Walking down the street you bump into him. He was so unattainable before. But as your shoulder jabs his side you feel the connection. You shiver as waves of electric shock rake your body. The gods are on your side as Mr. Perfect bestows his smile on you. Your senses are shocked back to life as he places his hand on your shoulder. Maybe to steady you or just to assure you that no damage has been done.
You smile at him. Mostly because when you smile you have been told you transform from a plain Jane into someone more attractive. You see the change in his eyes. “I am Eugene”, he will say stretching his long figured hand at you. You take his hand and its neither too calloused nor too soft. A perfect hand that hints at a guy who plays golf and enjoys an occasional manicure. He will leave with a smile not having bothered to hear your name. After all, everyone should know Eugene.
You will bump into him a couple more times. In the hallways. In the library heck he is even in your history class. And all this while, he will bestow on you his charming smile and you would forget the world as is. He will ask you out for coffee. You will agree because it has just been too long since you have been on a date. You can’t count the weekly study meetings with Chang as dates. Chang was a study partner. He was always too smart for you. Friends kept whispering that he wanted something. You think to yourself “Everyone wants something”. However there is no danger with Chang since you didn’t see him like that. Eugene on the other hand was danger incarnate. You wonder at how no one warned you about Eugene.
He will take you to a restaurant and he will order for you. The feminist in you will want to scream at him. But he is so charming this Eugene. You will let him dominate the conversation. He will hint at what clothes make you hotter. He will tell you how weaves irk him and you will make a mental note to never buy weaves again. He is slowly changing your views on things and you let him. You strive to be more like him and less like you.
He will say something shocking like “I don’t do relationships“. And your head, your logical head will tell you to run. But there is a treacherous part of your body that screams, “We can change him” or “he will change for us“. And hence commence your union.
Six months later you find out he was not kidding. You have sported him with Rose. Beautiful, perfect Rose. Lithe frame and nice almond eyes. She was no plain Jane this one. Your head starts to tell you that maybe you should cut the cord and run. “For old times’ sake”, you tell yourself as you continue to hang on. A year passes. You are through with college.
His parents had never liked you. They see you and equate you to all that is wrong in the world. Yes you have already met the parents. You find out this gesture was meaningless to him. His culture is different from yours. Taking a girl home is not equal to a proposal, and he tells you as much. Eugene is candid like that. You ponder on the gifts you had laden the parents with to appease them. To make them forget your short comings. The baskets of fruits the rare diamonds. They still judged and dismissed you.
You wonder what the parents will say about Rose. With parents like that though, no girl is good for their son. You wonder at what gifts she gave the parents. Maybe she offered them the oil wells of her fore fathers. It still wouldn’t be enough you think.
You start to think more and more about Chang. He had proposed. “Let’s get married and have little mixed raced children’’, he says. His proposal was wrong and right at the same time. You think of all the children with their yellow skin and squinty eyes. They will be beautiful. Mostly because you have been taught to ‘dilute’ your pigment. However, you can’t help thinking how short they will be. Height is a major factor for you. “Let me think about it you tell Chang” in the meantime you let him start constructions of your matrimonial house. He decides it’s better to build it in your country. Just in case you say yes there won’t be any reason to relocate. He is very considerate you think.
Eugene somehow finds out about Chang. He is furious. “Stop seeing Chang or I will never see you again’. You weigh the pros and cons. Chang is building you a beautiful house for free, Eugene on the other hand is a taker. He takes until there is nothing left. He is with Rose now after all, and the parents keep labelling you backwards and primitive. So you let him go.
Chang is a business man. He draws a plan of what the two of you should accomplish. You look on, awestruck at all the dreams he has for you. There is always that nagging voice at the back of your mind. A voice that has been fuelled by your mother’s words, “men always want something in return”. You try to think of what Chang wants from you. He never did promise a marriage full of love. But that’s just the point. Are you ready to turn your marriage into a contract?
Eugene calls after months away. He sounds apologetic. He will give you the damn universe if you take him back. You know he must have heard about the things Chang is doing. What about Rose you ask and the other women you add. “I will do right by you he says. At least hear me out”. There is no promise that he will stop his philandering ways and no promise he will stop seeing Rose. You wonder at the day he will pit you against Rose.
You want so badly to trust him. So you arrange a meeting. In this meeting you invite your friends and his cohorts. Time to see what the pied piper has in store.
You hear his parents have been talking bad about him visiting. A terror hotbed they have labelled you. They forget all the gifts that have come with your association. You should learn from these mistakes you think to yourself.
Chang on the other hand has invited his clan to your house without asking. He is planning on building a factory and he will need the manpower he says.
These are the Affairs of States