Short Story: The madness of love

I received a short text message in my phone a few minutes to 7pm as I lounged on my rickety bed, pondering the complexities of life.

“Where are you? I am in my room,” read her text.

I pored over it silently, my pulse quickening, unsure of how to respond to it. I dug into my breast pocket for a handkerchief and wiped the sweat off my brow.

I had sent Amanda a text message earlier in the day requesting to see her.

“I would like to see you today. I have something pressing that I would like to share with you.”

“Not today Shem. I am busy, sorry,” came her heart breaking response.

A lump had formed in my throat at her rejection. But, now she was the one asking where I was and informing me that she was in her room. I marvelled at the turn-around.

Perhaps she had felt guilty and realised the error of her ways. I racked my brains for a fitting response to her change of heart.

Amanda had become an obsession for me ever since I first set eyes on her. Her strong will, pure heart, intelligence and beauty had made an indelible impression on me. I had fallen head over heels for her.

We both shared a passion for journalism and creative expression, the pursuit of which had brought us together in college. As we spent more time together, our friendship deepened.

She even confessed, during one of her visits to my room, that she considered me a close friend. I never doubted the strength of our friendship. During my moments of trouble and hardship, Amanda would be there by my side offering her support.

My fear was that my feelings for her went beyond platonic friendship. I felt something deeper for her. A feeling so strong that it plunged me into an emotional tailspin, threatening my sanity. I had grown very fond of her to the point where I was jittery in her absence and only her appearance calmed me down.

Over the course of our friendship, I tried to send her signals to show my love but she did not pick up on them. She regarded me as just a close friend.
Amanda had confided in me her wariness about men.

“I don’t trust men. They suffer from an implacable penchant for infidelity,” she had said, as we talked about relationships.

I wanted to argue against her view, but thought better of it. My problem was trying to gather up enough courage to tell her how I really felt about her. I wondered what the implications of my confession would be, fearing that it would not augur well for our friendship.

My roommate, Dan, encouraged me to tell her how I felt, instead of suffering in silence.

“Don’t suffer silently, bro. Let her know how you feel. Confess before another guy gets her,” he said.

Dan was right, Amanda had earned the admiration of many men in campus. It was a reality that added to my sense of inadequacy. Her intoxicating beauty was too much. I sometimes wondered if God had deliberately created her to torture men. She stalked my consciousness like a plague.

******

I stirred in bed, my mind racing as I typed a response to Amanda’s text.

“Let’s meet at the administration block. I will be there in ten minutes,” I said.

I quickly put on my cheap jacket, looked at myself in the mirror and ventured out into the darkness, unsure of my fate. The full moon shone brightly in the clear, star-filled sky.

I said a silent, desperate prayer, beseeching the Almighty to help me in my quest for Amanda’s heart. I took long, deep breaths in an attempt to calm my nerves.

I found Amanda already at our agreed meeting point. I could see her from a distance as she paced up and down, dressed in jeans and a white hoodie. Adrenaline surged through my body like electricity.

She saw me approach and walked towards me. We held each other in a tight embrace. I could feel her heartbeat against my chest.

“How have you been Amanda? I have missed you,” I said in a quivering voice that betrayed my nerves.

“Not bad. I have missed you too Shem,” she said softly, her face glowing in the moonlight, her red lips glistening. It was as if the moonlight had accentuated her beauty. The air around us crackled with tension.

“I love you Amanda,” I blurted out as I took her hand in mine.

She looked at me in bewilderment.

“No Shem! It will complicate issues,” she cried out with, as she recoiled, desperate to free herself from my grip. Her words cut through me. My eyes watered, blurring my vision. I gasped for air, almost choking.

The eerie silence was disturbed by the clinking of Amanda’s stilettoes as she ran away, disappearing into the darkness.

I looked on in despair, unable to move.