The Response

What was wrong with me? It was 1:44 in the morning and I was lying in bed in complete darkness. The silence of the room was nerve wrecking, but I had no energy to turn on the TV. And I was crying.

In all actuality I was happier than I’d been in a very long time. I technically had graduated with my MA, I was learning to appreciate my friends no matter how different our lives may be, I was financially copacetic because I was living off of FAFSA (praise Jehovah), exposure to my writing had increased drastically thanks to Essence.com and I no longer had feelings for CB who I knew was never someone I should have dated in the first place.

I just couldn’t put my finger on what brought me to tears at this time of night.

Not only was I sad because I had just had a fabulous time in my hometown for the Memorial Day weekend, but I truly saw the void I was missing of having my friends here in Bloomington with me. My two female best friends who I’ve been friends with since high school are great. However, the tears were flowing due to the feelings I have for my best friend in the world. Yep, I’m talking about Wisdom again. See Fades to Black and Buried.

Unexpectedly I text him through my tears:

It hurts to know the man who has your heart doesn’t love you the same way you love him. And you’re not mad at him or blame him for feeling that way. You just wish your own feelings could go away. So you wait & wait. Date. But nobody is that dude. And 3 years later you still feel the same. He still doesn’t love you that way. Now you’re stuck being his friend b/c he means too much for you to just cut him off.

I didn’t really expect a response. How do you even respond to something so heavy? But I also didn’t expect this reaction at 11:12 a.m. the next morning:

“Wow…dats real!”

Really though? Alex, I’ll take no response for 800 please.

I really didn’t know if I should be pissed, hurt or indifferent. I chose the latter, thanking the high heavens I didn’t have sex with him this past weekend when he was definitely trying to hit the jackpot.

Being exhausted from this eight year history of friendship to best friends to lovers to nothing back to best friends, I flat out asked him this weekend what was what. His excuse of having problems expressing his feelings was on my damn nerves. You’re 26, get over it.

“Why don’t you just tell me you never see us together in the future and you don’t have feelings for me anymore?” I demanded.

“Because that would be a lie,” he replied.

Two nights before he had come over AC’s house, one of the aforementioned best friends, we were up to the wee hours of the morning talking about life. We had a lot of catching up to do. In an attempt to get Wisdom to reveal any of his feelings to me, I posed a hypothetical to my girl who has men down to a science. Like seriously, the girl is sick with it.

I layed it all on the table. Of course she knew I was talking about Wisdom and myself, but I had to make him feel a little more comfortable about telling our business in front of him to her.

Me: So you still have feelings for your best friend. And he knows this. The last time you were in town yall discussed it. Well you talked and he said nothing. You asked him how he felt and he was silent. But after asking him about his new string along broad that is not his girlfriend, he tells you he “loves, has love for…”

Her: Wait does he love her or have love for her?

Me: He said both.

Her: He don’t love that girl.

Me: (I now have this sarcastic smirk on my face from her last statement). Anyways, he tells you about her. You therefore, imply that he pursues her 100% and y’all no longer be friends. You try to stop talking to him, but he’s too much a part of your life. In breaking the week of silence he sends you a poetic text something along the lines of friendship. Y’all are back cool again. Why won’t he just say how he feels?

Her: Let me tell you something. (Mind you he’s sitting there quiet, similar to a child does when getting a lecture.) He wants you bad than a motherf*cker. He’s scared and intimidated by you. He does not think he is good enough for you. You are Bene to him. He holds you in the utmost respect. There is no other girl who will ever compare to you. But by him caring about you he doesn’t want to hurt you again because he knows he’s hurt you before. He’s trying to make sure he’s ready before he’s with you. The problem with that is when he’s ready, you may not be.

I f*cking love this girl. When she finished talking he said, “Damn.” He was in utter shock by her response and agreed that this was exactly how he felt, but had never expressed to me. He just kept shaking his head in agreement and told her, “You need to write a book for real,” in his southern dialect.

But if this is how he truly felt, which he outright admitted more than once, why was his response to my text the other night so concise? Did it mean he agreed with the premise of my text that he didn’t love me in the way that I loved him? Because in my eyes fear and intimidation was not synonymous with me forever being in the friend category as my text had implied.

Now I’m confused again. I just don’t get why it’s so damn hard for him to tell me exactly what it is. Better yet, I don’t understand why I can’t shake these feelings for him.

In the back of my mind I want to believe that everything AC said, that he also confirmed, is the truth. But I also am a firm believer that a man knows whether he sees you as the girlfriend or the girl friend. If a man wants you there’s NOTHING he won’t do to have you. Period.

Fellas, what’s the real reason behind his short text or him not being with me? Ladies, what do you do with feelings that just won’t go away? Do you remain the friend or walk away?


  • Alissa


    Don’t walk away. RUN away. Run for your life. LMAO. No seriously. A man will keep you around for as long as you’ll stay. What are you going to do? Hang around until he marries some other woman and you’ll just be his best friend suffering in silence? If I cursed, I would say that’s BS. You deserve better for yourself – even if you feel like you’ll never find it. And if you do feel like you’ll never find a better guy, you need to find a way to get that thought out of your head because life is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Of course you could have this great love story that he finally came around after ten years (thanks Carrie) OR you could have the story of how you wasted your twenties being in love with a man who – for whatever reason it.does.not.matter – will not take the necessary steps to be with you. Of course he likes you. Why wouldn’t he like you? But, honestly, so what? I “like” the Lexus GX470, but you know what, Lexus will not give me the car unless I take the necessary steps to get it (ie paying for it). And they certainly aren’t going to let me BORROW it just because I really like it – while I save up for a different car that I’m actually willing to purchase.

