‘Love and Olives’ by @CeceNoStockings
So you’re at the cinema with this hot guy you’ve had your eye on for ages. The hall is dark, and you’re both really into the movie but just a little bit more into each other. You’ve been brushing up against yourselves all night and you figure it’s time to make your move, so you give him a light peck on the cheek. He turns and smiles, leans in for a full kiss, and, as your lips are just an inch away from each other, your baby lets out an ear-piercing scream, causing everyone in the theatre to turn and look at you.
Welcome to my life.
“…sometimes I get tired. Sometimes I get bored. And sometimes all I want, more than anything else in the world, is to go on a freaking date.”
― Kiersten White, Paranorma
Seeing as I haven’t been on an actual date in a significant amount of time which I’ve decided to term “forever”, romance is starting to look like a pipe dream to me. When people ask about my romantic life, I laugh because it’s cute that they think I have any, but I die a little bit inside as well. My “dating history” consists mostly of undefined ‘things’ and two-week, semi-dating episodes not all of my own doing or desire. Sometimes, I just couldn’t stick with a guy longer than a certain period of time, and there were times when I really wanted to stay, but the guy just wanted what he wanted.
But that is the least of my problems now. My mother and I may have come a long way from her throwing me out of the house after finding out I had hidden my pregnancy from her until I was in labor – long story – but my baby is still my baby as far as she is concerned. One cannot simply up and leave the house at will anymore.
“Where are you going?”
“Who are you leaving your baby for?”
Well, I can’t very well take him on a date with me, can I?
He needs constant attention and cries at awkward moments, ruining whatever semblance of a romance my date and I are trying to maintain. A lot of guys aren’t turned on by that sort of thing. They’re even less turned on by my mother coming to check in on us every five seconds when I invite them over.
“Don’t tell me you left Oliver alone in the room.”
She won’t even help me. Let me have a little fun. Let me try to find love somewhere. It’s almost like she feels she has to punish me.
It’s hard enough just going out in public with a baby. Everyone stares. They aren’t entirely sure he’s my son, but I can see them silently judging me anyway, just in case he is.
Do you guys have any idea how hard it is to be a single mother in this country? The constant and consistent judgment? The crushing responsibility? And with a system that’s built to ensure that young people remain dependent on their parents for as long as possible, I’m essentially a slave to my mother. Part-times jobs are few and hard to come by. And then there are the things people say.
“You young girls of today…”
My mind has learned to just turn off audio reception on its own whenever I hear the beginning of that speech. Everyone wants to know where his dad is. How am I supposed to know? He made his decision. He decided not to accept his responsibility. But the people talking? They don’t really care about all that.
“Why didn’t you marry him?”
Always the same damn question.
Abeg, I’m tired of hearing it. I’m trying to move on.
I’ve started dating again and it has not been easy. I want someone who’s sweet and caring and makes me laugh and understands me. A guy I can talk to about anything at any time, and who’s a positive influence on both me and Oliver. I have a whole list I could show you. Standards are necessary if I’m throwing myself back into the shark pool of dating. Mostly because there are too many freaks out there now, with all these social media platforms and dating sites and what-not. I’ve actually had a guy approach me and ask me to be his, his… I can’t even say it.
“I no go mind if you fit be my sugar mummy o”.
Me o! At my age! Oh, I forgot to tell you, I’m only in my early twenties. I don’t even have money. I think he was some sort of pervert.
Honestly, I have suffered. This dating thing has been getting harder and harder.
“When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”
I cannot express to you how deeply I despise this expression. I don’t care much for lemonade and I can’t put Oliver in a blender. I love him desperately, but I’m so tired of being alone; I’ve actually considered just settling for the next guy that’s willing to shack up with us and putting an end to this horrid search. I’ve been told there’s no ‘perfect guy’ out there, especially one that will want to date a single mother so I have to just grab the closest one and mold him. Could this really be my only option? I shudder at the thought, but as more days, weeks, and months go by with me going to bed with no one to cuddle up with and Oliver constantly reminding me of my loneliness, it’s starting to seem logical.
Yes, I’m scared.
I’m scared I’ll get attached to someone who will disappoint me so terribly or just leave me feeling more empty and alone than I already am, that it will send me into a downward spiral of shame and depression and resentment for my child. I can’t deal with any more disappointment.
Disappointments get exhausting.
I need someone who cares enough to put in an effort to put me at ease. I don’t want to be with someone who makes me stop expecting people to do even the simplest of things or makes me wish I didn’t have a son. I want to be able to see a person and believe they can do the most amazingly, unbelievably glorious things. It’s possible I need to stop trying to choose someone to date and just leave myself available for the person who’s right for me to find me. But how long can I wait? And when they find me, will Oliver be a dealbreaker for us? Oh God, I’m so scared.
“Your baby is crying again o!”
Yes, mummy. I know. I can hear. I’m crying too but my tears don’t matter anymore. Not since Oliver was born. I have to wipe them away before I tend to him. No one can see me like this. Crying because I’m lonely and scared. I have to be his everything I have to be strong for both of us.
Whatever happens though, at least we’ll always have each other, my Oliver and I.
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