My Best Friend and I

friendship-63743_1280

I sit down to listen as she talks. Expounding, avoiding the point, a rigmarole that I could tapdance to. Her words come out this way and then that way, like a rolling boulder, gathering sympathy on the way to… to… to a grand destination! She is a conductor who hopes to finish on a high note and with a flourish.

I bury my tired sighs in empathy-filled coos—ah, eh, oh, ewo, nawa, kpele, and if her pause is long enough, I fill it with phrases—you don’t say! It’s a lie! What in the world? My inflections are on point.

I had come home from my eight-hour stint in front of a glass-box. Hands flying over the keyboard, I have made others rich, but it is an honest day’s job. I would have loved to zone out for thirty minutes, but she was already waiting. Although dinner is late, it would be taboo to multitask. Opening cupboards, lifting pots, chopping onions, and letting the tomato sauce simmer while she talks would steal from her moment. Her troubles occupy centre-stage.

Her narrative is a complex equation. It is like her, she is a woman after all. My forty-hour work week is spent making complex things simple. I sift through her words eliminating redundancies, shortening super-long sentences, and knocking out nominalisations. I simplify the equation, I solve the problem, I know the answer, but I listen for another ten minutes. I know the folly of being the child that interrupts the teacher’s question to shout out the answer.

I know she is done, talking that is, because she sighs and leans back in her chair, inviting me to pick the microphone. I know the danger of ignoring reflective listening, so I say the things she has already said in my crisp, brief manner, and then I dangle an option here and another there. After she nods a couple of times, I drop the life-line. I itemise the solution. Her eyes light up as if she is a child who was offered a second round of candy. But like a sugar high, her joy does not last long.

“Who will help me do it?”

“I will.”

Her delight is my reward.

I rise to embrace routine, the mindless things I do when I return home from work. Kicking my shoes off, sifting through mail, I hum a tune, a song from the radio that I didn’t know I knew.

“It is getting late, are you not going to do it?”

Preoccupied, I almost miss her question. I toss my answer carelessly as though sprinkling salt in stew.

“I will do it.”

I open the fridge and stare. It is a game I sometimes play, what will I eat for dinner?

“I thought you said you’d help me.”

“I will.”

My movements are slow. Something is brewing in the air. I lose focus. I forget why I am in the kitchen. I remember and bring out some minced meat.

“When are you going?”

“I’m not sure. But don’t worry, I will sort it out.”

There is a moment, when we are angry, or afraid, or hurt, that rational thinking peeks through the adrenaline rush, a small window of opportunity that lasts maybe thirty seconds. Sometimes I think its sole purpose is to fill us with regret later as we shake our heads, “If only—.”

“If they close before you get there, it will be your fault, and you will have to pay with your money.”

I marvel. I do not respond. Is this why her ex-husband left her—the nagging and the threats? It is a cruel thing for me to think. That is not why he left her, but it is what she has become, beneath the nagging, beneath her threat, she is clingy, fearful, unsure, and unable to trust.

“I said I will do it.”

She is still speaking, making simple things complex.

I will not be bullied with words and won over with guilt. I will not succumb to pity and say yes to desperation.

She is still speaking, making simple things complex.

I stand in front of her, catching her eye. There are many things there—fear, anger, anxiety—things that I did not put there.

“I said I will take care of it. Leave it to me.”

I head for my room, dinner forgotten. When I open the door, the wind rushes in through the window to embrace me. Its force would separate me from the door if I let go of the handle, slamming it. And she’ll think I am angry, but I am not. I only want to regain my sanity and remember why she is my best friend and why I care so much. So I hold the handle and let the door click gently in place.

© Timi Yeseibo 2013

Photo credit: ©Alexandre Vanier/www.pixabay.com

http://pixabay.com/en/friendship-hands-friends-love-63743/

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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22 thoughts on “My Best Friend and I

  1. Your writing is so amazing characterized as it is with humour,dry wit, picturesque details and the glimpse it provides into the workings of a beautiful-zany-wholesome mind…

    I enjoyed the played-out interaction…our cognition arising from familiarity in relationships and the manner in which we play those cards to achieve certain reactions…

    #okbye….i’m babbling.

    Like

  2. Loved it.
    Going to read it to my husband when he gets back, he “must” learn how to indulge me and just listen without offering solutions till I’m done 😀

    We all need a friend like you sometimes but better still a husband like that ALL the time 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Uzoma, relationships are complex and there’s so much that we mask…. We all carry some baggage and I’ve found it helpful to remember why I care.

      Thank you for your compliment and thank you for stopping by 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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