So I heard it’s official now. You and him. I heard he asked you out at the sports centre. Of course you accepted, you’ve told me about your crush on him so many times I can translate it into a miniseries. You’ll probably see this message as you’re getting dressed for your big date. You told me you were going to the mall. There’s a new Marvel movie out now and you’ll probably watch it, then return and tell me all about your wonderful date with your crush. I noticed you’d been asking me what I wasn’t as lively as I used to, why did I seem so distant lately? We would talk about everything and then you’d drift to your dream date while I would be stuck giving you ideas and tips on how to impress him. Well, today, I decided that I’m going to share with you my true feelings.

I don’t like it. You and him. There, I’ve said it. Ever since the day you first told me. I have much love and respect for him and you know I have nothing but love and respect for you, but I can never be completely happy for you, no matter how much I try. And I’ve tried. I’ve given you dressing tips I got over the Internet, I’ve even given him your likes and dislikes. But I can never truly share in your happiness. It’s probably jealousy, I like to think of it as rue. I know you expect me to be all like Hey, my best friend’ s got a boyfriend and jump up and squeal with delight and do all I can humanly do to make your match. But I can’t give that to you.

It’s not because I think he’s a bad person, I genuinely believe that if given the chance, he will treat you with respect. It’s just that little, strong feeling that never goes away. The feeling of regret. A rueful feeling, bordering on jealousy and hatred. I hate him for taking you away from me. Because the truth is, if I could be in a relationship with anyone, I would want it to be no one but you. I would. But I can’t. I can’t be in a relationship because frankly, I can’t handle it. I can’t handle the drama. You’ve seen it before, Stephanie and I. I just couldn’t handle the pressure.

So I can’t be in a relationship with anyone, yet I can’t be there to support a friend’s relationship because the friend would ideally be the one I would want. How prosaic of me. How jealous I must be. Of all creatures most miserable. Because my heart, ripped out of its strings by my unrequited love, has been replaced with a shadow of friendship. The legendary friendzone has befallen me…

You don’t know the deep pain I carry with me every time you talk about him and I smile with understanding. Your #MCM post ought to have made me smile but in fact, it was like a stab through the heart. How ironic that that ‘like’ button is in the shape of my pain.

Do you remember the day you told me you loved me? As a friend? And I said “And so my watch begins?” and we both laughed? You thought I was referring to that Game of Thrones quote. I was referring to that and something else. I will watch over you, day and night, as I should. I will listen to your cries, bear your pain and share in your joy. And I will ceaselessly rue the times we shared, the times we laughed and cried. The times I never told you I loved you…

I truly hope you can understand that deep down inside, I only want you to be happy, even if I end up shedding a few tears in the process…
Yours now and always…

Your friend.

BY BANKOLE OLUWATIMILEHIN

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