Aida Zabidi
"Can I read your phone messages?"
I'd never asked before, and I'd never wanted to ask before, but for some reason there was a lot of doubt in this relationship, especially when it came to his ex, and for some reason there was this niggling feeling at the back of my mind that I couldn't actually ignore.
They'd been in more constant contact recently, especially after the episode over the weekend when she found out he was in the City, and something was just bothering me.
"Sure."
He answered so easily that I almost felt reassured.
Until I read his messages to her.
I noticed the dates, and how rocky and tumultuous their relationship seemed to be that I really wanted to tear it out at the roots.
'Fine. Message that guy - we're over.'
'Win me back. I love you, but I'm tired of being the one who's making the effort. If you want me back, you need to win me back.'
'Why aren't you picking up my calls? Ignoring my texts?'
'Come online. I need to talk.' At a time when I knew we had an argument, and I couldn't be bothered pandering to him.
Conversations that were full of emotion; of anger and jealousy, of frustration and disappointment, of unresolved issues, and all the while, he had been with me trying to convince me that we should be together and against my own rationality, we had ended up together on a rollercoaster journey that had wrung me inside out, forced me to reevaluate myself and put me in positions that I never had to be in the past - as a partner, as a friend and as an individual.
Every word seemed like a betrayal, and it felt like my insides were turning to ice.
He saw my face change and I silently showed him the conversation on his phone.
There's a certain beauty about iPhones and they way they store messages oh so conveniently all laid out for you, so there's no going back and forth between the things that could be.
"Maybe you should stop reading," he said carefully, watching my face.
"Should I?"
I was surprised at how calm I was, at how I wasn't throwing the phone in his face.
"I need to know. I need to know about you and her, and how it's going to impact on us."
He had to leave for class and he didn't want to.
"Why are you doing this now?"
"Not everything can go by your schedule."
"Do you think you're the only one who's insecure? You still keep in touch with him, still have coffee, still call and text."
"I told him when I first started dating you that I was going to - and despite him wanting to try again, I told him that it would be unfair to you, and I gave you a chance. It would've been so easy to date him and date you at the same time, and have one backup in case things didn't work out, but I chose to give you that chance, to be fair.
He and I are friends, and I want to keep that friendship, but at the same time we're both aware of our boundaries, and I've been so careful to not cross those grey areas.
Never once have I said anything that could be something else."
I took a deep breath.
"Go for class. And we'll speak when you're back."
I wouldn't be budged, or couldn't be budged, and it shocked me how icy calm I was.
I had so much on that day, preparing the an event that night that everything seemed to be on automatic, the preparation of the stall, the cooking and the lively chatter around.
I had told him that I would be there until late, and that he could come and say hi, or wait for me to get back.
He had promised to come, but eventually called and said that he was sick, but eventually dragged himself there sometime throughout the night.
He wanted to talk about it, about us, but I told him that the time wasn't right.
"Are you still angry?" he asked hopefully as we sat there on the lawn, both of us eating the fare offered at the night market. "Are you going to break up with me?" he asked again, a little more quietly this time.
"We'll talk later."
It wasn't until midnight when I managed to get home in order to talk to him.
"I felt stupid reading what I did. It made me feel like I was being played. You need to explain these messages to me."
"I didn't realise how it sounded like until I re-read the messages."
"You know what it sounded like to me? It sounded like you guys weren't over, and that your break was just temporary. I don't even know what you meant by taking a break - if it was an arrangement where you would return to her at the end of the day."
"It's not like that."
I made him explain every single message to me until I was absolutely satisfied with his explanation.
I couldn't tell him how it had turned me into ice inside, and made me distrust so deeply that I didn't know how it would affect us.
I realize that I don't forgive easily.
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