You’re my Downfall. You’re my muse. My worst distraction. My Rhythm and Blues.– John Legend (All of Me)
She was insanely happy that day. I hadn’t seen her like that for days. Rather months. She was flying. Literally and figuratively on cloud nine. She sat down in front of me. Smiled at the waitress and ordered her usual. Coffee with cream, no sugar. And a piece of chocolate cake. The one she orders when she is ecstatic. That’s how I knew.
She turned towards me, and her cheeks flushed. My heart sank. I was now sure that something had happened. I could always tell things about her. I could predict her every move; by the way she smiled, by the way her eyes sparkled, by the way, she moved, by her voice. It’s like I had a doctorate, and my thesis was on her. I could tell by the sparkle in her eyes that there was someone new.
She was glowing that day but in a different way. A way I hadn’t seen before. Something inside me knew that even though she was so happy, her news would leave me devastated. But seeing her like that, I happily ignored my guts warning.
She looked at me, her eyes screaming, ” GUESS WHAT?” But she sat there poised, like a little lady waiting for my attention. And so I decided that I’d bite. I asked her, and oh! How I wish I hadn’t.
She was floating because she was in love. Puppy love, sure, but love. My brain screamed at my heart, “I TOLD YOU SO”, but it (my heart) was still so much in love that it didn’t care. She had a new crush. Years after him, she finally liked someone. I had helped her nurse the wounds hoping to be the knight in shining armour she had always wished for. But she never saw me in any other way than platonic. Sometimes I wonder if it is wrong of me to want her differently.
Anyway, back to “him”…
She had met him through a mutual friend. They had come over to pick her up in his jaguar. Had to be a jaguar, her favourite car. She told me that she felt like a glee filled child when he opened the door and helped her in. He even closed the door after her.
“Who does that nowadays?” she asked me, completely ignoring the fact that I had held open every door for her since we met.
NO! I shouldn’t think like this. I do it out of love. I don’t seek any acknowledgement for my actions.
He drove fast. But she liked it. She liked his voice too. She liked that he was considerate. Why you ask, she thought so? Because he considered her choice of songs in deciding what to play on the radio, he blared throughout the ride. But no, at least he asked her. Wait, he did offer her the front seat and closed the door behind her. Why doesn’t she understand that she is worth so much more?
Turns out that he was a mixture of everything she wanted in a guy and everything she considered wrong. He smoked. He drank. He drove under the influence. He drove while drinking! Why did she get in the car with him when he was drunk and still drinking? She knows better than that. I was going to tell her off when she interrupted me. She said it was all big NOs. But she wanted him. She wanted him to kiss her. She wanted to taste the beer in his kiss. Smell the smoke on him. She wanted to see what he tasted like.
She liked that he held doors open for her but didn’t make a big show of it. That he sat with his chair facing her, looking in her onyx eyes as she talked. She liked how he took care of their drunk friend, how he helped her in the car. How he didn’t take advantage of her inebriated state. I am appalled at a girl’s adoration for a guy when he does something gentlemanly. Something that is common courtesy. How far has the patriarchal society fallen that a woman is enamoured by a guy who showed basic courtesy towards her and others?
She liked the touch of his hand on hers. It didn’t feel foreign. She smiled with dreamy eyes as she talked about him. He was her prince charming. At least for the time being, till he broke her heart again and I broke his arm.
I didn’t like the burn in my heart as she went on and on about him. She called it a stupid crush. But my mind cursed at me for letting our relationship reach a point where I played the role of her guy best friend. Where I had to listen to her drone about her latest crush, and I had no option but to listen. No way to tell her how I truly felt. It was officially too late.
She said they sang together on the way back, out of tune, sure, but together. In those few hours with him, she said she felt freer than she had in her whole life. She felt like she was a part of the wind. She said I’ll understand it better when I felt that way for someone else. But I know how it feels. I have known how it feels for a long time. I just wish she felt it for me, with me.
As I stared at her animatedly, describing the details of her date, her order arrived. She was a vision as her eyes brightened even more at the sight of food. She took a bite, dribbling a little chocolate from the side, and closed her eyes to savour the taste. When she opened them, she had tears in her eyes. But before I could say anything, she held my hand in hers and thanked me for being her friend, for always being there for her. She said she didn’t know where she would be without me. And those words, that moment, made it all bearable. Made it all worthwhile. I knew that my heart would happily sit there listening about a million more crushes if it made her happy.