A Spa Incident
By day three of our stay at the "Sands at Nomad", after maybe having spent less time with each other, Mary had cooled off her temper and we were able to have very basic conversations without pushing them into heated arguments.
When we just arrived at the resort, they provided us with a free half-hour massage for two at the local spa. So Mary approached me with a suggestion to get a spa treatment. I agreed. I have never had a massage before, so I didn't know what to expect. But just the thought of her asking me something or trying to do something together was enough to make me say, yes.
When we arrived at the spa, I told them that I would be OK with just a free half-hour massage that they offered. Mary, on the other hand, ordered the first full-hour massage and then also requested a "body scrub" (I hope I'm quoting it correctly.)
Each session was held in its own little hut, so we had to separate with her. But before we did so, since we knew that Mary's session would last longer, we agreed that after I was done with mine I would wait for her at the pool.
I should admit that my massage was very nice and relaxing. I liked it a lot. And in hindsight I wish I had ordered the whole hour. So by the time I was done, I put my shirt back on, and walked to the pool to wait for Mary.
It was still mid-afternoon, so the pool was empty. I ordered a cocktail and began reading my stocks app on the smartphone. It didn't last long before my cocktail was gone, and I was bored with reading. After all, I was in a real paradise. Who wants to read the stocks app there?
I was also monitoring time. I knew that if I had a half-hour massage session, and Mary had a full hour, plus one more, I estimated that she should be out roughly an hour-and-a-half after me. So I patiently waited for that time, still reading my phone.
When the time for Mary to be out came and went, I was still waiting by the pool. I didn't want to order any more cocktails as I didn't want to get drunk. Plus by this time, it was getting closer to the evening and I was starting to get hungry. But I still waited. I even wanted to go and look for her. But I didn't want to interrupt her massage in that hut.
Eventually at some point my phone rang, it was Mary. She told me that she decided to take another massage session and that it will take her another hour.
I replied that it was OK, and that I will not wait for her by the pool and go to the room instead.
It was a quick decision and I didn't pay much attention to it. Plus I was kinda pissed that we were there together and she chose to get all those special treatments without any regard for me.
Then when I was about to go to our room, I realized that, first, I didn't have a key, Mary had it in her purse. And then even if I got the key from the front desk, I will still be as bored as I was here by the pool. Thus I could technically stay at the pool, but now there was a new minor issue there as well.
There was some girl swimming there, who seemed like was trying to catch my attention. I might have been wrong, but when I looked up in her direction from reading my phone, every time I would catch her eye as she was smiling back at me. I knew that it would not go well with Mary, so I decided that I needed to leave.
At first I got up and headed for our room, but then I remembered that the local restaurant had its own ice cream bar. I really like ice cream. It's my guilty pleasure. So I thought to myself, "While Mary is getting that massage, let me go get some ice cream. Why not?" So I did.
The Ice Cream
The restaurant was just a two-minute walk away from the pool through a very picturesque walkway. But by the time I got there I realized that the place was full. I tried to ask them if I could just get two scoops of ice cream and leave, but I was told that I need to get a table for that. Which I did.
And unfortunately by the time I was done with my ice cream and was waiting for the bill, I got a call from Mary. She was very pissed:
Where are you!?
I replied that I was at the restaurant, finishing up my ice cream. And then, seeing how many people were there and remembering how long it took me to get my order, I suggested that she doesn't need to come here. I might have put it as such:
They don't serve food yet. Let's wait a little and then come back.
I need to explain here that the reason I told her that was because the restaurant evidently had different hours of service. Say, anything before 6 PM was for everyone who wanted to eat there from the beach. That explained the crowd when I showed up there. But then after 6 PM, they were serving exclusively their hotel guests, which made it much less crowded. And that is what I was trying to tell Mary in my awkward sentence above.
But that explanation did not sit well with Mary. She ran to the restaurant within maybe a minute. I was shocked by how quickly she got there. She then grabbed a chair and sat across from me. She was livid.
I tried to reason with her but nothing worked. Unfortunately I had already eaten my ice cream and the server took away my plate. So again I had nothing to prove to her that I was indeed eating an ice cream there.
At first I thought that she was pissed because I went there without her. But that didn't seem to be the matter.
I started joking with her, hoping to relieve the tension, showing her two girls that were sitting at a distance, who were very much similar to Mary, all made up, with fancy hair and makeup, constantly doing selfies of themselves. I remember I told her jokingly:
Look, there are two Marys over there.
It was clearly meant as a joke. Mary used to love my jokes and would always giggle at them. But this time she didn't take it as such.
I remember that she ordered the most expensive thing she could find on the menu ... and then didn't even touch it. So we sat like that in silence.
Then I ordered something to eat too, and began eating alone while Mary sat there and stared angrily at me, or just at a blank spot somewhere past me. It was intense!
Going Through My Phone
The awkward situation of eating my dinner in front of Mary that was just glaring at me or at some void past me, was very excruciating. Then at some point she noticed that I had my smartphone placed next to me. She sprung out like a wild cat and quickly grabbed it. I had no time to react.
