JUST FRIENDS 

​We grew up together. 

You were always my closest friend.

And when we became attracted to each other, you murmured we should be just friends. 

It was frustrating but I accepted that, because I didn’t want to lose you completely. 

We were best friends. 

But I loved you. 

And I knew you loved me too. 

We’d hang out, eat meals, watch movies. Sometimes I wished the movie would never end. 

We’d hold hands and I’d rest my head on your shoulder, and you whispered we should be just friends.

A few years passed with us being just friends. 

Men were interested in me, but I only had eyes for you. Still, we were just friends. 

It started to frustrate me. I didn’t understand why you kept turning me away. 

Then came your many love interests, the women you seemed to choose over me.

What did they have that I didn’t? 

I screamed this question at you in a drunken rage, tears streaming down my face as I screamed why on earth didn’t you want to be with me. 

You looked angry too as you replied that you and I are just friends. 

And that’s when the light went out. 

I gave up. 

On you. 

On the idea of us. 

On everything to do with you 

That night I walked away from you, and deleted your number. 

I was done chasing you and I couldn’t remain friends with you either. 

Things would never be the same again.

A year and a half later I was back to my cheery self. 

I was over you, I had a great job, new friends, and I was loving life. 

I hadn’t seen you in that year and a half and I didn’t want to see you. 

You had shattered my heart and the rejection was hard to get over. 

YOU were hard to get over. 

But everything was great now. I even had a bit of a crush on my assistant manager, and he seemed to like me too. 

Everyone said we looked cute together, and I’d get embarrassed but I secretly agreed. I liked Edric Smith a lot. 

A month later, Edric approached me after work and asked if I’d like to meet up outside of the office. 

My co-worker Sabrina nudged me as she walked past, and I knew she wanted me to say yes. 

So I did. 

A week later, I was waiting anxiously for Edric to arrive at my home. 

We were to eat out, and then go to a jazz club, to unwind, have some drinks, and get to know each other. 

I checked my hair quickly before my phone rang. It was Edric, telling me he was outside. 

We had a really great time. I couldn’t believe Edric was so sweet and caring. He was a stern manager at work. 

He asked me so much about myself and I asked him a lot too. I really liked him. 

When he dropped me home, I remembered you. And I became scared. 

I had to ask Edric. 

“Before things go any further, do you see anything in me? Would you like to date me? Or do you want to be just friends?”

Edric smiled at that before he moved closer, and he gave me a tender kiss. I was surprised, but pleased as I kissed him back. 

When we broke apart, Edric caressed my cheek before me murmured “I see a lot in you. Yes, I would like to date you, and I want to go steady. We could never be just friends.”

I wanted to hear those words from you all my life. Instead I heard them from my boss, and it felt pretty amazing. 

I fell hard for Edric. I loved him and he loved me. 

Three years later, our son Raymond was born. A year after that, I married Edric. 

My family and friends were all there, pleased for me. 

When it was announced we were now man and wife, and I was kissed, I noticed someone I had left in the past. 

It was you. 

Our eyes met. 

In yours, I saw pain mixed with regret. I don’t know what you saw in mine but I wanted to know why you were at my wedding.

In a jokey way, you said you were a family friend and my mother invited you. 

I snapped that you stopped being a friend of mine years ago. 

You responded that didn’t mean you stopped caring about me. 

That may have worked on me when I was younger, turned me into mush back then. 

But it didn’t work now. Your charm didn’t affect me at all. 

You could see that. You sighed, and asked if we could talk. I sighed too, and replied you have five minutes. 

You took a deep breath, and then you quietly said that you didn’t expect me to walk away from you that night at the club, cut you off, and move on. That you were waiting for the right moment to make me yours. 

I replied that you waited too long and so did I. 

Before you could say something else my husband joined my side, asking “Who’s this Mrs. Edric? A friend?” 

You said yes, but I said no. 

“We were friends a long time ago. And that’s all we ever were, Edric.”

You looked really hurt, and I took my husband’s hand. 

Smiling because I finally had closure and was at peace, I walked away from you, Edric at my side as I murmured “We were just friends.”

********************************

Life is too short to hide your feelings from the ones who mean the world to you. Just say how you feel. Don’t settle and be just friends! 

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Makala Thomas. 

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Not All Fathers Are Deadbeats

My eyes open at the sound of a tiny wail. It’s four in the morning.

My partner stirred as I sat up, murmuring “Want me to sort it?”

“No,” my reply was, and I smiled at him. “I’ve got it.”

I get up and check on my eleven month old baby. Her bright eyes are very awake as she looked at her night light interestedly, sitting up and waiting for one of us to respond to her call.

I smiled as I looked down at her, and she beamed up at me, lifting her little arms. I picked her up and have her a kiss and cuddle before setting her down again, yawning as I make my way into the kitchen to make her a bottle of milk.

This is the first time in a while she has woken in the middle of the night. I smile and hum to myself as I prepare the milk, hearing her speak in baby language and my partner’s deep voice as he spoke back lovingly.

When the milk is ready, I bring it to the bedroom.

My partner is holding our infant in his broad arms, and she is smiling happily at him, her little bottom teeth on display.

I yawned, and he immediately said “I’ll feed her. Go back to sleep.”

“I’m ok,” I started to say, and he raised an eyebrow at me. He didn’t even say anything. I sighed and handed him the bottle. “If you need me for anything-”

“I need you to rest baby. Go back to sleep.”

I slipped into my covers, noticing it was getting light outside.

“Dawn,” I mumbled, and he chuckled, the baby drinking her milk, her eyelids growing heavier and heavier.

“I’m going to check the kitchen,” he told me as I closed my eyes, and I frowned.

“Why?”

“To see what you need. You know, food and drinks; shopping. And milk, food and nappies for little one.”

“I have enough milk and nappies-”

“You can never have enough milk and nappies,” he said amusedly, and I smiled as well. “I’m going to pop into Tescos before I leave for work. Just to make sure you have what you need.”

“Thanks babe,” I sighed, and I opened my eyes to peer at our baby. She was fast asleep in her father’s arms. “Nice.”

My partner grinned at me. “Daddy’s touch is as good as a Mummy’s touch.”

I stuck my tongue out at him, and he laughed before gently placing our baby back in her cot bed.

I snuggled up to him happily when he got back into bed, and he put his arm around me.

“I’m going to miss you both while I’m at work.”

“We’ll never be too far away,” I replied softly, and he gave me a gentle kiss.

I sighed happily. 

He provided for us, never let us down, worked hard, and although he was sometimes working weekends or had other things going on, he made sure he spent a lot of time with his kids.

And me, I thought, and my smile grew as I laid my head on his shoulder.

You hear a lot about fathers who don’t care or do a thing for their children, who walk out on them, don’t have anything to do with them, don’t pay child support and are abusive, the list goes on.

But not all men are the same. There may be a few rotten eggs out there but some eggs are golden. And if you come by a man who is a golden egg, cherish him.  

Not all fathers are deadbeats.

Makala Thomas