How do we rid ourselves of the bitter memories that can become intertwined with delicious things we eat and drink, asks Patricia Kihoro as she makes the peace with her favourite drink red wine.
Navigating the world of dating in Nairobi, and the rest of the world I presume, can either be surprisingly simple or devastatingly daunting. This of course depends on what your previous experiences have been and in just how many pieces your heart exists. My heart is currently sitting on a tray, its pieces too many to count, all mixed up with the endless memories of dalliances past. That said, judging by the size of them, the pieces are not too many or too entangled that they can’t be picked out, sorted and melded back together into a beautiful Japanese kinstugi-esque golden masterpiece. Yes, when it comes to love, I am the proverbial optimist.
Suffice it to say, I now do proceed with immense caution while treading the volatile dating waters of the world. You would think that as I grow older I would be casting a wider net, traversing the Nairobi social hot spots with a little more frequency and not holding on to certain traits of potential partners I deemed unworthy in the past. Turns out, I actually prefer using a single fishing line now. It’s better to take my time, be specific and if the fish doesn’t fit the bill, I can always cast it back out (or let it slither free) and patiently wait to reel another more suitable one in, all the while reading a book, and sipping on a cauldron of wine to pass the time.
Speaking of memories, am I the only one whose memories of past lovers attach themselves to things, places, food and other people? My mind has learnt to do this thing where little snippets of my time with someone will attach themselves to the things we engaged in the most while we were together. If for example, we both shared a love for pasta dishes, then their face will forever be emblazoned on everything pasta. I still haven’t returned to Lamu, five years after a brief getaway with a significant other, for fear of finding its narrow streets haunted with ghosts of our love. Eventually I will go back and reclaim it for myself though, Lamu is too beautiful to be ruined by the memory of a love lost!
One of the most peculiar things for me, however, is drinks. If, while I was with someone, we imbibed mostly in, say, whiskey, then for the rest of my life, anytime I indulge in some whiskey, memories of them will most certainly come forth.
The hardest one for me however has been wine. Specifically red wine. While sampling different restaurants around Nairobi, said Lamu lad and I would partake in the consumption of gallons upon gallons of red wine. After our painful parting, I couldn’t stand to even look at red wine let alone drink it, so I avoided it like the plague, blaming its tannins for my aversion when really it just tasted like bleeding hearts.
Eventually, however, after my heart had bled dry, I couldn’t stay away from my beloved wine. Happy to be reunited with my tipple without any attachment to that familiar pain, my love for red wine intensified. This however translated into a harsh judgement of any potential suitor who didn’t know their way around it. Determined to protect the sanctity of my revered red wines, I would find myself scoffing at any man who would order for a “Malotte” or a “Kabanette SaviGnon”. I’m now learning to soften my stance however, and to let the occasional “Pinotte Noy” slip, because, well, I realised I wasn’t perfect when I was scanning the white wine list the other day and was duly humbled by my attempt to pronounce “Gewürztraminer”.