Petaless flower, when you meet him will you be ready?

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We are all flowers, man and woman alike. Some are more vibrant, others beautifully scented and the rest very attractive but thorny too. Due to harsh weather conditions, they sometimes wilt and the hardest part….. Lose their petals. That often leaves the flower bare and in most cases than not, vulnerable to anything whether good or bad. This concept about flowers got me thinking about a younger me when…….

Age 15

If I were a rose at this age I would be a vibrant stone red, with a cinnamon scent that could attract bees from as far as Gwanda. All my petals are intact at this stage. I am bubbly, charming, fun to be around and just have a larger than life persona. Jacob and I recently just started dating. I like our relationship, we are friends before anything. We talk, laugh and hold hands. I can’t get over the holding hands with someone who is not my mom phase. She only holds my hand when she is helping me to cross the road. It’s an absolutely amazing feeling.

It’s past the 6 month stage when I notice a change in Jacob. He does not want to talk anymore. We don’t exchange gifts anymore; in fact we don’t even tell each other sweet things. I raise my concerns to him like a normal girlfriend would and he takes out a ripped magazine picture of Taylor Swift at the Grammys. “Lose weight… look like her. I need to be able to lift you up T. And I can’t do that. So time to shape up, then I will work on your concerns ….”

I look at the striking picture of Taylor Swift and wonder how I am going to do it. A feeling of self-loathing slowly starts to sink in and my self-esteem starts to dwindle. I want to tell him to go hang, I suddenly get the urge to tell him that he doesn’t have the Van Diesel body that my usual type has so he has no right to make such demands from me. However I am afraid and one look in his eyes…. the words fail me. I like this boy, I really like him or that is what I would like to believe at this point and time. I have never been skinny at all in my life, even as a baby I was never a size zero. And now I am presented with a challenge to become like a celebrity. I assume that I love Jacob so I get on a military diet and try to lose the curves. When I  feel like giving up I always look at that picture of Taylor Swift which I have now stuck on my dressing table at home. Eventually after 8 weeks, when I am down 3 dress sizes and everyone including my parents are concerned I go to Jacob and he tells me that I was paying too much attention on working out than keeping him happy. “We lost the grip girl, I need some space,” he adamantly says and then he walks away without giving my new transformation as much as a single glance. Three days later I see him with Fiona. She is a natural Taylor Swift I tell you and when he starts treating her the way I always asked him to treat me I know for sure that it is truly over between us…. That red vibrant rose has turned amber and lost three precious petals…..

Age 16 and half

Hexagon and I are on our way home from the kiosk. It’s seven o’clock in the evening. We had a chatty talk and I got to know him a bit better. He is a hard man and can say the most hurtful as well as hateful of things to me at times… So I like it like this, when we can be laughing, chatting and acting like we understand each other. 

On the way to my aunt’s house there is a short cut that we usually take as I do not like taking the road which is usually busy at this time. It is a dingy little neighbourhood with just but one tower light at the end of the road close to the only house with a Dura hall.  When we get to the tower light I continue walking and he suddenly stops. I abruptly come to a halt as well to see what the problem may be. “What is the matter?” I ask him and the immediate response I get is him pulling me into a forceful hug and before I can even catch my breath he half, lifts me, have bashes me against the dirty Dura hall making me squirm in fear. It is under that tower light I get to look in his eyes and I see how dilated his pupils are. “You are beautiful…” he hiss fully says in my ear and there is a churn in my stomach. Like a snake eating the forbidden fruit he starts to lick my face as well as the salty tears involuntarily flowing from my eyes. I try to scream but I am perplexed at how my chords are failing me at this point and time. To make matters worse my fear seems to be arousing him as I can suddenly feel his erection poking on my belly. “Hex…” I whisper trying to plead with him, “It hur….” I can’t even finish that statement as he rips my beautiful blousers and the harsh August winds beat through my sensitive skin making me shiver. This makes him groan and he bites my neck like a vampire and I its prey. I feel a part of me slowly dying and at the back of my mind I cannot believe how strong he is and how he is using that strength to hurt me. He starts kissing me, the slimy wet gross type of kiss and when I refuse to reciprocate he starts choking me. I close my eyes and a sudden rage I didn’t know I possessed builds up in me. I don’t remember what happens after that but I see red and the next thing I know Hex is on the ground touching his groin and screaming in pain. He starts calling me names and promises to make me pay if he can’t have kids after what I have done. I do not wait for him to gain his strength. Half naked now I run as fast as my two stout legs can carry me. When I see his tooth marks and the bruises that he has left on my fair skin, I realise that if I was to be a flower I would no longer be worthy to be amber but a dimming orange, with 5 petals gone and the remaining ones beginning to wilt……….   

