Because.

You are bored and idle. You have tried everything on your bucket list but you are not yet un-idle or un-bored. You tap your computer to life, and quickly type in some address in the search engine. It is a blog site. His blog site. You scroll through, with a flurry of contrasting emotions—hesitation, curiosity, and fear. You haven’t visited his blog in about one and a half years, because sometimes you have to burn bridges to create a distance, and you do not know what to expect now. Maybe a diss post, or a backlash, or something to get at you for ending things the way you did—like an anniversary post to his new girlfriend or a picture of his new self plus two, his wife and kid. You shudder.

Surprisingly, there has been no activity since the last time you visited. He hasn’t even been there himself for so long. He has probably been busy making some girls fall to their knees in reverence of his flawless charm. Shina! You see one of his posts you had commented on, back then—during the “good old days” when your heart was still your own. You read through again, and gasp at its ingenuity… then you see his flirtatious reply to your innocent comment, and you smile. He wanted you even then, how did you not see it? There had been nothing fantastic about him—not his silence when he ought to speak up, or his boldness just when circumstances begged that he be quiet, but you had yearned for him, shamelessly. So that although it took too long for him to profess his love, and even when he did, it had been an imperfect FaceBook inbox confession, you had been content with all he had to offer; and you had had a great three months together—before things ended almost as unceremoniously as they began.

You had broken up with Shina so long ago, but it feels just like yesterday. No, he didn’t cheat or dump you or something like that. He got a scholarship to commence his Doctorate degree at a University in London—for three years, and you decided there was a lot at stake. Three years is a long enough time for anything to happen. What if he never comes back? What if he finds someone else? What if you find someone else? What if the voice and video calls aren’t enough? What if Winter gets so cold that he seeks warmth in the arms of another sylph? These thoughts and more rummaged through your mind days after he broke the news to you. He couldn’t stay, yet he didn’t want to leave. It hurt you to leave, but it was difficult to stay.

He promised heaven and earth. He swore he would come back for you. He said you both could make things work if you wanted to. That was a day before he had to leave for London but you were having none of it. You had every cause to worry. He had never cheated, but he had given you cause to think along those lines, and boy—even if he never went searching again for the rest of his life, he will be sought out as bees sought flowers. You decided what you both needed was space—space to be yourselves without guilt or worry. You told him that everything will be fine, that if the Universe wanted you both to be together in the future, it will make it happen. You told him it would be unfair on both of you to put each other’s lives on a pause, because what if you did not end up together in the first place? He said it was worth a try. You said it was too much to bear.

“We can still be friends,” you had eventually suggested with pleading eyes, hoping he would see that you didn’t want to lose him, but you couldn’t stay un-seeing, waiting for the unknown. But maybe you shouldn’t have said those words, because just as soon, he had walked himself out—well, after that final lingering kiss that left your imaginary lips heavy even days after, and you thought that had been his excuse for a final goodbye. And you had been a little happy and a little sad at the same time that things had ended the way they did. But he had called you the night he got to London. And you had talked, like friends. Then, he had called you the night after too, and the night after that. And the one after that one. And he has not stopped calling since then.

You? You pick his calls. Because, just friends, right? Your attitude has changed towards him, somewhat. You have become a little cold and less concerned– or so you like to think; but he is not giving. Sometimes, you don’t pick up. And he calls on and on, and on, until your battery is well drained out or until you pick and talk to him. It is difficult. For you. Because how can you be just friends with someone you want to rip up and apart with loving kisses and a wholesome hug? Because you cant quite forget him, and you don’t have the heart to wait for his return. Because what if he never comes? Because how does a 28-year old girl wait for her 25-year old boyfriend who might not even be ready for marriage until another ten years time?

You shake imaginary tears off your face now, as you rock yourself to Avril Lavigne’s Slipped Away. It is one and a half year gone, since you have been Just friends. Since you have had to suppress your love, and contain your jealousy and green thoughts of how he is probably smooching a gorgeous white girl off her wit in the comfort of his closet. And it isn’t getting any easier for you. And the days aren’t getting any shorter. And your love for him isn’t waning any faster.

“Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering.” 

― Paulo Coelho

____

© The Short Black Girl, 2017.

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