He only owned two pairs of pants and he needed both to last the entirety of his around-the-world trip. As it was the dead of winter, he had been wearing both pairs every day to fight off the cold. This morning, one pair was unwearable, the right leg soiled with vomit. My vomit. I felt awful.
“Please just borrow my long underwear”, I begged, “They’re amazing, 100% wool. So warm. They’re black, they don’t look girly, see? And since you don’t have child-bearing hips, I bet they’ll fit perfectly.”
Reluctantly he pulled them on. “Perfect fit!” I said triumphantly.
He grinned, “These are comfy. I bet they make my legs look really sexy, yeh?”
“Mmmm really sexy,” I agreed, “On second thought, maybe I don’t want you in pants just yet...” I grabbed the elastic of my long johns, a bit trickier than grabbing a belt buckle.
“I can’t,” He laughed, “I have to go meet my friend.”
“The one visiting from Botswana or where ever? The one who flaked on you yesterday? Pshh, I’ve got to be much more fun than him.”
“We’re going to go all around the city today doing tourist stuff and then get druuuuunk tonight. I’ll probably be out late so I’ll try to crash with him. I know you don’t like it when I wake you up.” he said, smell-testing his favorite shirt, then pulling it on.
“Even if I’m back at 3?” he asked lacing up his “trainers”.
“4?” he asked pulling on his coat.
“5?” he asked putting his wallet in his pocket.
“4:59?” he asked and kissed me good bye.
“Text me. Have fun! Bye!”
“Will do. Bye girleen,” he said and walked out the door.
That was the last time I ever saw him as the cute, charming, clever boy who made me smile. The boy I was happy to call my lover. The next time I would see him he would be wearing the exact same clothes I had just watched him put on but he would look unrecognizable in my eyes.
I was alone in my apartment, for the first time since I’d been back from my trip. I had no plans for the day, for the first time in what felt like forever. Sun was pouring in my window, I stretched and propped up pillows. It was going to be a perfect lazy Sunday morning. I reached to grab a magazine from the foot of my bed; his bag and a pile of things made this more difficult than anticipated. I was just about to dig under the pile when I saw a small navy book right at the top that made me stop dead. I bet that’s it, I thought, His diary, the one he’s mentioned several times. My fingers itched. If you read that it’s a violation of trust! said one half of my brain. But…it’s just sitting there in front of you, said the other half, How can you not read it
I stared at the blue book in his bag. It’s not like he expressly told me not to read it… I picked it up. Maybe it wasn’t even his diary anyway, maybe I was getting all worked up over a list of expenses or something silly like that. I opened the book and let it fall to the last page of writing. It was definitely his diary. The entry began with a date and went on to be a feel-sorry-for-yourself complaint about loneliness written while I was away on my trip. It didn’t mention me at all and was poorly written, so it held little interest.
I was looking for my name, he must have written something about me. I flipped the page and there it was: “[Insert my name] says I’m mean.” That wasn’t true, I had said that merely in jest, teasing You’re mean! He couldn’t have possibly thought I was being serious! I read on: “She’s nice so she’s probably right. I cheated on her and I’ll do it again.” I stared at the ink on the page. My heart jumped into my lungs and I became intensely aware of its beating. My mouth turned dry, my hands started to sweat, I felt like I might throw up on his pants again. Almost immediately the 5 Stages of Grief commenced. #1 Denial: I’d read it wrong. Shock flooded my system as I turned the page, looking for an explanation of what I had just read, refusing to believe my eyes. There was no way it could actually mean what it said.
to be continued…
Authors note: I didn’t intend to write so much, but this seems to be the way the story wants to be told. It’s actually a bit harder for me to write than I thought it would be. The wounds aren’t so fresh, but the scars haven’t faded. It’s cathartic to share though, so thanks for reading and thanks for your support! I’ll finish this beast of a story soon, you have my word!
[To continue The Safa Boy Series, click for Part Five]