to know why I’m always alone looking miserable?” She asked me.
“Yeah but first tell me your name.” I said
“I’m Kaitlyn,” she said weakly.
I told her my name then added, “you can confide in me Kaitlyn.”
“Okay, so I don’t know what’s really wrong with me. All my life I have always been different. I have always said things no one can relate to. I don’t think I have a personality disorder but Everytime I step into a room everyone just holds their breath. People hate me for no reason. They make up stories about me and the stories spread like wildfire. There are some who even think that I am a devil worshiper. No one wants to support me in any endeavor. No one takes the time to know me for who I am. I long to be loved. I love people expecting that they will love me back but they hate me more. I went to a church hoping that I would make some true friends but I didn’t even get close enough. The negativity about me always catches up with me. I used to go to clubs hoping to make friends but every time I went and sat at a table full of people I could socialize with, they always left that table and went to another table leaving me all alone. I’ve tried making friends in vain to the point that I think I’m socially awkward. Some said I am an illusion. Like I don’t exist or I’m unreal or something. Can you imagine I have never had a boyfriend my whole life. I’m in my late twenties and I don’t know any man. Can you believe that? I have been rejected to a point where I don’t think I belong in this world anymore. So I stopped trying and slowly sunk into depression. Alcohol became my painkiller. I could never fit in whenever and wherever I tried to belong. I wanted to be loved. I wanted to be accepted in at least a sect of people. But my personality and everything is out of this world so no one could put up with it,” she said and went on with her story for over thirty minutes. I really felt for her. She was really hurt. She even thought that someone had bewitched her. Funnily she started healing after that day. I offered her company Everytime. I ensured that she felt appreciated. We would go watch movies at the sarit center together every weekend. I remember how her face shone with brightness the one day I brought her flowers. Kaitlyn started changing. She stopped smoking but went on drinking alcohol. After a month or so, you can say that she and I were in love with each other. She couldn’t go a day without seeing me. She had already introduced me to her parents and they were always thanking me saying I had changed their daughter’s life but I always insisted that it was God. We started making arrangements for her to meet my parents upcountry but as fate would have it she would never meet them. My relationship with Kait came to a tragic end ,after going on well for five months, when she died of liver cirrhosis. I will never forget that day.
What I really wish Kait had done early on was to love herself for who she was first and then she would have attracted people of her kind. She let people kill her inner self when her inner self could have surrounded her with the love she had always longed for from the beginning. Never let any negative external factor silence the small voice inside you because what you let your inner self believe influences the kind of life that comes out of you. Don’t wait for somebody to love you if you don’t love yourself. Without loving yourself you’re bound to get hurt.
Jesse Came Athi.
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