I had a fingerprint lock set up on my phone, so she couldn't unlock it. Instead she outstretched her hand, with the tight grip on the phone, pointing toward me. She then sternly barked at me:
It wasn't a request, or an offer. It was a command. I could see it in the viciousness in her eyes.
I told her that it's my personal phone. For which she replied, but with a louder tone:
This continued for maybe another time or two, but by then she was literally yelling out her orders on top of her lungs. The restaurant that we were in was a loud place, but even then I could see in the corner of my eye that the people that were sitting next to us were now staring in our direction.
This was scary. Not because I was afraid of Mary, but because I was thinking of two possibilities:
- I didn't want to end up in Kenyan jail if someone called the police.
- And I didn't want Mary to break my phone. Say, if she threw it on the ground, or at me. I had no cover on it, so it will most certainly shatter. Especially in her current agitated state. I couldn't risk it. But without the phone I would be totally stranded. It was not only my connection to home, or my way to check/book tickets/flights, it was also my way of using M-Pesa to pay in Kenya. If she smashed my phone I would be f*cked. I am generally a peaceful person and rarely resort to physical actions, but in this case I clearly underestimated my position.
So I gave in to her demands and unlocked my phone.
What ensued was Mary feverishly going through my smartphone. I could see how fast she was swiping it with her finger. I tried to get it back from her, but my futile attempt was met with another loud shout. Like a petulant child, she again knew the way to get her thing - this time by screaming out orders.
Eventually, I figured out that if I move my chair and sit next to her at least I will be able to see what she is doing. So I did it. She was going through my contacts. One by one. She was opening them up, looking for phone numbers.
After a short while, she was evidently satisfied with what she saw on my phone. And she handed it back to me. Phew! The phone was saved. But not our evening.
I thought that not finding what she was looking for would relieve the situation, but it didn't.
I also started to realize that Mary was probably thinking that I was cheating on her with someone at the restaurant. That would explain her going through my contact list, evidently looking for the local Kenyan numbers.
So I tried to explain it to her, the whole ice cream situation, that I wasn't cheating. But she didn't care. All I could get from Mary was her vicious yelling at me:
Oh, really!? You are such a saint!
You are a liar!
I don't believe anything you say!
These replies continued for pretty much anything that I tried to tell her.... so I gave up.
She ordered a glass of wine, and we continued in silence.
When we were done with our meal and I paid the bill, I specifically asked for an itemized receipt. And when I got it from the server, I gave it to Mary and pointed at the line that showed that I had an ice cream.
But instead of looking at it, she merely threw it back at me in a wad.
Thinking not to escalate the situation any further, I suggested that we leave and go back to the room. Which we did.
On the way to the room, along the picturesque pathway, it was already dark. I was walking first enjoying the warm Kenyan night.
Then, all of a sudden, I felt a sharp pain. I realized that Mary grabbed me on the underside of my elbow. You know, where there is a soft spot? I need to point out that Mary had those long fake nails. And what made it painful was that she was trying to squeeze her hand tightly around my elbow and plunge those nails into me.
I know it's just words here, but I need to say that hitting or even doing anything physical to a woman is not my-thing. I just can't do it. My strategy for situations like that is to avoid the escalation, or physical confrontation in the first place.
But avoiding physical confrontation was already too late. I looked around and saw Mary's vicious face when she was exerting all her available force to plunge those fingernails into me. It kinda shocked me because until that moment I didn't realize that she could do anything physical to me. We actually discussed it earlier and both of us assured each other that we will never lead it to a physical confrontation. But I guess those were just words back then ...
I was able to pull my arm away from her grip:
Hey! What are you doing? It hurts!
I started walking away, faster. But that didn't help. She quickly caught up with me, and grabbed me by the same spot again and tried to squeeze it hard, plunging her nails into the soft flesh of my underarm.
This time I was saved by some hotel employee that was walking along the pathway. When she saw him she let me go, which allowed me to walk faster away from her.
This way we got to our room. But it didn't end there yet ....
When we got to the room, Mary went ballistic. She immediately started throwing her clothes into her suitcase, while yelling at me:
That's it. I am done with it! I am done with your lies! You are such a saint, hah?!
I'm leaving! Do whatever you want!
I am so done with you!
I realized that it was already close to 9 PM and she didn't have anywhere to go in Diani. (It was about 200 miles away from where Mary's mother lived.) On top of that, Kenya had a countrywide curfew instituted by their government due to the Coronavirus pandemic. So leaving the safety of a hotel with her giant suitcase just an hour before the curfew was not something that I would recommend.
Additionally, staying alone without Mary was not ideal for me either. And even though by now I trained myself how to pay with M-Pesa and knew a little bit the
process of ordering an Uber in Kenya, I was still very
I tried to reason with Mary, to apologize, and to make her stay.
It didn't work. She called that same guy who drove us from Malindi and asked him to pick her up.
