I made it to the A&C Mall in East Legon an hour early. My early arrival was not planned since my errands for the day was completed well ahead of time. Quite impressive given the traffic in Accra. I love coffee shops and I was on a hunt for one to chill in while I waited for her. I entered the bigger coffee shop first thinking they will have free Wi-Fi. The place was nearly empty and there were no free Wi-Fi signs in sight. I quickly stepped out to check out the other two coffee shops lined up on the same row.
Ah, I just sighted a sign for free Wi-Fi; Perfect! Bourbon House Café it is! I fell in love with the place immediately I stepped in. Cozy, air-conditioned, the station was on CNN with only two customers present. This is definitely the spot! I picked a perfect table to sit and walked up the counter with a big smile on my face.
I opted for the Cooper coffee smoothie and as I reached out to pay for the drink, I saw a label which completely heightened my excitement. Fish meat pies, the label read! Holy Smokes! You must be a committed pescatarian to truly appreciate finding something you love made with fish. I could do without the puzzled looks I get from waiters when I state that I do not eat meat nor chicken. I get the rationale behind the puzzled looks which is usually directed my way. How can a full-blooded-Ghanaian male not eat chicken or meat anyway?
I picked up my Cooper coffee, the fish meat pie and waltzed over to my table. The Cooper coffee was amazing! Watch out Starbucks, I just found a credible threat to your Cafe Vanilla Frappuccino blended coffee.
I flipped my laptop open and motioned to one of the waiters to come over and provide the Wi-Fi password. After providing the password, she declared, “Please Sir, the Wi-Fi is not working today.” Dang!! Oh well, I was already too comfortable to move and I was determined to strike at the fish meat pie while it was still warm. The first bite was heavenly but I did not get the pleasure of having another bite as I caught a glimpse of her approaching the coffee shop. She was still as beautiful as the last time I saw her. I stood up as she walked in with my arms stretched out for a big hug. The last time I saw her was three years ago in the United States. The years had been kind to her but her eyes told a different tale; a tale of stress and worry.
I did not waste any time letting her know that she looked amazing.
“Ah, don’t lie to me.” She said laughing.
“No,” I insisted, “You look wonderful!”
Then I added. “Your eyes do communicate stress though.” She let out a heavy sigh, an indication that she was in total agreement with my observation. Approximately five years ago, she sat in my kitchen and listened intently as I talked about my impending divorce. Today, it was my turn to listen to her talk about her marriage. Ironic, isn’t it?
As I listened to her, I could not help but reflect on relationships and love. Five minutes into our conversation, she uttered the magic word; uncertainty. A word which brought back memories of discussions her and I had just before she started the relationship. Her words were painful to listen to and they echoed what I already knew about the uncertainties which follow after you give your heart to someone. She worked extremely hard to minimize her burden of uncertainty. She fought against it just like I did. In the end, it did not matter because you have to take risks in love. We are wired for love and affection from birth and choosing not to be vulnerable is not always the best option.
The heaviest things on my mind lately have been how the burden of uncertainty, vulnerability, and love are interconnected. Quite recently, I was brought to this place by the guilt I felt having broken the heart of another. I listened and watched as someone who dared to explore love was beaten back so badly, she made a choice not to love again. I am not on a path to view love through the eyes of a cynic. I am, however, embracing the realities of the uncertainties which plagues the beginning of every relationship.
An uncertainty which I have struggled with lately. An uncertainty which recently earned me the title of “not ready to commit.” An uncertainty which caused a woman I met recently to ask less than 30 mins into our date, if I was willing to sign a prenuptial agreement. Lately, I have found myself learning a lot about the hold the burden of uncertainty has on individuals preparing to jump into a new relationship. Falling in love can be quite scary. Fear, uncertainty, and risk are part of the territory; as are excitement, wonder, and transformation.
It is 2017 and we are a generation that loves to know what to expect. We want quick answers to every question. If you doubt this assertion, just ask the executives at Google. They have made millions by making information and knowledge searchable and accessible to anyone who has a question. In light of this monumental technological and information accessibility milestone, can Google provide answers to the uncertainties of love? Let’s try a couple of questions.
“Google, I just met someone. Will I get hurt or rejected?”
“Google, I just met someone. Will he/she cheat on me?”
“Google, I just met someone. Will this relationship result in marriage?”
“Google, I just met someone. How do I let go of my fears of this relationship ending up in a disaster like the last one?”
“Google, what should I do if she becomes pregnant by accident? (I know I am not the only who has searched google for answers related to pregnancies outside marriage)
The truth is, Google will not have answers for these type of questions. If Google did, I won’t be sitting at the Bourbon Café House in East Legon listening to my friend’s heartbreaking story. Her burden of uncertainty never left her side. In my opinion, relationships are one of those situations where the outcome is unclear. One can never know for sure what the future will hold but we keep hope alive; we generate ideas and expectations of what another person may bring into our lives. We can’t however, know or predict any future outcomes with absolute confidence. New and existing relationships are anything but predictable; they are messy, they require a certain amount of risk and one has no choice but to mill around with a burden of uncertainty.
Two hours into my friend talking about her marriage, I had heard enough to draw some conclusions on the matter; conclusions she wholeheartedly agreed with. She had a choice to make with her life and I pray that she makes the right one. We said our goodbyes amidst hugs and I promised to check on her more often. As she walked away, I could not help but picture myself in her shoes 5 years ago when it was her turn to listen.
Ah, the fish meat pie still looks really good. After what seemed like an eternity, I took the second bite. “Well, this does not taste good cold,” I murmured to myself. Oh well, there were no guarantees I was going to have a warm fish meat anyway.
By Kwadjo Panyin
Kwadjo Panyin is a Ghanaian born relationship and lifestyle blogger located in Los Angeles, California. He holds three degrees; a Bachelors degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey, an MBA from Franklin University in Ohio and a Masters of Science degree from Northern Kentucky University in Kentucky. Kwadjo is a business professional who blogs for fun. His articles are about the challenges of dating and relationship anomalies. Writing, blogging, world travel, and photography are his favorite hobbies.