It was shortly after 10 a.m. on a smoldering Tuesday morning when my cell phone rang, naturally causing me to slow my brisk stride and interrupting the music blaring out of my earphones.
I was pushing my cart up and down the aisles of Wal-mart and Toni Braxton’s heavy, sultry vocals were putting me at ease as she sang about how her heart had been rescued by a hero.
The caller I.D. and accompanying photo let me know that it was one of my close friends, who I had spoken to during the wee hours of that morning after returning his phone call that I had missed just a few hours before.
Smiling, I slid my index finger across my screen to answer the call, unaware that my smile would soon fade away just as quickly as it had spread across my face.
After being met with a greeting expressing that I was loved and missed, he promptly, yet casually, dropped the bomb on me.
“I have a girlfriend,” he told me in the most composed manner and continued on with the conversation.
Replaying the words back in my mind, I tried to disguise the shock in my voice as I asked him if he were serious. Truthfully, there was something inside of me that had been expecting to hear those four daunting words that had just departed his mouth, but I was not necessarily mentally prepared.
As I found myself no longer able to focus, my input during the remainder of our now music-centered conversation became very short. Have I yet mentioned that this is the guy – MY FRIEND – I have silently developed feelings for that had just broken such news to me?
There was no way I could actively engage in this conversation any longer, not unless I wanted him to catch on to the fact that I was simultaneously trying to fight back tears.
Immediately after our conversation ended, I scrolled through my contacts list and dialed up my cousin. If anyone, she was the main person who knew just how head over heels for him I really was. She’s the one there to listen when I habitually express how much I love him. She’s the one I constantly whine to about how much I miss him. She’s the one I consult when I want to find an outfit that’ll possibly seize his attention. She’s the one I turn to when I’m aware that he’s having a rough day and the empathy in me takes on his emotions.
“It’s urgent,” I told her as soon as she answered and greeted me on the opposite end of the line.
Voice cracking, I relayed the news to her. Just about as shocked as I was, she asked me to repeat myself to clarify and process what she had just heard. After reminding me of how she had instructed me countless times in the past to reveal my feelings to him before it was too late, she attempted to console me with words of encouragement.
It wasn’t working, though, because I was on the verge of flooding all of Wal-mart with the tears that were threatening to escape my tear ducts.
My cousin was right; I had been given more than enough opportunities to have a sit-down with him and express everything on my heart. Now it was too late, is what I told myself. The one guy I truly loved with every fiber of my very being and wanted to be there for throughout every aspect of his life now had a girlfriend. What more could I do?
I cried every single day after that. I cried until snot ran down my nose and onto my lips. I cried until I gave myself headaches and migraines and made myself feel nauseated. I cried myself to sleep. I cried when I woke up. I even cried at work when no one was around, and Lord knows I hate to cry in public. I cried because even the thought of seeing him with another woman physically made me want to regurgitate.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I was happy that he had found someone to make him happy. However, my ego was telling me that it should have been me. My ego was telling me that I was the one that could make (and keep) him happier.
With this newfound information, I found myself devising multiple scenarios, but the one that stuck out like a sore thumb the most was: “What if they get married?”
That thought alone ate away at my heart and all I found myself doing afterward was replaying the wedding scene from Brown Sugar in my mind.
I didn’t want to be like Sidney, who, though she knew she was in love with Dre, courageously chose to sit and watch the man of her dreams tie the knot with a woman he had only known a few short months, as opposed to speaking out and finally expressing her undying, undercover love for him.
However, while I didn’t want to NOT say anything, I also didn’t want to take a chance and risk putting our friendship in jeopardy.
So, what’s a girl to do?
Do I speak now or do I forever hold my peace, while simultaneously losing my peace of mind in the process?