In a short while the driver called her that he was at the front, and she started to leave, wrestling with her big suitcase.
I couldn't believe it! I was very concerned for both her and myself. But there was no stopping her then. At first I grabbed her suitcase and helped her carry it to the car, while still trying to plead with her to stay. She didn't listen.
At the car, I didn't know what to do, as the guy was probably taking Mary's side. So I just quickly told him:
Man, I don't know what happened.
I didn't do anything wrong!
She just blew up on me.
I don't know where she'd go now. If she comes to her senses, please bring her back here!
Don't worry, man. It will be alright.
And then they left.
So here you go. I was staying alone in this fancy hotel, not knowing what to do next.
Back in the hotel room I realized my greatest mistake. I was relying so much on Mary to do all the payments and ordering in Kenya, that I didn't know the process myself. There was another issue too. My mobile internet was ending that day. And I needed it to even show my boarding pass at the airport the next morning. I needed to somehow renew my internet plan. It was really critical. But Mary did it for me the first time and I didn't pay any attention to how she did it.
Then I needed to learn how to order Uber. I saw that Mary had to call the Uber driver first. But I didn't really pay attention to where she was getting the phone number from.
So I started feverishly looking it all up. I also had to arrange my ride to the airport tomorrow morning. For that I went downstairs and talked to the main reception. Luckily they had a driver ready just for that occasion. (They charged me 10x times more than what we would have paid had I ordered an Uber, but I didn't care at that time.)
I scheduled a ride with them to the local airport for the next morning, and went back to my room totally dejected about what just went down between Mary and I.
I had all kinds of thoughts in my head. On one hand, I couldn't understand why Mary blew up on me. I wasn't cheating on her, I just went to get an ice cream. But then I was also blaming myself for failing to explain it to her. And it was really hard.
What was really hard was realizing that I may never see Mary again. That thought alone was cutting through me like a dagger.
But then there was another fear. Without Mary I had to get to the airport, get on the plane (which I admit I kinda knew how) but then in Nairobi I had to get an Uber, get to our last AirBnb and stay there for the next two days. Alone. Then, I needed to somehow eat, as the AirBnb apartment would be obviously empty. I also needed to do a 72-hour COVID test for my flight back to the U.S. I had to find a clinic in Kenya to do that, as originally I relied on Mary to show me that. And lastly, I needed to get to the airport, do another 4-hour COVID test for Amsterdam, board the plane and leave. And to do all that by myself, without Mary!
How stupid was I to rely on her to help me with all that, and then break it up with her? This thought was also quite anxiety inducing. So I spent a good part of that night feverishly researching what to do.
In about a few hours after Mary left me in the hotel, to my greatest relief I saw my phone ringing. It was Mary!
I jumped to it and immediately apologized. I was so eager to hear her!
She was crying. And she apologized too. She told me that she went to some local hostel that she could afford for the money she had on her. It had no running water, and she was using her mobile internet to talk to me. She also said that she was sorry for grabbing me in that alley.
All this was music to my ears. I felt so good again!
At the end, we agreed that we would both drive to the airport tomorrow and meet there. And then we hung up.
That night I remember that I couldn't sleep at all. What happened really shook me up to the core.
Last Days In Nairobi
When we met the next morning at the local Ukunda airstrip, I was so glad to see Mary. I remember she was standing there with her giant pink suitcase, waiting for me. And my heart was melting again.
Our flight back was quite easy. While on board she got cold from the air-conditioning, and I grabbed her hand and hugged her to comfort her. She didn't deny it, and we held hands like that throughout most of the flight. I could feel her squeezing my fingers during the moments of turbulence. And it felt so comforting, so right.
When we landed, getting an Uber in Nairobi was easy. As was the ride to our last AirBnb apartment. The place itself was situated in the Westlands, a nice neighborhood. So Mary was pleased again.
Hope In The Relationship
During our ride to the AirBnb I could feel that Mary was starting to regain some of her previous feelings toward me. We were already holding hands, and she was again looking lovingly toward me. I loved it!
On the way there she also asked me what I wanted to eat and we concluded that it would be nice for her to order some Kenyan cuisine.
During our previous endless WhatsApp chats we discussed food quite often, and it was our plan for Mary to share (or cook) some Kenyan food for me when I meet her.
So her thinking about it and then ordering it for me was a great relief. It sounded like she was ready to fix our broken relationship too.
Our Stay At The Second AirBnb
The second AirBnb apartment was really nice. It was situated in a nice neighborhood, in a very modern building. And the apartment itself had all the conveniences I could ask for. Mary was also visibly happy, which made me even happier by proxy.
So we continued on, and to make matters even better, it felt like our relationship was coming out of the hole it was in before. We started going out together, it felt like we were getting closer to each other, we resumed watching our shows on Netflix. We were also back to sleeping together and one night we even had sex. I couldn't ask for anything better. I was happy.
I believed that there was still some hope to restore my dreams of being with Mary.
