Before I met her I was in the ‘Love is Overrated’ club. And I mean that literally. We didn’t call it that but we were a group of friends who believed there was nothing like love. We moved around campus looking for couples who looked like they were in love and we would ruin whatever they were doing. It was fun, very fun. But now I look back I think it was just mean. But you know some times meanness can be a whole lot of fun.
Then I met her.
First time I saw her, she came to visit my roommate. He was a member of our club so I knew he wasn’t looking for anything serious with her. Unfortunately she did not know that. Something about her intrigued me and I started asking my friend lots of questions about her. He knew my stand on love so he did not suspect anything. She kept coming, he kept saying aloof, I kept getting interested. Until my moment came.
He had traveled and in his usual noncommittal manner he did not tell her about it. She came to visit and there we were, alone in the room.
“What? He traveled?” She said, her emotions, a mix of anger and sadness.
I looked at her and smiled. “I’m sorry but he’s a little stupid, I thought you knew.”
She looked at me, confused then she saw I was joking and she smiled a little.
“I guess I’ll just go then.” She said and started to leave.
“No.” I said, a little louder than was required.
She turned back. “What?”
“No, you shouldn’t leave like this. You are too sad.” I said. “Have you heard about this new stuff? They say all the cool kids are trying it now.”
“Ice-cream.” I said and she chuckled. “I hear it’s a women’s best friend.”
“I thought a dog is a woman’s best friend.”
“No, dogs are man’s best friend. Ice-cream is a woman’s best friend.”
She shook her head. “I don’t think so.”
I picked my wallet. “How about I buy you some and you can decide yourself?”
“I don’t know. I don’t want to disturb you.”
“No, I actually want to do this.” I said. “I’ve wanted to do this for a long time.”
She looked at me like she didn’t understand but she did. I know she did.
A few days later my roommate returned and I told him I was stealing his girl. He told me I shouldn’t bother, she was a relationship type of girl. I shrugged, I wanted to try anyway.
A month later, he discovered I was now a relationship guy and he was furious. He called a meeting of our sad little club and I was summarily excommunicated. They did not stop there, they went on to ruin our dates, so many of them. It was at this point I realized there was no fun in what we did, it was just wicked and mean and anti-everything good.
A year later we graduated from school and my old club boys could not touch us anymore. I’d gone from been against love to being in love and a preacher of it. I could not imagine being out of love, not anymore. And to secure that, two years after we graduated from school, I asked her to marry me. Eight months after the proposal, she became Mrs. Me.
In the first few months of marriage, I looked for my old friends because I was seriously considering rejoining the club. Maybe familiarity bred contempt or security bred carelessness but something was breeding something and it was not great for us. It was not great for me. I loved her still, I knew I did but was it enough? Was love truly overrated like I believed back in the day?
Six months into the marriage, she became pregnant and I think I had something to do with that. In those months of pregnancy I saw her at her at her most vulnerable. A part of me loved taking care of her, another part of me hated becoming an errand boy. But every part of me could not think of being somewhere else.
Time came for her to give birth and I drove her to the hospital. Nobody could stop me from smiling even if they used a wrench to remove all my teeth. Or so I thought.
She went into labour and I was back wondering if love was overrated. My wife was going through all this pain because we were stupid enough to make love. It looked like everywhere love touched, it brought pain. I watched my wife cry and sweat. And she watched me cry and sweat. I went through six bottles of coke and a few stares from the hospital staff. But it all came to an end with a cry. This time not from me or her but from him.
He cried and she cried and I cried but I’d never been happier. I looked at her holding him and wondered if love was still overrated, maybe it was but this was not the time to decide.
“Daddy, will you like to hold you boy?” A nurse asked.
“Who? Me?” I asked.
“You’re the Dad, aren’t you?”
“I think so.” I said, smiling sheepishly.
The nurse put him gently in my arms. I looked at his small, unusually red face; he looked nothing like me or his mother.
“Yo!” I whispered to him.
His eyes opened and he looked at me and even though his mouth did not move, I think he said it back. I looked at my wife on the bed, she looked terrible but I’d never loved her more. I loved them both, more than my own life. I was right about being wrong, I loved love.
The only person who could say love is overrated is one who has not known the joy of true loving.