This does not sound right, I know. We have never been formal with each other. I have never even written you a proper e-mail. So this letter will definitely catch you by surprise — that is, if you ever read it.
I feel old-fashioned jotting down a letter. But then again, my being ancient is what made us “click” right from the start. None of our countless online chats can reveal the 4-year age gap between us.
Seeing as I could never call you childish, I shall take the blame for being too mature for my age. For a long time, I wondered what would make a charming accountant like yourself interested in a 22-year- old who did nothing but dream about being a famous playwright. I am glad, however, that you were.
Congratulations on your engagement! I’ve told you this several times before, but it was never sincere. I wonder if you noticed.
I remember the tightness in my throat, sweaty palms and welling eyes that Monday morning after you sent me the text message that you had popped the question that weekend. I must admit, it is a feeling I have been getting lately, while we are chatting — when you go on about how frantic he is about the flowers, the color theme, the maids’ dresses, your tux and well, everything really.
Once, I flared up, and if I had not quickly checked myself, I think I would have ended our friendship, or whatever it is that we have. I wished you would discuss your wedding crises with somebody else; say, your best man or at least someone who will attend the wedding. But today, I wish you all the best.
I shall not attend the wedding. I know I’ve said I wish you all the happiness, but I don’t know if I could stand watching as I lose you forever. Ha! Our relationship has been nothing but platonic, yet here I am sounding like a jilted lover.
The minute you exchange vows, I shall lose you. You know me; I make an escape whenever I sniff trouble. Even with you, I’m sorry, I shall have to run before you leave me in smithereens. But with you, it shall be different; I shall take the memories with me.
Funny thing, however much I try, I cannot remember how we “met”; a poke on Facebook? The day I saw you for the first time, however, is a different tale. I remember vividly every minute detail of that day, for I hated myself for a long time for the bunch of nerves I was. Every five minutes I would rub the sweat from my palms on my skirt under the table.
All the while I thought I was discreet about it but subtlety has never been one of my strong points. I almost knocked the mango juice off the table over your blue jeans. I remember now that I did not apologies, I was too numbed to utter a syllable.
You will be lost in a month’s time, and I have been trying to keep busy so as to not ponder about this. So I have been making sketches, a pastime I dropped in secondary school. My brother grabbed my drawing book from me the other day and asked whether I had given up on scripts and now had my eyes fixed on runway fashion.
You see, I’ve been trying to stretch a suit I had worn in a dream. A dream where I was at your wedding but it was I who was the bridegroom. The suit was emerald green, your favorite colour. It is a sad way to spend my days but what else can I do? I can no longer do crosswords.
Remember how you would tease that I had an obsession with crosswords and I vowed to make you love them too? I would buy the previous day’s dailies from the newspaper vendor (who would always complain that that was illegal) and cut out all the crossword puzzles. I’d text you the clues and you would reply with the answers, the correct answers; you were such a natural. We made it a morning ritual, no chatting before all the crosswords were solved. I have all the crosswords we ever solved together filed neatly in a green folder.
Who said it’s tough to break a habit; ours came down like a domino. The wedding preparations made sure of it. After a month of no crosswords, last week I texted you a clue. I still have the message you sent back saved on my phone. “Not nw. am trying out the tux!”I wept. I did. Truly I am losing you, and you are taking with you what was once a precious hobby. My precious hobby, our precious hobby.
I have never bought a single newspaper since that day. The old newspaper guy called to me yesterday as I came from the shops.
“I have your papers!,” he said as he bent down to pick up a pile of different dailies.
“Oh I’m sorry, I won’t be buying them any more.”
I tried my best to sound cheerful, “I’ve decided to be law abiding!”
I even threw in a chuckle. He looked irritated and did not respond. Instead, he took out a cigarette from his Daily Nation-branded dust coat and lit it. I lingered for a few seconds thinking he would say something but he didn’t. He was evidently angry.
I wanted to tell him that I too was bitter, I wanted the newspapers badly but they would be of no use. He would not understand, so I walked home, head bowed, kicking the pebbles I found in my way.
I would not be this miserable if I could complete a crossword by myself, but I can’t. I have tried, I simply can’t. I need you. I have tried filling out the one you refused to help with. I used a pen; I had always used a pen when we were doing one together. But I was alone; I should have used a pencil. I made a mistake, several mistakes really. The crossword now sits crumpled in my bin. I lost.
I wish you happiness in your new life as you have given me happiness. It would be selfish not to want the best for you. I wish you happiness even though it means I shall lose you; I am losing you.