The Love Plaque
I didn't mention it earlier, but when I arrived in Nairobi for my second visit, Mary gave me this very beautifully crafted custom made plaque with a very heart-warming message. Here it is. I made a picture for you:
But then during our heated arguments in Diani when Mary was calling me names and was ready to break up with me, I was very mad, and in the heat of the moment I gave that plaque back to her. This was when she started accusing me of being a hypocrite. I remember that her accusations affected me so much that I thought to myself, "A hypocrite? How about all these kind words on your plaque that you gave me. What do you call that?" And I handed her that plaque back.
It was a hard moment to live with, as deep inside I realized that that plaque was a symbol of our relationship. So I wanted it back. And I asked her several times to give it back to me, when I thought that our relationship was coming out of a rut. But she always refused.
So now, during our last few days together, Mary approached me and handed me that plaque back. It was such a heart-melting gesture. I remember that I kissed her afterwards and thought to myself, "Yeah, there's still hope for this relationship!"
Our Last Day Together
Our last day together with Mary was spent in relative peace and tranquility. There was still some tangible tension between us, but at least we were not hating each other and could have a normal conversation. We continued watching Netflix together and I started feeling that our previous vibe was coming back.
Before my departure from Kenya I needed to do a COVID-19 test for the trip. Mary was very instrumental in finding the information about the test and in taking me to the local clinic to do it. Moreover while in the clinic she patiently waited there with me and guided me throughout the whole process. It felt like things were going well.
I should admit that my previous thoughts of proposing to Mary, that I had after my first trip, had unfortunately given way to doubts due to our multiple arguments before my second trip. So I had to postpone that idea.
Before making my second trip though I have gotten to know her family a little better. And even though I hadn't met her mother, or her niece and nephew that lived with them, and I only briefly talked to her brother over a video call, I kinda cared about them. And I wanted to help.
I knew that they didn't have much, as according to Mary they all lived in a quite cramped apartment. Mary was also recounting quite frequently the house chores that her mother used to make her do. Those included washing multiple dishes, mopping floors, or hand-washing clothes. The last one was a really unheard-of thing for me. So I decided to do something nice for them before I left. After all, I cared a lot about Mary, and thus about her family.
But throughout my fateful second trip, due to multiple fights that we had with Mary, that thought had been pushed back deep into my brain stack. So now, when our love seemed to have blossomed again, I remembered about doing this gesture for her family.
The day before my last I approached Mary and told her that I wanted to buy her mother a washing machine before I leave Kenya. I also explained why I was doing it.
To my surprise it had an interesting effect on Mary. It felt like she had something else in mind and I interrupted her. She told me that she needs to think about it and that she will get back to me later.
This was an interesting reaction, but I thought, "OK, maybe she needs to ask her mom if there's a room for a washing machine?" Who knows? So I decided to let her get back to me later.
Then the next day, when we were at a local supermarket, Mary led me to the appliances section. She told me that instead of buying her mom a washing machine she would prefer if I bought them a refrigerator. She explained it by saying that they have a very small fridge, and having a large one would be very helpful. She then walked me along the aisle with the Western-brand refrigerators and pointed to one that she wanted.
I was somewhat surprised by such a turn of events, since the refrigerator Mary chose was way more expensive than the washing machine that I planned.
I asked her why she picked that particular one. And she replied:
Because I like this brand.
Note that that particular fridge was one of the most expensive in the whole aisle.
Still, sensing an imminent conflict if I pursued the subject of picking something in the middle-of-the-road, so to speak, I relented to settle on that one. I really didn't want another argument.
The price tag on the refrigerator that she picked was slightly over $1,000 USD.
Later on I thought about it, and even though I had a little less than $1k left in my M-Pesa account, I realized that I can transfer more money to myself and then be able to buy that fridge for Mary's family.
Later that day, I insisted that Mary took me back to the same supermarket where we saw the fridge. And while there, I checked with the store associate regarding the delivery. They told us that they will deliver it for free within Nairobi city limits. So I was ready to do it.
I told Mary that I am going to tell people at the store to get it ready and asked to call her mom to tell her that the fridge is coming. But the reaction I got from Mary was quite strange again. She hesitated and then told me that she didn't want to deal with it then.
I asked her why? And also repeated that I won't have another day to do this. For which she said that she can buy that refrigerator later, after I leave, without trying to hurry.
I kinda agreed and asked her to send me pictures when she does so. I needed the proof. Plus I wanted to see how well it fit into their kitchen.
The Final Good-Bye
My final day in Kenya was somewhat hectic. I had to pack my suitcase, get all the paperwork ready for the flight, and also prepare the AirBnb for checkout. Mary was staying in it for one more night, but I wasn't expecting her to deal with stuff like throwing out the garbage, etc.
Then when things were ready, I had a few hours before my flight. The departure time was something like 11 PM, but we had to leave early as I still needed to do a 4-hour COVID test for my layover in Amsterdam. This meant leaving at around 6 PM or so.
