Let me start with the day I fell in love with you. It was completely by accident, I didn’t even expect it. I guess it was your persistence and your dangerous vibe that screamed risk and struggle. I loved that; I guess I have always been attracted to the ‘bad boys’ and I desperately wanted you to be attracted to me. I was in transit to another city but just a little tease from you wanted me to feel more. I knew you were not good for me, I knew it takes a particular person to handle your hustle, your spontaneity, your resilience. But that did not matter to me; I was attracted to the bright lights that illuminated the city, the possibility for anything going down and the prospect of entering a world that was romanticised on my TV screen.
“This is just a phase”
“I will definitely grow out of this”
“I will stay ahead of the game and not let myself get hurt”
I continuously told myself these things to justify my decision to pursue you even further. But it did not matter, I knew what I was doing. We all know what we are doing.
Let me tell you something about myself, I have settled in a couple of cities that I thought were right for me but each time I was proven wrong. They broke me a little every time and each time they broke me, I had to find ways to rebuild myself, my sanity, and most importantly, my self esteem. So by the time I met you I was on top of the world. I knew that nothing could take me down. I knew that I was the best person I could have ever been and I was happy; happy in my life, for the first time in a long time. Nairobi, you changed that, you took me to the darkest place I have ever been. If only I had known this. Maybe I always knew it.
So what did I decide to do? I took a job and relocated closer to you. The possibility of seeing you every day filled my body with a certain thrill that only my heart could describe. This is what I wanted, this was my dream and it was coming true. When I look back, I see that was when I peaked. I worked hard to get there, to get to you and to get to the best of me. I honestly thought that my life would get even better from that point on.
What followed that peak was a dramatic drop that broke my heart. Everyone warned me that you were not good for me. That I had to cut ties with you as you would only lead to something dreadful. But I stayed, “what do they know?” I asked myself. Nairobi, we were happy at first right? I calmed you down; I brought peace into your world, well so I thought. And I thought that you would love me back, the way I did. But then again, I was wrong.
The more time I spent with you, the more I craved you. Adrenaline rushed through my body at the slightest thought of you. Argh! It was so intense I can still remember how it made me feel. I wanted you more and sometimes I thought you wanted me to. However, the clouds covered the bright blue sky and you proved that you were taking me for a fool. You attacked me with your muddy roads, your rude conductors and precarious men. I learnt that we were not a team and all you wanted from me was my soul. To turn what I loved about myself into sawdust that would disappear with the lightest wind. You sucked me into your negativity, your black hole because you didn’t want to be alone. You wanted me to be brisk in your uncertainty, your failures and your pain.
Why me? Why were others lucky with you? Why did you not love me? I gave you my best self, I gave you everything. I risked it all, for you. But who knows? Maybe others endured the same pain with you.
Then I was left standing there, in my cold house alone. I cried nearly every day. I thought you would come to your senses and show me what I believed you had in you. I thought you’d prove to me that loving you wasn’t a mistake. But day by day I was left alone, crying.
I pushed people away, indulged in dangerous habits and entertained bullshit just to draw my attention away from you. Away from the daily struggles that I endured once you revealed your true colours. People say that time is a healer, but I did not heal. Time was moving too slow and I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to get away from you; I had to find another way out. I had to get my life back.
Nairobi it’s been fourteen months since I moved away. Moving on from you was not easy. Healing took a long time and I am still suffering with the burdens you left me. Yes, I visited you a few times within those fourteen months, but it was different. We were detached, both knowing that things between us will never be the same. You apologised for everything you put me through, reassured me that you did not mean to hurt me and showed me that you changed, that you were not the same city I left in August 2017. But what you don’t know is that I am not the same person who left in August 2017. I promised myself that I would make better decisions and choose myself first. I promised myself that I would not let anything or anyone make me feel the way you did. I promised myself that I would build myself up again to love the person I see when I look into the mirror. With those promises come sacrifice and even though I once loved you, and I probably always will, I cannot put myself through that again. I cannot come back yet after making progress in my life. Progress that had me starting from zero.
So thank you Nairobi. Not for deceiving me with your beauty, but for showing me I can love. For showing me that I can be my best and give my best to another place. For showing me that I am stronger than I thought I was. Because of you I am in a better place and I know to keep myself from things and people that will not contribute to my growth. To only allow those who love me inside the walls I have created for myself.
I hope that you find happiness; I hope that your corruption will meet integrity. I hope that your streets will find safety and your people will find hope. Only then might I think about coming back.