The boy and the girl sat on a park bench.
“I wish I could just wipe away everything that happened today, just wipe it completely,” she said.
“I know the feeling, dear. If you find out how, I’m interested.” He smiled. She didn’t notice.
“I mean, why can’t some people take hints, eh?”
“He was probably very hopeful.”
“I kept giving him hints that I wasn’t interested. God!” she said. “Now I’ll have to start avoiding him.”
“Ah, it isn’t that bad, dear. Come on. You just said no and should get over it. He should, too.”
“You should have seen his face. You should have seen…arrgh! Why won’t people just take hints?”
“Hey, you just said no to him. I mean if you don’t want to date him, that’s okay. It’s not like you did something bad.”
She was silent for a while.
“He was cool. I mean, I did enjoy—I do enjoy his company.”
“I know. He’s okay.”
“Then he got sappy. And for a while it was still okay. Still fun. But I see the changes and I’m leaving hint trails like I’m carrying breadcrumbs in a holey pocket and he misses them all. As in, he misses every single one of them!”
“It’s a shame. He’s usually bright, I guess?”
“We used to be very tight—I mean we are very tight.”
“You do hang out often, yes.”
“Now I wonder…it seems things are broken. I mean, our tight friendship…”
“Broken things can be fixed.”
“Some things broken you are not sure can be fixed,” she said after a thought. “Some things broken you’re not sure you want to be fixed.”
Now he thought.
“I mean, now, if we see, we can never have the kind of bond we shared. He really was disappointed. He’ll feel I kind of hurt him, I may feel a little guilty, and we’ll pussyfoot around each other like cripples waltzing in a minefield or something—”
He laughed and she glanced at him briefly, smiling absently.
“We were tight friends; why go spoil something like that? He wants me to be his girl?”
“I mean how absurd is that?”
“It is. It’s like you asking me out?”
He turned and stared at her. “Oh.” He paused. “Is it?”
“What? Oh, yes. Past a point, friends just shouldn’t date.”
“That’s nonsense.” He paused then said. “It really makes no sense.”
“What? No, it does. Friends become too intimate to risk dating.”
“So they get too close to date? That it?”
“Yes. It’s like dating a brother or cousin.”
“Dubious honor that is.”
“Being a make-believe brother. I’ll pass; have too many siblings already.”
It was her turn to look at him and his to look away.
“Well, it’s also sneaky.”
“Interesting. Sneaky, eh?”
“Yes, sneaky. You hang around just in a false guise being something you are not, and suddenly you spring a surprise!”
“False guise of what?”
“You pretend friend when you are suitor.”
“Regardless of whether I really care?”
“Of course, it’s a more convenient way to know one’s secrets and gain trust.”
“What? So, it’s a bad thing to get to know a girl before asking her out?”
“It’s sneaky getting to be a girl’s best friend before asking her out.”
“What’s sneaky about it?”
“Everything… it’s like finding out a Peeping Tom’s been spying in on you bathing! You know more than you should know and have been where you shouldn’t have been.”
“That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard!”
“So you’d prefer a ‘Hi, I’m Mr. D from Mars and you are Miss P from Venus, and will you be my girl?’ kind of situation?”
“What? No, not that—”
“Why should one who cares anything about honesty in a relationship—and I’m assuming you do—be bothered about things her boyfriend knows about her?”
“You want to date me, you have to warn me beforehand, and not shoot me in the back with it somewhere down the line.”
“So you’ll have enough time to hide some things in the closet?”
“Wait, wait…is this still about him…or is this about something else?”
He said nothing.
“You know, sometimes a guy needs to know he’d get to reach for more than the tissue paper and offer more than a shoulder to weep on.”
“I’m going, dear. Take care.”
“What the fuck!”
He got up and left, feeling oddly elated, like he won something, but he knew he lost something too (At least, I didn’t ask and get shot down). He felt as if he spent ten thousand naira rigging a ten naira lottery in his favor. He also knew he had broken something between them and, like she said, he didn’t know if he could fix it or if he’d want to.
Written by The Yakadude