During the midday, while we were still waiting, I could feel the same sadness as I experienced during my departure from my first stay with Mary. It wasn't as intense as before, but it was still there. She was holding my hand, at times she would cuddle with me when we were watching Netflix, or, all of a sudden, she may sit on my lap and put her head on my shoulder and then kiss me. All that stuff that tells you that she still cares. It was very sweet and unforgettably romantic.
Then we had to leave for my Uber ride to the airport. Mary was coming back to the same AirBnb and this helped, as we didn't have to do all the clean-up and stuff right away.
The ride itself was uneventful until we got to the COVID testing site. As many things in Kenya, it was very disorganized, dark (it was close to 9 PM) and confusing. We were ushered from tent to tent, and then they made us sit in chairs isolated 6-feet apart. I didn't want to do that, as I wanted to be close to Mary. So instead, I just squatted next to her seat, while holding her hand.
When I eventually received my rapid COVID test results and had to leave for my flight, I told Mary that I still wanted to buy her mom that same fridge that we looked at earlier. I was OK with leaving the money for Mary to order it herself later next week. I unlocked and gave her my phone, and told her to use my M-Pesa wallet to transfer all the money I had in it onto her account. (Beforehand, I deliberately made sure that there was enough funds to cover for $1,000 USD.)
She was genuinely moved by my gesture. And replied:
Oh, baby. You are so sweet! Thank you so much!
She then did the transfer.
For me it felt like I was doing something good, not only for my girlfriend, but also for her family that needed it.
My Flight Back From Trip Two
By the time we were done with the rapid COVID test, it was already around 9:30 PM. This meant that Mary had to get back to the AirBnb before the curfew kicked in at 10 PM. Which in turn meant that it wouldn't be easy to get an Uber driver at this time. So she was visibly nervous.
On top of that, in a usual "Kenyan style", the COVID testing site was a few minute-ride away from the airport, which meant that we first had to ask the Uber driver to drop me off at the airport terminal, and then to take Mary back to the city. This also meant that our good-bye with Mary had to be very short.
When the car pulled up to the terminal, I looked at Mary and kissed her good-bye. Then quickly grabbed my bag and went to my check-in.
This was the last time that I will ever see Mary.
Back Home From Trip Two
My flight home was somewhat uneventful and 30+ hours later I was in my car, driving home from the SeaTac airport. And as before I was again missing Mary. The same old emotions that swept through me during my return from the first trip were ripping me apart again. But I knew how to handle them. Merely getting Mary's reassuring and loving texts would cure it all.
I remember that we texted briefly when I got back. But it was very brief. I had to work the following day, plus my jetlag didn't let me get much sleep, so I was somewhat broken the next morning. But I still tried to text Mary. This time though she wasn't fast to reply.
I wrote it off as a mental fatigue for both of us. It was a weekend, so I thought that she was probably out with her friends, or something. So I gave her some space. I also remembered our previous arguments, so I didn't want to push her.
The Breakup Wall
I've been struggling to regain my normalcy after this second trip. There was still this lingering feeling that in spite of us making up while still in Kenya there was still some animosity, some pent-up anger, especially from Mary's side, that I felt like she hadn't opened up to me yet. So after having not heard from her for over a day, I wrote a short message saying thank you for the trip and I loved her.
She didn't reply right away.
But the next morning, when I woke up I was greeted by the following:
Note that just starting her greeting with a plain "hey" meant that Mary is either very pissed, or there was some trouble ahead. Normally she would start her greeting from a usual "Hey, babe". So I knew that there was trouble.
She continued without a pause:
I thought about our relationship and I cannot go on like this.
We are different people and I don't want to do anything with you anymore.
It was brief and powerful. This message was so strong that it could cut through flesh. I didn't believe my eyes. How could she change her mind over just a few days? It was going so well. What happened? I had no idea!
I couldn't let her break up with me so easily. So I insisted on her telling me what was wrong and why she was saying it?
That didn't help. Instead of trying to explain, she went into her previous state, accusing me and calling me names:
I hate when you make me repeat things!
You do this on purpose!
Don't you remember what we talked about in the hotel?
And that is why I am breaking up with you!
We went through this many, many times already, and you, the reader, are probably tired of me saying it over and over, that I didn't know what I did wrong!!! I tried many times to ask her about it, but she never told me, apart from repeating that usual mantra of hating when I make her repeat things.
I couldn't believe it! How could I prove to her that I still cared when she was accusing me of something that I wasn't aware I was doing?
I tried to explain it to her, but it didn't work. It was just making her angrier and angrier. Eventually we ended the day in mid-sentence, without even saying our usual good-byes.
I was devastated! I hit a breakup wall that I couldn't climb over. I didn't know how. And I was in a lot of emotional pain.
She Blocked Me!
