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Never Forget Me, Leila

Published by Dora Achieng’ Okeyo Smashwords

Copyright 2012 Dora Achieng’ Okeyo

Dear Leila, is that a ‘yes’ or ‘maybe’? It is 2:00am and I cannot sleep because of that kiss. Do you know how long I have longed to do just that? So here I am writing you this letter, hoping that for once I will dispel the cliché that Kenyan Men are not romantic. What is romance? I cannot buy you flowers again, because I’ve given you my life. The ring I gave you an hour ago, that’s all of me. Yet you left me standing there in the cold. Do you know how long it took me to get back home? Do you know how much I wanted to come after you and make you mine? But I didn’t and who’s to blame but me? Leila, what wrong have I done in showing my true feelings? I once heard some people say that women change, but their hearts stay the same. If that is so, was your heart ever mine or did you just string me along? I am going crazy thinking of what to write, except my mind is made up and they just flow. So this is my heart laid bare, and I hope to God that you’ll bear with me. I have seen and been with many women. I will not deny that because it is the truth, but with you I am home. Do you know how hard it is for a guy to have that Leila? Have you ever asked yourself why through history it is only the men that propose? My Father told me that it’s because they are the ones who are easily swayed. He said that men are led astray so fast, but women are not. He said that for a woman who truly loved a man, even if he were the devil himself, she would never let him go. He said that men cannot easily do this, so they face the challenge of seeking true love-and keeping it. I always thought he talked because he didn’t understand a thing. When I met you, in January I knew he was right. I couldn’t stop staring at you. I know you noticed, but were too modest to call me out on it. It was simple then, I loved you. I was taken in by you, and could only wait to make you mine. Leila, what can I do to show you that I love you? When you smile, your cheeks glow like someone who has applied a lot of Vaseline on a sunny day. When you think you frown and pout your lips. When you are mad, you either turn up the volume of your music player or pull out a book. You love to walk into a supermarket to browse through their bookshelves. And every time you pass by Tuskys supermarket you but record cards. You have three sets of blue, green and pink. The last time we met you were buying a set of pens just because you felt their fine nibs would look good on your pink record cards. You love to drink Quencher Fruity, even though it has too much sugar. You only take coffee and muffins at The Lounge. In every café or restaurant you visit, you always take the seat near a window on the left side of the room. You once told me that there’s something about having your right side to people and the left to the unknowing world outside. I said ‘I feel you’ and you laughed. You said ‘you have no clue of what I’m talking about Max.’ I nodded like a fool. Truth is I did. I always have. I’ve had my right side towards you, but it feels like you never see me-just like the left, I am unknown to you. You’ve loved and lived to share your feelings and they’ve broken your heart. I can see the pain every time I read one of your poems. When you see your friends fall in love, you go out of your way to protect their love. You even meet up with them just to chat. You did the same for Nancy, but do you know what that means? It means you are full of love, the kind of love that would even shame the devil. It’s that love that I need. It’s the love I feel for you. Now look what you’ve had me do-here I am going on, all mushy, someone would think I’ve lost my mind. I have and it’s no secret, so I won’t pretend. I won’t say I am okay when I am not. I won’t smile when I can barely think straight. I can’t get your scent out of my system. It brings me back to the moment when I told you the truth. You kissed me Leila. You kissed me and made me believe that I was right. How could something so perfect be so wrong? I was mad first. I think I still am. Why did you kiss me and walk away? Why couldn’t you have stopped me from putting that ring on your finger? It’s like breathing in a closed room. Nothing feels right Leila. So, what reasons do I have for wanting to make you mine? Well, you are the only one who has managed to reach out to me. Anything you say or do I take it seriously as though I was the one doing it. Isn’t that reason enough? And before you start talking about my past, let me fill you in on that. I needed to breathe. I was running so fast, I almost choked on my breath. You never saw it. You thought I was having fun, chatting up women in clubs and taking them home. Like Nebu says, ‘that was exercise.’ I know I am messing it all up, but that goes to show I am still me. You are fine Leila. You are the only lady I have met in this city-who is reserved. I don’t mean old school, or lame, but who knows who she is. I also know how much you love your music and your family. All these things remind me of what it means to love, because you don’t demand from me something that I cannot offer. It’s like you know I am perfect and want me to figure it out on my own. I also learned that when a woman is mad, it doesn’t mean she is on that monthly stuff. At times, it means that she has been offended. It is indeed beautiful to have met you Leila, because then I wouldn’t know what it means to give myself to anyone. It’s been a long time coming, and maybe you were right. I am not perfect. I am not right for you. I don’t even think that I deserve your love or time, because who knows-maybe I am too dumb for you. Maybe just maybe, walking away was the hardest thing you could have done. Maybe we could start from the beginning. “Hi, I am Maxwell, and I am in love with you.” Does that sound right? Maybe we can move into the future. “Hi, thank you for the best years of my life.” I didn’t know it would be this painful. Loving you is like walking in the dark. I never know what I am going into run into, or when I will make it through. At times you snapped at me-at times you let me be. You’d let me hold your hand, and look into your eyes-but the whole time your heart was elsewhere. It was with him Leila and it killed me. It kills me. I know it still beats for him. I know I am a stupid twenty-seven year old Doctor writing this. I know that you will read this and think I am crazy. I know you will hate me for this. But I don’t care; I would do anything to see you. Just to look into your eyes-and ask, “Will you marry me?” And I will be standing there praying and hoping that you say yes. My heart will beat so hard, and my ears will await an answer. I am not your past Leila. I am not him. I haven’t told you a lie as yet. I know I will and when I do, I pray to God that it will never wound you. I am not perfect love, I am just some grown up Boy who wants to hold your hand in mine, take walks around town with you, listen to your heartbeat, see you smile, get you mad so we can break up to make up. I simply want you to be mine- and that is by far the hardest thing so far. You have a fortress around your heart. I have tried. I know that he hurt you. I know that when I say “I love you” it’s him that comes to mind. For why believe me when that vow once destroyed your happiness? Leila, no matter what happens-to me, or us, never forget this. Never forget that I love you not because you are beautiful or a smart mouth, but because you radiate love wherever you go and in whatever you do. You put others before you, and still manage to do what you want. You can dance to even the slowest songs; I still don’t know why I should listen to Bach or Schubert. I know you love life, and that within your fortress is a heart that yearns for love and understanding. So here I am, hoping that you love me as much as I love you, and that you say “yes.” I love you Leila, never forget this. It’s me Maxwell.

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