No doubt she harbors thoughts and intentions of asking me why I do the things I do; especially in the manner that I do them.
Am pretty sure if she ever did come around to asking, I would have no answer for her.
Or even for my own self.
I have seen how she looks at me whenever I go to the sink to wash my hands for the third time in less than an hour. Or how she stares at me when I undo the bed she has made because the top side of the bed cover is facing the wrong direction. Many are the times when I had to re-make the bed after she’s done so, because I needed the edges of the sheets to be smooth and crease-less.
The first time she saw me washing my tomatoes and fruits with soap and water before slicing them, she must have thought I was all nuts. It’s good that she still has no knowledge of all those instances when I have had to wake up in the middle of the night, as she softly slumbers away, to go scribble a thought here and another there. Thoughts that keep knocking on the peripheries of my concentration until they are attended to.
Am also almost certain that she believes am all nuts upstairs because of my weird behaviors and routines.
But am not, it is in my internal wiring. I cannot help it.
You see there are these obsessive thoughts of bad things happening if I do not do something like am supposed to. Thoughts that often come with the inability to think straight or to relax, until whatever task I am supposed to do is addressed.
She looks at me like am a bird wearing shoes whenever I fold my dirty clothes before putting them in my laundry basket. Because I somehow believe that if they are left unfolded, they would be difficult to wash. And because I would be unable to do anything else before folding them. I don’t want to be like that, nor do I enjoy being so, but I somehow find myself doing it every single time, even on days that I promise myself to stop the habit.
But she is not the first person to wonder what the hell (or heavens) is wrong with me. Back in college, there was this girl I really liked. Beautiful bird with the greatest diction south of the Sahara. She always sounded so awesome when she went on and on about her day. But then one day, out of nowhere, she decided to ghost me – just a few days after visiting my hostel room. The reason?
Because I was “…too girlish!”
Her words, not mine.
She thought the underwear drawer in my closet was too neatly arranged. And that my insistence on re-arranging everything she touched was driving her crazy.
She found it disturbing. Claiming I would be too much of a pain to be with.
Apparently her mom had told her that all men are essentially big children who just throw things about. Waiting for their mothers or their women to pick them up. Because ladies are supposed to be more responsible and organized than men.
So she found me odd. And took off.
I didn’t follow her because I did not, and still don’t (to this day) know how to throw things about in the hope that someone else will pick up after me. Seven years in both boarding primary and boarding secondary schools will squeeze that mindset out of you.
Anyway, I have an organizational system that keeps me sane.
You see, my tasks are accomplished in certain orders. And all the tasks have to be done in a pre-planned sequence before I can move on to other things. If they are not, I cannot concentrate on anything else afterwards. Even if I were to take concentration pills.
I remember once sitting through a social psychology test in my second year in college, all the while greatly distracted because my mind was on the bed that I had left unmade in the morning as I hurried to the examination hall.
I have also woken up in the dead of the night, on more occasions than I care to count, because I remembered the dishes in my sink had not been properly arranged and they might fall and break. Or the wall sockets in my living room were not switched off, and that they might burn the house. Or that I left my phone charger on the couch rather than on the TV stand where it is supposed to be.
But I was never like that in my younger years. I must admit the bug of obsessing over such weird little details bit me somewhere around my eighteenth or nineteenth year on earth. And I have been unable to get rid of the resulting compulsive tendencies that sit in my mind until they are attended to, like some obsessive habit.
Sometimes I wish I could explain to her that I would very much love to be normal but every attempt to be so only makes me weirder. I wish I could let her know that I find comfort in doing all the things she finds weird. If I could, I would also gently lead her to the realization that if any one of my routines were to disappear, I would be a shell of the man she fell in love with.
For now however, I let her be. I let her stare at me with those big white eyes as she wonders what a big beautiful mess I am.
Because am certain she thinks am crazy.