I spent the next day agonizing over what could have I done so wrong to make her break up with me so suddenly just a few days after I thought that things were improving? I literally combed through every discussion in my memory that we had during that second trip. Was it about the high-pitch thermometer? Maybe. So I spent some time looking it up online, where indeed people reported that high fever can damage or affect some people's hearing. I forwarded those articles to Mary's email with a note to read it.
Could it be about our first fight over that apartment and her $1,500 allowance request? OK, I relented and told her that I will consider doing it on one condition. During our previous texting phase (before my second trip) Mary and I were planning to start a small business for her family. So I said that if we finish it and the business begins generating some money, I will be willing to get her that apartment. It was a big concession, but I was truly trying to save this relationship. I sent it to her in another email.
Then, was it about her accusing me of lying? I never lied to her. So I assembled all the instances when she was accusing me of lying, and also included them in the email with a proof. I concluded that, "Mary, please believe me. I wasn't lying to you!"
For instance, when I came back from my second trip, I told my parents about Mary. And then told her that I did so. But she didn't believe me. She literally started saying that I was a liar. But how could I prove that? So I came up with a plan to have my mother hold her phone with a picture of Mary and me, then ask my dad to make a picture of my mother holding her phone with that picture. And then send it to Mary as proof. So I did it.
It still didn't help.
One night I woke from my phone ringing. I was still going through jet lag, and was going to bed quite early. This time, it was around 2 AM when the phone rang. It was Mary. Doing a video call. I picked it up.
The conversation didn't go well from the get-go. Right then she wanted me to turn on the light. I didn't understand why, but I assumed later that she wanted to see if I was sleeping with someone. I wasn't. And I showed her.
I thought that maybe this will relieve things. But it didn't. Mary started yelling at me and accusing me of various new things. It was a liar, right? Then it was a hypocrite. Next came a cheater. I was kinda losing it too. She called me in the middle of night, was yelling at me, and on top of that was accusing me of all those things that I wasn't!
So when she accused me of being a cheater, I blew up. I told her that I wasn't cheating but since she broke up with me, I was free to look at other girls. And that I already knew one girl that I met in the park while jogging there, that I may talk to the next time when I go there.
This literally exploded Mary's lid. She started screaming at me, getting agitated more and more with every next accusation. Eventually she yelled out:
That's it. I'm so done with you!
Don't try to contact me anymore. I hate liars and cheaters!
I'm blocking you!
And she hung up.
So picture this, I'm laying in bed in my room, in the middle of night, trying to digest what had just happened. Also angry af.
I tried to lay down and relax. And as always, a few minutes later, I reached for my phone to apologize for a few nasty things that I might have told Mary.
But this time when I pulled up WhatsApp, Mary's icon wasn't showing her usual picture. It was just a generic placeholder. At that moment a bead of cold sweat rolled down my back. I thought to myself, "she blocked me!"
The realization that the girl that was so loyal to me, the person that was professing her feelings of ultimate devotion and was waking up to talk to me every morning at 6 AM could have blocked me, couldn't settle in my head.
What have I done so wrong to cause it?! The thought of actually never talking to Mary again was so frightening that I don't think I slept a single moment since then. Instead I was thinking what shall I do to make her talk to me. At this point I wasn't even concerned about saving our relationship. I just wanted her to unblock me, so that I could talk to her one more time!
Why would I want it? Well, right before blocking me she accused me of so many bad things. And when you know that you haven't done a single one of them, you need it just for your own vindication, to clear your name. That's what mattered to me.
So I was coming up with words that I knew that I can still say to her. Something that could convince her to change her mind. I still cared about her a lot. And I couldn't believe that she could change so much over just a course of a few days.
Attempts to Unblock Myself
Although we mostly used WhatsApp for our texting, Mary also added me to her Telegram. She didn't use it often. But she still had me there. So I composed a message, deeply apologizing for what happened, and sent it to her on Telegram.
To my horror, the Telegram didn't show that she received the message. I waited for over a day. And the message just remained unread.
It then hit me, she must have blocked me on Telegram too!
I tried Instagram. I remember she added me there too. And no. I couldn't see her account. It was set to private. She removed there as well!
Still, I knew that I could send her an email. So I composed one and sent it to her. Unfortunately with email you never know if the recipient actually got it. So I started waiting. There was no response. I composed another email and indicated in the subject line "MARY, PLEASE READ THIS" in all caps. It didn't seem like she saw that email either.
It hit me hard - I may never be able to talk to Mary again!
A Friend's Help
At the time this break up took place I was utterly devastated, full in the state of depression. I couldn't sleep and was waking up early with the feeling of agony. I won't be putting into words all the awful feelings and emotions that I had gone through during this time. I will spare you, the reader, of such a torture.
I will just say this. Picture yourself losing the person that you were deeply in love with over something that you knew you hadn't done that they were accusing you of. And then, if that person blocks you, physically preventing you from ever proving your point or validating yourself to them. That is the state I was in. It was very hard. Both emotionally and morally to get over what just happened. And worst of all, I knew that Mary thought that it was my fault. And I couldn't change it.
