By Toyosi Begbaaji
- Because when you were fifteen, you hotwired and stole your dad’s car
just so you could brag about it at school the next day.
- Because at sixteen, you came to English class each day, proud
that you hadn’t finished the Great Gatsby reading, and you never would.
- Because on graduation day, you shook hands with the principal, beaming,
not because of the diploma, but because you’d jacked off a mere hour before.
- Because in the first year Math course at university, you proclaimed that, “This is
bullshit, I’ve taken this class before, and I passed it. I’m leaving.” And you left.
- Because when you learned that your mom had cancer, you fought
the administration to get an extra two days off for bereavement.
- Because when your mom did die, like you knew she would, you didn’t
throw a fit at the funeral. You were reserved, calm, and unrecognizable.
- Because during junior year, you got caught smoking pot in the basement of our dorm,
sprawled out on the couch, leg thrown up and over the back, cock out.
- Because, unlike high school,
you weren’t allowed to come to college graduation.
- Because you called me out of the blue five months after graduation,
my name the first thing you’d said, and “Wanna meet up?” the last.
- Because when we started dating, I saw glimpses, of you at
fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen, four evolutions trapped in you now.
- Because you had this habit of getting drunk and begging for the car keys,
stumbling in the doorway of my apartment (you’d moved in after three months).
- Because when I wouldn’t give you the keys, you would scream
and yell, “Fine, don’t give me the fucking keys, I can hotwire it myself.”
- Because when I tried to get you help, you threatened to push me
down the stairs. You didn’t. But the threat was still there, and that was enough.
- Because we were both in the car when you got the call about your dad
and rather than cry, you proceeded to slam on the gas, careening straight for the Hudson.
- Because as the scent of diesel and burnt rubber floated up, settling around us
like we were giants in the clouds, you had to audacity to reach out and take my hand.