(Name changed to protect identity)
“Now you’re wondering about my sex life, na,” accused Amaira, her eyes peering straight into mine.
“Of course not!” I replied, trying my best to look aghast. The problem with an old friend is that she can read your mind!
Her boyfriend/fiancé of four years had broken up with her suddenly and married his neighbour a mere six weeks later. As the episode of Sex and the City that we were watching together, ventured further into the subject of ‘sex buddies’, I had begun to wonder how my single-in-the-city friend managed.
I conceded, “Yes, I was wondering a little bit.”
“I should tell you a little bit then,” she smiled wickedly.
“Nooo, please don’t,” I beseeched with a made-up wince.
“Don’t worry ya… It’s nonexistent,” she responded, with a made-up sad face.
But then she got serious and looked at me, then through me and began, “After I got dumped, it was the lowest point of my life… my confidence had never been lower.”
Though we lived in different cities, I had known how broken up she had been. In my town now for work for a few days, she had called up to ask if we could spend the afternoon together, and so here we were, talking.
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She continued, “Some months after being dumped when I found myself strong enough to go out and meet people again, I was surprised by the generous male attention that came my way. It felt great. I did nothing to stop it. Why would I? I was single. Every compliment felt good; it felt like tiny bits of my confidence would be restored.” She started speaking faster. “At each party, I found the coolest and most handsome men gravitate to me; they shared jokes to make me laugh, they said things to impress me, they hung around in the hope of dropping me back home and I would decide who would drop me back; because if he is dropping me back home, obviously he is coming up for coffee, if he is coming up for coffee, he is wanting to spend the night… and he would, as would any other man who I let come up for ‘coffee’.”
“I have no regrets, far from it. Whatever I did, it worked for me and might I add it felt great to explore my sexuality.”
And then, as if spent from the release, she slunk back into the bean bag and placed a pillow over her face.
Puzzled, I asked her, “So why is your sex life non-existent now?”
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A muffled groan came from under the pillow. She then sat up, hair disheveled and lips drooping, “It worked then but not anymore… Something is missing. I miss being in love. I want to fall in love and be in a fully fledged relationship with a man who cares for me and one that I care for.”
“Yeh sab one-night-stand business can’t be how I spend the rest of my life now… life must have something more to offer me…”
There was a pause and then she asked me, “You also think that I should go find a husband soon?”
“God no, you know I don’t think like that. If anything, yes when you were down I wanted you to find your happy place again.”
She got emotional, gave me a weak smile and tried to say something, but the smile slowly disappeared, turned into a grimace and then she sunk her face into her hands and broke into tears.
That’s the thing about an old friend. She can grow up to be an independent adult, earning a six-figure salary and living by herself in a metro; but when you see her hurting, your memories take you right back to the first time you met her; crying her eyes out over her bleeding knees, at the playground.
Cotton and Dettol is what had fixed her then. As I wrapped my arms around her I wished that there was something for a lonely, broken heart too.