When Pastor Attah would use the word ‘broken’, it often meant something religious, something every Christian strived to be. At some point in my life, this was all I knew the word to mean. Until I met Jeremy.
Jeremy was broken, but not in the sense that Pastor Attah would have meant it. If Jeremy was a TV, then his screen had taken a hit from the sharp swing of a bat. If he was a chainsaw, then his chain had come undone so that he couldn’t work right. This is how best I can explain the kind of ‘broken’ that Jeremy was. He was a little unhinged. The kind that came from being heartbroken.
I didn’t always know this. Perhaps it was because Jeremy wasn’t one to say more than a couple words at a time, and this singular trait was the nectar that had me flying giddily to him in the beginning. I found it endearing, an attribute possessed only by mature men. You see, when you have had the misfortune of dating too many dogs, you opt for anyone with the semblance of a cat.
To better explain my theory, Fola, Deji, Nonso, Chris and Henry are men I call dogs because of their disregard for women; because of how they cheated with impunity, because of how they came only for the sex. Now, where dogs bark, cats meow. I leave it to you to decide which is the softer sound. Consequently, if Jeremy barely spoke, then he was a cat, a better man than all of my exes.
The first time I had sex with Jeremy, it was in his bed, a simple combination that included a 16-inch mattress, a singular pillow stuffed with hard bits of foam, and an off white bed sheet. He liked that color because it was easier to maintain. But in that moment, after we were done, I liked it because it didn’t reveal all the moistness from our romp.
I lay back on the bed, naked, my new coif scattering over his only pillow. An awkward minute passed in which I noticed the most insignificant of things, like how the sheets still smelled strongly of detergent. And then I held one palm over my eyes to conceal my tears. He must have seen them roll down the sides of my face because he drew closer, lay quietly beside me and, with his breath hot on my face, asked:
“Babe, what’s the problem?”
“Nothing,” I said.
“People don’t cry over nothing. Tell me. You know you can tell me anything right?”
I let my hand glide lower to my naked chest and held his gaze for a moment before I spoke.
“I have this weird feeling that you’re going to leave me now that we’ve made love.”
I brought my hand to my eyes again and, amidst my gentle sobs, I waited for him to say something. I needed some form of reassurance. However, what happened next is something that baffles me to this day. I saw his eyes turn moist. I heard him sniffle. And when I asked him why he was crying, he said:
“Nothing much. I just really feel sad because you’re right.”