Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Friends With Benefits

I can't quite remember feeling like we were strangers. I know that we are friends now, in every sense of the word. It took me a while to see this, and to identify the heart of the matter. To really understand this peculiar dynamic, I hunted through collections of messages and notebooks until I found my source. Of course I went searching for evidence, as any amateur journalist would. Some of my memories were met with eye rolls and amusement, while others were a trigger to parts of me best forgotten.

We are not in constant contact, nor do we need to be. Something about me, and something about you, feels familiar. We stripped down old stereotypes and ignored the rule that says we can't be friends. We know that we were once important to each other, but we know what this is- and what it always was. There is no foolishness in our friendship, only the shadows of people we used to know.

To say that we ever went on a date would be a lie, because it was never that trivial. They were never dates, just time and days and nights. We always chose coffee as our disguise because after all, it was the non relationship drink of choice. Cold Sunday afternoons made time for us, and Autumn wind hit my lungs like brand new oxygen.

It started in September 2011, and I can't quite believe that it's been so long. Back then, we didn't know a lot. We didn't really know much about the world, despite acting like we did. We never wanted anything serious, and I doubt that we even knew that we mattered to each other.

We muddled our way through to the Winter. Winter meant hours buried in coffee shops, and I understood the elocution of excuses and cover ups. We knew it was going no where, just like we knew the syrupy taste of peppermint mochas and wordplay. Clocks ran forward, and we learnt each other as we found edges and fine print and small secrets in footnotes. After our exploration of each other, we discovered details and cold hands and these are the things that I always remembered. I would sit at a distance and run restless fingers through my hair, and I would annoy myself with my careless mouth, frustrated at the curve of a smirk, and the phonetics of a word. We were learning a dance that would only ever exist between me and you, and there was safety in our routine.
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The times that we catch up are always spent in similar places and they end the same way that they always did. You walk one way, while I go another. We always find common ground in our history, and in our futures. We once saw ambition in locked gazes and we once shared clever words where feelings should have been. We once had grand ideas, but they didn't include a story of us.

Maybe between the ice of your skin and sharpness of your tongue I could see who you were going to become one day. I think I saw this when you didn't, although I'm quite sure I saw what I wanted to.

Sometimes, I saw you at stop signs and coffee shops.
I saw you in strangers on old and empty streets.
Sometimes, I saw you in me.

I remember one day more than the rest, and I don't remember the end and perhaps this was because we never had something that deserved an ending. In hindsight I remember that I wanted to hate you, and maybe I did for a while. Memory lane serves people well, and it gives them shelter. We always remember the days that we want to, and repress the rest. I am no exception to this rule.

We are cut from the same cloth, and I desperately need someone like you who can cut out the bullshit without hurting my feelings. I'm thankful that we pulled ourselves out from the idiocy of youth, and that we built a friendship from the imperfect pieces of you and me.

This is what happened between you and I.

We crept into each others nights and phones, and you helped me become who I was and you made me ready for the next one. Whatever we had was something quick and lonely. It was infected with youth and stupidity, but you made me see all of the things that I didn't want, even when I became a victim of my own trickery.

I don't think we knew the next one, would be the one. I think you're happy about it because you know that I am where I'm supposed to be. I think you're glad I have a hand to hold, and a love that I deserve. I'll be happy for you when you have the same.

I understand why people think friends with an ex is an impossible thing, and I've made it a point to scrub any residue of old love from my canvas. You were never an ex, and this is why we speak without complications or motive. You were never my boyfriend, and this is why I'm not afraid of you.
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They told me that we couldn't be friends.

I hope they're surprised to see that we are.

I hope they know, I'm not surprised at all.