Post Exposure prophylaxis: Getting back on the Saddle

I was holed up in bed, watching reruns of House of Cards and Game of Thrones. My browser was full of tabs, some talking of Valentine’s and how couples would be spending the day, throwing away a lot of hard earned money in a bid to show off their love to each other to the rest of the world. I do not enjoy frivolous displays of affection. However, you never know what I might do in the name of love, so I won’t unashamedly bash those who gave it their all this weekend.  There was an advert in the paper of a famous hotel offering an unforgettable night for 2+ million shillings. If I had that kind of money lying around, I’d have paid my campus school fees and removed that burden from my parent’s shoulders. Ruthless pragmatism.

My phone was dry. People were busy partying or ‘getting busy’ with their partners for the weekend. I had spectacularly torpedoed my own ‘project’ by showing my cards before the ‘right time’. However, in my defense, not knowing whether I was wasting my time or not had been eating me alive. I had to know. I asked. This time it wasn’t as bad as the first time when I went all in. I even had the presence of mind to act all gentlemanly-like. To make matters worse, my closest friend went silent on me on the same day (the jury is still out on whether the two events were related or not).Talk about a double blow to the heart!

What followed was a hollow week, with me feeling unbalanced, unhinged and unsure of the direction that my social life was taking. I felt like a failure, which was odd since this year’s Valentine’s had shown every sign of finally being a happy weekend. Oh well, I’ve lived through worse. I powered up my old laptop and started sifting through my series collection, choosing the cream of the crop to binge watch and while away the weekend. Frank Underwood does a lot to calm the nerves and soothe the heart!

On the surface, it seemed that all my plans had backfired, and that I was back to square one. As much as I detest the fear and the awkwardness involved in singling someone out and subsequently bridging the intimacy gap, the game had already got to me. I was hooked. And I wasn’t going to stop till I came out on top. I remember one time when I was playing video games and stayed put for hours on one race, racing again and again till I finally won. I remember faithfully memorizing the route, learning how to negotiate the tortuous corners with each losing race. I remember learning how to carefully manipulate the controls, weaving seamlessly through the animated traffic.I remember the euphoria when I finally won.

I was simply going through the motions. I’d come out on top, as usual. I could feel a difference in me though. I was getting better at this. It was at this juncture in my thought process that my phone blew up. My friend was back. We were talking again. Those simple words do not do justice to the feeling that coursed through my veins when we reconnected. There’s probably more than meets the eye between the two of us, but that is a minefield that shall be navigated slowly. A week without her had shown me how important she is to me.

Thus ended my Valentine’s weekend. After an emotionally grueling week, the weekend shone with a promise, like a dove with healing in its wings. I was starting from scratch again, but every time I have done so, I have been better, more focused and more successful. It is only natural to expect the same in my next ‘project’ (spoiler alert: the shortlist is already in the works). For those in the same situation (or possibly worse), I say this: continual self improvement and getting back on the saddle after you’ve fallen is the only way you will win.

Have the courage to face your fears. Do not look back. Time and math are on your side. Do not despair. And smile, because there are many who have it worse than you do.

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