When people talk about sunrises they like to romanticize them. They say deep things associating sunrise with beautiful new beginnings. I used to be one of those people until two years ago. It was around 6:45 AM, I was outside watching the sunrise on the balcony. We had chosen this apartment because of the balcony. Everything else was the same in most of the houses that we had seen but the balcony in this one was the selling point.
Chris, my boyfriend was in an aviation school at the time. Skyline views were is an obsession. We had a morning ritual of watching the sunrise together whenever we could. If we were not together we would be on the phone whispering sweet nothings as lovers do but each would be watching the sunrise from their end. So yes, sunrises were our thing hence why I did not suspect anything when he called me at 6:30 in the morning.
I was already up having a cup of coffee on the balcony seat, watching the sun come out. I thought of my lover and our journey at that time. As I was blushing in appreciation, he called.
“Morning love. You’re just on cue.”
“Morning, are you sitting down?”
“Yes, I am. Why? Is there a surprise for me?” I asked jokingly.
Indeed, a surprise lay ahead but not the kind that I expected.
Chris and I met during my second year of university. He was running a business at that time. We met through a mutual friend who was his cousin’s friend. Yes, the chain was that long. We clicked instantly. He loved the same music that I loved and after that conversation, we soon discovered that we had many common interests. Chris loved planes; his dream was to become a pilot. So he was doing business as his parents finalized the arrangements to take him to aviation school.
He was an average businessman. He was still young and under his parents’ care so it wasn’t such a big deal then. Aviation would be his thing. I had graduated and gotten my first job by the time he started aviation school.
By this time we were planning a future together. That is how we had settled for this apartment. We would pick out sofas and other household things together. Since I was the one working at this point, I carried the heavier financial burden. From my average salary, we would plan on what to buy next together. We were slowly filling the house as we waited to finally get married and start a family.
Chris and I came from different tribes but that was not a big deal for us. We got along perfectly as a couple and his friends rooted for us. Chris did not think that tribe would be a big deal to his family since he thought they were liberal-minded. In fact, the few times that I had met the family, they were friendly.
Before this call, I had last seen Chris a week before. He had finally finished his studies and was interviewing to be a first officer with an airline in the country. We had gone shopping for a fridge. It was my turn to get the money from the merry-go-round financial group at my workplace. So we had decided to get a fridge. We even went grocery shopping just to fill up the fridge. We were even happier that his dream was finally coming true and he would be flying planes. Everything was set and so when Chris uttered these words, it hit me like a tidal wave.
“Babe, I don’t know how to say this but after my dad talked with his brothers they decided that you and I should break up. The tribesmen do not approve of you.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Yes, they do not approve of women from your tribe and they have really invested in me.”
I could not believe what I was hearing. Every subsequent word he uttered felt like a punch to my gut. Blow after blow he delivered the news in his soft-spoken voice.
“I don’t want to make it any harder on you so I will not come for the things I have at your place. Don’t worry about the fridge and the other things we bought, you can keep them.” Then he hung up.
I needed something stronger than the coffee that I was taking. I got a bottle of leftover gin that was Chris’ since I hated gin. The taste seemed so inconsequential at this point; I just wanted to numb the pain I was feeling. It was the shortest conversation that I had ever had over sunrise but it cut the deepest.
I replayed the conversation word for word in my mind for the next hour. After everything we had been through and were now at the finish line, my ancestral lineage was not prime enough for his clansmen. As I wondered whether he had lost his spine or whether this was his plan all along, something hit me. “Don’t worry about the fridge and the other things, you can keep them.” The nerve!
His family was busy insinuating that I was suddenly not good enough for their son now that he was about to get into a lot of money. Chris one the other hand was acting like he was letting me keep the things we had bought with my average salary as though there was a chance that he could claim them.
I cried and even thought of calling just to ask him to talk to his clansmen but the reasoning gutted me more. My tribe did not matter when the stakes were lower but now it was a big deal. I sat there watching the beautiful sunrise that once symbolized beauty, love and hope for my lover and I turn into this scotching monster that reminded me of how life can change instantly over things you have no control over. Apparently, the wrong cultural lineage can result in the tribesmen snatching away dreams.
Check out more stories in The Singlehood Series