What does it take to un-adore you, to un-dream you, to un-taste you?
It means banishing our WhatsApp conversations to the archive folder, it means hiding that Facebook post where I reviewed your E.P, it means shopping for wine at the mall and skipping past the Declan brand because it was what we drank when you came over that Christmas Eve.
“Un-thinking” you means editing my Spotify Wrapped for last year just so your songs are taken out, it means getting rid of the grey T-shirt you loved to change into, it means avoiding the Spider-Man franchise because the third instalment was the last thing we saw together…weeks before you unfollowed on Twitter.
You always loved to say that I reminded you of an 80s music playlist, that our conversations ushered in a few of your favourite childhood memories. For you, I was a montage from an old film, a clip from a 90s advert. I was your turntable, your video cassette player, your time machine. If the nostalgia rush had worn off, why didn’t you just say so? Why did you feel the need to allow me attempt holding on to fairy dust?
“You remind me of something that takes me back and pulls me forward.”
How convenient of you to say that. My therapist was right; my Saviour Complex was always going to be the death of me. Isn’t this thing a sort of curse, you know, always being drawn to broken women, always looking to help with the healing process, always actively seeking out the distress to draw out the damsel from?
Sure enough, there’s a lot more to compatibility than a shared love for Simon Webbe’s Grace and Sanctuary albums, or jointly geeking over the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or agreeing that Tems’ vocal ability makes up for the lyrical incoherence that sometimes plagues her music…but when do I ever learn? When am I ever not reckless? When do I ever not dive in head first, even when I see the end from the beginning? Curiosity tinged with attraction and fondness is always a potent mix (for disaster), I guess.
“I like the idea of intense foreplay… fingers, tongue, the works.”
Again, what does it take to un-taste you?
I should have stuck to liking Instagram reels and dropping emojis, I should have used the backspace button when I typed “we should talk sometime”, I should have refrained from dialling that number and pretending to be a guest from the show where you performed earlier that Sunday evening…but how would I have attended the underground rap battle where your friend decimated an opponent to the point that he walked out in tears, two hundred thousand naira (and some masculinity) going up in flames after a long drive from Ilorin? Who else would I have locked lips with at the intersection between Maryland and Ikeja on a sunless Thursday evening? How else would I have gone through the torture of watching a Niniola Top 20 countdown on MTV Base, where we would have thought the same songs were being repeated if we were not looking at the TV screen, your thick thighs crossing mine?
“Let me know the best ways to learn you.”
I should really stop using sentences like this in conversations with someone new. They only serve to invite pain, unsolicited, unprovoked.
“Something happened in the first few seconds of kissing you…your body felt like home.”
Should I have been bothered that you were able to receive an email from your former lover? Did you make too much of my forgetting to call your mother on her birthday? Could I have worded that tweet a lot better? Are you guilty of stubbornly refusing to see our last argument from a different perspective? Oh well, I’m not sure these things matter now.
“I was drawn to emotionally unavailable men, I found myself gravitating towards men you had to cry for just to show a little kindness, a little love.”
Oh, so you know what it means to put your heart where it clearly doesn’t belong? I love how the universe keeps pulling off practical jokes.
Was what we had so paper-thin that even if we didn’t work out, we couldn’t have salvaged a friendship, at the very least? Was there nothing else to hold on to? Was there no soul? Was it so fragile?
I spent weeks mulling over these questions…and then I stopped rueing. I would be lying if I said I was past caring, but expecting answers to these would be akin to telling you to abandon the Catholic Church; you love Mary so much.
“Would you be friends with you?”
I don’t know how to put ideologies over people, especially the ones that I’m significantly invested in. If I value a state of existence shared with someone, I would fight for it…but hey, whatever keeps your -isms afloat.
Of course, I miss the “knock knock” jokes, I miss the marijuana puffs, I miss listening to you compare the You series to Desperate Housewives, I miss the cranberry-flavoured lip gloss, and I hated the fact that I went to see Doctor Strange 2: The Multiverse of Madness by myself. But like the scented candles you met on your last stopover, it’s melted now. It stings when you feel like someone is your last train home, only to find that they are headed to another direction.
It hurt like hell when I unsubscribed from that Berklee College of Music newsletter; I really wanted you to go. Not to worry, your name isn’t leaving my head any time soon — it’s what I call my baby sister, too!
(P.S: Please look after Nnamdi. Lord knows I wanted to be that boy’s dad, but to reference my favourite track of yours, it’s a pipedream now.)
(P.P.S: The new song is really, really good. Certain lyrics felt like you were throwing shade, but didn’t Taylor Swift make a career from that? Good luck with composing the new record.)