I watched them drown, though after thought. I didn’t need to reach out to catch them. I already knew. Indeed, you could say I had rehearsed each one for I knew them all by heart. And just the recall brought a smile to my face for the very first time.
The sinking feeling of finality had just given way to the rise of the desire of a new beginning.
It was OK, I thought to myself. I allowed myself to hope. Just briefly. It was OK, it had always been OK, and it was still going to be OK.
There would be no more us. Indeed, there had never been any us. They said we were more than friends, we knew we were more than friends. We wished we could be more than friends. We tried to be more than friends. But there were too many holds barred, way too many.
And each day, brought along the fresh bang of the gavel on this thing called us, and the verdict clearly said it all: there was no us. There never had been and there never would be!
Friends with benefits? Indeed. We were friends. There were benefits. The benefits of friendship. But there was no need to lie about it. There were also the benefits, the ones with a capital B. the ones we helped ourselves to, the ones we didn’t let the people who defined ‘us’ know about. The benefits we should have enjoyed if there had been an ‘us’, the benefits we decided to enjoy even though there was no ‘us’, and we were not going to stop. We couldn’t. How could we, when we were getting everything we wanted, beneficially too? No strings attached. Liars! Bloody liars! We lied to ourselves the entire time. No strings attached.
Yeah, tell that to my beating heart, as it synched rhythmically to yours. Tell that to my weak knees, as they wobbled each time u walked into the room; tell that to my lost breath, the oxygen supply I depleted each time you held my hand in yours. No strings attached? Oh, well I could agree, I suppose. Considering my new fate: I was wrapped in a ball of yarn and knotted up in a hundred places, with no way of getting out of it.
Until . . .
I was so tied up I started to choke. The oxygen depletion was no longer a fun game of how long can you hold your breath? I was dying, choking, perspiring profusely as I struggled to save myself. And that’s when I realised. I needed to save myself. This couldn’t go on. I was no longer going to be bound in these chains, suffocating in this box of . . . or serve indefinite jail time in this prison. I had to set myself free.
But I couldn’t leave you behind; there was no way I was going to let go, I was all twisted up in the game. Yet I just knew I had to save myself . . .
No shrink, no dreams, no divine interventions – although it was getting close to that - just a deep desire for freedom - and possibly the finer things of life. With or without You.
No US. No walking down the street arm in elbow, no tickling and sharing private jokes in the middle of a movie. No candlelit dinners ‘just because we could’, and certainly no stealing of the occasional kiss. No more benefits. Maybe, just maybe, no more friends.
No more simultaneous reference to my name and yours in the same sentence. And if asked, we would tell the world the truth. The truth we had let the cloud of emotion blind us to.
Onu'a and friends . . .