As always in these situations, my friend Rbmm was on the receiving end of my tearful confessions. So when he heard my latest torturous attempts to contact Mary, he forwarded to her one of my latest descriptions of my pain and longing that I wrote to him about her.
This did the trick. The next night I was woken up by another video call from Mary. Unfortunately though it went very similar to the previous call. Except this time she came up with a new accusation. Yes, she came up with even more. Not less.
She first called me a racist. This took me by a total surprise. I asked for clarification, but soon quickly remembered what my previous attempts had done. So I shut up. Then when she realized the absurdity of that first allegation, she switched back to just calling me names. Now I was a psychotic, needing hospitalization and mental help. And worst of all, this time I couldn't put a word edgewise. Mary was cutting me off mid-sentence, wildly gesticulating with her hands, and calling me more names.
She then started telling me that I should never have my friends contact her again. (That's how I learned about the Rbmm's forwarded message.) But she didn't call them friends. She used the word, "clan", or "your clan". It was both humiliating and demeaning at the same time. I was listening to her yelling at me, for something that I was totally lost in and had no idea what she was even talking about. It was utterly surreal.
This conversation ended as abruptly as it started. She hung up by saying:
What part of "I'm breaking up with you" don't you understand?
Don't try to message me or have your clan ever contact me again!
She then hung up. And when I checked WhatsApp, I could see that her icon changed from her usual one to a genetic one. I knew then that I was blocked, and this time, it was for good.
A normal breakup would probably end like this. One person would block or unfriend another one and they would never see or talk to each other again. One of them may accidentally bump into another one on social media, or try to find them later. But it usually is. The end.
It is painful, it is frustrating, it is upsetting. And it may quite often even lead to a temporary depression from a person that was dumped.
So I came to the conclusion that I will be one of those people. Since I was the one who was dumped, it was my plight to go through it. I am not gonna lie, waking up in the morning and knowing that I will never see, talk or even text to Mary ever again was worse than any physical pain. It's hard to express the freshness of this experience to a normal person, or someone who hasn't gone through such a breakup recently (or hopefully, never.) The psychological knife that cuts through every fiber of your body when you go through a state like this is so intense that at times I couldn't sleep or eat. Moreover, because of our really extensive previous involvement with Mary, everything in my apartment, from the fridge to the bathroom, to even my work reminded me of her - you do some trivial little thing and it immediately reminds you of her. I couldn't escape these feelings of longing, of some immense loss even outside of my apartment. In the park, in the store, even with some people at work, everything reminded me of our wonderful time with Mary. It was truly an unbearable experience that I wouldn't wish upon anyone.
And worst of all, I blamed myself. After all, this is what Mary said so many times. I was the one that caused it. But what made it even more unsettling is that I still didn't know what I did, so terribly wrong as to cause this breakup. No matter how hard I tried, I still didn't know!
And, with that, I was ready to continue on with my life. On the ground, beaten up, tortured and barely breathing ...
An Unexpected Twist
By what happened next you may assume that I made it up. But it is too good to be a work of fiction. Let me explain.
When Mary first blocked me after having accused me of all those horrible things, I felt terrible. And wouldn't you too, if someone accused you of something that you knew yourself wasn't true? And wouldn't you try to vindicate yourself? I would. And that's what I did.
In my desperate attempts to do so, I decided to try to contact some of Mary's friends and then try to reason through them for Mary to unblock me. The problem was, as I realized in horror, that Mary was very cagey about any contact info for her friends. I knew their first names but rarely their full names, or phone numbers or even email.
I remember at one point I started asking Mary for some details about one of her girlfriends and it literally caused an argument. She told me that she wasn't comfortable telling me too much about her female friends. So I stopped.
By being a security researcher, I remembered that on one occasion Mary revealed to me that her friend Sharon had an online business. That same Sharon that had an earlier party at her house in January. Remember? At the time, Mary was trying to help her sell some of Sharon's products, and she sent me a picture of one of them. So during my desperate attempts to find any contact info for Mary's friends I saw that photo and realized that the product had a distinctive logo and name. Googling it gave me a Facebook page where I could send Sharon a message.
Knowing that it is inappropriate to send someone a personal message to their business account, I apologized, and briefly described what it was about. I basically introduced myself and said that this is about my breakup with Mary, and pleaded with Sharon to help me get hold of her because I was still in love.
After I sent that message I didn't hear back for a few days, so I assumed that it was either an abandoned account, or that it wasn't Sharon, or maybe she didn't want to talk to me (if Mary was able to get hold of her first.) So I forgot about it.
Then after our final breakup I started to cool off and tried to move on with things, knowing that it was the end. But then all of a sudden I got a reply.
At first I didn't recognize who it was. So I kinda ignored it. But then I decided to check. It was Sharon. She was kinda surprised to hear from me as well. She asked me how I found her and other things. And I explained.
But then she asked something that created a giant twist in this entire story:
Hold on, when did you break up with Mary?
I thought you broke up in January.
