I shut it out. “I am not going to think of you,” I said to myself as I drove past Wendy’s on East Broad Street today. There was traffic and I was stuck there. Memories of you came in a gush and I resisted them as hard as I could. I toughened my heart and turned up the volume of the radio to escape the thoughts of you that sifted through my mind like flood sifts through the thickest blankets. Slowly, thoughts of you penetrated and I unwillingly surrendered. I recited my order, “Number six. That would be spicy chicken combo. I would like my fries, fresh and very hot. And my drink will be Coke, no ice please. Plus, extra napkins please.” Instantly I missed you. I remembered the taste of the salted fries in my mouth every time I called your name. “Funke, are you there? Hold on, let me make sure this people got my order right,” I would say while I chewed my fries and sipped my drink.
“What are you doing?” You always asked like you did not know that stopping at Wendy’s every work day at around eleven o’clock at night on my way to work was my daily tradition and having you on the phone while I gobbled my food was the most pleasing part of those nights.
“Eating these fries. It’s so good Funke,” I would pause for a heartbeat “so freaking good,” I would exaggerate just to taunt you.
“May you choke on it!” You would reply jokingly but I knew you meant those words because my teasing always got on your nerves especially on nights you had ramen noodles.
I let myself remember our last chat on WhatsApp. The last time we chatted, two weeks ago. First you sent me picture “a picture of him and a flag of Ghana and Nigeria, with hashtag Ghana Naija let’s try again 2016.” As soon as I got the text. I knew what it meant. You were going back to him. I was not shocked. I was ready because I had always known, you and I, friends with benefits were meant to be short-lived.
And then you texted. “That’s what Kweku said last night?”
“What did you tell him” I asked
“I told him we will see,” you replied. I know you and your heart, how it beats, how it sounds, how it cracked, how you love the hands that smashed it to the ground. I know you liked to act like he was your past, like you moved on when what you really wanted was for him to miss you, beg for you and fight like hell to have you back, have you back and not break your love again.
“That was last year” I texted you back.
“Okay,” you replied. You must have been startled by the response. “It is time to let the man have his girl,” I added as an afterthought. And then I brought up small talks; school, the weather, anything to get away from it. You replied and we carried on like nothing happened. I thought I was ready but I was not. We talked too much, played too much, fought too much and I let myself become fond of you. I read your text over and over again and I knew we had to end, totally end.
You and I, what we had was perfect like that. I met you. We exchanged Instagram details. We texted. We talked a lot. We went on a date. I remember we were supposed to go bowling, we ended up having Chinese food and sitting in your car talking for hours. We talked more, more and more. It got scary, dramatic, steamy and sexy. We talked about sex, we talked about it so much and it seemed like it would never happen. Eventually it did. I decided to drive two hours to your school. We did it and then we had this crazy fight. We said the dandiest and cruelest things to each other. We thought it was over. And then the anger stirred emotions, raw emotions, I wanted you, you wanted me. We made plans, plotted some fantasies together, brought some to pass and let reality swallow up the rest. We had more fun, this time better sex. We did it more and then we both were convinced we may get used to it. I wrote you a beautiful poem. We almost had it all. Then he came.
He came back crawling to you. Asking that you let him be your man again. And being who I am, knowing who you are, it was best to let you fly like a bird and choose what nest you want to lay your eggs. I listened to you more than you think. I observed your words, your choices and all case scenarios and when it came to horses and zebras. For you, I chose none, for me, I chose horses. You agreed to the weekend with him. You bought a dress for it. You made your hair. You even said something about making sure you show him what he missed. You wanted to be sexy and look good for him. You wanted him. So I let you be. I pulled away from you so you can figure you out while I did the same. Three days, no call, no texts, just emotions, just me, just you, no us.
Then I called. You thought we could keep what we have, cut down the feelings and subtract the sex. I tried to think that no matter what happened I could just be your friend, the one you can always call, the one you can tell anything and everything. I thought I wanted that too and then I realized that I wanted something else. Something much more. I wanted you in golden memory. So I called, we talked and we hit a wall. “I would talk to you less so I can have time for other people because I don’t want to be hanging around waiting for your relationship with Kweku to fail. That won’t do neither you nor I any good,” I said knowing that the best way to be your friend was to give you space.
You thought that meant we were not friends anymore. I tried to make us nice that night. And then I said something else, something about not having any reason to drive two hours to Toledo in the next few months and you felt like I was not committed to being friends with you, that maybe I was trying to spite you.
“When I come to Columbus. I am not even going to try to see you,” you responded in anger. The decision to make you a golden memory became the only thing to do. I began to think that maybe you are just selfish, maybe you just want to eat your cake and have it. Maybe I should just do the same, do what is best for just me even if it’s hard. So I hung up and texted you.
“Let’s establish this, you and I are nothing. Not even friends”
You became a memory and now when I think of us, I mourn in silence. I mourn what we had but I am quite sure I don’t want you back. You and I, us, as beautiful and amazing as we were, are best left a memory.
I made a left into Wendy’s today, same order; number six, spicy chicken combo, fresh hot fries, coke no ice, extra napkins. Just in memory of you and what we used to be.
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