Age 18

We are kissing. That tantalizing passionate kiss, the one where we are holding on to each other and neither party is willing to let go. Then there is that tongue thingy he does it drives me in saying. We open our eyes, he puts me down (I am fairly light at this point) I look at him, smiling the euphoric smile. He smiles briefly, like he wanted to do this, like it was meant to happen, like it was right. Alas it is just for a brief moment, because something flashes in his eyes and the mood becomes sombre. He slowly, kneels down and I am thinking, “oh my gosh Thelma, he is going to propose to me. It’s happening right here right now. I shyly push my scruffy hair at the back 

He then takes out his tablet and clicks on his Bible App. He then ushers me to kneel with him and I do so absolutely confused.  “Place your hand on the Bible T.” I do so feeling uneasy at the after math of what was supposed to be an amazing thrive session. “Oh Lord my God!!!!”  He shouts making me jump, “forgive us, forgive me, forgive her, for we don’t know what we are doing.” I half gasp half shrill, so amazed, so shocked. He then stands up and starts pacing the room. I slowly start buttoning my shirt….I keep wondering why, he always has to make this awkward for both of us. He likes me, I like him so why does he have to be such a triple B about everything (ball busting bust*rd.). “T, the Bible says honour your father and mother… My parents said I shouldn’t date… and doing this behind their backs imagine if Jesus came in the clouds, we would both stay behind, you are a pastor’s child you know these things……..” I really want to punch him in the balls, I really want to go all savage on him but I somehow feel deflated, by him, by this situationship that we are in. “so what are you trying to say Steward?” I ask, already know what he is going to say, he has been saying that to me for the past year now, every time we find ourselves in this situation, “I am saying we shouldn’t date, not yet anyway, not until I get the green light from my parents.” words have failed me, I just nod my head and he kisses me on the cheek and leaves, our little corner.  A week later during the school gig I see him making out with Achioma, groping the poor girl’s breasts like a thirsty shepherd who is milking a cow. I am disappointed in myself for diminishing my worth I keep asking myself how I turned into a brown flower with no count of how many petals that I have lost.

Age 21

He buys me flowers. Not just any flower but my favourite flowers in the whole wide world……he gets me Tulips in their many shapes and forms. Sometimes he calls me in the middle of the day just to hear me breath. The one time when he paid me a surprise visit we talked about how Popeye the sailor made me love spinach. He was listening to me like I had cracked some code on how to get all the bit coins… I suddenly stopped mid-sentence to ask him what he was looking at he said, “You, for the beauty that you are.” I was supposed to blush to that statement but I rolled my eyes and carried on.

I realise that there must be an anomaly in Wilfred and I’s relationship and guess what it’s not Wilfred. He surprised me with pizza last week and I gave the first lady I saw on Fourth Street. He took me out on a date to some classy restaurant which took months for him to get a reservation. I ordered an expensive bottle of wine, and a meal I didn’t know how to pronounce. I then excused myself to go to the bathroom and on my way there I realised how bored I was so I went home without telling him. Throughout this he never complains, does not shout at me and always understands.  However, I am not happy in this relationship and like a rogue that I have become I end it, with no remorse, without a doubt in my mind that it is right. He nods his head in understanding but suddenly erupts in heart-wrenching tears. I try my level best to contain my composure but I start to laugh, I laugh so hard in his face and he stands up and leaves not bothering to wipe his tears. I, later on, realise how thorny I have become, how unapproachable and maybe unlovable, I am becoming…

Present day

I go jogging today, when I suddenly pass through an orchard with beautiful white roses. I stop to admire the beautiful flowers and even reach out to hold one but I am pricked with the vicious thorns. I burst into uncontrollable tears not because I have been hurt but the memories of my past and the mistakes I have made start rushing back. I realise how I have lost pieces of myself with all the precious petals to all the wrong people, that when I did meet someone who could treat me right I had nothing left to give but thorns. I realise that I should have talked my mind , I should never been afraid and even though I am definitely not afraid to be myself anymore, if I had done that previously, I would have avoided a lot of disappointment.

To anyone who may read this that is insecure, have self-resentment do not be afraid to speak your mind and be yourself no matter what. There is a Wilfred out there somewhere waiting for you…. The only question is  when you meet him will you be ready? 

Thelma is an aspiring writer who wants to be the change she wants for the world.