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    WordSmithPraise | An African Literary Blog

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    Thursday, 14 September 2017

    Editor's Pick | WHY I BELIEVE LOVE IS NOT FOR ALL by Lus Aziz Ali

    There are certain sentences I don’t ever want to hear from the girl I'm chasing on;
    “It’s funny, I never realized how much you look like my brother.”
    “There’s something about the dad in that Honey Boo Boo show that really turns me on.”
    “I think that movie date wasn’t the best idea tonight.”
    And without a doubt,
    “I don’t think we should do anything because I only hook up with boys I have real feelings for”    is one of them.
    Her name was Christine,
    She was the extreme good Christian girl.
    Blonde hair and blessed holy water blue eyes,
    with the kind of face you’d see on a Coca-Cola advert,
    She always looked perfect
    Christine hadn’t really been on my radar
    as any serious romantic potential.
    She was sweet, stable, and as a result,
    the opposite of everything I was usually attracted to.
    I knew we were from different worlds.
    We had different ideologies, music taste,
    gym equipment preferences,
    but I couldn’t stop thinking about what could happen.
    Christine the Christian became my secret forbidden fruit.
    Like I said, I never intended for anything to happen.
    She was pretty to look at,
    and we often found ourselves hanging out with the same people,
    but I was way too busy being desperately in love with a wiry girl named Dina,
    who had the quickest tongue for comebacks I’d ever encountered.
    It was like an ambulance tone every time we spoke.
    She’d rattle off a clever pun about Kendrick Lamar lyrics,
    That girl had something to say about everything,
    and while this could be a personality trait that annoyed some,
    I just fell deeper and deeper in like-lust-love.
    We’d send each other underground hip hop artists to check out,
    or YouTube videos with borderline pretentious, absurd humor.
    She would text me some Eminem quote that I would google to double check it was in fact.  This was a crush that had me reading more classic literature,
    brushing up on pop culture trivia,
    and just generally being more informed about everything.
    Liking Dina had me doing what every parent hopes their child will do,
    living up to my full potential.
    I wanted to be the best version of myself,
    because Dina was perfect.
    But not in the Christine, billboard poster way perfect,
    she was my version of perfect.
    Somewhere between the jokes and witty back and forth,
    we’d sip on moments of raw vulnerability.
    We tiptoed around depression,
    and soon it became clear this too was a subject we shared in common.
    I was so convinced that these moments were something to be remembered in the morning,
    that I let myself forget she had a boyfriend.
    A boyfriend she very much loved.
    I was always just her friend.
    I was Eastman. Or AE, as she would yell to grab my attention down the hall,
    arm around her boyfriend, waving to me with her free hand.
    I was nothing more than a passing thought,
    when she occupied all of my grey matter.
    I spent a whole year pining for Dina,
    but in the midst of wanting to hate her lovely boyfriend (but unable because he was truly lovely)
    Christine started making more of an effort to talk to me.
    I know this is horrible and the kind of lesson I would never want to teach my child,
    but I started to wonder if Christine could serve as a replacement for the spot I was reserving for Dina.
    It’s like if you’re craving sushi, but instead,
    the only restaurant you can find open is Italian.
    You’re hungry, and you like Italian,so it’s not that bad.
    Even if you really, really wanted Sushi.
    And one night, out of nowhere, Christine kissed me.
    She claims I kissed her. But I’m 98% sure she was the one that made the move,
    but it was okay because however it happened, it happened.
    She was the first girl I’d kissed since my nearly 3 year long relationship that had ended 6 months prior.
    It was one of those moments when you go, “OH YEAH, KISSING. FORGOT THIS IS GREAT!”
    And so it went for a bit.
    It was somewhat secretive, never a thing we openly discussed.
    We’d get together, make out a little.
    It was totally working for me.
    I wasn’t consumed with Dina.
    I even started to think, “Maybe I could really like this girl.”
    She was already my friend.
    Isn’t this what happened in all those highschool movies I'd watched?
    Friendships that lead to make out sessions…and then?
    And then bam:
    “I have to be honest, I don’t think we should do anything because I only hook up with girls I have real feelings for.”
    We’d only ever kissed,
    with some light petting thrown in.
    And it’s not that I was wishing on jumping her curves that night,
    but this kind of declaration really took me back.
    Had we not just been intensely kissing for the past hour?
    Didn’t she kiss me back?
    I felt like I was back in Geometry class, really fucking confused.
    What was she talking about,real feelings??
    “I don’t mean that to hurt your feelings. But, c’mon, I know you’re into Dina. And frankly, I’ve got unresolved stuff with my ex right now.”
    And there it was.
    Two highschool kids just trying to navigate being alone.
    Being lonely. We love to do that, don’t we?
    Humans need touch, this isn’t some miraculous newfound discovery.
    But sometimes, we seek comfort wherever we can.
    We use fillers. We go for second best.
    We rationalize. This wasn’t what I wanted,
    but I guess it’ll work?
    We ended up staying up all night talking about relationships,
    the people we had once loved. People we still loved.
    She told me her first impressions of me. I did the same.
    I still think about this night a lot, and what it taught me.
    We’re always so afraid of being honest with each other.
    It’s this unicorn type creature, we talk about it,
    but rarely see it.
    Even when we think we’re being truthful,
    we present it in prettier ways.
    We soften blows.
    Christine didn’t have real feelings for me.
    I didn’t have real ones for her.
    And guess what? We told each other that.
    And the world didn’t explode.
    Egos weren’t forever wounded.
    We moved forward.
    I guess I’m trying to remember that lately.
    I know how to move forward.
    I’ve done it before.
    But maybe some things, some people,
    are just harder to let go of.
    And these people, are the Dina kind!
    ©Lus Aziz Ali.

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