Inside the mind of the fairer sex
29 June 2018 | Columns
My friend Tjeripo had to learn the hard way recently that it – just like the field of journalism – takes a whole lot of sweat, blood and tears before you can learn to soar like an eagle.
I watched how my dear friend, who, when we toured the great Erongo Region - from Okanuanambuku to Jakkalsputz (yes, these places are part of Erongo) vanished from the radar after meeting what was supposed to be his ideal match – Ndapewa.
He asks her out to a movie, she accepts, and that was how the cookie crumbled! After a few days of public dating, Tjeripo asked her out to dinner, and she agreed. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them was seeing anybody else. And then, one evening when they're driving home, a thought occurs to Ndapewa, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud:
'Do you realise that, as of tonight, we've been seeing each other for exactly six months?'
There is deafening silence in the car. To Ndapewa, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: “Meme, I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he's been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I'm trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn't want, or isn't sure of.”
And my brother is thinking: “Eish. Six months?”
And Ndapewa is thinking: “… but, hey, I'm not so sure I want this kind of relationship, either…. I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person? Do knights in shining armour exist in real life?”
And Tjeripo is thinking: “… so that means it was February when we started going out, which was just after I bought my Brahman bull from De Klerk….”
Finally, Ndapewa breaks the silence.
'Tjeripo,' she says out loud.
"Yes?' Tjeripo replies, a bit startled.
“Please don't torture yourself like this,” she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. “Maybe I should never have. Oh God, I feel so....” (She breaks down, sobbing.)
“What?” asked Tjeripo.
“I'm such a fool,” Ndapewa sobs. “I mean, I know there's no knight. I really know that. It's silly. There's no knight, and there's no horse.”
“There's no horse?” Tjeripo asks.
“You think I'm a fool, don't you?” Ndapewa says.
“No, not at all!” says Tjeripo, glad to finally know the correct answer.
“It's just that … it's that I ... I need some time,”' Ndapewa says.
There is a 15-second pause while Tjeripo, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.
“Okay then,” he says.
Ndapewa, deeply moved, touches his hand.
“Oh, Tjeripo, do you really feel that way?” she says.
“Um…What way exactly?”
“That way about time,” says Ndapewa.
“Eish, I guess so,” says Tjeripo, not knowing where the conversation is leading to.
Ndapewa turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.
“Thank you, Tjeripo,” she says. “Thank you for ruining my life!”
He takes her home, and she lies on her bed - a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn. The next day Ndapewa will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about the situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyse everything she said and everything he said, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it either.
Meanwhile, Tjeripo, while playing dominoes one day with a mutual friend of his and Ndapewa’s, paused just before making his next move, frowned, and said: “Tell me, Hitjevi, did Ndapewa ever own a horse?”