    I hope you understand my analogy. Him liking you is no reason to keep hanging around or allow him to keep hanging around you. This situation will NEVER change. Ever. And if you have the opportunity to walk away (ie you don’t work with him, live with him, go to school with him etc), by all means WALK AWAY. Even if you have to cry yourself to sleep every night for a year. You will be SO glad you did.

    It sucks to lose a friend, but it doesn’t have to be permanent. Just until you aren’t crying in your room at night and feeling (and surrending to) the urge to send him a late night text.

    Of course, you’re not going to take my advice. And that’s okay. Love can be a strong force. I just hope (and pray cause I’m spiritual like that) that either you will find the strength in yourself to know you don’t want this to be your life or that you will meet someone else who will truly take your mind off this guy (and not someone who you are using HOPING he will take your mind off of “Wisdom”. That hardly ever works.)

    I’m only saying that because I’ve been there. Heck, I AM there and so basically I’m just talking to myself…

    • WrittenbyBene

      *Sigh* I know this is exactly what I have to do. You had me initially with the “Don’t walk away,” until I kept reading. LOL!

      This: “A man will keep you around as long as your willing to stay.” *double sigh* Wisdom and I had this very same conversation this weekend. I told him that a man would rather cut off all his toenails and run down the street bleeding that hurt a woman he cares about feelings. Therefore, instead of telling her what he knows deep down inside, he will do the bare minimum to keep her around. He said, “That’s to real.” But he swears this is not what he’s doing with me.

      My other female bff claims that he’s just not ready to settle down with anybody. Furthermore, it is her theory that he is scared of me. Whatever. He is very non-confrontational whereas I go from 0 to 200 in 30 seconds. But my rebuttal to this is we were friends first so he always knew this about me. Always. How can that be a problem now?

      I completely agree and know everything you’re saying is true. And like you said, I would hate to be that girl that in a few years has to watch my best friend who I’m in love with marry somebody else. I don’t see that playing out too well, lol. I think a big part of me staying around is because he truly is my best friend. Anytime I try to cut the friendship off he says that is unfair and he has always remained my friend when I was dealing with situations with other dudes. I see his point. But I also think maybe he is able to do that because he has somebody else around or maybe his feelings aren’t there like mine are.

      At the end of the day I hope you and I meet someone else that will show us that you can have the friend and love with a guy who really wants to be committed. Because that’s what we deserve. Who has time to be sitting around waiting and fantasizing about a fairy tale ending that may never happen? Damn, now who am I going to talk to all the time, lol.

      BTW: Your Lexus analogy, nice. And hope it wasn’t too much cursing…I know you don’t curse.

  • me

    pardon if this is rambly. i was out engaging in formal debauchery, came home, fell down an internet rabbit hole, and landed here. one hundred and one times out of a hundred i would never think about responding to a post of this nature. however, this this one hits home pretty hard.

    before i start. ill give you the sparknotes version of what im finna say.

    (concise yet elegant heartfelt message)

    “wow…dats real!”

    yeeea, drop him post-haste.


    I’m a twenty six year old, grad school educated, ‘normal’ black male.

    firstly, ive been there. there as in, his shoes. for the past 7 years my best friend has been a wonderful woman (funny enough she’s also an established writer). three years ago we started up a brief sexual relationship. two years ago she mailed me a 10 page handwritten letter expressing all the ways her love for me was non platonic. two years ago i managed to skirt the issue. last year i manned up, and told her how i felt about everything.

    the previous poster said something that ive thought about but never pined down, “A man will keep you around for as long as you’ll stay”. her statement is spot on. if i(we) want you, you’ll damn well know it. if youre not sure that a man wants to be with you, the answer to your question is paradoxically crystal clear. you shouldnt have to ‘sell’ yourself to anyone.

    ive always been there for her to lean on. to this day when something horrible happens i’m the first one she calls. when she gets drunk and wants to bitch about me, im the one she calls. if she gets, excited, frustrated, scared, whatevered, im the one she talks to. from the sound of it, your relationship with dude is similar.

    so why do i bother with her? im there for her when she needs me because im not an asshole. im there for her because i care about her. im there for her because she is my friend. im not, however, there for her because i want to spend the rest of my life with her. this ‘situation’ was/is very difficult to explain and even harder to deal with.

    during my moment of clarity i told her “the best thing you could do for your future self, is to stop talking to me”.

    you want him because he is there. you want him because underneath it all he is a genuine person. he is someone to talk to, someone who has always been there for you. he is someone you know. someone who for unknown reasons you trust, yet you know that trust is not misplaced. these feelings/qualitys are hard to replicate in another person and imo they never will be found in someone else until you truly need to find them in someone else. what i mean by that is, as long as he is filling those needs, no one else ever will be able to.

    ehh i should finish speaking my mind but i need to get to bed. its 6am, i feel like ish, and im having a one sided convo with a total stranger. ill drop it here for now. hopefully, what i did manage to get down helps somehow.


    • WrittenbyBene

      I appreciate you sharing. I’m curious to know how you “landed here” on my blog? But that’s neither here or there. I think the 2nd from the last paragraph really rings true. At least in your situation I’m glad you finally were man enough to tell her, “the best thing you could do for your future self, is to stop talking to me”. That was a real self-less act, which I’m certain was hard to do because of the risk of losing the friendship. Thanks for reading!

  • Gayle Trimble

    Wow. “Me” said it all.

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