Previously on Unknown to ME: After a period of hunting, I finally got a job. But it came with an added bonus – a reservation for one in Heartbreak Hotel.

*

It has been more than a month since I began my first job and my routine is pretty much the same. Get out of bed at 4 am and get myself ready for the day’s work (after lingering a bit in bed for a while, of course.)

While I’m on a bus going to CMS – the first half of my trip to work – I put on my earphones and listen to my playlist, which usually starts with either Selena Gomez’s Same Old Love or Rihanna’s Close To You or any other song on her ANTI album.

And I take a trip down memory lane…

Down to that moment when Chris said those words that now feel like a mantra of sorts…

“I don’t think we can be together anymore.”

***

There was this numbness that took over my body, or was it an out-of-body experience?

I just couldn’t feel anything or react to anything. I can swear if I was crying or smiling, I couldn’t tell. I had completely lost touch with myself and the universe.

When I eventually got a grip of my senses, I heard him say, “I’m sorry it had to happen this way. I really am.”

I was still tongue-tied – pretty much stunned at the thought of having this conversation.

“You really meant a lot to me, Richard. You still do. But I can’t really handle a relationship right now,” he continued.

And finally I could open my mouth and speak. “Wow.”

Great! I couldn’t come up with anything reasonable or hurtful or mean.

“But I would really like us to stay friends,” he continued.

“Really?” I asked in what I think was a cheerful tone with a hint of sarcasm.

He went silent, and I dismissed the whole talk with an “Okay. That’s fine.”

After a couple of awkward minutes of nodding to some smooth tunes floating around the club, I picked my cue to leave. “I have to go now. It’s getting late.”

“Late? But it’s just 8:30.”

“Yeah. Times are changing, don’t you think?”

“Let me walk you home,” he said as he got up from the stool.

“Not a great idea, sir.”

I turned and headed straight for the door and out into the vacant car park, trying hard not to react to all that just went down.

“So this is it?” he asked in a sober tone that made me stop in my tracks.

That’s my fucking line! I should be the one saying that! He breaks up with me and wants to make me feel miserable – worse than I already do?

At this point, every weight in my heart became too heavy to hold anymore but I could still keep it together – that was what I thought.

“Yes. We can say that,” I said in a somewhat detached tone.

“Richy…”

I wheeled round with a huge mix of emotions in my head, so much to flood the whole of Surulere. “I’m sorry but I’d love to know when you finally realized that this couldn’t work. Was it before or after we started fucking our brains out?”

“Richard…”

“My God, you’ve got loads of nerves, don’t you? And you want us to be friends?! That would be nice, don’t you think? Being friends with the same guy that crushed every bit of you.”

He opened his to speak but no, I had to keep going.

“And the craziest part of it all is that I was hopelessly in love with you. For the first time ever, my life was close enough to being in order. A job, a supportive cousin and sister and an amazing boyfriend. It took so long to get that and you just brought it all down. You fucking wrecked my life. How sweet could it be.”

And there it was. He couldn’t look me right in the eye. He was feeling horrible, just as I wanted him to.

“There. I’m done venting. Now take all the time and space you need to deal with whatever it is you need to deal with. Because I’d be doing the same.”

“Richard, please don’t do this to me.”

“I didn’t do anything, Chris. You did.”

And I turned and headed straight for home, telling myself that I won’t get to hold him the way I did before. That I had to get used to him just being a guy like every other. And that was how I got this pain in my chest that swore never to go away.

Written by Richard Moore

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