Today, I confess I was once a ladies man. That’s right; I was a Casanova of note in my heydays. I have been involved in many “casual relationships” – from Zodwa, the love of my life – greater for being unfulfilled, to Busi, the terrible kisser, to Nompilo who earned her stripes as the first woman to infect me with a sexually transmitted disease and, to Thule – perhaps my original yellow-bone, a village beauty, and snazzy dresser who died prematurely.
Out of all my “casual relationships” only one stands out. I had something special with my close friend turned lover named Cebisile (the one who helps with a good plan). In the modern parlance, my relationship with Cebisile could be described as “friends with benefits.” Cebisile and I knew that we were in a “casual relationship.” I was free to date other women. I guess, she too if she wanted was free to date someone else. But, she chose me, warts and all.
Psychologists have long warned that true love and commitment are a rare find. They insist that a lot of times romantic relationships are not based on love at all but are casual and sexual in nature. I know many a girl who would scoff at the idea of a “casual relationship” that they would rather choose to live with the delusional white lie that their relationship is a more formal romantic relationship. Cebisile and I had no delusions of grandeur.
Cebisile was short, fair in complexion and always full of beans. It was this natural cheerfulness that drew me closer to her. She was a charmer extraordinaire. Cebisile’s presence in my life did wonders to my ego to no end. Yet, she wasn’t my ideal girlfriend as I preferred them tall, slender and yellow-boned. But, Cebisile was cut from a different cloth; she had that “thing.” To borrow from the Songs of Solomon, Cebisile had dove’s eyes, teeth like a flock of shorn sheep, and her lips were like a strand of scarlet. I wouldn’t necessary say I was head over heels for Cebisile. Nonetheless, we had a good show except that we never had sex.
Yes, you read that right. No sex – full stop. A Casanova was once involved in a sex-less casual relationship. It wasn’t a about hormonal issues – menopause or childbirth that are often blamed whenever a woman loses her libido. Cebisile’s libido was in full throttle. As for me, it wasn’t that I suddenly had a lower than normal testosterone levels. I was as red-hot blooded like all other philanders. Truth is we made a vow of sexually abstinence. And, this had nothing to do with religious reasons. In fact, I had no idea why would a woman in her twenties say no to sex but yes to a relationship with a famous womaniser.
Although, I was puzzled by her no-sex stance, I played along largely because I valued my friendship with her. I must admit, I wanted more.
I will be telling a lie if I say I was looking forward to Cebisile’s first sleepover at my humble abode. Oh Boy! I should have. Cebisile gave me free lessons in sexual pleasure devoid of penetration. After our first carnal encounter, I almost fell in love with her. In all my casual relationships, the one I had with Cebisile was second to none for that year.
We spent a lot of quality time together with Cebisile until we lost contact. The last time I saw her late in 1998, she was still gentle but frail. We exchanged telephone numbers again and agreed to meet to rekindle the old flames of our “love” affair. We never did.
I only learned about the untimely death of Cebisile in the mid-2000. I was going through my old diaries when I chanced upon her Telkom telephone number. I dialled the number and voice on the end of the line said, “Let me call an adult.” I knew something big had happened to my dearest Cebisile. The elder squandered no time. She simple announced that Cebisile was late and was buried last year (1999). But why am I telling you this story? Wait. I learned later from other family members that Cebisile had died as a result of AIDS-defining clinical conditions.
Cebisile was for the lack of better phrase my soul mate. I am grateful to her for protecting me and loving me completely to the detriment of her own happiness. Cebisile put her whole being to the service of those like me who were at the time ignorant about the virulent HIV/Aids epidemic. In the mid-nineties, some of us knew very little about various forms of protecting oneself against HIV. The use of condoms was intermittent. And, there were no anti-retroviral drugs to halt the spread of the disease once infected. The only method that truly worked was sexual abstinence. To this day, I salute Cebisile for loving me truly enough to want me to live a HIV/Aids free life. May her sweet and gentle soul rest in peace!