Oh no. We just broke up after my second trip to Kenya. In the middle of March.
Oh my God! You made another trip to see her?
I said, yes. And why would it shock her? I was in love. And then Sharon said this:
I thought you broke up in January.
Because she started seeing Liam then.
You know that moment in the "Fight Club" movie or a book, when you realize that whatever you've been going through and believing until that point is all wrong and up-side down to what you previously assumed? Well, that was that moment.
I obviously asked her to clarify.
Sharon explained that after that fateful party at her house in January, Liam, the 21-year-old exchange student from the Western Europe, really fell for Mary. And, according to Sharon, Mary didn't resist it either. Sharon said that Mary started showing up at her apartment quite often, staying in Liam's room, sometimes even overnight.
I asked her if she was sure that they were a couple. And Sharon replied:
A couple? Of course! They are moving in together into a new apartment at the beginning of April.
This was a complete shock to me. It totally uprooted my entire previous composure as I started to put together things that were happening between us since January. All the loose pieces of our relationship started to fall into place.
Sharon then explained that they started seeing each other almost immediately after that party at her house, and she automatically assumed that Mary and I broke up. Mary would come into her house quite often, and then she and Liam would go to places together. At times to go out, or do some sightseeing, or to other short trips. At times they would sleep in Liam's room, or even shower together. So there was no question to Sharon that they were dating.
Then she added:
I didn't know where they were getting the money from?
Liam is a student. He doesn't have any money.
For me, another painful realization came to be. Right then the source of their funding came to mind. And it made me sick. Remember those requests to help Mary's parents with food and otherwise? Yeah! Those requests.
Then Sharon continued:
Matter of fact, they just had a trip to Mombasa with her.
They stayed there last weekend.
I don't know where they got the money for that either?
When she said that I immediately remembered the timing of the incident when Mary broke up with me. Yes, it was right before that weekend!
Then another thought came to mind. Remember the refrigerator for Mary's mother? The one that she said she would buy with the money I gave her before I left? That answered Sharon's last question.
I then told Sharon all about it. It was a long story. I also told her what happened between me and Mary since January. Sharon was shocked. She couldn't believe that someone was able to do such a thing. And then she added that she herself suffered from what Mary had done.
After Liam started seeing Mary, according to Sharon, he had changed. And changed a lot. She said that he was a really friendly young man. He didn't know Kenya that well, as he was a foreigner. So Mary started showing him stuff. And if before he was very friendly and easy-going, was often cooking with Sharon, sharing stories and jokes, but then after meeting Mary he became bitter and negative.
For me, Mary's accusations immediately came to mind:
You are such a negative person, I can't stand you!
Sharon then told me that Mary influenced Liam not to trust her anymore, she said it felt like she was jealous of her. For Sharon it was so silly, because Liam was close to her son's age. That in turn created constant conflicts between Sharon and Liam. And it even started to cause problems with their landlord lady because of Mary's frequent visits and Liam's erratic behavior.
To make matters worse for Sharon, because of all the problems that Mary caused while visiting Liam (and it seems there were a lot) the landlord lady didn't want to rent to Sharon anymore because she was blaming her for bringing Mary, which caused their ongoing problems. So at the end, Sharon also lost her apartment.
Sharon's last words to me were:
I hate Mary. She ruined my life!
So, yes. If you count Sharon, myself and possibly Liam in a few months, Mary managed to deeply affect three people. But for what? Ah, she got herself an apartment.
For me though, it gave me so much needed closure. It gave me the explanation why this breakup happened, and showed whether or not I did anything wrong. And even though reliving what Sharon told me was very difficult, in the end I could dot the i's and cross the t's of my fateful relationship with Mary.
I want to thank you for reading up to the end. Yes, it was a long story, and I promise to stick to my usual technical subjects in the future. Also please understand that it is a shortened account of a 6-month long saga, so I had to abbreviate and omit certain things.
I also want to assure you that what you had read above is my version of events as I remember them, and that I was as truthful about it all as my memory allows it. It hasn't been long since we broke up and my memory is still fresh. I am obviously still going through the hard time of realizing what has happened and of the consequences, especially after what Sharon told me at the end. But time heals. So I hope that it will heal me too.
Lastly, if you were a part of this story and want to post your thoughts about it, please use the comment section below. Use your real name, that's how I will know that you are that person. After that I will edit it out to match your name in this story.
And finally. Thank you for reading and for listening. It helps a lot!
Thank you, everyone for all your nice comments and words of encouragement! I really couldn't have anticipated such a warm reaction.
Also, let me say that in spite of what happened to me, I do not think that most women in Africa, or in Kenya, are like "Mary".
UPDATE (March, 2022): In spite of what went down in the story, my life has totally changed. I am currently in a very happy place, living with a girl that loves and cares about me, that I love and care back. I'm keeping this story as a lesson to anyone who falls into a similar trap with a person like "Mary" (be it a woman or a man.) My hope is that maybe my example will be an early red-flag for you.